The Difference Between ABA and ACH Routing Numbers

Residents of the United States who have checking accounts at their financial institutions will see a nine digit…

Residents of the United States who have checking accounts at their financial institutions will see a nine digit number printed on the bottom of each check. This is the routing number and banks use this number to determine where the money on the check is to be sent. It contains the bank transit number, your account number and the number of the check. There are over 20,000 routing numbers in use in the US. Every financial institution has its own number. Two of these types of routing numbers are ABA and ACH.

What are ABA routing numbers?

ABA is an acronym for American Bankers Association. This association developed the routing number system, which consists of 9 digits, in 1910 in order to identify specific banking institutions. The ABA routing numbers were mainly used for wire transfers of money and in helping to clear checks cashed at the various banks.

What are ACH routing numbers?

ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. This is an electronic network that has been in use as part of the legislation called Check 21. They are used in wire transfers and clearing checks, but with the increased use of electronic banking they are essential in the deposits and withdrawals made through online banking, telephone banking and ATMs. Companies are now using electronic means for sending and collecting payments.

The difference between ABA and ACH routing numbers

There is essentially no difference between ABA routing numbers and ACH routing numbers. They serve the same purpose and actually refer to the same number. The only difference in the numbers is the manner in which they are used. When it is written on your check or if you need to make a wire transfer, it is called an ABA routing number. When you use it on an application form, then it is called an ACH number. The main purpose of the number is to identify your financial institution and your account number so that the money will be sent where it is supposed to go.


  1. ABA and ACH routing numbers are nine digit numbers used to identify financial institutions in the United States.
  2. ABA routing numbers are used to clear checks and to make sure wire transfers are sent properly. ACH numbers are used for deposits and withdrawals.
  3. They are both the same number and only differ in the manner in which they are used.


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