Do Credit Cards Have Routing Numbers?

I once encountered a mini-issue with my credit card. But I had no idea I was merely ignorant. 

I wanted to make a payment using my credit card.

So, I began what seemed like a fruitless search for my “credit card’s routing number.” 

It took me a lot of searching to discover that credit cards have no routing numbers.

This was a humbling and learning experience for me. I learnt Credit cards have no routing number the hard way.

And in this article, I will answer specific questions about a routing number, why credit cards have no routing numbers and more. 

This will be a long but worthwhile read. So, I recommend you grab some popcorn. With no further ado, let’s dive right in.

What Is A Routing Number?

Routing numbers are nine-digit numbers identifying financial institutions and bank accounts in the United States. Simply put, they serve as a signal code for US bank accounts and financial institutions.

The routing number is very similar to an online address as it identifies the bank location where you opened the account and provides other information about it. 

Also, clearinghouses rely on routing numbers to validate and complete financial transactions. 

Financial transactions, such as online banking and wire transfers, rely on routing numbers.

For example: If a friend wants to wire you money, you need to provide your bank’s routing number to receive the payment. 

A credit card payment, however, does not require a routing number since there is no actual exchange of funds between the parties involved.

Instead, the credit card company makes the payments on behalf of the sender (i.e., the person sending the funds) in question.

What Are The Requirements For Issuing Routing Numbers?

For a bank to issue routing numbers to its customers, they must meet the following conditions:

  1. The bank must be federal-chartered or state-chartered.
  2. The bank must retain an account with the Federal Reserve Bank. 

What Does Each Routing Number’s Digits Entail?

In a routing number, each digit serves a specific purpose: 

  • The first four digits pinpoint the Federal Reserve Bank district where the financial institution lives.
  • The next four digits identify the specific bank or credit union to which the routing number belongs.
  • The last (single) digit is used to verify the validity of the routing number.

A Cheque Book comprising a Routing Number

Virtually all bank transaction requires a routing number. The following financial transactions require routing numbers:

  1. Direct deposits
  2. Checks
  3. Wire transfers, etc.

A credit card number is a 15 or 16-digit on either the front or back of your physical credit card. 

However, a few credit cards have no card number attached to their physical card. In this case, you can find the credit card number by checking its mobile app.

Similar to routing numbers, the figures on a credit card number all have an underlying meaning.

What Does Each Credit Card Number’s Digit Imply?

The first digit of your credit card number identifies your credit card type.

For instance:

  • Discover Credit Cards start with the number six (6).
  • American Express Card starts with the number three (3).
  • Visa Credit Cards begin with the number four (4).

The following six to eight numbers after the first digit are called Issuer Identification Numbers. They also identify the credit card’s financial institution and signify who the cardholder is.

Again, like a routing number, the last digit on every credit card is a check digit, which validates the card’s authenticity. 

the critical parts of a credit card

Credit Card Number Vs Routing Number

Based on what I’ve said thus far, It’s clear that Credit Card Numbers and Routing Numbers serve different purposes. 

Routing numbers are nine-digit codes that process transactions between different bank accounts or financial institutions. However, they do not work with credit cards.

On the other hand, credit card numbers, which consist of 15 or 16 digits, are used to determine who owns the card and what bank issued your credit card.

Where Can I Find My Account’s Routing Number?

Here’s where you can find your account’s routing number. You can find your Bank Account’s Routing Number:

  1. In your newly created bank account’s documentation. Typically, the documentation contains your account number, routing number and other crucial details.
  2. In your paper chequebook. It’s usually located at the bottom-left of your chequebook.
  3. On your bank’s online portals or mobile applications. 

Your routing number, along with your bank account number, is listed under the “Account Details” section of your bank’s mobile or web apps.

  1. By calling your bank’s customer service for your routing number. 

All you have to do is give your bank’s customer care a call. You can check your bank’s customer-care contact details online.

Do Credit Cards Have Routing Numbers?

Credit cards have no routing numbers. As a matter of fact, they do not require them. 

A routing number is required to transfer funds between bank accounts or financial institutions.

But, in reality, that’s not how a credit card operates. 

The truth is, we tend to confuse credit card numbers with routing numbers because we do not understand what each entails. Well, that ends today.

Virtually all credit cards have a 15 or 16-digit number attached to their physical card. 

The 15-digit or 16-digit numbers are simply credit card numbers, not routing numbers.

The credit card number binds the credit card issuer and the holder. And they are also used to process credit card transactions. 

As for routing numbers, I’ve explicitly stated how they operate above.

A Typical Credit Card And All Its Elements

Why Don’t Credit Cards Have Routing Numbers?

Routing numbers are not required for credit cards. 

Instead, they help process wire transfers, checks, and direct deposits, not credit card transactions.

But for credit card payments, they are not applicable — This is because someone other than the sender makes the payment.

It’s more complex than you think. But then, the core idea is:

Credit Card companies make credit card payments on behalf of the card user (sender), who transfers funds to the recipient.

This indicates that the card user is not sending their money. In place of them, someone else, say a third party, pays on their behalf.

It is for this reason that credit cards do not have routing numbers.


Do Credit Cards Have Routing Numbers FAQs

Which Routing Number To Use For Credit Card Payment?

You do not need a routing number for credit card payments because you are not transferring your hard-earned money.

However, wire transfers, checks, and direct deposits require routing numbers.

How Do I Find the Routing Number on a Debit Card?

For a fact, there is no such thing as a routing number on a debit card (although there might be some exceptions)

But then, you can find them on the bottom left of your paper checks or bank statements. Additionally, you can request them from your bank’s customer service department.

Does A Credit Card Have A Routing and Account Number?

As I said above, credit cards do not have routing numbers. However, every credit card has an account number.

Nonetheless, bear in mind that account numbers differ from credit card numbers. 

Credit card numbers are the 15 – or 16-digit numbers displayed on every physical credit card, while account numbers consist of 6 to12 digits.

Simply put, every debit or credit card has an account number associated with it, but they do not all have a routing number.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear credit cards have no routing number. I emphasised why this is so above. I even went as far as answering related queries. 

In subsequent articles, I will address other issues or concerns related to credit cards. Stay tuned for more. 

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