At Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., we speak with thousands of businesses owners every month to help them understand and leverage their business credit profile. We focus on equipping business owners with the tools they need to proactively establish, monitor, and build their business credit profile.
“What is your D&B D-U-N-S ® Number?” is one of the first identifying questions we ask as we help a business owner start this process. Oftentimes, business owners are not only unsure what the D-U-N-S Number is, but they’re also unaware of the many ways they may be able to leverage it. This article will explain what the D-U-N-S Number is and the role it can play in a business’s growth and expansion.
As a business owner, it is important to understand that D-U-N-S Numbers are utilized by many corporations, governments, and business programs to help gain insight into business partners, applicants, or contractors. By using a business’s D-U-N-S Number to gain access into the business’s credit profile, these entities may be able to see available historic and predictive data on the businesses they search.
The Data Universal Numbering System, or D-U-N-S Number, was established in 1963 by D&B® (NYSE: DNB) to track and identify business entities. A D-U-N-S Number is a unique, nine-digit number assigned to a business and is linked to that business’s corresponding business credit file. The D-U-N-S Number is often compared to a Social Security Number for a business. In addition, providing the Number is often required when doing business with divisions of the United States Government, and certain Fortune 500 corporations, banks and lenders. Since inception, the system has been used to identify and track over 225 million businesses worldwide and is one of the largest systems of its kind.
One of the most important things to note is that a D-U-N-S Number is unique to a business—it will never be used twice. This provides the assurance that there will be no duplication. Additionally, D-U-N-S Numbers link businesses to other members of their corporate family tree. This linkage allows for continuity and additional visibility into the corporate structure. The system that stores all D-U-N-S Numbers is carefully maintained and upheld; in fact, more than $1 million is spent every business day by D&B in maintenance efforts to ensure that businesses worldwide benefit from the use of the D-U-N-S Number.
The D-U-N-S Number originated out of a need to accurately track businesses to help determine their creditworthiness. It was created to help businesses mitigate the potential risk of working with other entities. Each D-U-N-S Number corresponds to an individual business credit report with data spanning a comprehensive set of scores and measures to both demonstrate historic performance and provide predictive risk and performance indicators. The associated benefits are many:
- The classification system enables government organizations to verify business data elements in order to source new contractors and award new project assignments.
- Banks and lenders often leverage the D-U-N-S Number and associated business credit information in underwriting to help evaluate the likelihood of a business paying back a loan or line of credit on time.
- Fortune 500 corporations and large supplier programs may use it to understand the potential risk to their supply chain in the event a business is unable to provide goods and services to them.
- Insurance carriers can leverage the system to determine premiums on their customers.
- There are 32 million businesses with D-U-N-S Numbers in the U.S. alone, and over 225 million assigned Numbers worldwide, allowing for a vast and comprehensive D&B database.
- Because there are 1.5 million daily updates to the D-U-N-S Number system, the information provided in a business credit file can be the most comprehensive picture of a business available.
At the end of the day, getting a D-U-N-S Number allows a business to help establish its credibility and start building business credit. The business credit file associated with the business contains a wide range of important information that can be helpful for commercial decision-making and for establishing trade terms with partners. While securing a D-U-N-S Number is a free process, businesses needing it quickly can have it expedited for a fee. Businesses requesting a D-U-N-S Number for use with a U.S. Government purpose do not have to pay a fee to receive an expedited number.*
To learn more about the D-U-N-S Number and business credit, please visit DandB.com or call (855) 315-1461.
*For information on receiving a free D&B D-U-N-S Number for government contractors and grantees, see fedgov.dnb.com/webform.
The information and opinions provided by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. is provided “as-is” and are solely those of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to such information and the results of the use of such information. Neither Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. nor any of its parents, subsidiaries or affiliates shall be held liable for any damages, whether direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential arising from or in connection with a business’s use or reliance on the information or advice offered by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. You should consult a qualified professional to assist you in determining the most effective business structure for your particular business.