DEFINITION of 'CINS Number'
An extension to the CUSIP numbering system, which is used to uniquely identify securities offered outside of the United States and Canada. Just as with CUSIP numbers, the CINS number consists of nine characters. International securities, whether corporate or municipal, are identified by a CINS number. CINS is an abbreviation for CUSIP International Numbering System.
BREAKING DOWN 'CINS Number'
CINS was conceived in the 1980s as part of an effort to extend the CUSIP system to international securities. Currently, the CINS system contains entries for approximately 1.3 million different securities. Just as with CUSIP numbers, CINS number consist of nine characters. Each issuer is assigned a unique six-digit number. The next two characters identify the unique security issue. The final character is a check digit to help ensure the first eight digits were received or entered accurately. A unique feature of the CINS system is that the first character is always an a letter signifying the domicile country of the issuer.