Routing Numbers and Transit Numbers

By Tua | September 22, 2018

What is a Canadian Transit Number?

Canadian Transit Number is usually 9 character code used for routing of cheques in the banking industry. This code tells us the bank you use, and the specific branch that the cheque is associated with. This code/number is also commonly referred to as its routing number.

The format of cheque transit number - 12345–ABC

The first 5 digits are the “branch transit number” and identifies the exact branch of the bank. ABC is the institution code which identifies the bank. There is a dash separating the branch code and institution code. As a general rule, bank institution numbers start with 0, 2, 3, or 6, while Credit Union and Caisse Populaire institution numbers start with 8, and Trust Company institution numbers with 5.

The "Big 5" banks of Canada have the following institution codes:

001 - BMO (Bank of Montreal)
002 - ScotiaBank (Bank of Nova Scotia)
003 - RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)
004 - TD (TD Canada Trust)
010 - CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)

What is a Canadian Routing Number?

A Canadian Routing Number is a 9 digit code used for electronic fund transfers (EFT) such as direct deposits, electronic payments, etc. The Routing Numbers, just like above, are also formed using the branch code and bank code.

Routing Number Format

Routing number, again, is usually a 9 digit code comprising of:

1. a leading zero (0)
2. the institution number (ABC)
3. the branch number (12345)
For example if a cheque MICR code(numbers at bottom of cheque) is 12345-ABC, the corresponding EFT code would be 0YYYXXXXX.

What is the Difference between Routing Number and Transit Number?

Both routing number and transit numbers are formed using the branch code and institution code. However, there is a difference in the format as discussed above. The term routing number is used in connection with the electronic fund transfers (EFT) and thus also known as EFT Code while the transit number is used usually in connection with the paper instruments such as cheques. You can also find transit number on the cheque issued to you by your bank. The transit number is also called MICR code.