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Meaning Of Numbers At The Bottom Of A Cheque

cheque_bookYou must very often have used your cheque book to issue a cheque to someone, or better still have received it from someone. Apart from reading the amount (that’s the first thing we see :P) have you ever looked at other numbers written on the cheque? Ok, so you see account number and date but there are a few more numbers written (four sets of numbers to be precise) at the bottom of a cheque (see the pic below). Ever gave a thought to those? If you didn’t, read further to know what these numbers mean.

aixs-bank-cheque-sampleTo be honest with you, even I had no idea what these numbers stand for, apart from the leftmost number which is the cheque number. Even googling about it didn’t help (you can find some information about MICR though.) So during my last visit to bank, I asked the branch manager about it, and he was kind enough to explain it to me in detail.

1) Cheque Number

As I mentioned earlier, the first set of numbers represent the cheque number. It is a six digit number.

2) MICR Code

It stands for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition. This number helps a bank to recognize the bank and branch that issued the cheque. You might be thinking that this can be done just by looking at the cheque, but banks have to process hundreds of cheques daily. Going through each and every cheque is a cumbersome process. Instead, the cheques are sorted through a cheque reading machine which uses this number to identify the bank and branch a cheque belongs to. This makes the process faster.

The MICR number is a nine digit number, which consists of three parts-

a) City Code: The first three digits represent the city code and are same as the first three digit of the PIN code of that city.

For e.g., a bank in Hyderabad will have first three digits of MICR code as 500 (since PIN code for Hyderabad starts with 500)

b) Bank Code: The next three digits represent the bank code. Every bank has a unique code assigned to it. For e.g., ICICI bank’s code is 229, for HDFC it is 240 and so on.

c) Branch Code: The last three digits represent the branch code.

Thus you can easily find which bank and branch a cheque belongs to by looking at its MICR number, and vice versa.

You can download the complete list of MICR codes from here.

3) Bank account Number

The third set of six digit numbers represents your account number (It consists of a few digits of your account number). But if you pick an old cheque book, issued probably before CBS (Core Banking Solution) was introduced, you won’t find this set of number present.

(Note: I am not completely sure of this. Branch Manager of the bank I visited told me this, and when I checked my ICICI cheque book, it tallied with my account number. If you see the sample cheque from Axis bank shown above, it matches there as well. But when I checked my HDFC account cheque book, I found this number and my account number to be different. If someone belongs to a banking background, or has some information about this, please tell others about it through your comments.)

4) Transaction ID

The last two digits tells whether a cheque is a local cheque our payable at par cheque. 29, 30 and 31 represents payable at par cheque, while 09, 10 and 11 represents local cheque. Payable at par cheque is a cheque that can be cashed at any branch of the issuing bank, while local cheque can be cashed only at the issuing branch. So, if you deposit a cheque in your bank, with code 10 written at the bottom of the cheque, it’ll take a few days for the money to come in your account. However since most of the branches these days are CBS (Core Banking Solution) enabled, so the cheques are generally payable at par.

One More Interesting Thing…

Before ending this post I want to point your attention to another interesting thing. These numbers are written in a different font style with a special ink that contains magnetic material so that it can be recognized by Magnetic Character Ink Reader.

Don’t forget to find the meaning of numbers on debit/credit cards. You may also want to know the meaning of CRR, SLR, Repo and Reverse Repo rates. You can read about it here.

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21 Responses to Meaning Of Numbers At The Bottom Of A Cheque

  1. Saurabh February 16, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    nice info buddy..

  2. Anunoy February 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    thanks… these r good 2 know…

  3. Anshul February 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    @ Saurabh & Anunoy
    Glad u liked it 🙂

  4. Vinayak February 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    it is a great post
    never knew so much about these numbers

  5. Anshul February 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    @ Vinayak
    Thanks Vinayak.. as i mentioned in the post, I too had no idea of these numbers earlier..

  6. Mudit February 17, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    Hey buddy !!

    Gr8 going .. I am reading all your posts since you have started putting these up . I appriciate the effort & waiting for more to come .

    Cheers !!

  7. Rohit February 16, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    Really informative, mate. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Keep them coming.

  8. Anshul February 16, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    @ Rohit
    Glad that you liked it buddy.. Hope to keep you informed and entertained in future as well.. Keep visiting 🙂

  9. Anshul February 17, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    Hey thanks Mudit.. didn't knew u also took interest in my blog.. comin frm an old frn that ws touching 🙂

  10. Savvadi February 19, 2010 at 12:51 pm #


    Good one yaar..

    You have put in good effort in writing this..

    Thanks for the info..

    Keep going..

  11. Anshul February 19, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    @ Savvadi
    Thanks for the appreciation K.K.. I am glad you found it useful.. Do keep me informed about your views through your comments.. Thanks 🙂

  12. bettyl February 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Here in NZ, cheques are a thing of the past. Everyone uses debit cards.

  13. CA Karan Batra February 22, 2010 at 2:38 am #

    As for the 3rd point i.e. Bank Account Number

    This basically is the IFSC/RTGS Code and is used while using electronic clearing… If you want your bank to directly mature ur FD/Bonds to your Bank Account or you expect Dividents on shares or any other payment to be directly transferred to your bank account, you have to qoute this no.

    The Bank where you visited must have told you abt the IFSC/RTGS Code… so it would be better if u rename this point as it is technically as well as popularly known by this name

    The Concept of online clearing is fairly new india but is going to be a thing of the future..

    nd btw must complement you for the study you've done…

  14. Anshul February 22, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    @ bettyl
    Debit cards are getting popular in India too.. These days not many people use cheques for personal transactions here.

    @ Karan
    Thanks Karan :).. IFSC code is actually NOT what you are referring to. If you refer your cheque book you will find IFSC code written towards the bottom of the cheque but above these numbers. You can see this code in the sample cheque shown above. IFSC code is essentially an alphanumeric code and as you rightly mentioned, it is used for online transactions. Hope I have made myself clear.

    If you want me to do a detailed post on IFSC/NEFT code, tell me through your comments.

  15. Pooja Menon March 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    No words to thank you! Simply amazing! 🙂

  16. Gufran Khan October 13, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    Thanks A lot for the valuable information & lots of Efforts.

  17. Anonymous October 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    Hi Ansul dixit,

    I appreciate your effort, Small correction on this topic….

    Actually the 3rd portion of the cheque number is "The A/C of Bank with RBI"

    Adi Reddy Murali

  18. Sonal November 8, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    thnx a tonn for all the info about banking n finance…. a have a bank PO interview scheduled on the 20th of nov… n all this information is very helpful in my preparation….

    Thanx once again..


  19. indrajit March 13, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    really gud job,,,hope u wl provide such information in future also,,,

  20. m July 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Excellent info

  21. Nishanth Chandran August 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    nice info bro……… it really helped me out in my project. Thank u.

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