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Definition: account number


A unique number assigned to users that identifies them to the entity establishing the account. A social security number, bank account number and credit card number are common account numbers. An account number can be assigned to any category of individuals or organizations, including employees, customers, vendors and contractors.

Not Necessarily Numeric or Stored as Numeric
Account numbers may contain a combination of alphabetic characters and numeric digits. However, even when they are only numeric, they are often stored in the computer as an alphanumeric "character" field. In the following example, numbers can be assigned to state, city and customer. If the account number field is defined as characters (a "string"), the city and state can be searched independently of the customer. See string and account.

   Subfield     Positions in Field

   State Code    1-2
   City Code     3-5
   Customer #    6-14