Do Credit Cards Have Routing Numbers?

Article Summary

Credit cards do not have routing numbers, as these numbers are used to transfer money between bank accounts or different financial institutions. Instead, credit cards have a 15- or 16-digit number that identifies the issuing company and the holder’s account number.

If you’ve signed up for a direct deposit or transferred funds to a different bank account before, you might have been asked to provide your credit union or bank’s routing number. But do you know your credit card’s routing number? I’m betting you don’t, for the simple reason that credit cards don’t have them. Routing numbers are to transfer money between accounts. They are not used for credit card transactions. Yet, some people mistakenly believe that credit cards have routing numbers.

In short, routing numbers are like digital addresses that help identify the bank location in which you opened your account. Banks use these numbers to send and receive money from each other. For example, if you want to set up direct deposit at your job, you’d usually have to provide your bank routing number to receive payment from your employer’s bank. A transaction with a credit card, on the other hand, does not rely on a routing number because there’s no exchange of funds between banks.

Why don’t credit cards have routing numbers?

In a nutshell, credit cards don’t have routing numbers because they don’t require them. Routing numbers are only necessary to transfer funds between bank accounts.

When you use a credit card, you’re essentially borrowing money from the card issuer instead of using existing funds from your account. In transactions like this, the payment settlement mechanism is different than that of wire transfers and direct deposits. You’re not moving funds between accounts; instead, you’re borrowing money from the financial institution and paying it off at a later date. This is why routing numbers aren’t required.

What is a routing number?

A routing number is a nine-digit number that’s used to identify a financial institution in the United States. Routing numbers are also sometimes referred to as ABA routing numbers or routing transit numbers. It was originally developed in 1910 by the American Bankers Association (ABA) to help process paper checks and was widely adopted by the financial industry in 1911.

The first four digits of a routing number identify the Federal Reserve Bank district where the financial institution is located. The next four digits identify the specific bank or credit union. And the last digit, also known as the check digit, is used to verify the validity of the routing number.

Routing numbers are used by financial institutions for a variety of purposes, including ordering checks, processing wire transfers, and setting up direct deposits. If you’re not sure what your bank’s routing number is, you can usually find it on the bottom of your check or in your online banking account. Since the routing number is based on your financial institution’s location, this number will be the same for your checking and savings account.

Blank sample check with the routing number circled

Fun Fact

Not all financial institutions have a routing number. Since the ABA assigns routing numbers, a financial institution must be “ABA eligible” to receive one. To become ABA eligible, a financial institution must be a state or federal chartered institution that the Federal Reserve Bank determines is eligible for a master account.

What is a credit card number?

Credit card numbers typically have 16 digits (15 digits in some cases), and can be found on the front of your physical card.

Just like routing numbers, the digits in a credit card number have meanings. The first four to six digits are called the issuer identification number (IIN), or the bank identification number (BIN). This identifies the bank or financial institution that issued the card.

Then, following the IIN is the account number, which is unique to the cardholder, and can be anywhere from 6 to 12 digits. Lastly, each credit card has a check digit that’s used to verify the authenticity of the credit card number. Most credit card networks — Mastercard, Discover, and American Express — use the last digit as a check digit. Only Visa uses the 13th digit.

Blank credit card with the credit card number circled

Credit card number vs. routing number

The 16-digit number on your credit card serves a different purpose than your bank routing number. A routing number is a nine-digit code that is used to route money transfers and other payments through the banking system. And while bank routing numbers are essential for sending and receiving funds between financial institutions, they’re not necessary for credit card transactions.

Your 16-digit credit card number, on the other hand, is used to identify your account and the financial institution that issued the card. Unlike a routing number, a credit card number is unique to you and allows you to make purchases online.

Where can you find your routing number?

You can usually find your routing number by logging into your online banking account and looking for the section called “Account Details.” The routing number will be listed there, along with your bank account number and other important information.

You can also find your routing number on your paper checks. It’s the set of numbers located at the bottom of your check, to the left of your account number.

If you don’t have access to your online banking account or a paper check, you can always call your bank’s customer service line. They should be able to provide you with the correct routing number.

How to keep your bank account information safe

Your routing number isn’t necessarily sensitive information since accounts at the same bank all share the same routing number. Nevertheless, you’d still want to keep your other account information safe to protect yourself from petty frauds. Here are five tips to help you do just that:

  • Always keep your debit/credit card in a safe place. This means not carrying it around with you unless absolutely necessary. And keeping it in a secure location at home, such as a locked drawer or cabinet.
  • Be careful about who you give your information to. Only provide your bank account or card information to trusted websites and businesses. And make sure you’re using a secure connection when entering the details online.
  • Keep an eye on your bank statements. Regularly review them for any suspicious activity and report any unauthorized charges immediately.
  • Get a card that offers fraud protection features. Fraud protection features help ensure that your card information stays safe and secure, and that you’re not held responsible for any unauthorized charges. Many cards offer fraud protection by monitoring your account activity and flagging any suspicious behavior.

Pro Tip

Scammers will often pressure you for your credit card or personal information and rush you into a purchase. So if you’re ever in doubt about a website’s security or the intentions of the business you’re dealing with, don’t hesitate to walk away or ask for more information.


Does a credit card have a routing and account number?

As mentioned above, credit cards don’t have routing numbers since it’s not necessary. However, just like debit cards, there is an account number associated with each credit card.

Keep in mind, however, that account numbers are not the same as the 15- or 16-digit number displayed on your physical card. Account numbers are usually between 6 to 12 digits, and are used to identify your account — sort of like a customer ID. If you lose your credit card, you’ll receive a new card number, but your account number will stay the same.

Do all debit cards have routing numbers?

No, not all debit cards are associated with a routing number. For example, some prepaid debit cards aren’t linked to a bank account and, as a result, do not have a routing number. This can be inconvenient if you want to set up direct deposit or use your card for purposes that require a routing number.

But there are still some advantages to using a prepaid debit card that doesn’t have a routing number. For one, it’s more difficult for someone to steal your money if your card isn’t linked to an account. Also, you won’t have to worry about incurring hefty overdraft fees if you accidentally overdraw your account.

What is the routing number on your credit card?

Unfortunately, you won’t find any routing number on your credit card since it’s not required for credit card transactions. Instead, if you have a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover card, you’ll see a 16-digit credit card number on the front of the card. And if you have an American Express credit card, you’ll see 15 digits.

These numbers on a credit card are used to authenticate a transaction by identifying both the credit card issuer and the account holder.

Can a thief gain access to my checking account with a routing number?

No, thankfully, a thief isn’t able to gain access to your checking account information and sensitive personal data through a routing number alone. This is because many people with accounts at the same bank use the same routing number. To gain access to your checking account, a thief will need more information, such as your debit card credentials.

To keep your money safe, never share your checking account number or PIN with anyone you don’t trust. When shopping online, only use secure websites when entering your debit card information. Also, make sure to monitor your account activity on a regular basis and report any suspicious activity to your bank.

Key Takeaways

  • Credit cards don’t have routing numbers because they’re not needed for processing transactions.
  • Routing numbers are only required when you’re moving funds to and from your bank account. For example, you may need this information when establishing direct deposits or making wire transfers.
  • The 15- or 16-digit credit card number printed on your physical card is not exactly the same as your account number. If you lose your card and request a replacement, you’ll receive a new set of credit card numbers. However, your account number will stay the same.
  • You can find your bank routing number at the bottom of your check or in your online banking account. If you still have trouble finding it, you can always contact your bank directly.
  • Make sure to monitor your account activity regularly and report any suspicious charges to your bank or credit card company.
View Article Sources
  1. ABA Routing Number — American Bankers Association
  2. What is the difference between a prepaid card, a credit card, and a debit card? — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  3. Routing Numbers: Everything You Need To Know — SuperMoney
  4. Can You Track a Debit Card? — SuperMoney
  5. How to Bypass a CVV Code — SuperMoney
  6. What is Swiping Scamming? — SuperMoney
  7. Can I Use a Check with an Old Address? — SuperMoney
  8. My Debit Card Chip Is Not Working — What To Do? — SuperMoney