Why you should never use a routing number that wasn’t given to you by your financial institution

I came across an online post of someone asking for the routing number for their bank. A fellow poster provided what they believed to be the correct routing number. The number did belong to the bank in question. But, this particular bank has multiple routing numbers.


The original poster thanked them and stated that they located the routing number in the app. So, presumably, the routing number just happened to be the one that he should use for his account.


But, what if it ultimately wasn’t the routing number that his bank designated for his account? Depending on how the routing number is used (deposit, withdrawal, payment, etc), the transfer of funds could be delayed, delivered to an unintended party, or returned.


One of the worst outcomes is to have your funds delivered to the wrong account because you’d then have to work with your bank to recover the money from the other party’s bank account. 


If the routing number is used to make a payment, the payment would likely be returned and could result in issues like returned payment penalties and/or late fees. 


There’s also the risk that your account is closed. The financial institution or company that you provided the incorrect routing number to could see this as an attempt to commit fraud.


There’s an easy way to prevent any of these scenarios from happening. There are plenty of secure places to locate your routing number.


How to find the correct routing number

  • Visit your financial institution’s homepage
    Most financial institution list their routing number at the bottom or top of their homepage, if not all of their pages.


  • Search the financial institution’s site
    Your financial institution likely has a search tool that will return at least one page with the routing number.


  • Check your account portal
    You can also log into your portal to locate your routing number. It’s usually located near your actual account number and you might also have success finding it any sections designated for money transfers or setting up direct deposit. 


  • Contact the financial institution
    If all else fails, just contact the financial institution and they can provide you with the correct routing number.

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