July 24, 2024

Invest Crafters

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What Is The Difference Between A Ticker And A Cusip?

2 min read
What is a CUSIP Number YouTube

The Basics of Tickers and CUSIPs

When it comes to investing in the stock market or fixed-income securities, you may have come across terms such as ticker and CUSIP. Both of these terms are important in identifying and tracking various financial instruments, but they serve different purposes.

Understanding Tickers

A ticker symbol, also known as a stock symbol, is a unique series of letters representing a particular company’s stock on a stock exchange. It is used to identify and track the performance of a specific company’s shares in the market. Tickers are widely used by investors, traders, and financial professionals when discussing and analyzing stocks.

Exploring CUSIPs

CUSIP, on the other hand, stands for Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures. It is a nine-character alphanumeric code assigned to each financial instrument, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, to uniquely identify them. CUSIPs are used to facilitate trading, settlement, and clearance processes in the financial industry.

The Purpose of Tickers and CUSIPs

Tickers: Identifying Companies

The primary purpose of ticker symbols is to provide a quick and easy way to identify companies in the stock market. Each company listed on a stock exchange has its unique ticker symbol, which is used by investors and traders to search for and track its stock price, trading volume, and other relevant information.

CUSIPs: Uniquely Identifying Securities

CUSIPs, on the other hand, serve a broader purpose of uniquely identifying financial instruments. They are used throughout the entire lifecycle of a security, from issuance to trading and settlement. CUSIPs are particularly important in the fixed-income market, where multiple bonds may have similar characteristics, but each is assigned a unique CUSIP to differentiate them.

Ticker vs. CUSIP: Key Differences

Structure and Format

Ticker symbols are typically shorter, consisting of a few letters, and are easy to remember. For example, Apple Inc.’s ticker symbol is AAPL. CUSIPs, on the other hand, are longer and alphanumeric, consisting of nine characters. For example, Apple Inc.’s common stock has a CUSIP of 037833100.

Usage and Application

Tickers are widely used in market discussions, financial news, and trading platforms to identify and track specific stocks. They are particularly relevant for investors and traders looking to buy or sell shares of a specific company. CUSIPs, on the other hand, are used more extensively in the back-end processes of the financial industry, such as trade settlement, regulatory filings, and record-keeping.


In summary, tickers and CUSIPs are both important in the world of investing and finance, but they serve different purposes. Tickers are used to identify and track individual stocks, while CUSIPs are used to uniquely identify various financial instruments. Understanding the differences between these two identifiers can help investors and financial professionals navigate the complex world of securities more effectively.

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