Understanding dynamic behavior of a rotor system with a transverse crack is of great significance for operation reliability of rotating machinery. The transfer matrix method is widely used for rotor dynamic analysis, but it encounters difficulties modeling a crack. This study proposes a finite-width crack model that simulates the local stiffness reduction effect of a gaping crack in transfer matrix method. This model is obtained by comparing finite element analysis results of a shaft with a zero-width crack and its counterpart transfer matrix calculation results with a trial equivalent finite-width slot. Different shaft geometry and loading modes are considered to improve the generality of the model. An application example is given that uses the proposed model to calculate critical speeds of a multi-disk rotor system with a transverse crack at different positions.