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Home » How to Get a DUNS Number

How to Get a DUNS Number for Free

Author: Chandra Dhopatkar
Published: 12/12/2023 5:46 p.m. EST
Last Update: 02/28/2024 7:16 a.m. EST
Edited by: Jennifer Bonilla

Learn how to get a DUNS number for free as a business owner through the business credit bureau Dun & Bradstreet.

Woman applying online for a free DUNS number.
Woman applying online for a free D-U-N-S number.

A DUNS number, or Data Universal Numbering System identifier, is a vital tool for businesses of all sizes. It acts as a unique nine-digit identifier, enhancing your company’s financial health and credit visibility.

In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of a DUNS number and provide a straightforward way for you to obtain a DUNS number for free through Dun & Bradstreet, so you can start to build business credit.

What Is a DUNS Number?

Issued by Dun & Bradstreet, the Data Universal Numbering System, i.e. the D-U-N-S number is a global standard for business identification. It links to your business’s credit report and is used by lenders and potential business partners to gauge your company’s creditworthiness.

The number is a unique nine-digit identifier that can be had quickly and for free. To obtain a DUNS number quickly, however, you’ll need the required information and you’ll want to apply right away.

Why Do You Need a DUNS Number?

Having a DUNS number is important for businesses of any size. It’s key in establishing business credit, often required for bidding on government contracts via sites like SAM.gov, and is necessary for certain grants and loans.

How to Apply for a DUNS Number

Getting a DUNS number isn’t difficult, but does require knowing what you’re doing. The most time-consuming part is gathering the required information.

Before you get started, make sure you don’t already have a DUNS number. You may have one if a previous vendor or partner checked your business credit with D&B. Dun & Bradstreet will assign you a number if an inquiry has been made.

To know for sure, you can perform a search on D&B’s website.

Steps to Apply for a Free DUNS Number

Follow these key steps when applying for a DUNS number:

1. Gather Required Information

  • Provide your registered legal business name as recorded. If operating under a DBA, include that name too.
  • List your primary business address. For additional locations, you can apply for separate DUNS numbers to cover them.
  • Enter your main company phone contact number. This allows verification of key details if needed.
  • Identify principal ownership and management such as the business owner, president, or CEO. Their name establishes proper authority.
  • Specify your formal business structure – legal structure and options include sole proprietorship, limited liability company, partnership, corporation, etc. This defines the legal entity type.
  • Note the year your business officially commenced operations or was legally formed. This tracks longevity and history.
  • Categorize your primary industry using NAICS or SIC codes for proper classification and alignment.
  • Report your current approximate company size via the number of full and part-time employees. This gauges workforce scale.

2. Visit Website & Select Application:

Screenshot of the Dun and Bradstreet website detailing how to apply for a free DUNS number.
  • Navigate to the Dun & Bradstreet official website.
  • Locate the section for applying for a DUNS number.
  • Carefully read through the instructions before proceeding to ensure you understand the application process.

3. Enter Business Details:

  • Fill in all the required fields with the information you gathered. Be meticulous to avoid errors.
  • Ensure that your contact information is accurate and up-to-date, as this will be used for any necessary follow-ups.

4. Submit Application & Wait for Approval:

  • Once all the information is entered, review your application to ensure accuracy.
  • Apply through the D&B website. Don’t use third-party sites.
  • After submission, you will typically receive a confirmation email with details on what to expect next.

5. Receive Your DUNS Number:

  • The processing time can take up to 30 business days.
  • Once approved, your DUNS number will be sent to you via email or mail, depending on the option you selected.
  • With your DUNS number, you can now enhance your business’s creditworthiness and credibility in the market.

Remember, having a DUNS number is essential for many business operations, including applying for loans, bidding on government contracts, and establishing business credit.

By following these steps, you can obtain your DUNS number efficiently and free of charge.

What to Do After You Get a DUNS Number

Once you’ve received your DUNS number, be sure to:

  • Add it to all financial applications requiring a number
  • Update your business credit file with important milestones
  • Use it on government contract bids asking for a DUNS number
  • Display it prominently on your website and marketing materials

How to Update DUNS Information

If any key details change for your business like ownership, addresses, contact info, operations, etc., it is important to update your DUNS information through D&B. This ensures your credit file reflects current details on your business entity.

Visit D&B’s website or call their number to revise information like names of key executives, new addresses, added business locations, mergers, etc. so your profile remains updated.

DUN and Bradstreet Phone Number

If you require further assistance with obtaining, managing, or updating your DUNS number, you can contact Dun & Bradstreet directly at the following phone numbers:

US Office: (904) 648-6350 or toll-free: (800) 526-9018

Business consultants are available during standard business hours to help answer any questions on the DUNS application process or making changes to your business’s credit file.

DUNS Number Canada

For Canadian businesses, DUNS numbers can still provide your company with unique identification and support building your business credit file even though they are not as commonly required.

The process to apply for and use a DUNS number in Canada is the same as for other countries. Contact Dun & Bradstreet or visit their website to get a free DUNS number generated for your Canadian business.

The phone number to call if you’re in Canada is: 1 (800) 463-6362

If you reside outside the US/Canada you can find D&B’s phone number and contact details for your country by visiting the Dun & Bradstreet Global Customer Service Center’s page. There you’ll find a directory of countries along with contact details for each.

Boost Your Business Credit File with a Free DUNS Number

Securing a free DUNS number is a crucial step in shaping a strong business credit profile.

This number, integral to your Dun & Bradstreet business credit profile, significantly influences your business credit report.

By acquiring a DUNS number at no cost, you’re taking an important step to build business credit, enhancing your credibility and opening up new financial opportunities.

A well-managed DUNS number reflects positively on your business credit scores, essential for financial growth and stability.

DUNS Number vs. EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes, differs from a DUNS number, the latter is used for credit and financial assessments and not for tax filings.

  • How long does it take to receive a DUNS number? Up to 30 business days, with an option to expedite.
  • What is the cost of a DUNS number? It’s free unless you opt for expedited processing.
  • Does a DUNS number expire? No, a DUNS number is permanent and does not expire.

DUNS Number Lookup

If you already have a DUNS number but can’t recall the 9-digit code, you can perform a DUNS number lookup to retrieve it through D&B.

Enter your company’s business information like legal name, address, and tax ID, and they will provide your existing DUNS number.

This lookup service is available at no cost.

DUNS Number Length

All DUNS numbers issued by Dun & Bradstreet are 9-digit numeric codes. The universal standard identifier is formatted as a sequence of 9 numbers.

DUNS Number for Nonprofit

As a nonprofit, obtaining a DUNS number still provides significant advantages related to credibility, access to grants, simplified reporting, and more.

The process of applying for a DUNS number as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization is the same as for any private business. Check the “nonprofit” category when entering your SIC industry classification code during the application.

DUNS Number Requirements

The key requirements for obtaining a DUNS number are straightforward:

  • Information on your registered legal business entity
  • Primary business addresses and contact details
  • Ownership/executive names
  • Business operations data

As long as you can provide this basic information on your company, you can get a free DUNS number.

Benefits of a DUNS Number

A DUNS number is more than just a business identifier; it’s a gateway to numerous opportunities and advantages.

  • Enhances Credibility with Lenders and Suppliers: Possessing a DUNS number reinforces your business’s credibility, making it more attractive to lenders and suppliers by validating your creditworthiness and professional identity.
  • Facilitates Faster Loan Processing: Financial institutions often give preference to businesses with a DUNS number, leading to expedited loan approvals due to readily accessible credit information.
  • Mandatory for Government Contracts: Essential for businesses seeking government contracts, a DUNS number is a prerequisite in many official procurement processes, like the System for Award Management (SAM).
  • Improves Business Credit Score: Regular updates to your D&B profile can positively influence your business credit score, reflecting financial stability and responsibility to creditors. You’ll also need a DUNS number to help you repair business credit.
  • Essential for Grants and Funding: A DUNS number is often a required criterion for grant programs and financial aid, broadening your access to these vital funding sources.
  • Enables Global Business Opportunities: Recognized worldwide, a DUNS number opens doors to international trade and partnerships, thus expanding your market reach.
  • Streamlines Supplier and Partner Assessments: Potential partners and suppliers can swiftly evaluate your business’s financial health and dependability using your DUNS number, facilitating smoother collaborations.
  • Builds Comprehensive Credit Reports: The DUNS number helps compile a detailed credit report, essential for financial planning and negotiations.
  • Increases Visibility to Potential Clients: Being listed in the D&B database with a DUNS number boosts visibility to prospective clients who rely on this database for vetting.
  • Supports Marketing Efforts: Showcasing a DUNS number in marketing materials underlines your business’s legitimacy and stability, fostering trust with customers and clients.


What Does a DUNS Number Do?

A DUNS number serves several essential functions:

  • Provides unique identification for your business entity
  • Enables building a business credit profile
  • Allows potential lenders/partners to assess your creditworthiness
  • Meets requirements for bidding on government contracts
  • Streamlines applying for business grants and loans
  • Links all your business locations under a single identifier

Should I Get a DUNS Number?

Yes, there are many important reasons for getting a DUNS number, including:

  • It establishes your business identity and credit profile
  • Enhances credibility with lenders and partners
  • Meets requirements for bidding on government contracts
  • Makes getting grants/loans requiring identification easier
  • Uniquely differentiates you from other businesses
  • Links all your locations under a single number

How Do I Get a DUNS Number Quickly?

If up to 30 business days is too long to wait for your standard free DUNS number, expedited service is available through Dun & Bradstreet’s DUNSfile service for $229. You’ll also get some additional benefits with DUNSfile, like:

  • Get your business’s DUNS number in eight business days
  • Dun & Bradstreet’s Business Directory
  • Business entities could potentially land federal contracts

How Can I Apply for a DUNS Number Online?

The process of applying for a DUNS number can be completed entirely online through the official Dun & Bradstreet website.

After accessing the application page, you will need to provide key details on your business entity and ownership/management before submitting the form. The online platform allows for a quick and convenient way to get your DUNS number.

What is a DUNS Number Used For?

A DUNS number has several important uses for a business, including:

  • Establishing business credit and building a credit profile
  • Enhancing credibility with lenders and potential business partners
  • Bidding on government contracts that require a DUNS number
  • Applying for business grants and loans that require identification
  • Uniquely identifying your business entity
  • Linking all your business locations under one identifier

Are DUNS Numbers Still Used?

Yes, DUNS numbers have remained an industry standard for over 50 years, serving as unique identifiers for over 280 million global businesses. They continue to provide key business identification and credit reporting functions.

What Can I Do With My DUNS Number?

Your DUNS number enables you to build strong business credit, provide unique identification, meet requirements for loans/grants/contracts, convey credibility to lenders/partners, and link all your locations.

Is a DUNS Number the Same as a Tax ID Number?

No, a DUNS number is used for business identification and credit reporting while a Tax ID number (EIN in the US) is solely for tax administration purposes.

Is a DUNS Number Necessary?

While not obligatory, a DUNS number provides significant advantages. It uniquely identifies your company globally, helps establish business credit, boosts credibility with partners/lenders, facilitates bidding for contracts/loans requiring one, and links all your locations.

Chandra Dhopatakar
Chandra Dhopatkar, MBA

Chandra, founder of “Build Business Credit in 30 Days,” specializes in increasing business valuations by helping companies build strong business credit.