What is a Canadian Transit Number?

Canada By Mitchell Steiman April 22, 2022

Anyone sending money to and from a Canadian bank account needs to enter the Canadian Transit Number. This is a standard 5-digit number used by banks and financial agents in Canada to identify an account.

The Canadian Transit Number identifies at which branch of a bank an account is held. It is used especially for processing domestic money transfers between Canadian accounts, but may also be required for some international money transfers.

With that in mind, below we will tell you everything you need to know about the Canadian Transit Number.

Canadian Transit Number: how does it work?

The Canadian Transit Number is another layer of identification of a bank account in Canada. Together with the account number and the bank number, it identifies exactly where an account is located, whether of an individual or a business, for a transfer to be completed successfully.

To understand it better, in Canada the information that identifies an account consists of:

  • Transit Number: a 5-digit code that tells which branch of the bank the account was created at — it is unique to each bank branch.
  • Institution Number: a 3-digit code that tells you which bank the account belongs to — unique for every Canadian bank.
  • Account Number: a 7-digit code that identifies the account within the branch and bank entered.


What is the Canadian Transit Number used for?

In simple terms, the Canadian Transit Number speeds up money remittances. It is similar to IBAN Numbers, but for Canadian accounts. Through it, the banking system can quickly identify where the bank account that is sending or receiving the money is hosted.

So, we can say that the purpose of the Canadian Transit Number is to ensure that the money is sent or received in the right account. Therefore, whenever you do a domestic banking money transfer in Canada, you need to enter the Canadian Transit Number.

International transfers may also require a Canadian Transit Number. This will be the case when the international money transfer originates from a Canadian account, or when a Canadian account is the destination of the transfer.

International transfers: how to use the Canadian Transit Number?

The Canadian Transit Number can be found either on the account holder’s checkbook, or on the account holder’s web banking page or application.

Usually in an international transfer, the Canadian Transit Number is used to form, together with the institution code, the Routing Number. In this case, the first three numbers of the Routing Number (apart from the 0 to the left) refer to the institution, and the last five to the Canadian Transit Number.

It is precisely this nine-digit code that you must enter in an international transfer to an account in Canada or from a Canadian account. For convenience when making your international transfer, you can use the Western Union Canada app.

Just download it to your smartphone and sign up. The process is easy and your money transfer abroad can happen in a matter of minutes[1]. Download and start using it now. You can also check our Terms & Conditions here.

[1] Funds may be delayed or services unavailable based on certain transaction conditions, including amount sent, destination country, currency availability, regulatory issues, identification requirements, Agent location hours, differences in time zones, or selection of delayed options. Additional Restrictions may apply. See terms for details.  

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