What is a DUNS Number used for and does my company need one?

What is a DUNS Number used for and does my company need one?

Caitlyn Buchanan, 9th October 2019

The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS or D-U-N-S) was originally developed by the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation in the early 1960s as a means of more accurately reporting on a company’s credit practices. The DUNS number database currently holds over 285 million commercial entries and is now recognised around the world and accessed by entities such as the United Nations, the European Union and the United States Government.

What is it used for?

Similar to how a social security number is used to identify personal credit reports, a DUNS Number is used to report on a company’s credit practices. It is a unique digit identifier assigned to businesses housed on the global register. This system is used to verify the legitimacy of a company and assess its financial credibility before engaging in an investment venture or processing requests for funding.

Live Business Identity

When a business is assigned a DUNs number a “Live Business Identity” is created on Dun & Bradstreet’s cloud-based framework. This comprehensive company profile is continually updated to provide timely and up to date information on registered companies. Having a DUNS number can increase the chances of securing funding such as loans, credit cards or contracts because business and lenders can access this information to make educated decisions about potential partnerships.  

Does my company need a DUNS number?

Having a DUNS Number can make it easier for a company to do business with customers and suppliers. Some customers will require their suppliers to have a DUNs number. For example, with respect to government contracts, it may be necessary to supply a DUNS number before contract negotiations can begin.

DUNS Number Benefits

A DUNS number has various functions to help a business grow including: 

  1. The Live Business Identify helps companies to better understand potential partners and see connections between businesses
  2. Verification of Existence/ Business Identity is required when doing business with government agencies and international businesses
  3. The credit file connected to a company’s DUNS number can help to qualify for contracts and traditional loans
  4. Serves as a common identifier structure which can be used to manage a company’s business data

How to apply

A Dun & Bradstreet DUNS Number never expires and there is no charge to obtain one. All registered businesses in the UK and the Republic of Ireland can apply and registered businesses based outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland can also apply. The Dun & Bradstreet website has a search facility to find an existing company and request a DUNS number, applications are normally processed within 5 days. The following information may be requested on submission of an application: 

  • Legal company name, headquarters name and address
  • Doing Business As (DBA) or another name by which the company is known
  • Mailing address (if separate from headquarters / physical address)
  • Phone number, contact name and title
  • Number of employees at the physical location
  • Whether the company is based out of a home address

In summary, the Data Universal Numbering System allows potential partners or lenders to assess a company’s value and make an informed choice about investing. For new or pre-existing businesses seeking to expand internationally, make a request for funding or engage in a contract, having a DUNS number will increase a company’s credibility and the likelihood of securing such investment.

Should you require further information on forming a company in Ireland or the UK, the Company Bureau team would be happy to assist. Please don’t hesitate to Contact Us today or call +3531 646 1625.


Disclaimer This article is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. No liability is accepted by Company Bureau for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this article. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of this article. Any and all information is subject to change.