A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit identifier that’s provided and maintained exclusively by Dun & Bradstreet. A number is required for each distinct physical location of an entity (branches, divisions, headquarters, etc.).
The DUNS number is used by the world’s most influential standards-setting organizations. It’s recognized, recommended, and/or required by more than 50 global, industry, and trade associations, including the U.S. federal government, the United Nations, the Australian government, and the European Commission. More than 100 million businesses worldwide have been assigned a DUNS number.
There’s no cost to obtain a DUNS number and doing so ensures that an entity is listed in D&B’s global database of more than 140 million businesses. The number is widely used by both commercial and government entities. For example, it’s the standard business identifier for all federal electronic commerce and it was incorporated into the Federal Acquisition Register as the federal government’s contractor identification code for all procurement-related activities.
A DUNS number stays with a company’s location indefinitely, even if the business closes. It provides a wealth of information associated with the entity, including:
- Business name
- Physical mailing address
- Names of principals
- Industry classifications (e.g., SIC, NAICS)
- Payment and financial experiences
One of the primary uses of a DUNS number is the ability to submit federal grant and cooperative agreement applications. (Note that individual researchers submitting applications through a research organization don’t need a DUNS number.)
In 2003 the federal Office of Management and Budget directed all federal agencies to require the number in order to improve the statistical reporting of federal grants and cooperative agreements. The number is used for tracking purposes in order to better identify related organizations that are receiving funding and to validate entities’ addresses and point-of-contact information.
It’s Also Required For ARC Loans
A DUNS number is also required for any business applying for the Small Business Administration’s America’s Recovery Capital, or ARC, loan. This new loan program, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, can provide up to $35,000 in short-term relief for viable small businesses that are facing immediate financial hardship due to the economic downturn.
ARC loans are interest-free and will be offered by SBA lenders until September 30, 2010, or until funds are exhausted, whichever happens first. They carry a 100 percent guaranty from the SBA to the lender and require no SBA fees. Loan proceeds are provided over a 6 month period and repayment of loan principal is deferred for 12 months after the last disbursement of the proceeds. Repayment terms can be extended for up to five years.