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Guide to Barcodes – Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Feb 24

What is the Barcode ?

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 information contained in a barcode is typically a unique identifier for the item, such as a GTIN or UPC code, which can be used to track inventory, manage supply chains, and automate the checkout process in retail environments. Barcodes come in various types, including linear or one-dimensional (1D) codes, which consist of a series of bars and spaces of varying widths, and two-dimensional (2D) codes, which encode information using patterns of dots, squares, and other shapes. Barcodes are widely used in a variety of industries, including retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics, and have become an essential tool for streamlining operations and increasing efficiency.

what barcodes contains?

UPC stands for “Universal Product Code,” making the term “UPC Code” technically redundant. However, the term “UPC Code” is commonly used to refer to the UPC Barcode symbol, which essentially encodes a 12-digit number called GTIN-12. The GTIN-12 represents UPC data derived primarily from a UPC Company Prefix and Item Reference Numbers.



What is a GTIN?

With the growing import-export between countries and increasing number of products being sold across the world, a list of universal product codes was introduced to ensure smooth trade. Irrespective of language barriers or country-specific regulations, these codes have made the process of identifying and organizing product categories simpler. This standard process for identifying each product uniquely is the GS1 (Global Standards 1)1. These GS1 standards enable organizations and businesses to store and identify information efficiently in a common language that is acceptable all over the world.

GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number, which is a unique identification number used to identify trade items or products in a global supply chain. GTIN is a term used by the GS1, which is responsible for the development and management of barcode standards worldwide. GTINs can take several forms, including a 12-digit UPC code, a 13-digit European Article Number (EAN), or a 14-digit Global Trade Item Number. The GTIN is encoded in a barcode that is applied to the product, allowing it to be easily identified and tracked throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing to retail. GTINs are used to help ensure product authenticity, traceability, and accuracy in data exchange between trading partners.

what is ISBN, UPC, EAN, GTIN-14?

To increase transparency in product identification and simplify exports, GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number) was introduced by GS1. GS1 is a neutral, not-for-profit, global organization that develops and maintains the most widely-used supply chain standards system in the world to create digital information of all products and services. This helps in maintaining transparency and a smooth trading process. With growing export trade, GTIN has become the global language for businesses. To provide unique GTINs to exporters and Indian businesses, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, set up GS1 India, which is affiliated with GS1 global2.


GTIN refers to a family of GS1 (EAN.UCC) global data structures, employing 14 digits that can be encoded into various data carriers, including barcodes and RFID. The GTIN-12, also known as UPC-A, is a 12-digit number predominantly used in North America.



Types of GTIN used

There are a range of GS1 codes covered under GTIN. Here are some of the commonly used types of GTIN:

• Universal Product Code (UPCs): This is a standard product ID that helps you sell your product.

• International Standard Book Number (ISBN): This is a product ID used specifically for books.

• European Article Number(EAN): It is a product code used in Europe and European marketplaces.

• Japanese Article Marketplace (JAN): It is a product identity used for products in Japan.


The set of GTINs are:

  • GTIN-12 (UPC-A): this is a 12-digit number used primarily in North America

  • GTIN-8 (EAN/UCC-8): this is an 8-digit number used predominately outside of North America

  • GTIN-13 (EAN/UCC-13): this is a 13-digit number used predominately outside of North America

  • GTIN-14 (EAN/UCC-14): this is a 14-digit number used to identify trade items at various packaging levels


Structure of GTIN

A data structure comprising a string of digits, GTINs can be 8, 12, 13, or 14 digits in length to accommodate different application and product constraints. Depending on the length, these structures are known as GTIN-8, GTIN-12, GTIN-13, and GTIN-14 respectively. The GTIN usually comprises the following elements3:

Indicator digit:

Numbers from 1-8 help in identifying the packaging level information of the product. The 9th digit is exclusively used for variable measure products (like a box containing similar products). These indicator digits are used in GTIN-14 only.

Item reference:

This is a unique number assigned to the trade item. This varies in length depending on the company prefix. For example, if the company prefix is 8-digit long, then item reference number will be 4-digit long.

GS1 company prefix:

This is a unique number licensed to a company by the GS1 member organization, which exists in over 110 countries. These prefixes are assigned as per a business or brand’s need.

Check digit:

This is the final digit that is calculated from the preceding digits in the GTIN. This digit verifies that the data is correctly composed in the preceding GTIN code


Barcode Indicator

On the basis of number of digits and purpose it is used for, GTIN can be classified in 4 formats4:

what contains in UPC, GTIN-14, EAN, USBN, ISBN?

GTIN-8:


GTIN-8 includes seven digits containing a GS1-8 Prefix and the Item Reference and Check digit. This is a smaller barcode usually used on small retail trade items.


GTIN-12:

This code is encoded in UPC-A barcodes, which are mostly used in USA and Canada. GTIN-12 components include eleven digits containing your U.P.C. Company Prefix and the Item Reference and Check digit.

GTIN-13:


This code is also referred to as EAN-13 barcode. This is the most popular GTIN format that is globally utilized for the retail sector. It contains Twelve digits containing your GS1 Company Prefix and the Item Reference, and Check digit. A GS1 Company Prefix used to create a GTIN-13 will begin with a 1-9.


GTIN-14:

This barcode is used when the number of goods is of variable measure. It contains the Indicator Digit to indicate packaging level (1-8) or that the product is variable measure, twelve digits containing your GS1 Company Prefix and the Item Reference and Check digit


Among these four types, GTIN-13 (European Article Number/EAN13) is widely used in India.



How to obtain GTIN for your product?

GS1 India assigns GTINs to brand owners and businesses in India for identification of their trade items and products. These GTINs are generated through Datakart – a single repository for data of all the products in India, enabling online generation of GTINs and management of products information. If you are selling your products on an e-commerce sites like Amazon, then you will have to request GS1 India for the allocation of GTINs.

How many codes do I need for my products?

how many barcodes do you need?

The number of UPC codes you need for your products depends on the number of unique products you plan to sell. Each product that you plan to sell will need its own unique UPC code to identify it. If you have several variations of a product, such as different colors or sizes, each variation will require its own unique UPC code. For example, if you sell five different types of t-shirts in three different sizes, you will need at least 15 unique UPC codes.


It’s important to note that UPC codes are not reusable or transferable, so once a code has been assigned to a product, it cannot be used for any other product. If you plan to sell your products through multiple retailers, each retailer may require you to use a different set of UPC codes to ensure that their inventory and sales data can be accurately tracked. In general, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and purchase enough UPC codes to cover all of your current and future products to avoid any potential issues down the line.

Difference between UPC and EAN Barcodes?

The main difference between EAN and UPC barcodes is in their structure and the regions where they are predominantly used. EAN (European Article Number) barcodes are used worldwide and consist of 13 digits, while UPC (Universal Product Code) barcodes are primarily used in the United States and Canada and consist of 12 digits.



Difference between UPC and EAN barcodes?

Note the prefix on an EAN is 7 digits while the prefix on a UPC is 6 digits.


Another difference between EAN and UPC codes is in their numbering system. The first digit of an EAN code indicates the numbering system used, with 0-2 representing the EAN system, while the first digit of a UPC code represents the category of the product being identified. Additionally, the EAN code is preceded by a country code, indicating the country where the code was issued, while the UPC code is preceded by a company prefix, identifying the manufacturer of the product.


In terms of usage, EAN codes are commonly used for identifying products in Europe and other parts of the world, while UPC codes are primarily used in North America. However, with the increasing globalization of commerce, many retailers now accept both EAN and UPC codes for their products.


What is Universal Product Code and Terms in Barcodes :


You’ve probably heard of UPC, GTIN, FNSKU, barcodes, and other terms.  It can be confusing what it all means.  Below is a quick summary of what each one is and how they relate to each other:

  • UPC stands for Universal Product Code and is a unique identifier for physical products, and contains 12 digits.  The first 5 digits of the 12 digit code are called the prefix.

  • Barcode is a digital representation of a UPC or EAN code. They typically consist of two parts – a scannable barcode and the corresponding UPC underneath.  Barcodes can be generated easily once you have your UPC.

  • GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number is the number that identifies individual products, it is the same as a UPC or EAN and GTINs include the family of GS1 item numbers (UPC-A, ITF-14, UPC, EAN).  It was named by the GS1.

  • FNSKU stands for Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit and is used at Amazon to track specific products.  For example, a UPC identifies a Large Red T-Shirt, but if there is 1 used and 1 new, each will have a unique FNSKU even though the UPC is the same.  A SKU (stock keeping unit) is a common term used by merchants to refer to the number of unique items they have for sale.

  • ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number, and is 10 character alphanumerica unique identifer for Amazon to distinguish each item from one another.  It is typically at the end of every Amazon URL for a listing.  For example, amazon.com/Cards-Against-Humanity-LLC-CAHUS/dp/B004S8F7QM, the ASIN is B004S8F7QM.

  • ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, and is a unique product identifier used specifically for books and other forms of published writing.

  • EAN stands for European Article number or International Article Number is a type of product identifier used specifically for products for the European marketplace (though otherwise similar to a UPC).  It contains 13 digits, while a UPC contains 12 digits.


Each of these are worth knowing as you begin to sell as they are used quite commonly and many will be required when creating your listings on Amazon



What Is a Valid UPC?

There is a lot of discussion around Amazon UPCs and GTINs, and rightfully so.  Amazon has specific rules in place to ensure there aren’t counterfeit products being sold, and to prevent people from creating duplicate listings.  Considering that Amazon has 3 billion products across 11 marketplaces around the world, they must have a strict system of what is allowed and how it is organized.  We’ve helped Amazon sellers successfully list on Amazon , and likely know more about their policies and rules than anyone, as we assist sellers each day with it.

Many of the errors that come up when creating a listing aren’t UPC-related, though it is easy to assume so.  At the end of this article you will see the most common errors and how we suggest you deal with them.  Note the the errors listed happen equally to both codes purchased from the GS1, and codes purchased directly from us.  All of our codes are from the GS1 and follow all of the GS1 guidelines. 

With this said, you DO NOT need to own a prefix from the GS1 to list on Amazon.  If you’re buying legitimate GS1 codes the codes will work fine.  Owning a GS1 prefix is not required at 95% of retailers and involves a hefty upfront fee.



How to List a Product on Amazon

To start using the UPC code(s) you purchased, you’ll need an Amazon Merchant account that enables you to add new products to the Amazon catalog (a Pro Seller account).  Once you login to your account, click on the Catalog tab at the top left navigation, click “Add a Product“, scroll down a bit to the “List a new product” section and then click on the “I’m adding a product not sold on Amazon” link:

How to list product on Amazon?

After clicking that page, you’ll be taken to a page to select the category of your product, which you will choose depending on the product you’re selling.  You can either search for a category or browse for a category:

How to list products on Amazon?

Once your category is selected, you’ll be brought to a page that will ask for your Product Name, Brand Name, etc.  This is the “Product Identity” tab.  At the bottom of the tab is a required field called the “External Product ID”, which is where you’ll need the UPC/EAN code that you purchase from us – you’ll want to paste it there and choose UPC from the dropdown:

How to list products on Amazon?

You’ll want to go through all of the tabs and fill in the required information on each tab, as well as any other information you can provide.  Note that you can save the changes and later go back and edit them once all the required fields are filled in. 


Note: Make sure you filled in the required information on ALL tabs, otherwise you can’t submit the listing.


That’s all you need to do to list a new product on Amazon! If you want to list more unique items, you’ll need more unique UPC codes.  We offer discounts for larger quantities.  Note that each UPC can only be used for 1 unique product.  Once you’ve used the UPC it cannot be used for another product since each UPC is unique.


Note that when you update the listing, it can take up to 15 minutes for the changes to save and for your listing to become active/updated.

Also note that if Amazon isn’t accepting the UPC code, please refer to the common questions section below.


Other Issues :

Error on Amazon — “You are using UPCs, EANs, ISBNs, ASINs, or JAN codes that do not match the products you are trying to list.”

Error on Amazon — You are using UPCs, EANs, ISBNs, ASINs, or JAN codes that do not match the products you are trying to list.

This error typically happens on Amazon if you’re listing a Brand that already has UPCs and Amazon is restricting the Brand from adding more UPCs (to prevent duplicate listings).   Or it is caused by listing a product that is already on Amazon (and has a similar Product Title).  If you get this error, please visit the page below:


Click >> You are using UPCs, EANs, ISBNs, ASINs, or JAN codes that do not match the products you are trying to list.


— Receiving some error on Amazon and Amazon is requesting GS1 information, or wants Proof of Affiliation

The first step in solving this is to identify the exact error you’re getting when listing.  When you follow the instructions on this page, your listing should go live successfully.  If it doesn’t, please send the exact error and/or screenshot to us and we’ll be glad to help. 

Amazon support often offers contradictory advice (where one representative will suggest one thing while another person will say something different).  We recommend sending the exact error to us so we can better suggest what to do.  Most often, the issue is simple a Branding issue, or an issue with the way you entered the Product ID.

Note that Amazon often sends template replies that aren’t useful, so when you contact us, please follow our advice carefully as we have dealt with these issues many times and will gladly help you resolve them.


This error can occur for multiple reasons and it’s not possible to know exactly why this error is happening without troubleshooting further.


It is a common error on Amazon that can often be resolved with a bit of testing, and it typically happens if you’re listing a Brand that already has UPCs and Amazon is restricting the Brand from adding more UPCs (to prevent duplicate listings).  For example, if you try to list with Apple in the title, it will give this error because Amazon doesn’t want counterfeits or new UPCs for products that already have UPCs.


The issue typically isn’t with the UPCs themselves but with the restrictions placed on the Brand.  To troubleshoot if this is a Brand restriction, change the “Brand” field to something else unique and see if the issue goes away.  If the issue goes away, we know it was a Brand restriction.  Note, you can always adjust the Brand name back and this is simply a troubleshooting technique to test if there is a restriction.  The other way this error can occur, even if you’re using a generic brand, is if the product title has a restricted term, like a brand name in the product title itself.  To test this, simply remove any brands from the product title and see if the error persists.


Again, if you’re using a barcode number on a brand name item, Amazon will likely restrict it to prevent duplicates and counterfeits.  It flags this error since the UPC doesn’t match the brand. For example, if you’re listing an Apple phone with your own barcode, Amazon will show this error since Apple already has unique UPCs assigned to it and expects those UPCs only, which are typically restricted to outside sellers.  The work around is to enter your own brand into the Brand field, or leave as generic – you must also ensure that the Brand Name doesn’t show in the Product Title either as it will trigger this error.


The other common reason for this error is due to Brand Registry.  If you have recently applied for a trademark or Brand Registry (even if not yet approved), this error will trigger on all new listings.  It is because the GTIN you’re entering doesn’t match the Brand you registered.  In this case, you can file for a GTIN exemption and bypass the need for a GTIN at all. Amazon will require you to rent a GTIN from the GS1 directly if you want to list under that Brand – this applies only to the Brand Registry program and does not apply if you don’t have Brand Registry.


So to summarize, this error is caused by one of the following:1. Brand restriction – change Brand field and remove any Brand Names from the product title and see if the issue persists.2. Brand Registry – if you have Brand Registry, apply for a GTIN exemption.3. Creating variation listings with a different UPC prefix than other variation items.  To test, instead of creating a new variation, create a new listing per our instructions here and see if the error goes away.



What is the Barcoding System?

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. 

Can you print labels for my barcodes?

Yes, many of our customers would like us to print and ship barcodes for them.  You can always print them yourself at home or at a local print shop, but if you’d like us to handle professional printing, we’re glad to do that .  You can check our Printed Barcode Labels page for more information.

We process all orders within 24 hours, and ship within a day (3-5 Day Delivery). This is our Print & Ship service.

How do I look up a UPC code?


There is no central database for the hundreds of millions of UPCs that exist.  Each vendor registers the UPC to the product information (type, price, etc.) in their own database based on the scanner/POS system they have setup. However, there are large databases that include a fair amount of information about UPC codes that you can lookup.  Many codes may return no result even though they are active since the database hasn’t crawled it, or the owner hasn’t yet registered the UPC code.

You can look up a Universal Product Code (UPC) by using several methods and online resources. Here are some common ways to do it:

  • Online UPC Databases:

  • Below are a list of places to look up UPC codes: There are many other databases.  If you type the UPC number into Google or into Amazon you can also find more results.  Note: if the code doesn’t return any result, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is invalid, it may simply mean it hasn’t been registered yet.

  • Barcode Report

  • Barcode Lookup

  • GS1 Prefix Lookup

  • UPCitemdb.com

  • Retailer Websites:

  • Retailer websites like Amazon, Walmart, or eBay often allow you to search for products by UPC. Just go to the website, enter the UPC code in the search bar, and you should find information about the product.

  • Mobile Apps:

  • There are mobile apps available for both Android and iOS devices that can scan UPC barcodes and provide product information. Examples include “Barcode Scanner” for Android and “ScanLife Barcode & QR Reader” for iOS.

  • Barcode Scanner Devices:

  • Some handheld barcode scanner devices can read UPC codes and provide product information, assuming the UPC is in their system. These are often used in retail or inventory management.

  • Search Engines:

  • You can also use regular search engines like Google or Bing. Simply type the UPC code into the search bar, and Google will often provide information about the product.


Do I need a Barcode for My Product?

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’.

What Barcodes are Supplied by You?

We 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 start with ’06’ or ’07’ and come from the same original system as GS1 numbers, which are now outside of GS1’s control. Therefore we are able to sell these for a one-off cost.

What is the difference between UPC-A and EAN-13 Barcodes?

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 barcode is best.


UPC-A Barcodes are a subset of EAN-13 Barcodes. If the first digit of the EAN-13 number is a ‘0’, then the bars will be of both the EAN-13 and the UPC-A (without the leading ‘0’) will be identical. The displacement of the human readable numbers below differ between the UPC-A and EAN-13 barcodes. However, this is the biggest difference. Both barcodes can be scanned by the majority of scanners easily.


When Should You Use an EAN-13 vs. a UPC-A?

UPC-A Format barcodes have in tradition been used in the USA, whereas EAN-13 format barcodes have been used throughout the rest of the world. Nowadays, the majority of stores throughout the world accept barcodes in either format. However, there might be some older systems that only accept one or the other. This means that if your product is being sold in the USA, the UPC-A format barcodes are best, however, if your product is international, or sold in a country other than the USA, an EAN-13 Barcode is best.

If you come across a store that struggles to read your EAN-13 or UPC-A Barcode, they can either ignore the leading ‘0’ or add a leading ‘0’ depending on which format their system prefers. If this is done, the barcode will read the same as the opposite format (as the bars are identical regardless), and will still be globally unique.

Why this happens


The way a digit is encoded into every barcode is seven blocks of either white or black making up each digit. – A full set of digits 0-9 is called a parity. – Retail barcodes have a minimum of 2 parities one for the left side and one for the right. – This is so they can be scanned upside down and still return the correct number the right way around.

Originally the 12 digit UPC system was created in the 1970s by George Laurer. – these work with two different parities – a left side odd parity and a right side even parity (each with six digits) – the parities for these can be seen in the attached.


Later, a 13 digit EAN-13 system was introduced as a superset of the UPC barcodes. These were deliberately designed to be used in conjunction with UPC-A barcodes. And hence, employed both the left odd parity and the right even parity of the UPC barcodes, but added an additional parity (a left-even parity) which was to be used on a selection of the left-hand side digits –

The left and right-hand side of the EAN-13 barcodes are still divided into six digits each. So the initial digit determines which combination of the first six digits will use the newly created left even parity. Hence, in no EAN-13 barcode is the first digit encoded in the barcode. However, it does determine the way the other digits are encoded.


In the case of a leading ‘0’ as with our barcodes, the 0 determines that all of the initial 6 digits will use the left odd parity, meaning that the bars look the same as a UPC barcode would without the leading ‘0’ – As the UPC version also only uses the odd parity.


How Many Barcodes Should I Get?

 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 straight forward 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.


Are your Barcodes suitable for all retail products?

 The only types of retail products that do not use EAN-13 Barcodes are Books and Magazines. All other products use EAN-13 or UPC-A Barcodes – You can purchase them here.


Do Your Barcodes Work in Every Shop?

Our barcodes are accepted in nearly all stores worldwide, but 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 tens 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.

Our barcodes have been accepted in India without restrictions that we’re aware of so far. However, few of our customers reported facing some issues recently.

  1. Dmart and Metro – Dmart and Metro are now insisting on GS1 barcodes, kindly check with them before buying from us.

  2. Reliance – One of our customers had an issue with a Reliance outlet not accepting non-GS1 barcodes. However, he eventually convinced them to stock his products. But other customers have had no issues. If you are planning to sell your products in Reliance, we strongly advise you to check with them before buying from us.

  3. Spencers – One of our customers was asked to buy a separate article number from Spencers which cost him Rs.1000 per product.

We try our best to help our customers by keeping this information up-to-date. However, please check with your individual retailer(s) if you are unsure of their barcoding policy.


Do You Guarantee That All Shops Will Accept Your Barcode Numbers?

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.


Will My Barcodes Have a Company Prefix?

If you purchase 1 barcode number, then you will not be supplied with a company prefix. However if you wish to purchase either 10, 100, 1000, or 10,000 barcodes from us we can supply you with a unique company prefix. The length of the company prefix will be dependent upon how many variations are required to make a total of 13 digits. So if you order 10 barcodes your company prefix will be 1 digit longer than if you order 100.

What Data is Encoded into My Barcode?

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.


Will Your Barcodes Work Worldwide?

Yes they will. We supply EAN-13 Barcodes (which are used worldwide).

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, India, 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, India, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Rarotonga, Rwanda, India, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sultanate of Oman,  Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, UAE, Uganda, UK, USA, Vanuatu, Wales, Zambia.


Will the Barcode Number I Buy Be Unique?

Yes, we guarantee that the barcode numbers we sell have never been sold or used before. Our numbers are unique and have originated from the Uniform Code Council (now GS1 US). We provide guarantee certificates which you can use as proof that you own the barcode number. We also have a written guarantee from the company these barcodes have come from that these numbers are for our resale only – the company we get them from is recommended by George Laurer (the inventor of the UPC Barcode). Furthermore, we check our numbers for illegal use on the internet before sale so that you can be sure at the time of sale that no one is using them illegally. 


How Can Barcodes Be Sold For a One-off cost?


In the 1990s 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 digit 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 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 GS1’s control now, and hence no license fees are required.  These are the numbers bought by resellers and sold. They are ‘new’ numbers, in that they have never been used on a retail product.


How Big Should My EAN-13 Barcode Be?


The official standard size of an EAN-13 barcode is 37.3×25.9 mm – This can be officially reduced to 80% of the size (around 20×30 mm) or enlarged to 200% the size. It is dependent on the retailer as to 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.


Will My Barcodes Be Registered in an Official Database?


No – there is no up-to-date official database for barcodes to be registered (either 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. Please see here for more details.


As you list your product on Amazon, you may encounter one of the few Amazon errors that commonly exist as you attempt to use your codes.  You can find the common errors below:


ERROR: 

  • “You are using UPCs, EANs, ISBNs, ASINs, or JAN codes that do not match the products you are trying to list.”

This issue is typically not with the UPCs themselves but rather with the brand. Amazon has a brand registry. A Brand Registry on Amazon helps protect the seller’s intellectual property and provide a trusted experience for Amazon customers.


With Brand Registry involved, this error could be 1 of 2 things;


1: You are attempting to use the barcode on an item that has its brand registered on Amazon.2: You/your company is enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry and the codes you entered are not licensed by your company from GS1.

A common solution to number 1 is – from the brand field change the brand’s name to your Amazon company name (DBA) and put the brand’s name in the item description.


For example, if you are trying to list an iPhone, instead of putting Apple in the brand field, enter your Amazon company name and input the brand name of the iPhone, Apple in the item description.


As for number 2, if you or your company is with Amazon’s Brand-Registry program, you should know that it has a set of rules different from the rest of Amazon’s. For product IDs, you may try to file for an exemption to disregard the use of GTINs as an identifier to your product.


ERROR:

  • “You may not create ASINs for this brand. Please review our ASIN Creation Policy…”

This is an issue similar to that of the first error and is once again related to Brand-Registry. Follow the solution above and it should resolve the issue.


Error : PRODUCT ID: The value specified is invalid.


This can happen for a number of reasons. To identify which causes this, make sure to do the following,

1. Make sure that the codes you entered are complete and do not have spaces/gaps/dashes in between each number.2. Make sure to select the right format.

  • If 14 digits, select GTIN/GTIN-14.

  • If 13 digits, select EAN.

  • If 12 digits, select UPC.


ERROR:

  • “Sorry, this product is ineligible for Amazon Marketplace selling at this time.”


This happens if you attempt to list a product using a UPC/EAN barcode that is tied to an existing item/ASIN and in a category that Amazon does not approve for you to sell in. Double-check that the codes you entered are correct and you’ve never used it to list your other products.

T

he following error has the same explanation and solution.

  • ERROR: “The value [ ] specified cannot be used as it conflicts with the value [ ] for ASIN[ ] in the Amazon catalog. If this is ASIN [ ], update the value to match the ASIN data. If this is a different product, update identifying information (UPC/EAN/Part Number/etc.).”

  • ERROR: “The SKU data provided conflicts with the Amazon catalog.”

  • ERROR: “The SKU data provided is different from what’s already in the Amazon catalog.”

  • MANUFACTURER PART NUMBER: The value [ ] specified cannot be used as it conflicts with the value [ ] for ASIN[ _ ] in the Amazon catalog.

I

f you encounter any of these errors, it could mean that you have already listed a product using the same code (the code in error) or another seller has illegally listed products using your unique codes. Note that SnapUPC provides legitimate codes that are guaranteed to have never been assigned/reassigned to anyone else. If you run into any of these, do the following:


  1. Make sure to not use the same UPC/EAN/GTIN numbers for different listings.

  2. If you bought the codes from us, please contact us by sending us a screenshot of the error.


There are other common Amazon errors out there that a seller could potentially encounter and it is always better to reach out to your barcode provider before taking it to Amazon support. Amazon has a strong view of obtaining your UPC/EAN/GTIN directly from GS1. And although we understand their concerns, this does not entirely mean that their claims of concerns against your codes are entirely true. It should be known that Amazon has joined the GS1 Board of Governors in 2016 so it makes sense why they would always recommend that you obtain codes from GS1. Also know that Amazon can discriminate accounts if they desire, regardless of your legal ownership of GTIN’s.


List of GS1 (UPC and EAN) Barcode Country Codes

Here is the current list of barcode country codes used worldwide.

  • 000 – 019 United States and Canada

  • 020 – 029 Restricted distribution

  • 030 – 039 United States drugs (National Drug Code)

  • 030 – 039 Used to issue restricted circulation numbers within a geographic region

  • 050 – 059 Reserved for future use

  • 060 – 099 United States and Canada

  • 100 – 139 United States

  • 200 – 299 Restricted distribution

  • 300 – 379 France and Monaco

  • 380 Bulgaria

  • 383 Slovenia

  • 385 Croatia

  • 387 Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • 389 Montenegro

  • 400 – 440 Germany

  • 450 – 459 Japan

  • 460 – 469 Russia

  • 470 Kyrgyzstan

  • 471 Taiwan

  • 474 Estonia

  • 475 Latvia

  • 476 Azerbaijan

  • 477 Lithuania

  • 478 Uzbekistan

  • 479 Sri Lanka

  • 480 Philippines

  • 481 Belarus

  • 482 Ukraine

  • 484 Moldova

  • 485 Armenia

  • 486 Georgia

  • 487 Kazakhstan

  • 488 Tajikistan

  • 489 Hong Kong

  • 490 – 499 Japan

  • 500 – 509 United Kingdom

  • 520 – 521 Greece

  • 528 Lebanon

  • 529 Cyprus

  • 530 Albania

  • 531 Macedonia

  • 535 Malta

  • 539 Ireland

  • 540 – 549 Belgium and Luxembourg

  • 560 Portugal

  • 569 Iceland

  • 570 – 579 Denmark, Faroe Islands and Greenland

  • 590 Poland

  • 594 Romania

  • 599 Hungary

  • 600 – 601 South Africa

  • 603 Ghana

  • 604 Senegal

  • 608 Bahrain

  • 609 Mauritius

  • 611 Morocco

  • 613 Algeria

  • 615 Nigeria

  • 616 Kenya

  • 618 Côte d’Ivoire

  • 619 Tunisia

  • 621 Syria

  • 622 Egypt

  • 624 Libya

  • 625 Jordan

  • 626 Iran

  • 627 Kuwait

  • 628 Saudi Arabia

  • 629 United Arab Emirates