What is a DUNS Number?





Are you a small business owner looking for an edge to help your business stand out among the competition? Obtaining a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) DUNS number could be just the key to success that you’ve been missing. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what is a DUNS number, why you need one, and how to apply for one. Continue reading to learn more …



What is a DUNS Number?

A DUNS business number is a unique nine-digit identifier that can provide your organization with the credibility and recognition it needs in order to attract more customers, gain access to new resources, and rapidly grow in today’s competitive market.

It is assigned to organizations by the Dun & Bradstreet credit bureau which keeps updated information on literally hundreds of Dun & Bradstreet maintains up-to-date information on hundreds of millions of global businesses.

DUNS numbers serve as a record of a business’s creditworthiness, reputation, and financial standing.

Key Facts

A D-U-N-S number is essential for businesses for many reasons. Let’s take a look at four key facts you need to know about DUNS numbers.

  • It is used to establish your business’s unique identity and creditworthiness in the marketplace.
  • It is an important element of most business loan and grant applications.
  • Businesses must have their own unique D-U-N-S number to be granted access to certain government contracts and funding opportunities.
  • It is also used to track your business’s performance in its industry by allowing vendors, suppliers, and customers to access certain records.

what is a DUNS number

What is a Data Universal Numbering System Number Used for?

A Data Universal Numbering System or D-U-N-S number is used for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to:



Establish Business Credit

DUNS numbers are often used to set up a business’s credit file. Vendors, suppliers, and financial institutions can use a business’s DUNS number to access its creditworthiness.

Federal Government Contracts

Having a D-U-N-S number was used to provide access to contracts from government agencies and funding opportunities. However, as of April 4th, 2022, a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is now needed.

Obtain Financing

Having a DUNS number can help to increase your chances of obtaining financing from vendors, suppliers, and financial institutions.

Register as a Supplier

Businesses that wish to register as suppliers with larger companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple must have a DUNS number.



Who Needs a D-U-N-S Number?

Does your business need a D-U-N-S number? Let’s take a look at five scenarios to help answer that question.

  • New business. If you are setting up a new business, you need to obtain a DUNS number.
  • Establish credibility. If you’re looking for ways to establish credibility in the market and build trust with potential customers, then a D-U-N-S number is essential.
  • Secure financing. If you’re looking to secure financing, then having a DUNS number can help lenders see different financial health indicators.
  • Grow your business. Having a DUNS number can help you gain access to resources that can help your business grow and succeed.
  • Looking for partners. If you’re looking for potential business partners to help expand your business, a DUNS number can help you stand out in the crowd.

How a DUNS Number Can Help Your Business

Having a DUNS number can help businesses in many ways. Here are four ways a DUNS number could help a small business:

Sets Businesses Apart

DUNS numbers provide businesses with a unique identifier that sets them apart from their competitors helping potential customers easily recognize their business.

Improves Credit Rating

Having a DUNS number can help small businesses build their credit rating and establish their business as a legitimate entity.



Gives Access to Capital

Having a DUNS number can give small businesses access to more capital, including business loans, small business credit cards, and other financing options that may otherwise be unavailable.

Helps Establish International Trade Partnerships

Small businesses can use their DUNS number to establish international trade partnerships, helping them to expand their services and reach a larger market.

How to find your DUNS and Bradstreet Number

Finding your DUNS number is simple and straightforward. After accessing their DUNS number lookup tool, follow these steps:

1. Search for a company. In the dropdown box, select “My Company” or “Other Company.”



2. Enter business details. Insert the business name and address you’re looking up. Alternatively, you can use the business phone number. Click “Search” after you’ve entered the business’s information.

3. View the company profile. From the search results page, click on “View / Edit Company Information” to view all of the company’s information such as its business credit file. You’ll need a Dun & Bradstreet account to view any information, including a company’s DUNS number and business credit file.



How to apply for a DUNS Number

If you know how to open a business bank account, then you’ll easily be able to get a DUNS number. Applying for a DUNS number is simple and straightforward. All you need to do is visit the Dun & Bradstreet website and fill out an application with your business details including its physical address. Once your application is approved, you will be sent a unique nine-digit DUNS number that you can use to start accessing new resources.

Building Your Business Credit Profile with a DUNS Number

Having a DUNS number is essential if you want to build your business credit history and improve your business credit report. With it, creditors and lenders can gain access to business credit report records of your business’s creditworthiness that help them evaluate the risk associated with providing you with a small business loan or line of credit. Make sure to learn how to get a small business loan before applying for financing.

Is a DUNS Number the Same as a Federal Tax ID Number?

No, a DUNS number is not the same as a Federal Tax ID number. A DUNS is a unique nine-digit number issued by Dun & Bradstreet and used to identify organizations in the marketplace. A Federal Tax ID number is a unique nine-digit number issued by the IRS and used to identify organizations for tax purposes. While they both serve important purposes, they are not interchangeable.



Is a DUNS Number the same as an EIN Number?

No, a DUNS number is different than an Employer Identification Number (EIN). A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit identifier used to identify different businesses in the market. An EIN number is a unique nine-digit number similar to a social security number, except for businesses. It’s obtained from the IRS and is used for business tax filings.

How much is a DUNS number?

It’s free! Unlike some other business identifiers and registrations, there is no cost to obtain a DUNS number. All you have to do is visit the Dun and Bradstreet website, fill out the application, and wait to be approved. However, they also offer $229 one-time and $399/yr options.

DUNS number

What is a high business credit score on DUNS number?

A high business credit score on a DUNS number indicates that the company has a history of paying its bills on time and is in good financial standing. Generally, a score of 70 or higher on a scale of 1 to 100 is considered good and indicates that the company is likely to be approved for loans and other types of financing. If your business score is low, discover how to fix your credit score.



Do you need a tax ID to get a DUNS number?

A tax identification number is not required to obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) DUNS Number, which is used by the United States federal government and other organizations around the world to track business entities.

Do you need a website to get a DUNS number?

No, you do not need a website to get a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) DUNS Number. All that is required to get a DUNS number is to fill out an application on the Dun & Bradstreet website with your business details and physical address.

How do I build business credit with my DUNS number?

Learning how to build business credit with a DUNS number quickly and effectively is an important part of running a successful business.

To get started, make sure to use your DUNS number to apply for business credit cards, loans, small business line of credit, and other types of financing. You also need to make sure to pay all of your bills on time and in full to maintain a high credit score.



Can a sole proprietor get a DUNS number?

Yes, a sole proprietor can obtain a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) DUNS Number. The process is no different than for any other business entity.

Simply fill out an application on the Dun & Bradstreet website and wait for approval.

Are DUNS numbers going away?

If an entity does business with the federal government, then yes. As of April 4th, 2022, the General Services Administration (GSA) started using UEIs or Unique Entity Identifiers for any business doing business with the government.

This means they no longer use DUNS numbers. Here’s further reading if you’re interested in learning how to get government contracts.



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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

One Reaction
  1. It’s nice to have this effort to clearly delineate as well as integrate personal and business credit. This means it’ll be easier to see and reassess expenses. Which kinds of businesses can apply for this DUNS number?









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