A DUNS number (actually stands for Data Universal Numbering System) is a unique nine-digit identifier assigned to businesses by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), a global business information and credit reporting agency. It is used to track and verify the creditworthiness and financial stability of a company. It is widely used by credit agencies, lenders, and suppliers to assess a company’s financial health. This article will explore what is a DUNS number, how it works, why businesses need to have one, and how to get it.
How do DUNS Numbers Work?
A D-U-N-S number serves as an identifier for a company’s business credit file maintained by Dun & Bradstreet. The file may contain information such as the company’s name, address, phone number, corporate family relationships including headquarters, branches, subsidiaries, and scores and ratings that evaluate various financial health indicators. The complete profile of this information is referred to as the Dun & Bradstreet Live Business Identity. By using the DUNS number or other business identifiers, potential partners can request a business credit report for your company. Similarly, you can use it to access the same information about any company that you may be interested in working with.
Overall, a D-U-N-S number is a key that may be used to unlock information that aids a firm in conducting due diligence and coming to conclusions on the stability, creditworthiness, or adherence to supplier diversity or other requirements of that potential partner.
When is it used?
For a better understanding of what is DUNS number, you should know in which cases it may be used:
- Credit applications. Lenders and credit agencies may use your D-U-N-S number to review your credit history and determine whether or not to approve a loan application.
- Supplier evaluations. Suppliers may use it to verify the legitimacy and financial stability of your business before entering into a contract with you.
- Government contracts. If you wish to bid on government contracts, you may be required to provide your D-U-N-S number as part of the bidding process.
- Grant applications. Some grant applications may require you to provide your D-U-N-S number as part of the application process.
- Business partnerships. Your D-U-N-S number may be used when other businesses are evaluating potential partners or acquisition targets.
In addition to these uses, it may also be used to update your business credit file with Dun & Bradstreet, which can impact your credit score and ability to secure financing or other business opportunities.
Does my Company Need DUNS Numbers?
A D-U-N-S number is not mandatory by law, and there is no legal requirement for businesses to obtain one. However, some entities may require it as part of their internal policies or procedures. It also may be a useful tool for your company depending on the following criteria:
- Business activities. If your company engages in activities such as applying for credit, bidding on government contracts, or applying for grants, a DUNS number may be required as part of the application process.
- Supplier relationships. If your company works with suppliers that require a DUNS number, you may need one to maintain those relationships.
- Building credit. Even if your company does not currently need a DUNS number, obtaining one can help you establish business credit, which can be important if you plan to apply for loans or other financings in the future.
- Industry standards. In some industries, having a DUNS number is considered standard practice, and may be expected by potential customers, partners, or investors.
In summary, while your company may not be required to have a D-U-N-S number, obtaining one can be beneficial in a variety of ways, including accessing credit, bidding on government contracts, building supplier relationships, and establishing business credit. Ultimately, whether or not to obtain a DUNS number is a business decision that should be based on your company’s specific needs and goals. be required as part of the application process.
Supplier relationships. If your company works with suppliers that require a DUNS number, you may need one to maintain those relationships.
Building credit. Even if your company does not currently need a DUNS number, obtaining one can help you establish business credit, which can be important if you plan to apply for loans or other financings in the future.
Industry standards. In some industries, having a DUNS number is considered standard practice, and may be expected by potential customers, partners, or investors.
How do I get a DUNS Number?
Any legal person such as a limited liability company, public limited company or partnership as well as other undertakings may obtain it. There is no need to take any action to get a D-U-N-S number for the companies established in the UK or Ireland. Such entities get it automatically after the incorporation.
However, access to the DUNS number is not limited to the above countries. Dun & Bradstreet is a global company that operates in many countries around the world. Businesses from most countries can obtain a D-U-N-S number. Here are the general steps to do it:
- Go to the Dun & Bradstreet website DNB and click the “Get a D-U-N-S Number” button.
- Fill out the online application form with information about your business. It includes contact information, legal structure, industry classification, and other details.
- Confirm your information and apply.
- Dun & Bradstreet will review your application and may contact you to verify your information.
- Once your application is approved, Dun & Bradstreet will assign a unique nine-digit number to your business.
- You will receive an email from Dun & Bradstreet with your number and other details about your business credit file.
- Use your DUNS number to apply for government contracts, business credit, and other opportunities that require it.
Note that the procedure of obtaining a D-U-N-S number is free of charge for most countries. The processing usually takes up to 30 business days. However, D&B offers payable expedited service that may cut the term to 8 business days. The cost of the expedited procedure may differ from state to state.
Also, it’s crucial to keep your DUNS information up-to-date to ensure that your business credit file is accurate and complete.
DUNS number lookup
What is my DUNS number? Follow these steps to find an answer to the above question:
- Visit the Dun & Bradstreet website at DNB
- Click on “Find a Company” in the top navigation bar.
- Enter your business name and location in the search box.
- Click “Search.”
- If your business is already in the Dun & Bradstreet database, it will appear in the search results. Click on the name of your business to view its profile.
- Your D-U-N-S number should be listed in the company profile under the “D-U-N-S Number” section.
If your business is not listed in the Dun & Bradstreet database, you may need to apply for a DUNS number. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks for your DUNS number to be assigned and added to the database.
In conclusion, the D-U-N-S number may offer several benefits to its owner:
- It establishes your business in the Dun & Bradstreet database and allows other companies, government agencies, and financial institutions to confirm that your company is active.
- It automatically starts a Live Business Identity file on your business, which may include your Dun & Bradstreet credit scores and credit ratings if there is sufficient data to create such scores.
- Many of the world’s largest companies will ask for it on applications to become a supplier or to obtain credit.
- Many government agencies require it from their contractors.
- It is connected to your business credit file and may help expedite the loan approval process with some financial institutions.