OAS FCU payments: the ABA, MICR and BIC numbers
Three banking codes that will help you move money around the world.
In the age of digital payments, people use the ABA, MICR and BIC numbers to transfer funds across financial institutions and across borders. It pays to know what each one is, and when to use it. They’re a series of unique banking codes that help all the global payment and transfer processors move money from country to country, bank to bank and account to account expediently. Here’s how each one helps you make payments to and from anywhere in the world.
It all started with ACH
Americans love to write checks. This is the only country that depends on the usage of a paper trail to make a staggering amount of payments. In the late 1960s the United States government realized that the number of checks processed each day demanded the more advanced technologies and manpower available to handle their processing.
So, they created a network of central processing facilities where all the checks in a region would be forwarded for processing; these were the Automated Clearing Houses (or ACHs). Every day, they would type up all the information of the checks received and their amounts into vast electronic files; then, they would forward these files over a clearing network (private or the Federal Reserve), divided into batches. From there on, the files trickled down onto the respective financial institutions, which paid and credited their own.
The ABA (or routing) number
The ABA number is a 9-digit identifier code that every financial institution gains when joining the payments system of the American Bankers Association. It allows banks and credit unions to forward checks and ACH payments in a speedier way, that is why the ABA for an ACH transaction may be different than the ABA for a Wire transfer.
OAS FCU’s ABA/routing number is 254075069 and this is the number you will use whenever you want to process an ACH to/from your account at the credit union. It’s the number that appears on the MICR lines of our checks.
Warning if you want to receive a wire transfer in your OAS FCU account: please note that you must not use this ABA/routing number to receive wire transfers. If you intend to receive a wire transfer, please find what banking codes to use in these instructions.
The MICR number
If you take out your checkbook and look at it, at the bottom of each check there is a long series of numbers. In banking terms, this line is the MICR line, which stands for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. These numbers are encoded in a special ink that can be read to transfer the information into the checks systems. . That’s why, if you ever pay at a store with a check, the cashiers often swipe them through the same card readers as the credit and debit cards.
Your checking account at OAS FCU has a MICR number that is a 10-digits long.
Your account number versus your MICR number
Keep in mind that your membership number, your checking account number and your MICR number are not identical. This is how they relate to each other:
- Your member number is an identifier unique across all your OAS FCU accounts. It never changes;
- We add suffixes to your member number to create individual accounts, such as 0 for savings or 71 for checking;
- It ends with a specific security-added ‘check digit’ generated by our systems.
In order to add an external identifier for your checking account to be accessible on the ACH network, we standardize it to have 10 digits. We do that by adding however many zeros are necessary to make up a 10-digit number.
That way, in the example below, the member’s MICR number would be 000WWXXYYZ, comprised of:
000 (extra zeros) + WWXX (the actual member number) + YY (the account suffix) + Z (the check digit)
Where do I find my MICR?
The easiest way to find your MICR code is via the checks we have issued to you for your OAS FCU. If you don’t have checks yet and need the MICR, you can find it in your online banking. Log in, click your checking account, and you will see a screen that looks just like the one above. The red circle shows your MICR account number.
The BIC code
BIC is the acronym for International Banking Code (in French), and it refers to the international identifier for each financial institution. Just like the routing number but on a global scale, it’s extremely useful for international wire transfers.
OAS FCU’s BIC is OFCUUS31XXX
What about OAS FCU’s SWIFT code?
SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a network that allows financial institutions to send wire transfers globally. OAS FCU is not a member of SWIFT and therefore doesn’t use this code. If you intend to receive a wire and the sender requires this code, have them contact their financial institution to obtain alternate wire instructions for BIC or ABA systems. All financial institutions use these banking codes interchangeably.