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You've filled out your life insurance application, found the best life insurance in Canada for your needs, completed your health assessment, and been approved for coverage. Yay!
But before your insurance company can fully set up your policy, they need one last piece of information from you: your bank routing number and account number to set up pre-authorized payments for your monthly insurance premiums.
What's a routing number? And how do you find the routing number for your BMO bank account?
Keep reading below to find out.
What is a routing number?
We'll get to how to find your BMO routing number in a second. But first things first: what exactly is a routing number?
A routing number is a banking code that's used along with your bank account number to identify your account electronically. In Canada, routing numbers are 8 digits long and made up of 2 smaller numbers: a branch number and an institution number.
Also known as the transit number, the branch number represents the BMO branch that your account is based at (e.g., 200 King St. W in Toronto). This isn't necessarily the branch that you normally bank at. Branch numbers consist of 5 digits.
In comparison, the institution number is a 3-digit number that identifies the bank that your account is with (in this case, BMO). BMO's institution number is 001.
For example, the routing number for the BMO branch located at 200 King St. W in Toronto is 24182-001. The 24182 is the branch number and the 001 is the institution number.
How to find your BMO routing number using a cheque
One of the easiest ways to find your routing number is to look at a cheque for your BMO account.
Here's an image of a BMO cheque that highlights the portion of the cheque you need to pay attention to:
Image source: BMO
See those numbers at the bottom that look like they were typed in a computer font from the '90s? Some of them represent your routing number.
When you're looking at your BMO cheque, don't worry if your numbers look slightly different. Not all cheques look the same. So you may have more routing symbols or fewer routing symbols between the sets of numbers. And you might find that your branch number and institution number are one long string of digits with no routing symbols between them.
Because you know that BMO's institution number is 001, you can use it to identify the routing number at the bottom of your particular cheque. Just make sure that you don't mistake the cheque number for the institution number. The cheque number is used to identify an individual cheque in your cheque book. It's the only number that differs from one cheque to another within a single cheque book.
How to find your BMO routing number if you don't have a cheque
But what if you don't have a cheque book? Do you need to shell out money for one just to figure out what your routing number is?
Thankfully, you don't. You can look it up in your BMO online banking account instead. Here's how:
- Log in to your BMO online banking account.
- Click on the "My Accounts" tab at the top of the page.
- On the left side of the page, select the account that you want your routing number for.
- You'll see your branch number and institution number in the blue box at the top of the screen. You can also click on the "void cheque" link to download a PDF of a void cheque with your routing number and account details on it.
Yup. That's all you have to do!
How to find your BMO routing number using your bank address
Can't remember the password for your online banking account? No problem! If you know the address of the BMO branch that your account is based at, you can look up your routing number on this website.
What do I need my routing number for?
When you get approved for life insurance, your insurer will ask for the routing number and account number for your bank account. They'll use this to create an electronic link between your bank account and theirs so they can automatically withdraw your insurance payments on each monthly payment date.
With these pre-authorized payments, they won't have to rely on you to pay up on time each month. And you won't have to worry about keeping track of yet another set of dates in your calendar. Score!
You'll also need to know your routing number if you want to set up pre-authorized payments for other monthly bills or direct deposit payments from your employer.