Difference Between ABA and ACH Routing Numbers

Routing numbers are a series of numbers provided to the customers by the bank to ensure the safety of transactions. Transactions are done via checks, withdrawal and deposit slips, net banking, or any online platform. The transactions are given routing numbers to ensure that the transaction is routed properly. These routing numbers are called Routine Transfer Number aka RTN or Bank routing number. Both the ABA and ACH routing numbers are a series of nine-digit numbers, therefore they are confused. Though there is a very main key difference.

ABA vs ACH Routing Numbers

The main difference between ABA and ACH routing numbers is that ABA routing numbers are used for paper transfers like checks. And the ACH routing numbers are used for electronic transfers. Also in ABA, the first two digits of the number series start from the range 00 to 32 while in ACH the first two digits range from 61-72.

ABA vs ACH Routing Numbers

ABA routing numbers were designed in 1910 by the American Bankers Association and the name is given in their honor as well. It is designed to identify the route of the bank, namely the bank it is drawn upon, the city, and the code of the federal reserve bank.

ACH routing numbers are the same as ABA routing numbers as they are also nine-digit numbers use to ensure the proper route of the transaction. Though the difference is that ACH routing numbers are used for electronic transfers only. Indeed, Digital transactions like direct deposit or direct payment.

Comparison Table Between ABA vs ACH Routing Numbers

Parameters of ComparisonABA routing numberACH routing number
Full-formAmericans Bankers Association.Automated Clearing House.  
What are they?It is a nine-digit number used to ensure the route of the paper transfers.It is also a nine-digit number. It is used to ensure the route of the electronic transfers.
Used since?It is in use since 1911.It arose in the late 1960s.
The first two-digit number rangeThe first two digits range from 00-32.The first two-digit numbers range from 61-72.
Where they are mentioned?It is mentioned at the left-bottom corner of the check.It is mentioned next to the account number.

What is ABA Routing Number?

ABA, the name is given after the Americans Bankers Association as they proposed this system. So their initials are used to name it. The system was developed in 1910, though it is in use since 1911. The ABA routing numbers are a series of nine-digit numbers. These numbers are code that specifies the details of the bank the check is drawn upon, from where it is transferred, and to where. These numbers are specific to the bank, its branch as well as the city.

ABA routing numbers are used to ensure the route of the paper transfers only like the checks. The numbers are mentioned at the left-bottom corner of the check. The first two digits of the nine-digit series indicate the financial institution. And these two digits range from 00-32. The digits 00 are used by the US government and the numbers 21-32 are mostly used by credit unions.

The 3rd and 4th digit represents the Federal Reserve Bank district branch. The 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th digit represents the institution where the checking account is held onto. And the last digit is the single check digit.

The routing numbers are used for any paper transaction like reordering checks, paying bills via checks, direct depositing with the employer. It makes the sorting, bundling, and delivering easy of the checks.

What is ACH Routing Number?

ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. ACH is a network that processes financial transactions and ensures that the route is correct. ACH network is used for only electronic transfers. This process arose in the late 1960s. The operators of the ACH are the Reserve banks and the Electronic Payment network. NACHA, the National Automated Clearinghouse Association established the rules and regulations for the ACH network.

These transactions are processed for federal, state, or local governments, the consumers, and the business. This transaction includes all the electronic transactions like tax refunds, DD for payroll, social security, insurance premiums, mortgage, e-commerce payments, etc.

ACH routing number is also a nine-digit number series that identifies the clearinghouse. These numbers are unique and represent banks and their branches. It shows where the payment is taken from and where to send it. The first two digits of the routing number range from 61 to 72.

The routing numbers can be checked on the website of bank. You can log in to your bank account, the ACH number is mentioned next to the account number in the checkbook. Also, the ACH routing number is on the website under the “electronic” or “direct deposit” option as well.

Main Difference Between ABA vs ACH Routing Numbers

  1. ABA stands for Americans Bankers Association. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House.
  2. ABA routing is used for paper transactions only while the ACH routing numbers are used for electronic transactions.
  3. The first two digits of the ABA routing number range from 00-32. While ACH routing numbers have the first two digits ranging from 61-72.
  4. Not all ABA routing numbers are ACH routing numbers. But some ACH routing numbers are ABA routing numbers.
  5. The design of ABA was proposed in 1910 and they are being in use since 1911. The ACH routing number system arose in the late 1960s.

Conclusion

ABA and ACH are routing numbers used in banks to ensure the route of the transaction. They are unique numbers for every transaction. Both the routing numbers are nine-digit numbers. These numbers are codes for where the transfer is made and to where. It shows the specific bank branch of the specific city. The first two digits of these numbers represent the bank they have drawn upon from.

ABA routing numbers are used for paper transfers only like checks. They have been in use since 1911. The number is noted on the very left bottom corner of the check. The first two digits of these numbers range from 00-32.

ACH routing numbers arose in the late 1960s. They are used only for electronic transfers. These numbers are unique and specify the bank and its branch. They identify the clearinghouse. The first two digits of the nine-digit routing numbers range from 61 to 72.

References

  1. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/hsp/jpss/2008/00000002/00000002/art00011
  2. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/hsp/jpss/2019/00000013/00000001/art00006
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