Published By Credit Suite at July 30, 2015
The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) is a business identifier code provided by Dun and Bradstreet.
This business identifier code was developed in 1963 to support Dun and Bradstreet’s credit reporting practices.
Today the DUNS number is widely used to identify businesses lending for issuing new credit. It is also used by the European Commission, United Nations, and the United States government.
More than 50 global, industry, and trade associations recognize, recommend, or require DUNS. The DUNS database now contains over 100 million entries for businesses throughout the world.
The DUNS number is a nine-digit number issued by Dun & Bradstreet assigned to each business location in the D&B database having a unique, separate, and distinct operation for the purpose.
The DUNS number is a randomly assigned number used to identify the business.
Unlike national Employment Identification Number (EIN), a DUNS number may be issued to any business worldwide.
Certain U.S. government agencies require that a vendor have a DUNS number as well as a U.S. Employer Identification Number (EIN).
The Office of Management and Budget, a United States federal agency, announced in the June 27, 2003 issue of the Federal Register (68 FR 38402) that a DUNS number would be required for all grant applicants for new or renewal awards submitted on or after October 1, 2003.
The DUNS number supplements other identifiers, such as the EIN, and is required whether the application is made electronically or on paper.
Other agencies such as some United Nations offices and the Australian government agencies require certain businesses to have a DUNS number.
A DUNS number is also a way in which separate corporate entities, having no official relationship, can be branded as one by sharing one DUNS number among the affiliated companies.
A DUNS number is sometimes formatted with embedded dashes to promote readability, such as 15-048-3782. Modern usage typically omits dashes, and shows the number in the form 150483782. The dashes are not part of D&B’s official definition of the DUNS number.
Numerous other business numbering systems exist independent of DUNS—for example, the International Suppliers Network system. However, few, if any, register as many international businesses as DUNS.
Dun and Bradstreet’s unique DUNS number is the most widely used worldwide method of identifying businesses.