Frequently Asked Questions

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A barcode is an image used to represent a small amount of information which can then be easily read by a barcode scanner or cell phone app. Barcodes come in many shapes and forms, however they are mostly seen on retail products for pulling up price and product information at the checkout. In this case the barcode is simply a 12 or 13 digit number encoded as an image. 
The barcoding system, created in the 70’s by George Laurer, is a universal system for keeping track of items and prices in inventory systems worldwide. This is now used by almost all retailers worldwide and works under the premise that each barcode is only allocated to one product, therefore in any store there is no chance of a barcode being on two different products. This system incorporates both UPC-A numbers and the superset EAN-13 Numbers.
While we can supply a wide variety of both retail (UPC-A & EAN-13) and non-retail barcodes, we mainly supply EAN-13 retail barcodes. These are the barcodes used most commonly on all retail products outside of the USA (with the exception of books and magazines). Our numbers come from the same original system as GS1 numbers, however are now outside of GS1’s control. Therefore we are able to sell these for a one-off cost.
 The short answer is ‘yes’, ‘usually’. – The vast majority of retailers find it much easier if products entering their stores have barcodes on them, many retailers require barcodes. This means that barcodes open the door to retailers and allow you to expand the availability of your product. If you are selling your product in your own store only and have no intentions of selling it elsewhere then you can opt not to use barcodes on your products. You can also label all of the products you stock with non-retail barcode numbers which may be cheaper. This is because if the products are only for your own internal use, they don’t need to be part of the ‘Barcoding System’.
– Both UPC-A Barcodes and EAN-13 Barcodes are used in retail stores worldwide, however the 12 digit UPC-A codes are most common in the USA whereas the EAN-13 Barcodes are most common in all other countries. As far as the actual encoding goes, these barcodes are very similar, in fact a UPC-A Barcode can be encoded as an EAN-13 barcode by adding a ‘0’ to the front. In this case the image or bars of the barcode will be exactly the same as the UPC-A barcode. Barcode scanners can generally pick up both types of codes easily however it is recommended if your product is going into the USA only (or mainly) that you get a UPC-A Barcode. If your product is selling in any other countries, an EAN-13 barcodes is best.

Please see our Difference Between UPC-A and EAN-13 Page for more details.

 It is best practice to get a different barcode for each product or product variation. This is because stores use barcodes for two primary purposes: 1. Barcodes are used for obtaining the price of the product when scanned at the checkout. 2. Barcodes are used for keeping track of stock and deciding when to reorder an item.

This means that if the retailers only use barcodes for option 1, you can get away with having the same barcode for 2 product variations (i.e. different colours of the same product), however, if the retailer uses barcodes for option 2 as well, then a different barcode will be required for each product variation.

In general, retailers prefer to stock products that will be straightforward to manage. Some retailers may prefer not to stock products if they have to manually count how many are left of each size and reorder accordingly. Therefore it is recommended that you have a different barcode for each variation.

 The only types of retail products that do not use EAN-13 Barcodes are Books and Magazines. All other products used EAN-13 or UPC-A Barcodes – You can purchase there here.
 Our barcodes are accepted in nearly all stores worldwide. However, there are a few exceptions. The only stores to our knowledge that do not accept our barcode numbers are the ‘Super Cheap Retail Group’ and ‘Woolworths Australia Central Branches’ in Australia, ‘Walmart, Sam’s Club, Krogers, Fred Mayers, Macy’s & JC Penney’s’ in the USA and ‘Super Retail Group and Foodstuffs Auckland and Wellington Branches [Only on food products]’. Apart from those stores, we have sold ten’s of thousands of these barcode numbers and never come across difficulty with other stores.

We can also arrange independently accredited verification reports which means that our barcodes are accepted by more stores than any other retailer

For more information on which stores do not accept our barcode and which require verification reports, please see Barcode Acceptance.

 No we do not guarantee this – No barcode company can guarantee this. Retailers are able to choose their own requirements for barcodes whether or not they make sense. These requirements are also subject to change. However we have sold thousands of barcodes worldwide and are confident that apart from the stores mentioned above, stores will accept our barcode numbers. If you are unsure, feel free to contact us to query particular stores.
 If you purchase 1 barcode number, then you will not be supplied with a company prefix (no barcode company supplies this). However if you purchase in lots of 10, 100, 1000, or 10,000 barcodes from us, they will come with a unique company prefix.
 A retail barcode is simply a unique number encoded as an image. As such it does not contain any company or product information encoded into it. When the barcode goes into stores, the product information is attached to the barcode in the store’s scanning system so that when the barcode is scanned it links the computer to the associated product information.
 You can order a barcode here. EAN-13 barcodes are the first option available. After you proceed to check-out you can elect to pay by credit card or pay through PayPal. Once payment has been made, we will email you through your barcode with the images as attached files. If you would like to pay by bank transfer or via another alternate method then please email us. 
 Once you receive your barcode number with the images as attached files, you can simply incorporate them into your product packaging or have them printed onto adhesive labels. You can resize the barcode before doing this if you wish, however you should be aware of the barcode dimensions. When a retailer receives your barcode and product they will scan the barcode into the system and enter the product information so that when the barcode is scanned after this point the product information will automatically appear.

 Yes they will. We can supply both EAN-13 Barcodes (which are used worldwide) and UPC-A Barcodes (for use in the USA and Canada). Our barcodes are currently being used in the following countries worldwide. This list is growing all the time:

Europe – Belgium, Bulgaria, The Channel Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom.

North America / Caribbean – The USA, Canada, The Bahamas, Barbados, Curaçao, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago.

Central / South America – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela

Australasia – Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Micronesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu

Asia – Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Africa – Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

The Middle East – Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine (Gaza Strip), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE.

 We guarantee that our barcode numbers are unique and have never previously been sold or used. These numbers have originated from the Uniform Code Council, now known as GS1 US, and we provide guarantee certificates as proof of ownership. Additionally, we have a written guarantee from our supplier, who is recommended by the UPC Barcode inventor George Laurer, stating that these numbers are for our resale only. Additionally, prior to sale, we conduct checks on our numbers to prevent any illicit use on the internet, giving you peace of mind that they are not being used illegally at the time of purchase. 
 No, once you purchase a barcode from us, it is yours for life, and you are free to use it how you wish. We have a selection of barcodes that do not require annual fees as they are outside of GS1’s control now. We pass this benefit onto the consumer. 

In the 1990’s GS1 was established in most parts of the world. They licensed their 13 digit barcode numbers to their members (and as discussed previously charged both membership fees and joining fees). However, there was a separate organisation in the USA – the Uniform Code Council (UCC) – which sold 12 digit barcode numbers to their members for a one-off cost (there were no ongoing license fees). The UCC was effectively competing with GS1. Their 12 digits numbers were effectively a subset of the 13 digit system.

In the late 1990s, the UCC merged with GS1, becoming GS1-US. As part of this change, they decided to start charging annual license fees for all of their members, including those who had paid a one-off fee for barcode numbers in the 1990s. Of course, many of these members weren’t happy with the new annual license fees, and so a group of them ended up in a class action lawsuit with GS1. The members won in the courts in the early 2000s, resulting in a multimillion-dollar settlement by GS1. A further consequence of this court case is the proof that the original numbers issued by the UCC in the 1990s are outside of GS1s control now, and hence no license fees are required.  These are the numbers bought by resellers and onsold. They are ‘new’ numbers, in that they have never been used on a retail product, and are part of the GS1 system. 

  The official standard size of an EAN-13 barcode is 37.3×25.9mm – This can be officially reduce to 80% of the size (around 20x30mm) or enlarged to 200% the size. It is dependent on the retailer as the whether you can get away with a smaller or bigger size however if you require verification reports then you should adhere to the standards as the barcode will not pass verification otherwise. It is always a good idea to do a test scan of your barcode before sending it to stores. Please see Barcode Dimensions for the official standards. 
 No – there is no up to date official database for barcodes to be registered (neither nationally or internationally). Barcode registration is not required. Instead it is up to resellers and GS1 to ensure that each number is only sold once and up to manufacturers (you) to ensure that each barcode is only allocated to one product. We offer an optional barcode registration service which has various different advantages.
– George Laurer invented the 12 digit UPC-A Barcode system when he was working for IBM. He is supportive of reseller barcode numbers like ours and does not like the way GS1 has decided to restrict entry to the market by charging high fees. 
– The International Barcodes Network was formed in order to increase the availability of reseller barcodes and barcode information worldwide. They do this by providing local offices where local licensees, who know their individual markets, provide reseller barcode numbers for a reasonable price in the client’s native language.
 Yes, It is possible to print your barcode in something other than black and white, depending on the colours you use. For more information please see our Barcode Colour Guide IBN 2016.
– Books use ISBN Barcodes (International Standard Book Numbers). This means that to get an ISBN Barcode an ISBN Number first needs to be obtained. Information on obtaining an ISBN number can be obtained here.  
– Magazines use ISSN Barcodes (International Standard Serial Number). To obtain one of these, an 8-digit ISSN Number first needs to be obtained. This can then be changed into a 13-digit barcode – or various other styles including a 13+2 format for separate editions etc. For information and purchasing of ISSN numbers or barcodes, please see our Magazine barcode page.
– Global location numbers are globally unique numbers which are used by some retailers as a location identifier for suppliers.
Our barcodes begin with a ’07’. This means that the barcodes themselves originally come from the USA, however, this says nothing about the origin of the products themselves. Products from any country can use barcodes from the USA and vice versa. NOTE that the ‘country code’ says NOTHING about the country of origin of the product – it ONLY shows the country of origin of the BARCODE NUMBER.

If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us. If you are ready to purchase your barcodes you can do this here. Or here for CD barcodes, DVD barcodes, ISBN book barcodes and ISSN magazine barcodes.