A routing number identifies the financial institution and the branch to which a payment item is directed.
Along with the account number, it is essential for delivering payments through the clearing system.
In Canada, there are two formats for routing numbers:
An electronic routing number is comprised of a three-digit financial institution number and a five-digit branch number,
preceded by a "leading zero".
The electronic routing number is used for routing electronic payment items,
such as direct deposits and wire transfers.
A paper (MICR) routing number is comprised of a three-digit financial institution number and a five-digit branch number.
It is encoded using magnetic ink on paper payment items (such as cheques).