The CUSIP number is a unique nine character identification number assigned to all stocks (and registered bonds) in the U.S. and Canada. It is used to create a concrete distinction between securities that are traded on public markets. The system is in place to facilitate the settlement process and the clearance of associated securities.
Finding a CUSIP Number
Unfortunately, finding a CUSIP number for a stock can be a little difficult because the numbers are owned and created by the American Bankers Association and operated by Standard & Poor's. To get access to the whole database of CUSIP numbers, you will need to pay a fee to Standard & Poor's or a similar service that has access to the database.
However, there are now a number of resources that can be used to find and access CUSIP numbers.
The first is that individual companies will often display their CUSIP numbers to investors on their websites.
CUSIP numbers can also be accessed through the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) via the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system.
Additionally, the information is often listed on official statements relating to the security, such as on confirmations of purchase or periodic financial statements, or can be accessed through various securities dealers.
Another way to gain access is through the active quote search on the Fidelity Investments website. Simply enter the company you are looking for and the CUSIP will be displayed for you.
For example, if you are looking for the CUSIP for Ford Motor Company just enter the name of the company and the CUSIP number will be shown (345370860).