A Simple Guide to Financial Institution Numbers

Every financial institution in Canada has a unique three-digit code assigned to it, known as the financial institution number.

You must provide the banking entity’s financial institution number when you set up a pre-authorized debit payment or sign up to receive money via direct deposit.

Here are the financial institution numbers for the six major Canadian banks:

  • Bank of Montreal (BMO) – 001
  • Scotiabank – 002
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) – 003
  • Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) – 004
  • National Bank of Canada – 006
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) – 010

How Do I Find My Financial Institution Number?

Locating your bank’s financial institution number is quick and easy.

The first way to do so is on a cheque issued in your name and bank account.

You can find the three-digit financial institution number at the bottom of the cheque, in between the transit number and your bank account number.

If you need a cheque, you can visit your branch and ask for one.

The second way is to log in to your online banking and obtain a pre-filled direct deposit form.

The financial institution number will appear on this form, along with your bank account number and other relevant banking details.

Scotiabank mobile app

The third way to uncover a financial institution number is to do a simple search online.

Reputable financial services firms, such as those specializing in money transfers, have websites that may provide these details.

However, it’s wise to verify with multiple sources that the three-digit code you’ve found is indeed the correct one.

Did You Know?

When sending money abroad, you need to send it through the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) network, so you’ll have to figure out the SWIFT code of the destination bank instead of its routing number.

What Is A Financial Institution Number?

A financial institution number is a three-digit code assigned to banks, credit unions, trust companies, and other financial institutions.

This code is utilized to process cheques and facilitate electronic financial transactions.

In addition to the institution number, two other bits of information are required to process financial transactions.

These are the transit number and bank account number

The transit number is a five-digit code that identifies the branch you opened your account at.

Each financial institution operates many branches throughout the country; the transit number is a way to differentiate them from each other. 

You can locate your bank’s transit number on a cheque – it will appear right before the institution number.

Or you can view it on a pre-filled direct deposit form through your online banking.

The transit number, together with the institution number, makes up a routing number.

Both are required to process cheques, electronic funds transfers, paycheques, direct deposits, and recurring payments.

Don’t Forget!

The correct way to input the routing number for an electronic funds transfer is to add a zero in the front, followed by the financial institution number and then the transit number.

Your bank account number pertains to your personal account, which you use to store money and conduct transactions.

Depending on your financial institution, it could be seven to twelve digits in length.

Your account number is located to the right of the institution number on a cheque.

It’s also easily accessible through your online banking or pre-filled direct deposit form.

Whenever you have to set up an account to send or receive electronic payments, you need to supply all three components: financial institution number, transit number, and bank account number.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is institution and bank number the same?
  • What’s a bank institution number?

Mark is a freelance writer who specializes in writing content for firms in the financial services industry, including fintech. He has written for brands like Loans Canada, LowestRates, and The Motley Fool, covering topics related to investing, mortgages, credit cards, and many others.

He is passionate about educating people on how the financial markets work and providing tips to help them better manage their money. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and has more than a decade of experience as an accountant.

Outside of writing and finance, he enjoys playing poker, going to the gym, composing music, and learning about digital marketing.