3 minute read

What is a DUNS Number?

DUNS® numbers from Dun & Bradstreet

DUNS numbers were introduced by the company Dun & Bradstreet in 1962. Dun & Bradstreet, whose head office is in New Jersey, USA, is currently the largest provider of business information about companies in the world.


A Screenshot of the Dun & Bradstreet Website
A Screenshot of the Dun & Bradstreet Website

Worldwide there are regional companies, who offer company data and ratings about customers, suppliers and potential business partners to their clients. This data contains information about branches, the number of employees, turnover, etc… and information to payment behaviour. This is all shown through a score, which predicts a specific reliability and financial stability.

In order to enter this information into the database accurately, the DUNS number was created in 1962 (the correct name is D&B D-U-N-S® number). This number is unique worldwide and does not overlap with any other number.

Today, DUNS numbers are not only used by many companies, but also by the United Nations, the European Union, the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and even the American government, to name the most well known establishments.

In the United Kingdom, DUNS numbers are used mostly in the industry sector and related companies, such as the automotive or chemical industry. It is also reflected in the EDI standards that were developed by the corresponding industry associations, for instance ODETTE and their respective EDIFACT standards.

White Paper - 7 Mistakes EDI Solution Buyers Make

How to apply for a DUNS number

As mentioned above, Dun & Bradstreet have an abundance of local companies, which look after the national clients. In the UK, this company is Dun & Bradstreet UK.

The single purpose of a DUNS Number is to identify companies and lenders. These are e.g. company divisions, branches, but also public institutions, tradesmen and other self-employed persons. DUNS numbers cannot be given to private persons.

Companies can apply for a DUNS Number free of charge on the Dun and Bradstreet platform for the UK. The processing time for the creation of a DUNS number in the UK is five working days. Before they can create your DUNS number, Dun & Bradstreet need to thoroughly check the entered data about the company, hence the processing time.

Structure of DUNS numbers

A DUNS number is composed of 9 digits and is unique worldwide, therefore it does not overlap with any other DUNS number. Even when a company discontinues trading activities (bankruptcy, merging with another company, etc.), their DUNS number will not be reused. This is guaranteed by Dun & Bradstreet central distribution in their distribution policies.

Die DUNS®-Nummer der ecosio InterCom GmbH lautet beispielsweise: 341301537

Who does a DUNS number belong to?

If you need to find out to which company a given DUNS number belongs to, you can also use the Dun & Bradstreet UK platform.


A Screenshot of the Dun & Bradstreet UK Platform
A Screenshot of the Dun & Bradstreet UK Platform

You just need to enter the DUNS® number to search for the company it belongs to. Alternatively, you can also look for the DUNS number of a company by entering the company name and address.

Do you have any questions?

Do you still have questions about DUNS numbers or electronic data interchange? Feel free to contact us, we would love to help you!

most read

Keep on reading

7 minute read

Choosing an EDI Platform - A Breakdown

Looking for advice and information on EDI platforms and what what to look for when deciding between the various options? Look no further!

7 minute read

A Guide to Efficient EDI Systems

In this article we break down what an EDI system is, what different types of system offer, and things to remember when selecting a solution.

9 minute read

EDI Integration: What is It and How Can It Help Your Business?

Efficient EDI integration can have a transformative effect on your business. Read our article to find out how it can benefit you.

4 minute read

The Most Common ANSI ASC X12 Party Identifiers and How to Use Them

ANSI X12 party identifiers are a common source of errors. In this article we explore how to avoid issues and what the most common X12 party identifiers are.

9 minute read

Using EDIFACT Parties Correctly - A Breakdown

Errors involving EDIFACT party codes (or EDIFACT parties) are a key cause of master data issues. Find out why.

8 minute read

What is Master Data Synchronisation and Why is it Needed?

Find out how conducting a master data synchronisation can make everyday EDI exchanges and partner onboarding easier and more efficient.

4 minute read

A Brief Introduction to Modern EDI Systems

Are you aware of what modern EDI systems can offer? In this article we explore the recent trend towards fully managed solutions.

5 minute read

The Three Most Common EDI Pitfalls

While EDI can offer substantial benefits, achieving the perfect solution isn't always easy. Read our article to find out where many go wrong.

4 minute read

The Five Top EDI Trends: Expert Forecast

In this article we explore five current EDI trends and the extent to which they reflect the future of EDI more widely.

10 minute read

Full Service EDI Explained

What is full service EDI (AKA fully managed EDI), what benefits can it offer your business and is it really the future of B2B integration?

5 minute read

How Easy is Handling EDI In-house?

Handling EDI in-house may seem like a simple solution, but do you know what setting up and running an EDI system really entails?

5 minute read

What is EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)?

What is electronic data interchange? How does it work, and what benefits can it deliver for your business?

We use cookies to provide an optimal website experience. You decide which one you want to allow. Depending on the setting, however, not all functionalities may be available to you. Data protection & Imprint.