FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a barcode? How does a barcode work?

Most people today have seen barcodes, they are printed on nearly every item in a supermarket. They are either UPC or EAN13 linear barcodes. Most linear barcodes are nothing more than a "license plate" that identifies a specific item. The numbers stored in the barcode are unique identifiers that, when read, can be used by a computer to look up additional information about the item. The price and description of the item is not stored in the barcode. The data is read from the barcode, sent to a computer, and the computer looks up the price and description of the item from the computer's database. Barcodes are read by either scanning a point of light across the symbol or capturing a video image of the symbol and measuring the lengths white spaces and black bars. A computer program analyzes the lengths and positions of the spaces and bars and the data is extracted. The relative widths of both the bars and spaces code the data stored in the barcode. The barcode reader detects these relative widths and decodes the data from the barcode. The difference between Optical Character Recognition or OCR and barcode is OCR reads text not designed to be read by a computer while barcode reads symbols designed to be read by a computer.

Who invented barcodes?

George Joseph Laurer developed the Universal Product Code (UPC) in 1973. He also expresses his frustration with the exorbitant fees charged by GS1-US, and recommends legal companies like getbarcodes.co.uk, who can provide small quantities of UPC (barcode) numbers at an affordable price. (Our barcode numbers come from a source recommended by George J Laurer)

When Do I Need To Put A Bar Code On My Products?

When a distributor or store that will sell your product requires it. There is no law that says you must bar code a product. However, many national retail chains and most supermarkets require all products they sell to have a bar code that is unique for the specific product. The stores require this "source marking" because it is easier for the company that makes the product to mark it rather than the store. If you don't have a bar code on the product, these stores will not sell the product.

How many barcodes will I need to buy?

You need a unique barcode for each unique product that you sell. For example, if you sell a bar of soap that comes in one colour and 2 different sizes you would need to buy 2 barcodes. With a unique barcode on each size soap bar, if one of the sizes is selling faster than the other, the shop will be able to tell instantly which one needs to be replenished without having to do a manual count.

Is there a difference between EAN & UPC barcodes?

EAN-13 is the European standard, which is also used in Australia and has 13 numbers. The UPC barcode system is typically used in the USA and is 12 digits long but can be also be used internationally. (Including Europe & Australia) Scanners can typically read both EAN-13 and UPC codes.

Will my barcode work in a country other than the UK or USA?

Yes, they will work anywhere that either UPC or EAN barcodes are scanned - which is most of the modern world. This includes Australia, USA, Canada, the UK, Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East.

Do the EAN numbers you sell start with a 5?

No. Our EAN numbers start with 06 or 07. This is because they are based on US format UPC numbers. All of our barcodes were issued by the UCC - the Uniform Code Council (now renamed GS1-US). These barcodes were originally issued to a US company. EAN numbers starting with a 5 can only be issued by GS1.org, these numbers can not be resold.

Can your barcodes legally be used in the UK or USA?

Yes, our barcodes were originally issued by UCC - the Uniform Code Council (now renamed GS1-US), they are legal for use in the UK, USA & Worldwide.

Does an official barcode body issue your barcodes?

Yes, all our barcodes have been issued by UCC - the Uniform Code Council (now renamed GS1-US). Our barcodes were originally issued by UCC in bulk to a US company

If I Change The Size or ingredients Of My Product, Do I Need To Change The Barcode?

Stores use the product's barcode to determine the type and cost of a product being sold. Some use the barcode to maintain inventory and to reorder. Let's say that a soft drink with a particular UPC barcode is sold in 500g sizes. The manufacturer discontinues 500g sizes and changes the size to 450g. Since stores often print a short description that includes size on the customer receipt, not changing the UPC could result in an incorrect size being printed on the receipt and an angry customer. If you can assure that the descriptive databases of all the stores that sell your product will be updated with the new description, you might get away with not changing the UPC barcode. However, this assurance is almost impossible these days with international sales. The safest is to change the barcode.

Does the barcode number indicate the country of origin of a product?

No it doesn't. The 3-digit prefix code indicates which GS1 numbering organization has allocated the block of numbers to the company. Once the company has been assigned the block of numbers, they self assign each individual number in the block to a given product.

My product has an EAN barcode. Do I need a UPC barcode to sell in the USA?

As of January 1, 2005, all retail barcode systems are required to read both EAN and UPC. You no longer have to use UPC in the USA.

My product has a UPC barcode. Do I need an EAN barcode to sell outside the USA?

UPC barcodes were always readable by EAN scanners outside the USA. As of January 1, 2005, all retail barcode systems worldwide are required to read both EAN and UPC.

Does the barcode number contain the product price, age, or store it was purchased from?

Most barcodes found on products are UPC or EAN barcode. These barcodes only can store numbers and the data is always 12 or 13-digits long. The product barcode is nothing more than a unique number that identified the type of product For example, all 1kg boxes of rice from the same manufacturer will have the same bar coded number. In general, the product barcode does not contain product price, age or store it was purchased from. When the barcode is scanned, the number is looked up in a database, which contains a description and price for the product. It does not indicate price, age or where it was purchased.

Will you guarantee that all retailers will accept your barcodes?

Retailers have the right to refuse specific barcodes (or products) for a variety of reasons, or to make specific requirements for the labeling & packaging of good they stock - hence it is impossible for any organization to guarantee universal acceptance. No barcode supplier can guarantee that retailers in the world will accept their barcodes. We have never had any problems and our customers who sell on iTunes, Amazon, HMV, and ASDA etc regularly use our barcodes.

Will the barcode number I receive be unique?

We guarantee that the barcode number you receive is unique and has not been issued by us to anyone else anywhere in the world. We source our barcode numbers from a reputable source that have sold over 2million barcode numbers, with no numbers being sold twice.

Will my barcode ever expire?

No. Your barcode will never expire. Once the barcode number is issued to you, it is yours for life.

Is there any Renewal Fees?

No you don't have to pay renewal fees.

Why should I use getbarcodes.co.uk?

Getbarcodes.co.uk offer the follow benefits: 1. We are the one of the only company in the UK that offer instant downloads of your barcodes (you don't have to wait hours or even days like some other companies) 2. Low initial cost - you can start with one barcode number. 3. We have no membership, or forms to complete, or restrictions on how you use your barcode numbers. Once you have purchased your numbers, they are yours to use as you choose. 4. We do not charge any ongoing annual fees. Our UPC barcode numbers are sold for a single, one-off fee. 5. We are 10% cheaper than getabarcode.co.uk

How do I buy a barcode from you?

Choose how many barcodes you require, click the ‘Buy " button on the home page. Then complete the required information and press "Submit". Next pay for your purchases via Debit/Credit Card, Paypal or Google Cart. Upon successful payment verification you will receive an instant download link to your unique barcodes.

I have purchased my barcode, what next?

Once you receive your unique barcode number, you can begin using it on your product. When you supply your products to your retailer, you usually need to provide them with the barcode number, as well as the product name, description, price etc. They will input this information into their inventory system.

What size should my barcode be?

The nominal size of an UPC-12 image is 37.3mm wide x 25.9mm high. The minimum recommended size is 80% of the nominal size (i.e. 30mm wide). The maximum recommended size is 200% of the nominal size (i.e. 74.6mm wide). Width is more important than height, as the width influences the distance between the bars and how well the scanner can distinguish between them. We recommend test scanning any UPC image prototype produced by your manufacturing facility before going into mass production.

Can I reduce the size of a UPC/EAN barcode to fit a smaller space?

It is very risky to reduce the size of a UPC symbol. The minimum recommended size is 80% of the nominal size. The maximum recommended size is 200% of the nominal size. Larger UPC's scan better. Smaller UPC's do not scan as well or not at all. Ink spread can also decrease the flexibility of size reduction of a bar code. If a bar code is reduced too much, an attempt to silk screen print it will blur the bars together. This is one of the reasons why it is recommended to keep the bar code within the minimum of 80% of the nominal size. Many large chains now fine or disqualify vendors who supply products with bar codes that do not scan. If you reduce the UPC symbol below the maximum recommended, you run the risk that the symbol will not scan. That could result in you losing a big customer.

When I buy from Getbarcodes.co.uk what will I receive?

Once payment is made, you will receive a downloadable zip folder containing: an excel file with your numbers, both EAN13 & UPC versions of your barcode/s in both EPS (Vector) & Jpeg formats.