CUSIP Numbers Explained

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By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena)
June 27, 2003

Q. What's a CUSIP number?

A. It's a security's identifying number, not unlike a product's catalog or bar-code number. Its nine digits are assigned according to Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures (CUSIP). The first six digits identify the issuer, such as a company, while the last three digits reveal exactly what kind of security it is, such as a particular kind of stock or bond.

It's good to have CUSIP numbers handy when you're transferring shares of stock or if you've lost your certificates.

You'll find CUSIP numbers listed for many companies on their websites. Examples: Federal Express (NYSE: FDX) website, The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) website, and Circuit City's (NYSE: CC) website.

Learn more about CUSIP numbers from the horse's mouth, at, where you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about CUSIP (and probably more).

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This question and answer is adapted from The Motley Fool Money Guide: Answers to Your Questions About Saving, Spending and Investing. For answers to this and 499 other common money questions, check it out -- it's a handy resource.