What Is a DUNS Number?

5 min read

What Is a DUNS Number?

Learn about:

  • What does "DUNS" mean?

  • Getting a DUNS number.

  • Finding your DUNS number.

Retailers often confuse their employer identification number (EIN) with the DUNS number. While the IRS issues EIN for tax purposes, businesses use the DUNS number as a quick way to identify and learn about different companies. 

Unique Entity Identifier Update

As of April 4, 2022, the federal government shifted away from using the DUNS number as the sole identifier for entities conducting business with it. Instead, entities now use the Unique Entity ID, which is generated directly within SAM.gov. This change means that entities no longer need to visit a third-party website to obtain their identifier, simplifying the process.

Even though the government doesn't use DUNS numbers anymore, they're still useful. Since Dun and Bradstreet is the nation's most prominent business credit-reporting bureau, the most significant benefit of having a DUNS number means anyone can quickly check your business's credit history. This is important for anyone who wants to see how trustworthy your business is.

Having the Dun and Bradstreet number can help you get new business opportunities with a new manufacturer or a more prominent retailer such as Kroger. Other companies will want to know your credibility before collaborating, and the DUNS number offers that without you having to do much work. 

What is a Dun and Bradstreet Number?

The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a nine-character number unique to a company used mainly to identify a business.

The additional variation is the DUNS+4 number. This is the basic DUNS number plus a four-character code, used to identify different bank accounts within the same company for electronic payments. 

Dun and Bradstreet don't issue DUNS+4 numbers. Instead, businesses can get one through the System for Award Management (SAM) website.

How to Get a DUNS Number From Dun and Bradstreet

If your business doesn't have the number, you can get one by visiting the Dun and Bradstreet website. Obtaining the DUNS number is free of charge for any business. Be aware that if you encounter any fees in the acquiring process, it's likely a scam you should ignore.

To acquire a DUNS number, you'll need the following business information.

  • Business's name and address

  • Chief executive officer (CEO) or business owner's name

  • Business's starting year

  • Primary business type

  • Employee number (both full and part-time)

  • Business's legal structure (corporation, partnership, etc.)

Make sure to take a screenshot of your information before you submit it, especially if you plan to register with the System for Award Management (SAM) later. They'll need your details to match exactly, or they might reject your registration.

It's possible to get a DUNS number inside a single business day, but it usually takes up to two business days. If you don't get your identifier within ten business days, contact Dun and Bradstreet. They may contact you to verify that the company's information is up-to-date. If you have several DUNS numbers, you can request a listing for free to determine if all of your information is current.

After receiving a Dun and Bradstreet number, the bureau analyzes your credit accounts and determines your PAYDEX score. The credit score is usually the most critical information companies get when doing a credit check. 

You can also choose if you want D&B to include you in their marketing listing that they sell to other companies. While this can help your networking, it's up to you.

How to Get a DUNS Number for a Company Outside of the United States

If your business is outside the U.S., you can still get a DUNS number. You don't need a federal Tax Identification Number (TIN). The process is similar except that you'll need to pick a different country, depending on your business's location. 

The process may be longer for a foreign company, and it might take up to several weeks before receiving your foreign business DUNS number.

How to Find a DUNS Number

If a supplier plans to set up EDI with Kroger or any other reputable company, it can rest assured everything will be legitimate. However, in cases where the supplier intends to collaborate with lesser-known retailers, it's a good idea to learn more. Acquiring a DUNS number is a great way to do a risk assessment of potential business partners.

You can search for any company's DUNS number by entity's name or phone number using the Dun and Bradstreet lookup tool. You can get your or another business's credit score report using the DUNS number by visiting Dun and Bradstreet

The credit score runs from 0 to 100, and it divides into three Risk Categories. 

  • 0 to 49 -- High-risk companies

  • 50 to 79 -- Medium-risk companies

  • 80 to 100 -- Low-risk companies

The simple scoring system can provide a quick overview of where a business is standing credit-wise. The score also helps decide if you should do business.

Further Reading about Walmart at SupplierWiki

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Written by The SupplyPike Team

About The SupplyPike Team

SupplyPike builds software to help retail suppliers fight deductions, meet compliance standards, and dig down to root cause issues in their supply chain.

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The SupplyPike Team



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