Where to find your Canadian check account number
When I first started working here at check Print, I knew very little about what checks were. As I trained for this job, I learned a lot. For example, there are specific guidelines for what can be printed on a check and where those items must be placed. Another key thing is that checks are printed on secure stock, not just any old sheet of paper! I also learned about the little characters at the bottom of every Canadian check. Those characters provide all the information your bank needs to process your check when it is deposited.
The black characters at the bottom of every check are known as the MICR encoding line. MICR stands for “Magnetic Image Character Recognition”. MICR encoding has lots of valuable information including the check number, your branch’s transit number, the institution code and your personal account number. These characters are printed using a special magnetic ink. Take a look at the check below with sample information, to see what I’m talking about.
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This section of characters corresponds to the check number found on the top right corner of your check. It may be only two or three digits or as many as six digits. For the most part, it is up to your preference but many Canadian banks are beginning to require six digit check numbers in the MICR line.
This number is always five digits on Canadian checks. It indicates which branch you opened your account at (often called your home branch). Even if you move cities and the branch you bank at changes, this number will always stay the same as long as you use the same Canadian check account number.
This number is always three digits. These three digits indicate what bank you use. All locations of the same bank will have the same three-digit institution code. (For example, Bank of Montreal is 001, Scotiabank is 002, Royal Bank of Canada is 003, TD Canada Trust is 004, etc.)
This section can be anywhere from seven to twelve digits long, it all depends on your bank! These digits might be one long string of numbers or they may be split up by spaces or dashes. No matter what the configuration, this is your check’s account number.
I hope this quick breakdown helped teach you something you didn’t already know. If you have further questions, please check out our FAQ section or contact us directly! Someone at our office will be able to help you out.
Kirsten – check Specialist, check Print Solutions