Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find an answer to your question, please contact us

A barcode is a series of black and white (or contrasting) spaces (usually lines) which can be scanned by a barcode scanner or cell phone app to convey a small amount of information. Barcodes are mostly used on retail products for establishing the price at the checkout and ensuring that the entire process is efficient. Barcodes used in retail are either EAN-13 Numbers or UPC-A numbers represented as an image. These numbers are linked the the products in the store’s system.
The Barcode System is a system used internationally for retail barcodes to ensure that each barcode pertains to only one product. This system, created by George Laurer in the 1970’s, helps to increase the efficiency and accuracy of the checkout process by ensuring that products all have unique international identifiers (barcodes).

We supply almost all kinds of barcode that are used. These range from UPC-A or EAN-13 retail barcodes to QR Codes (2D Barcodes used largely for advertising purposes). We also supply ISBN Book Barcodes and ISSN Magazine barcodes. Our retail barcodes are from the same original system as GS1 numbers (the barcode system). Therefore, they work in exactly the same way, however, now that they are outside of GS1’s control, they can be sold without the need for joining fees and annual licence fees.

In general, yes, if you have a retail product you will require a barcode. This is not a legal requirement anywhere, however most retailers require that you have a barcode for them to consider stocking your product. This is because of the amount of time barcodes save as well as making the checkout process more accurate (i.e. removing room for human error). If you only stock your product in your own store, then it is up to you as to whether you want to barcode them or not. In this case you could theoretically make up the barcode numbers and use these made up numbers for your own internal system.

Both of these barcode types are reasonably similar. – Both are used for retail purposes and are designed for international use. There are a couple of main differences however; 1 – UPC-A Barcodes have 12 digits whereas EAN-13 Barcodes have 13 digits. 2 – UPC-A Barcodes are used almost exclusively in the USA (although can technically be used elsewhere as mentioned previously). EAN-13 Barcodes are used primarily outside of the USA (although can generally be used in the USA as well). So, as a general rule – if you product is selling internationally, use an EAN-13 barcode. If it is selling exclusively in the USA, use a UPC-A Barcode.

Generally speaking, a different barcode is needed per unique product. This means that if you have various sizes or colours, then you need a different barcode. This is especially true if the price is likely to change between the products (in which case you definately need different barcodes).

In some cases it is possible to have the same barcode on different product variations (i.e. different colours). This depends on the store, as many stores use barcodes both for establishing price and reordering information (in which case you would need different barcodes). Some stores however only use barcodes for establishing the price at the checkout. In this case you may be able to use the same barcode on different product variations (as long as the price doesn’t change).

In general, the easier you make it for your retailers, the more happy they are likely to be to stock and keep stocking your product. So, if at all possible we would recommend having different barcodes for each variation.

If you require a large quantity of barcode numbers, please contact us for a specialized quote.

 The vast majority of retail barcodes use EAN-13 or UPC-A Barcodes (these are the ones we supply). Only Books and Magazines use different types of barcodes.
Retailers have the right to impose any restrictions they want on their suppliers regardless of whether they make sense or not. Stores are also able to change their policies at any stage without prior notice, hence, we cannot guarantee that any specific retailer will accept our barcode numbers. Instead we keep as up to date records as possible of the stores that have barcode restrictions. This is a very good guide as to which (if any) stores will take issue to our barcode numbers. Please see barcode acceptance for the details of this. Please contact us if you want to check that we have supplied to a specific store.

The vast majority of stores internationally will accept our barcodes, however there are one or two exceptions in a few countries. As far as we know, none of the exceptions occur in the UK – the only store with any kind of barcode restrictions here is ASDA who require verification reports which we can arrange.

If you are selling your product internationally there is a chance that some of the restrictions will affect you. Below are the stores that won’t accept our barcodes based on the country:

USA – Walmart, Sam’s Club, Krogers, Fred Mayers, Macy’s & JC Penney’s

Australia – Super Cheap Retail Group

China – Some retailers mistakenly believe that barcodes need to have the correct corresponding country code to their country of origin. This means they can be reluctant to distribute products with our barcodes on them.

There are other stores with various different restrictions that don’t stop our barcodes. The most common of these is stores that require verification reports. Please see barcode acceptance for a full list of stores that require verification or have other restrictions.

Barcodes purchased in lots of 10,100 or 1000 may have a company prefix on request, this is because company prefixes are selected based on the numbers in a series of barcodes that don’t change. Hence if you order 10 barcode, 1 digit will change at the end of each of them, and your company prefix will be all other numbers.

A barcode is a series of numbers encoded as an image. Because of this there is no information encoded in the barcode (apart from the number). When the product reaches a retailer, they scan the barcode for the first time, and input the product information at that stage. That way when the barcode is scanned from that point onwards, the product information will appear.
 You can order a barcode here. EAN-13 barcodes are the first option available. Here you may also choose to purchase barcode registration. 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).

Our barcodes are currently being used in the following countries worldwide: Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Channel Islands, China, Cook Islands, Curacao, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, East Timor, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong,  India,  Ireland,  Israel,  Italy,  Jamaica,  Japan,  Jersey,  Kiribati,  Kuwait,  Lebanon,  Lithuania,  Malaysia,  Malta,  Mauritius,  Mexico,  Mozambique,  Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Rarotonga, Rwanda, Singapore, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sultanate of Oman,  Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, UAE, Uganda, UK, USA, Vanuatu, Nigeria, Wales, Zambia

This list is expanding all the time so please let us know if your country is not on the list and we can check if it is a recent addition. Or, you could be the first.

There are a variety of good reasons to purchase barcodes from us. In addition to price being a major advantage (genuine retail barcodes for a one-off cost), our barcodes are also accepted by more retailers than any other reseller. Another advantage of our service is that we offer long term support when it comes to barcoding. If you get into a pickle down the track, we won’t leave you high and dry, and will do our best to help you sort through it.

Please see ‘Why buy from us‘ for a comprehensive list of advantages. 

All retail barcode numbers we sell are globally unique. They have never been used on a product before and will only be sold once (to you). We also take steps to ensure that there are no issues with using the barcode, such as checking our numbers for illegal use online before selling them. All barcode packages come with a guarantee certificate to reassure you that you are the only legal owner of your barcode number. Please contact us if you have any further questions.
No, all barcodes from us are sold, not licensed. This means that your barcode is valid for life, and will never expire. Furthermore, there are no annual fees attached the barcode which means good long term savings.

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 class action law suit 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 are 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 standard EAN-13 barcode size is 37.3X25.9mm. The officially accepted dimensions are anywhere from 80% or this to 200% of this. This means that your barcode can drop in size to around 30X20mm and still be acceptable. If you decide to further reduce the size of your barcode, then generally it can be truncated further without drastically affecting the scannability, however, if it is reduced beyond the 80% size, there may be problems if it requires verification. Hence we recommend that you keep it above this size if at all possible. Please see barcode dimensions for an exact breakdown of the different acceptable sizings.
No – At this stage there is no official international database. Basically all numbers come from an international database, and the barcode sellers (GS1 and barcode resellers), are responsible for making sure each number is only sold once. It is then up to suppliers (you) to ensure that each barcode is only assigned to one product. There are various different barcode databases available, which can help raise the internet profile of your product. This is an additional service that we offer, and is not necessary for your barcode to work. It is included free with our barcode packages. Please see barcode registration for details.
A man called George Laurer invented the UPC barcode while working with IBM. Since, then he has shown support for reseller barcodes (and recommends the people we buy barcodes from as a good quality supplier). He has also expressed distaste for GS1 charge such exorbitant fees and restricting entry to the market.
The International Barcodes Network was formed in 2013 after recognizing the difficulty of obtaining cheap barcode numbers for a one off cost. By establishing local offices where licensees who speak the language focus on that particular market, we offer a great deal of international expertise between us. Our head office in New Zealand has been operating for 8 years. 
Yes, this is possible, depending on what colour background you use. Please see our Barcode Colour Guide for more information. 
ISBN numbers (International Standard Book Numbers) are the numbers used to create barcodes for books. One of these needs to be attained before a book barcode can be created. Please see Book Barcodes for how to get one of these as well as for purchasing book barcodes.
ISSN Numbers (International Standard Serial Numbers) are the numbers used to create barcodes for magazines. These can be obtained through the ISSN agency. Once you have an ISSN number, we can create a barcode for you. ISSN barcodes come in a variety of different formats. For information on these formats and purchasing please see here.
Global Location Numbers (GLN) are globally unique location identifiers required by some retail chains as supplier location codes. These aren’t required very often, however if you find you do need one, we can provide this. Please see our Global Location Number page.
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.

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.

Buy Barcodes UK – a reputable barcode reseller.