Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the questions we get asked. Please get in touch if you can’t find the answer below. As members of International Barcode Network we sell quality, legal barcodes. We are barcode specialists and pride ourselves on our helpful customer service.
If you cannot find an answer to your question, please contact us
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.
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 quote.
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 HK – 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.
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, HK, 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.
Please see ‘Why buy from us‘ for a comprehensive list of advantages.
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.
If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us.