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Published October 27, 2022

What Is a Bank Institution Number?

A bank institution number is a three-digit number that refers to a specific bank. You can find it at the bottom of your cheque.

When it comes to numbers associated with your bank account, there are several you need to know to conduct certain transactions. These include numbers unique to your account, and numbers associated directly with your bank, such as a bank institution number.

You can find the institution number on your cheque at the bottom along with a string of other numbers.

What is a bank institution number?

A bank institution number is a three-digit number that refers to a specific bank. Every bank in Canada is identified by its own unique institution number. You need to know this number when you set up direct deposits and automatic withdrawals in your bank account. 

The three digits of the bank institution number, combined with a five-digit transit number, make up the routing number. These numbers are used to process bank transactions, such as wire transfers, direct deposits and automatic bill and loan payments.

List of Canadian bank institution numbers

Here are examples of what institution numbers look like for some of Canada’s larges banks, credit unions and online-only banks. This is not an exhaustive list.

Canadian Bank or Financial InstitutionInstitution Number
Bank of Montreal001
Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)002
Royal Bank of Canada003
Toronto-Dominion Bank 004
National Bank of Canada006
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce010
HSBC Bank Canada016
Canadian Western Bank030
Laurentian Bank of Canada039
Bank of Canada (Canada’s central bank)177
Amex Bank of Canada303
Manulife Bank of Canada540
Equitable Bank623
Alterna Savings and Credit Union Ltd.842

How to find the bank institution number on a cheque

The easiest place to find your three-digit institution number is on a cheque. It’s located at the bottom of the cheque between the transit number (five digits) and the account number (seven to 12 digits).

Other ways to find a bank institution number

If you don’t have a cheque handy, a quick web search can help you figure out your institution number. You can also go to your online banking portal and see a copy of a void cheque associated with your account or get in touch with your local bank branch and they will help you out.

About the Author

Hannah Logan

Hannah Logan is a writer and blogger who specializes in personal finance and travel. You can follow her personal travel blog EatSleepBreatheTravel.com or find her on Instagram @hannahlogan21.

What Is a Bank Transit Number?

What Is a Bank Transit Number?

The bank transit number identifies the branch where you opened your account. Canadian bank transit numbers are five digits long.

What Are Bank Account and Routing Numbers?

What Are Bank Account and Routing Numbers?

Bank account and routing numbers help to keep your account secure and facilitate different types of transactions. Here’s how to find and use them.

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