Thousands of happy customers worldwide I Est. 2007 | 1m+ Barcodes in circulation | 10,000+ scans each day

Frequently Asked Questions

Need more information? Find the answers to the frequently asked questions about barcodes from our customers. If you still can’t find an answer to your question, then please email us.

A ‘barcode picture’ is a machine-readable image consisting of vertical black bars and spaces of variable widths. When scanned by a bar code scanner, the black bars and white spaces decode to reveal a specific 12 or 13-digit long sequence of numbers (the ‘barcode number’).
The 12-digit UPC barcode system was designed in the early 1970s by George J. Laurer in the USA (when working as an IBM engineer). A few years later, he developed a 13-digit version of the EAN-13 code for international use (outside of the USA).
EAN-13 barcode numbers are 13 digits long. They are the most common type of barcode for retail products in South Africa (and worldwide). In the USA, the 12-digit UPC is more common. Almost all barcode scanners can read both types of code.
The majority of retail stores use a barcode system (and many more will implement a barcode system soon). Because of this, we recommend that you get a barcode if you want to sell your product in retail stores. You may also need a barcode if you want to sell your product online (stores such as Amazon and CD Baby require your product to have a barcode).
Order at our website. You will receive it by email with the guarantee certificate and barcode images (in 4 different formats – .eps, svg, jpeg & pdf) as attached files. The barcode image can then be incorporated into your product packaging in an easily visible flat location, either by yourself or by your graphic designer. Ensure you take note of the barcode specifications if you intend to change the size of the barcode. Please see our short video on how to use your barcode.

If you want, you can also arrange to get barcode labels printed to be manually stuck onto your product. Talk to label printers in your area to arrange this.

Yes, you can – just let us know what you want when you make your order. We normally provide barcodes in EAN-13 format because this is the most common format used in South Africa – however, we are happy to supply your barcode to you in UPC-A format instead (or as well), if you prefer. UPC barcodes are 12 digits long and are used mainly in the USA. EAN barcodes are usually 13 digits long, and they are used all over the world. Most barcode scanners can read both types of barcodes.
It is usually necessary to have a different EAN-13 barcode for each different product variation (each different size, colour, design etc.). Please see our short video on how many barcodes do I need?.Certain products, such as greeting cards or postcards, sometimes use just one barcode number (although often with a 2-digit supplement at the end – i.e. EAN13+2 format).
The bar codes that we supply are GS1-origin barcodes that are unique worldwide. They are suitable for use on any retail product (although if you have a book or magazine, you might want to get an ISBN or ISSN number instead).
To our knowledge, the barcodes we sell are accepted by every retailer in South Africa. If you are planning to export your product overseas, there are a few retailers that won’t accept our barcodes because they have a specific requirement that you must be a member of GS1 (these stores are Kroger’s and Wal-Mart in the USA, and Super Retail Group in Australia and New Zealand). Please see our Barcode Acceptance page for further information
Yes. The barcodes we sell are international codes. They can be used in any country in the world. We have been in business since 2007 and have customers using our barcodes in Africa, Asia, Europe, America and the Middle East.
Yes. Our barcodes come from UCC (now called GS1-US), which is the official barcode body. UCC (the Uniform Code Council) first allocated our barcodes to a company in the USA (before UCC started charging annual membership fees). This company then on-sold a large block of numbers that they didn’t need, and we purchased some of these.

For more information: Our barcode numbers were assigned by UCC (now called GS1-US) to manufacturers in the USA in the early 1990s before GS1-US had started charging membership fees. When GS1-US introduced annual membership fees in the early 2000s, these manufacturers refused to pay & took GS1 to Court. The manufacturers succeeded, winning an out-of-court settlement of about $4,000,000 USD. Under the terms of the settlement, these manufacturers owned their barcode numbers & did not have to pay any membership fees to GS1. Some of these manufacturers had large quantities of unused barcode numbers, so they sold some of them to other companies. This is where our barcode numbers come from.

Yes, our barcodes are legal for use in South Africa and worldwide. They function on thousands of products in South Africa and over 120 other countries worldwide. They are from the same original system as GS1 barcodes.
No, your barcode will not have your company prefix. The only way to get a barcode with a company prefix is to purchase many barcodes from a global standards body (100+) and pay their expensive annual membership fees. It is not possible to buy a single barcode number that has your company prefix. HOWEVER, most retailers (99.95%) don’t care about the ‘company prefix’. They want a legitimate barcode that works.
No product (or company) information is contained in a barcode. A barcode is simply a unique sequence of digits (encoded into vertical black bars and spaces). Your barcode will only become connected to your product when put into a database or a retailer’s inventory system.
To purchase a barcode from our company, please go to the Barcode Shop page, enter the number of items you want, click “Add to Cart”, and then click “Go to Checkout”. You can then review your order and make the payment (by credit card or PayPal). After payment, you will receive an email confirming your order. We will then process your order (usually within the next 1 – 12 hours) and email your barcode order.
You can begin using your barcode immediately. Attach it to your product and then give it to your retailers. They will enter your barcode number & product information into their system. After that, when your retailers scan your barcode, the product information will appear on their screen.
No, you do not have to be a registered company to purchase a barcode. Individuals, organisations, or groups can purchase a barcode from our company.
We are the best place to buy barcodes because:

  1. Low-cost quality barcodes
  2. No ongoing annual fees
  3. FREE barcode graphic included
  4. No membership requirements
  5. You are the legal owner of your barcodes
  6. Instant delivery of EAN, UPC, ITF and ISBN barcodes (not ISSN or QR)
  7. We offer other barcode services, including pallet codes.
  8. Exceptional customer support
  9. Our team has many years of experience supplying barcodes to customers internationally.

Please see ‘Why buy from us‘ for more information.

YES. We guarantee that the barcode number you will receive will be unique worldwide. No one else in the world can legally use your barcode number. We will also give you a certificate of authenticity.
No, your barcode will never expire. You own the barcode for life. You can continue using it for as long as you need to.
No, barcodes (Global Trade Item Numbers or GTIN’s for short) that have already been used in retailers are permanently exclusive and cannot be reused on a different product. This is because the previous information is still in retailers databases so the previous product name and price would be associated with this barcode (GTIN).
No, you will never have to pay any renewal or membership fees. All of our prices are simple one-off payments.

The standard size for an EAN-13 barcode is about 38mm wide, but anything within 80% – 200% of the standard size is okay. The smallest recommended width for an EAN-13 barcode is 30mm. For more information, see the official standards for barcode size.

Our company offers an optional barcode registration service (this is not compulsory) when you buy barcodes from us. This allows you to register your barcode and product on several of the major internet databases. However, there is no central database for barcode numbers. After receiving a barcode number from us, you can begin using it straight away. You do not have to register it first. It is your responsibility to monitor the use of your barcode number (i.e. to ensure you assign it to one product/SKU only).
Please see our detailed information on Barcode Colour and our Barcode Colour Guide PDF for information about this. Printing your barcode in black on white is the safest thing to do. However, it is okay to print the barcode in some other colours too. If you are adding colour to the barcode, the barcode background needs to be a warm colour (e.g. red, yellow, or orange), and the bars need to be a cool colour (e.g. green or blue). You cannot use metallic colours on any part of the barcode. If you print your barcode in colours other than black and white, we recommend thoroughly testing it to ensure that it scans well before using it. Please watch our short video on colour do’s & don’ts.
Our website has some sample barcode graphics – see the sample images here. If you have difficulty viewing or downloading these, send us an email & we will send you some sample barcode images.
A GLN is a globally unique number that some retailers use as a location identifier for suppliers. If you require a GLN, please purchase it here.
Published books need an ISBN number. Please see here for details on obtaining an ISBN. Then, come back to us and order the barcode images for your number online. We will then email your ISBN barcode images to you, and you can start using them on your book cover.
Magazines and newspapers are serial publications. They use an ISSN number. You need to get an ISSN number for your publication (please see Magazine Barcodes for information on how to obtain an ISSN). Then, come back to us and order the barcode images for your number online. We will then email your barcode images to you.
Both UPC-A Numbers and EAN-13 numbers are used as retail barcodes for scanning at the checkout to obtain the price and other product information. The main differences between them are that UPC-A Barcodes only have 12 digits, and EAN-13 barcodes have 13 digits. Furthermore, the displacement of the numbers below the barcodes differs.

Both versions are for international use. However, UPC-A Barcodes are far more common in the USA, and EAN-13 Barcodes are far more common everywhere else. This means some retailers may be unfamiliar with one format or have their system set up to not accept 13-digit or 12-digit numbers. Regardless of this, either format functions.

As shown in the image below, the actual bars of the UPC-A format barcode and the EAN-13 format barcode (with a leading ‘0’) are identical. This means that they will scan in the same way regardless of which country they are in. If a retailer’s system does not allow 13-digit numbers, the leading ‘0’ can be ignored when typing the number into the system, and the barcode will work in the same way as if it were a UPC-A format barcode. Similarly, if 13 digits are required, a ‘0’ can be added to the beginning of the UPC-A barcode to turn it into an EAN-13. Either way round, the barcode will be globally unique and legal for use internationally.

07 EAN-UPC

Our barcodes begin with a ’07’. This means that the barcodes themselves originally came 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.
While many resellers are legitimate, some are not. Please see https://barcodesellers.org/warnings

Buy retail product barcodes

We also provide the following:

Book Barcodes
Magazine Barcodes
CD Barcodes
DVD Barcodes
Barcode Verification
Barcode Registration
Why Buy Barcodes From Us?
QR Codes
Amazon Barcode Numbers
ITF-14 Carton Codes
Other Barcodes