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What is a CUSIP Number?

CUSIP number
What is a CUSIP Number?
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The CUSIP number is a unique identifier used to identify US bonds. Most US traded securities have a CUSIP number. However, the CUSIP number has primary importance in the bond market, where it is used to process and settle trades.

Where most stocks have a 3 or 4 letter ticker symbol to identify them (ie AAPL for Apple stock or BAC for Bank of America), the bond market uses the 9 Character CUSIP Number.

What does CUSIP Stand For?

CUSIP is an acronym for the Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures. The identification system is owned by the American Bankers Association. The system is administered by Standard and Poors and has been used since 1964.

For more information on individual bonds, visit our Free Guide to Investing in Corporate Bonds.

Why Bonds need CUSIP Numbers

As of 2017, there are less than 4,000 publicly traded companies in the U.S. In 2015 there were over 5000. While some of those companies offer several types of stock (preferred, common) it is very unusual for a company to have more than 3 classes of stock. At most, there are 20,000 unique stock issues of publicly traded companies. There are well over 1,000,000 different bond issues.  Most of these bond issues are municipal bonds issued by  cities, counties, and states. With so many different bond issues, precise identification is critical.

There are three parts to a CUSIP Number

Example: 912828 + NB + 2 would be 912828NB2 CUSIP #

  • The First 6 digits (912828) identify the issuer. In this case, the issuer is the Treasury Department.
  • The next two characters (NB) identifies the specific bond.
  • The last digit (2) of the number has no significance in identifying the bond.

How do you search for or look up a CUSIP number?

Having a CUSIP number in most cases is critical to finding information on a particular bond. If you own a bond, your broker should be able to provide the CUSIP number. If you are looking for information on a bond you do not already own and don’t know the CUSIP number, Fidelity has a nice tool here that will allow you to search for it using other criteria.

Learn More

Buying Bonds – A How to Guide
Financial Bonds have lower default rates and higher yields
What Happens When a Corporate Bond Defaults?
Fidelity’s CUSIP Lookup Tool

Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Trading comes with severe risk. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.
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David Waring

David Waring was the founder of LearnBonds.com and has been a major contributor to the extensive library of investing news and information available on the site. Until the launch of Learnbonds.com in late 2011 there was no single site on the internet catering exclusively to the individual bond investor. This was true even though more individuals own stocks than bonds. Learn Bonds was launched to fill that gap.

25 Comments

  1. this tells me how to search for the CUSIP# but it does not tell me how to track bonds using the CUSIP# and that is what i need.
    • Hi Harv, I am not sure what you men by is there a bond in place on your birth certificate. If you can give me a little more info I will be happy to try and help. Best Regards, Dave
  2. I wanted to know if inmates that are incarcerated have cusip numbers that they can obtain in order to pay a bond that could possible get them out of jail/prison?
  3. I paid to have someone find my cusip numbers for my SS and BC and they also provided the mutual funds that they are in. Now I’m trying to figure out how can I find the account number associated with the funds in order to find out how many shares I have and if I am able to sell or liquidate those shares. Any ideas?
  4. hello sir please can you tell me how or where to find my cusip number…..i have been on the fidelity site and found the company that is trading my birth certificate but i am unable to find my cusip number….please can you help me sir!!!?????
    • Having a CUSIP number in most cases is critical to finding information on a particular bond. If you own a bond, your broker should be able to provide the CUSIP number. If you are looking for information on a bond you do not already own and don’t know the CUSIP number, Fidelity has a nice tool here that will allow you to search for it using other criteria.
  5. please can you tell me how and where to find my cusip number, i have already found the company that is trading my bc and all but i am unable to locate my cusip number, i have my ss card and birth certificate all in my sight but i can not find the cusip number…that is the other part to the puzzle for me …please can you help me
  6. The CUSIP number is on the back of your SS card (ie D12345678) change the letter to a number D is 4 – A is 1 – B is 2 ect… The letter indicates a Federal Reserve Bank
  7. Regarding the back of the ss, that’s not a CUSIP. The letter is the fed bank. mine is F which is Atlanta so Technically I could use the Atlanta routing number which is represented by F then the rest of the number on the back is the specific account. Its what the treasury calls a minors account being held by a “custodian” which is a federal reserve Bank primary (one of the big 12) or its agents like capital one. I think every time you open up an account they connect to that bank. Why do you think they wont open account without an ss, and why do you think they beg you to get an account even if you have 2 dollars. Btw if you ever overdraft, don’t consent. FDIC actually insures that and its the bank that is liable, not you. I would go slow with the BC and SS. I’ll give some hints. Security interest in the debtor/US person, Foreign Trust Creditor, and Bankruptcy and reorganization of the registered agent

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