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Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number


The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number is a unique, nine-digit identifier assigned to businesses by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). This number is used to improve the accuracy of business information by establishing a standard system for tracking companies and their transactions. It is widely recognized and utilized by government agencies, trade partners, and credit reporting organizations for verifying and maintaining an organization’s credit, financial, and operational history.


The phonetics for “Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number” are: “ˈdeɪtə ˌjuːnɪˈvɜrsl ˈnʌmbərɪŋ ˈsɪstəm (dʌnz) ˈnʌmbər”

Key Takeaways

  1. Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number is a unique, nine-digit identifier assigned to each business by Dun & Bradstreet, used for identifying and keeping track of businesses on a global scale.
  2. DUNS Number is widely recognized and utilized by governments, trade organizations, and businesses around the world for credit reporting, procurement, and risk management purposes.
  3. Obtaining a DUNS Number for a business can lead to improved credibility, trustworthiness, and potential access to better business opportunities, as it demonstrates a level of legitimacy and financial stability in the eyes of potential partners and stakeholders.


The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number is crucial in the business and finance realm as it serves as a unique identifier for organizations, facilitating a streamlined and efficient process for tracking and maintaining accurate information about global businesses. It enhances credibility, promotes transparency, and serves as a prerequisite for several government programs, grants, and contracts. Moreover, the DUNS Number enables organizations to assess the reliability and financial stability of potential business partners and simplifies the process of analyzing payment performance, credit history, and risk-related data. Overall, the DUNS Number is essential for fostering trust and enabling informed decision-making in professional transactions.


The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number serves a vital purpose in the business and finance world by offering a distinctive identity to businesses and organizations. This unique identifier, developed by Dun & Bradstreet, is designed to establish and maintain a consistent representation of entities, enabling efficient communication and exchange of information in the global marketplace. By employing DUNS Numbers, it becomes considerably easier for organizations to find reliable, up-to-date data about potential clients, suppliers, and partners, thereby allowing for well-informed decision-making and risk management. Furthermore, a DUNS Number is frequently utilized by government and corporate entities to track the credit histories and financial health of organizations with which they conduct business. In certain countries, the number serves as a prerequisite for conducting business with the government or receiving financial support or contracts. The adoption of DUNS Numbers enables transparency and uniformity in the verification of critical information and facilitates efficient operations across business networks. Overall, the DUNS Number plays a significant role in fostering reliable and effective business relationships in an ever-evolving global economy.


Example 1: Government Contracting: A small business wants to work as a subcontractor for a federal government project. In order to register on the System for Award Management (SAM) database, which is a requirement for performing work for the government, the business needs to obtain a DUNS number. The company contacts Dun & Bradstreet to obtain a DUNS number, providing information about their organization. Once they receive the number, they can proceed with the registration process on SAM and become eligible for government contracting opportunities. Example 2: Grant Applications: A non-profit organization aims to apply for a grant from a large international foundation to support their project on environmental preservation. The foundation requires all applicants to provide a DUNS number in order to be considered for funding. The non-profit organization contacts Dun & Bradstreet to request a DUNS number and includes it in their grant application, allowing the foundation to verify their organizational and financial credibility and better assess their application .Example 3: Supply Chain Management: A large multinational corporation is in the process of selecting new suppliers to expand its supply chain network. As part of their supplier evaluation process, the corporation requires all potential suppliers to provide a DUNS number. The potential suppliers share their DUNS numbers, allowing the corporation to quickly access credit reports and evaluate the potential suppliers’ financial stability, payment performance, and overall business risk. This evaluation process helps the corporation make informed decisions about which suppliers to partner with, thereby minimizing risks within their supply chain.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number?
The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-digit number that serves as a unique identifier for businesses, assigned and maintained by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). It is widely recognized and used by many government agencies, trade organizations, and major corporations.
Why do businesses need a DUNS number?
Businesses need a DUNS number for various purposes, such as government contracts, grant applications, credit reporting, and supplier/vendor verification. It helps maintain a consistent and accurate profile of the business, its financial stability, and operational performance.
How can I obtain a DUNS number for my business?
You can request a DUNS number by visiting the Dun & Bradstreet website and following the steps to register your business. It usually takes up to 30 days to receive a DUNS number, but expedited services are available for urgent requests.
Is there any cost associated with obtaining a DUNS number?
Obtaining a basic DUNS number for your business is free of charge. However, there are additional services, such as updating your business information, accessing your business credit report, and expedited services, which may come with a fee.
How can I update the information associated with my business’s DUNS number?
To update your business information, you can contact Dun & Bradstreet’s customer service team or use the D&B D-U-N-S Manager portal online. Keep in mind that updating some information may be subject to a service fee.
Can I use the DUNS number of my parent company or subsidiary?
No, each business must have its unique DUNS number. Although DUNS numbers can illustrate parent-subsidiary relationships, each entity should obtain its own identifier for accurate credit reporting and distinct legal and operational obligations.
Is a DUNS number the same as an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?
No, a DUNS number is not the same as an EIN. While a DUNS number serves as a unique identifier for businesses in the context of credit reporting, an EIN is a tax identification number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and used for reporting taxes, opening bank accounts, and other specific tax-related purposes.
Can I use my DUNS number for personal purposes?
No, a DUNS number is intended solely for business purposes and should not be used for personal transactions or credit reporting.
How long is a DUNS number valid?
A DUNS number is valid indefinitely, as long as the business it’s assigned to continues to operate. In case the business goes through significant changes or ceases to exist, the DUNS number may be retired or updated accordingly.

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