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What is a CPN Number?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Credit Privacy Number, or CPN, is a nine digit identification number that can be used to report financial information to credit bureaus. Available for use primarily in the United States, the number can be used instead of an individual’s Social Security number for many types of credit transactions. However, the CPN should not be viewed as an equitable substitute for the Social Security number in all situations.

Also known as a credit profile number, the CPN has its main advantage when it comes to tracking credit transactions and evaluating credit history. Rather than using a Social Security number for all credit transactions, using a credit privacy number makes it easier to segregate finances in the event of identity theft. Without access to a Social Security number, the thief is somewhat limited in the amount of difficulties that are created for the rightful owner of the number. This is because there are several types of financial transactions that cannot be conducted using this number.

Transactions that cannot be conducted using a CPN include information given to an employer, documents submitted to the Internal Revenue Service, and registering a car or truck. The number also cannot be used when applying for one of the several government sponsored home loan options, such as Sallie Mae or a FHA loan. However, a legal CPN can be used when applying for credit cards and obtaining financing that is not government related.

One of the urban myths surrounding the use of a CPN is that the credit file number can be used to avoid paying outstanding debt. In fact, the individual remains liable for all debts incurred on credit accounts referencing a Social Security number or a CPN. Obtaining this number will not result in establishing new credit to replace bad credit generated under a Social Security number.

One truth about CPN usage is that there are many citizens of the United States that routinely use this type of identification number. Celebrities often use one as a means of protecting their privacy when it comes to credit cards, loans, and other financial transactions. Members of Congress are also likely to use it in order to minimize the chances of private details about their finances being released to the general public without their authorization. People placed within a witness protection program are often issued a CPN, as it is much harder to track than a Social Security number.

Any citizen of the United States can request and obtain one of these numbers. However, it is only possible to receive one CPN. Certain resident aliens, spouses, or dependents can also apply for one if they have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The number remains constant from the date of issue and is connected with the owner of the number for the remainder of his or her life. As with a Social Security number, the owner is responsible for using the CPN with prudence. This means knowing what type of transactions require use of a Social Security number and which transactions may be conducted using a CPN.

In the event of a bankruptcy, any outstanding debts listed under an issued CPN number and the individual’s Social Security number must be declared in order to be included in the debt relief.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including SmartCapitalMind, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments
By anon991864 — On Jul 23, 2015

How do you obtain a cpn number on your own?

By ncp — On Mar 01, 2015

If you don't know the process then you will mostly like have to pay. Knowing how to make tri-merge is the key along with tradelines. It is legal to do.

By arneatrice — On Nov 26, 2014

Has anyone found the answer on how to get a free cpn number?

By anon957764 — On Jun 22, 2014

I was skeptical but have now had my tri-merged cpn since march. I have a 680 score with just one credit card. It cost me $25 and I'm satisfied completely!

By anon954438 — On Jun 01, 2014

Does anyone have an answer on how to get or create a CPN for free?

By jviv411 — On Apr 17, 2014

Does anyone know how to get a CPN number on their own? Who is the issuing agency?

By anon928310 — On Jan 27, 2014

How can a CPN be linked with you for the rest of your life if you're using a different address in order not to have your file merged with your SSN file?

By Red2013 — On Feb 02, 2013

CPN's are not scams. You just have to deal with the right people.

By anon119339 — On Oct 17, 2010

CPN numbers are a scam. They are most likely stolen SS numbers from children. Do you want to get busted for identity theft?

By anon88793 — On Jun 07, 2010

the game is to be sold not told. do your homework or pay someone who has done theirs.

By pondview — On May 18, 2010

$60 at one website and they do all the work. mine was issued in 24 hours and i also got tips on adding tradelines, which i have done. they were really expensive though but, my average credit score is 695

By anon72062 — On Mar 21, 2010

So can a CPN be beneficial? Will it only be bad if you default on the new credit and at the same time have issues with your SSN Credit?

By anon56973 — On Dec 18, 2009

How does one go about getting a cpn and where would I find the application to do so?

By anon50915 — On Nov 02, 2009

how does one obtain their cpn?

By RichieRich — On Feb 05, 2009

Would you please tell me how I can go about getting my CPN directly without using a fee charging 3rd party?

By anon25957 — On Feb 05, 2009

How does one obtain their CPN?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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