What Data Type Can Be Used to Store Phone Number?


Heather Bennett

What Data Type Can Be Used to Store Phone Number?

When it comes to storing phone numbers in a database or programming language, choosing the right data type is essential. A proper data type ensures that the phone numbers are stored efficiently and can be manipulated effectively. In this article, we will explore the different data types that can be used to store phone numbers and discuss their characteristics and best use cases.

Numeric Data Types

The most common approach for storing phone numbers is to use numeric data types. These data types are designed to handle numerical values and can efficiently store phone numbers without any formatting symbols such as parentheses or dashes.


An integer data type is suitable for storing whole numbers, making it a viable option for phone numbers without any special characters. However, integers have limited storage capacity and may not be suitable for international phone numbers with country codes.


If you anticipate dealing with larger phone numbers or international phone numbers that include country codes, a big integer (BigInt) data type is more appropriate. BigInt provides a significantly larger storage capacity compared to an integer.

Character Data Types

If you need to store formatted phone numbers with symbols like parentheses or dashes, character-based data types are more suitable. These data types allow for flexibility in storing various formats of phone numbers.


The Varchar (variable character) data type is commonly used for storing strings of varying length, including formatted phone numbers. It provides flexibility by allowing you to define the maximum number of characters needed for your specific format requirements.


The char data type is similar to the varchar data type, but it stores a fixed number of characters. If you have a specific phone number format that is consistently used throughout your application or database, using the char data type can result in more efficient storage and retrieval.


When it comes to storing phone numbers, choosing the appropriate data type depends on your specific requirements. Numeric data types like integer and BigInt are suitable for storing phone numbers without formatting symbols, while character-based data types like varchar and char allow for flexibility in handling various formats. Consider the nature of your phone number data and its expected usage to make an informed decision on which data type to use.

In summary:

  • Integer: Suitable for whole numbers without formatting symbols.
  • BigInt: Ideal for larger phone numbers or international numbers with country codes.
  • Varchar: Provides flexibility for storing formatted phone numbers with varying lengths.
  • Char: Efficiently stores fixed-length formatted phone numbers.

By selecting the appropriate data type, you can ensure that your phone number storage is optimized for efficient manipulation and retrieval in your database or programming language.

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