Dunn and Bradstreet has your (business) number


Many small business owners do not understand why they have a difficult time establishing credit for their business. They are confused when credit applications ask for their Dun & Bradstreet number. They wonder who is Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and why would they have my number?

Dun & Bradstreet is a provider of credit information on businesses. Just as your social security number unlocks the vault to your personal financial information, a D&B number will do the same for your business. The reports are used by businesses and financial institutions seeking to extend credit to your business. Much like a personal credit report, the lender will submit updates on your payment history and terms of their agreement so that other lenders can make informed decisions about your business.

So, why would you get a D-U-N-S Number rather than continuing to use your social security number or tax identification number? It’s not because it is free because there is a fee to create a D&B credit profile. I believe this is done, not as a primary means of generating income, but because it creates a barrier to entry. Not all businesses have the cash flow to purchase the number, which means they are probably not in a position to take advantage of credit opportunities.

Dun & Bradstreet also allows businesses wishing to extend credit the opportunity to purchase reports of varying degrees about the potential client. This method of qualifying reduces the assumed risk because there is a history of the business’ ability to handle credit. Additionally, the business owner is able to separate their personal credit from the business, which could prove advantageous for businesses with high inventories or those needing to lease equipment. Tying these purchases to your personal credit will reduce your ability to make personal purchases without seeming overextended.

Mind your business and research how a D-U-N-S Number can increase your business’ credit and creditability.  For more information visit www.dnb.com.

Do you have a D&B number?  If not, why?  If so, what has been your experience with the company?



6 thoughts on “Dunn and Bradstreet has your (business) number

  1. Tracey Burnett says:

    Didn’t know that, I have just learned something. When you incorporate, one of the reasons is to protect your personal assets in litigation against your company. In that case your ssn would be useless, so a D&B number makes perfect since. I wondered how that worked.


  2. Johnny Clayton says:

    Okay blog, but not all of your facts are right. D&B does offer a bunch of servcies to businesses for a fee, but there is no cost to get a DUNS Number on your own business. I’d also be cautious when speculating out loud or in writing that a company has implemented a particular practice as a “barrier to entry”. Besides the fact that the DUNS Number is free, just the opposite is true: D&B wants every business in the world to have a D&B Number and be listed with them. I’d just suggest that business owners contact D&B at http://www.dnb.com for info directly.

    My 2 cents.


    • Thanks Johnny for your 2 cents. You are correct. There is no fee to obtain a D&B number which I am sure is because they want everyone to have number.
      When I applied to D&B for my business, I was under the impression that it would be like obtaining a social security or tax identification number. However, I was then told that I would need to pay an additional fee to access the services to build my business credit profile. I don’t think people should be mislead to believe that there is no cost associated with this process unless they are a nonprofit, in which case, the D&B is only necessary to get them registered to apply for grants and federal funds.
      Additionally, I believe that when there is a fee associated with a service that a business may need it can be considered a “barrier to entry” because this means that the information/service is not available to everyone, only those who are able to pay the fee.
      Thanks again, I am glad we were able to clarify this issue because I don’t want my readers to be mislead by what LaKesha Says…


    • Thanks Peter… I think readers should be aware of the reality of using the D&B service. I don’t think it necessarily detracts from the program but if someone is planning to utilize it as a part of their financial strategy, they should be aware, upfront, of the costs associated with it.


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