What Is Your DUNS Number?
When you apply for credit, a lender usually asks for your social security number. This number is used to pull your credit report and credit scores so a lender can review your creditworthiness. Depending on your reports and scores, a lender decides if and how much credit they can extend to you and on what terms.
In the way that your social security number ties directly to your personal credit reports/scores, another number identifies your business, called a DUNS number.
What Does a DUNS Number Signify?
For businesses, the global standard numbering system to identify all types of business organizations, such as corporations, non-profits, and government entities, is the D&B Number or DUNS number. The DUNS Number consists of a 9-digit number assigned to each business and was created by Dun and Bradstreet back in 1963.
This number directly ties to a company’s credit profile as listed in D&B’s database. When you apply for business credit with a lender, you'll supply the lender with your company's DUNS number. The lender can now obtain and review your company’s business credit report and rating.
It’s important to note that the DUNS number only identifies your business within Dun and Bradstreet’s database. There are other business credit agencies, including Corporate Experian and Equifax Small Business, but none of these agencies share data with one another. Each agency has its own unique database, company credit report, and scoring system.
How Do You Find Your DUNS Number?
Although Dun and Bradstreet has the world’s largest commercial database of over 225 million records, not all businesses have a DUNS Number. D&B collects data from thousands of sources and puts it through a rigorous quality process before it creates a company file and assigns a DUNS number.
If your business does not have a DUNS number it can obtain one for free (it takes about 30 days) or via a paid service such as credit builder for faster delivery, usually within five business days.
Prior to obtaining a DUNS number, you should check to see if your company already has one issued by conducting a DUNS Lookup. You can also obtain free information about your business credit file using Dun & Bradstreet Credibility’s CreditSignal.
Once you register for free, conduct a search to see whether or not your company has a listing in the D&B database. If you find an entry for your company, you can view your D&B Number, review and update your existing credit file and, if necessary, update financial information.
If your business has no listing, you will need to obtain a DUNS Number, You can either get your Number in less than 5 business days with their DUNSFILE service or you can obtain your number for free, which can take up to 30 days.
What a D&B Listing Means
Having a D&B Number does not mean your business has an established business credit report. It simply means your business has a listing with Dun and Bradstreet. The listing can be coded as an incomplete file if no active trade lines are reporting. D&B refers to this as a marketing file, not a business credit report.
Once trade references get added to your file, D&B compiles the data into what they call a business credit report. It takes a minimum of three trade references for a company to generate a business credit score with Dun and Bradstreet. This business credit rating is known as the Paydex Score.
Your DUNS Number will be directly linked to your company’s credit file and play an important role in your company’s search for credit and financing. With a DUNS Number and business credit report lenders, suppliers, and creditors can better assess the creditworthiness of your business.