Transit Number vs Branch Number vs Routing Number

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Transit Number vs Branch Number vs Routing Number

There are numerous times in life where we may be asked for our banking information such as our transit number or branch number. If you start a new job, sign off a cheque, or do a wire transfer, you may need to know your banking information. But transit numbers and branch numbers are often confused. Are they the same thing?

Is transit number the same as branch number?

The simple answer is yes; your transit number and your branch number are the same. The two words are used interchangeably. Transit and branch numbers have been around for over a hundred years and are commonly used in making different types of transactions. 

What is a Transit/Branch Number?

As already established, a transit number is the same thing as a branch number. This is a five-digit code found in the left-hand corner of a cheque that tells people what branch an account is with. Every financial institution or bank branch has its own transit or branch number.

Any document that allows the payment of funds has this number written on it. It can help one banking institution determine what bank the document originated from. You can find institution numbers on bills of exchange, checks, or promissory notes. 

It’s important to note that the transit or branch number is different from your account number. The branch number refers to the specific branch of bank that you opened your account with. If you and a family member do banking at the same branch, you could have the same transit or branch number. 

Your account number, on the other hand, identifies your account explicitly with that institution. Therefore, you will never find another account number that is the same as yours. 

Also, while transit and branch numbers are the same thing, some people do use them differently. Some people use their transit number to refer to the institution, while they may use the branch to identify the location of their home branch. In such a case, it may look something like this:

Transit number: 05678

Branch: London

What is a Routing Number?

When you give out your banking information, you will more than likely need to provide more than your transit number. In most cases, you will need to provide your full routing number.

Your routing number is your transit number, followed by your three-digit institution number. In addition to every branch having its own transit number, every financial institution has its own institution number. The Royal Bank of Canada, for example, has the institution number 003. 

Your routing number will look something like this:

05678 – 003 (transit number – institution number)

Together these are used on banking documents to help identify your banking information.

Where can I find my Transit Number?

The most accessible place to find your transit number is on a cheque. If you have a chequebook, pull it out and look in the bottom left-hand corner. You will find your transit number here.

If you don’t have a chequebook, you can also find your transit number on your online banking account by calling your bank’s support line or visiting your branch in person. 

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Avid researcher, freelance writer, and personal finance enthusiast passionate about financial education and literacy.

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Kareena Maya

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.