Skip to main content


map-marker-altLocations | ATMs

How to Read a Check for Routing, Account Number & Check Number

Understanding how to read a check is vital for your finances. Whatever you need the information for, knowing where to find it and understanding the different parts of a check is important. Read on for more!

Image showing bottom numbers of a check highlighted.

Where is the Account Number on a Check

The account number is in the second set of numbers at the bottom of the check. The symbols on either side are known as railroads; they tell the scanner when the routing number ends and the account number begins.

Where is the Routing Number on a Check

The routing number is the first set of numbers on the bottom of a check. Each bank has a unique routing number, which is the same for all checks paid from that bank. This number is the same regardless of the account type from which the money is being paid.

Where is the Check Number on a Check

The check number is in two places. You can find it in the series of numbers along the bottom of the check (the four digits on the right-hand side) or in the upper right-hand corner. The check number should be the same in both places. If not, you may have a fraudulent check and should talk with the bank it's written from.

Practical Uses

A few basic parts of a check include the date, payee line (pay to the order of), the amount of the check written in numbers and in words, the memo line, and the signature. The date tells you when the check was written or should be paid. The payee line shows who the check is for and should be paid for the amount written on the check. The amount written in words and numbers should match (this helps prevent fraud), but if they don't and are different, the check will be paid for the amount written in words. The memo line is optional and helps you keep track of payments; you can write a confirmation number or other identifying information there for reference. Lastly, the signature of the person writing the check makes it all official and allows you to cash or deposit the check into your account.

WaFd Bank is Here to Help

No question is too small, and with WaFd Bank, you also have access to tools and services to help you manage your finances and get the most from your money. From checking accounts to savings accounts and everything in between, you'll find an account to fit your needs and budget. Open an account online today or visit us at your neighborhood branch, give us a call at 800-324-9375, or check out what WaFd online banking has to offer.


Find your local WaFd Bank Branch


Find your local WaFd Bank Branch

We're nearby, and we'll sit down with you and answer any questions you may have.