What Is a Transit Number? [Canadian Transit Number]

In this article, we’re answering β€œwhat is a transit number?”

The focus of this article is banking in Canada and more specifically everything you need to know about a Canadian bank transit number.

This article is part of our free series on how to send money, including answers to questions like what is a money order and navigating options for transferring funds abroad.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is a Transit Number?
  2. Transit Number vs Institution Number
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Ready to Explore Your Options?

What Is a Transit Number?

Transit number is a five digital numerical code assigned to individual branches of Canadian financial institutions. When combined with the three-digit numerical code for the financial institutions and the seven-digit bank account number, the transit number becomes part of the routing number used for sending domestic transfers.

In short, the transit number represents the branch where you bank. While the institution number represents the bank, and the account number is your account at the bank. All three numbers are listed at the bottom of any checks and can also be obtained by contacting the bank directly.

Transit Number vs Institution Number

The main difference between the transit number and the institution number is that the transit number represents a specific branch location while the institution number represents the overall bank.

For example, two branches of RBC on opposite ends of Canada will have the exact same institution number. In this case, RBC has the institution code 003. In fact, all RBC branches across Canada share this code. Similarly, all Bank of Montreal branches use 001 and all Scotiabank branches use 002.

However, every branch will have a unique number. That’s why it is often referred to as a branch number instead. In this context, both names are correct.

Do I Need a Transit Number to Make a Money Transfer From My Bank Account?

You do not need your transit number in order to make a money transfer from your bank account. In fact, you can use Interac e-transfer to make a direct transfer to another recipient in Canada with only their email address.

However, if someone is trying to send money to you through another method other than e-transfer, they will need to know your transit number in order to complete the transfer. This is true both for incoming domestic transfers and international transfers.

Are Transit Numbers Used for Online Banking?

Transit numbers are used for online banking activities when required. However, when sending domestic transfers via Interac e-transfer, the routing number is not required. In part, this is because the recipient can choose which financial institution they want to deposit funds. So, the sending party would not know which transit, institution, or even account number to use when initiating the transfer.

Do You Want Our Free Non-Resident Banking Guide?

Sign up here to receive our Free Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide and weekly updates on the best account opening options available:

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people looking asking about bank numbers in Canada. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Is a Transit Number the Same as a Branch Number?

Yes, a transit number is the same as a branch number. In fact, these two terms are used interchangeably, which makes sense since the branch number is actually a more accurate description. Along with the institution and account number, it makes up the routing number of a bank account in Canada.

Is My Transit Number On My Bank Card?

No, your transit number is not on your bank card. Instead, it can be located on the bottom of a check or it can be found by contacting your bank directly. Importantly, if you do have a check, it is immediately after the check number and before the institution number.

How Do I Find My Transit Number in Canada?

You can find your transit number in Canada by looking at the bottom of a check. If you do not have physical checks on you, you can usually log into your online banking and find the option to download a void check. Once you have a check, you can locate your number at the bottom of the check immediately after the check number. It is the first five digits after the check number, at the beginning of the routing number.

Ready to Explore Your Options?

If you would like assistance navigating your banking options at home or abroad, we can help.

You can access GlobalBanks IQ, our international banking intelligence platform, in just a few clicks. Unlock our bank database, individual bank profiles, account opening strategies and reports, banker scripts, and more.

But, if you want a 100% personalized account opening service that taps into our team’s expertise and provides direct banker introductions, you can get started with GlobalBanks Insider.

Of course, if you have any questions, please contact us directly.

Share This Article on Your Favorite Platform
GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

Sorry, but you cannot copy the content on this page.