Author Archive for Phil Peretz

Everything you need to know about Barcodes

nwb_sq What We Provide:

  • Unique EAN and UPC Barcode Numbers always – never reused or recycled.  (UPC are used in US/Canada and can be read worldwide — EAN are used in Europe, Australia, Asia, South America)
  • Lightning Fast Digital Delivery. Barcodes within Minutes.
  • No Annual Fees, No Hidden Charges – barcodes never expire.
  • Free phone or email support – Access to our ‘after the sale videos’ and our 4-minute mentor video series.
  • Excel spreadsheet with all of your UPC and EAN numbers
  • EAN-13 and UPC-A graphics – EPS (scalable vector) and 600 dpi JPG. Barcodes are provided at 1.5″ x 1.0″ (38.27mm x 20.3mm) and can be scaled +/-20%.
  • Certificate of Authenticity/Transfer of Ownership
  • Our very comprehensive Resource and Support Guide.
  • Additional after the sale solutions including shipping container barcodes, QR Codes and free webinars.

Please note: UPCs/EANs are good for all products except items sold by variable weight (Meat, Bulk Products, Produce), Books (require ISBN) and Pharmaceuticals.

We provide all of the necessary tools for you to get you going with your barcodes. Our support and resource guide covers answers to many frequently asked questions, shipping container codes, detailed information about the certificate of authenticity, spreadsheet, barcode graphics, labels and much more. This is the perfect companion to our free eBook, "Barcodes Demystified" In addition to our after the sale support and resources, we provide a printable Certificate of Authenticity and transfer of ownership, spreadsheet of all numbers and EAN and UPC barcodes in both EPS and JPG formats.

What’s the difference between barcode, GTIN, UPC and EAN?

The term “Barcode” is a very general term that means any optical scanning symbology ranging from UPCs to the barcodes on direct mail pieces that you get.

The real term is GTIN which stands for Global Trade Identification Number. GTINs are a family of numbers and are all related. The GTIN-12 is the same as a UPC-A. GTIN-12 stands for Global Trade Identification Number – 12 Digits.

The GTIN-13 is the same as the EAN or EAN-13 and is a 13 digit number. The GTIN-12 (UPC) is used exclusively in the United States and Canada and the GTIN-13 (EAN) is used outside of the United States and Canada.

UPCs do not have a country code and EANs do. The additional leading digit on the EAN is the country code. Since we are a U.S. Based company, our EANs will start with a zero. These can be used worldwide. gtin

The other barcode in the illustration above is called a GTIN-14 or a shipping container barcode. This is part of the family of barcodes and sometimes your retailers will ask you to have one on the master container. The first number is a packaging indicator and should be any number between 1 and 7, the next number is a zero, the following 11 digits are the first 11 digits from the barcode used for the items inside the master container and the last number is a check sum (or check digit). If you need these, we can create these for you.  The reason that these are sometimes used is so they can automate their inventory receiving and warehouse management.

Ready To Order UPCs?Click here - immediate service.

Why do I need a UPC barcode?
Retailers require barcodes because UPC Barcodes are used to convey prices to the electronic cash registers in stores and are also used to help manage inventory.  By managing inventory, the retailer knows when to reorder products that have reached reorder points.

How many UPCs or EANs will I need?
You will need one for each product or variation of the product that you sell. If you are selling an item that comes in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, you will need one for each variation. Each of these items is a SKU (Stock Keeping Unit). Each SKU is tracked individually so each item needs it’s own UPC or EAN barcode for tracking. UPC barcodes are used in the United States and Canada – these are 12-digit barcodes. EAN barcodes are used elsewhere – these are 13 digit barcodes. All Products, Food, Beverages, Clothing, CDs, Car Parts, Hardware, Tools, Nutraceuticals, all use the same version of a barcode.   If you are selling worldwide, here is a good article about how to combine EAN and UPC barcodes.

How do I get a UPC (or EAN)?

  • You go  to  the GS1
  • You come to Nationwide Barcode.

Here is an article about the differences between GS1 and Nationwide Barcode.

Here is how it works:
We own a large number of prefixes. These prefixes belong to us and each one allows us to generate 100,000 UPC and EAN barcodes. Although these prefixes may be under other trade names that are under our care and control, the individual UPCs and EANs that we sell have never been used. We guarantee that these numbers are pristine….not duplicated or previously used.

We continue to own and manage the prefix and are selling you a subset of the UPCs and EANs that we own. If you go to the GS1 and search the prefix, it will list the original manufacturer name. 90% of retailers do not require that you have your own prefix.

They simply take the barcode number along with your product info and enter it into their inventory system that connects to their Electronic Point of Sales systems.

If you are planning on selling into Kroger, Walmart/Sam’s Club, JC Penney’s, Macy’s/Bloomingdales, they absolutely require a direct relationship with the GS1,

The following stores depending on your national and regional scope may require a direct relationship with the GS1: Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walgreen’s, Sears,  Nordstrom’s, Neiman Marcus, K-Mart. Certain EDI/ESI and logistical companies who do business with Walmart and Kroger may also have the same requirements as Walmart and Kroger.

If you are listing your products on Amazon and doing your fulfillment, we may be a perfect solution…if you are tied into Amazon EDI they may require a direct relationship with the GS1. You should discuss acceptance of barcodes from a reseller vs. GS1 before making your purchase   If you are planning on selling to Walmart/Sam’s Club, J.C. Penney’s. Kroger’s, Macy’s or other stores that tie the UPC prefix into EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) you will need to get your UPCs directly from the GS1.

Effective September 28, 2014, if you are working with Amazon’s EDI system, they require a direct relationship with the GS1. If you are selling brand-name merchandise on Amazon that has an original manufacturer UPC you need to use that UPC.


Ready To Order UPCs?Click here - immediate service.

What’s the difference between You and some of those other guys?
We can’t speak for all of those other guys, but we can tell you that there are some resellers who charge way too much, there are a couple who make up numbers and there are some who are legitimate. The thing to look for is how comfortable you feel with the company that you are going to do business with. We wrote the definitive guide to barcodes (Barcodes Demystified) with excerpts from George Laurer, the inventor of the UPC Barcode.  We pride ourselves on providing you with all the information you need to do business and integrate UPCs into your product line. Look at their websites…then, look at ours. We do this because you are important. We sincerely appreciate you.

Three Very Important Things!

  • We are Better Business Bureau Accredited. This means that we have proven to them that we are an ethically based business (with no unresolved complaints).
  • We have been deemed “one of the legitimate guys” by George Laurer – the inventor of the UPC Barcode. He co-manages the Authenticated UPC Directory website and we provided him with all of our contractual information showing that we are legitimate.
  • We are Trustwave  certified – this indicates that we have a secure site that means a strict level of internet compliance.


Once you place your order for your Barcodes, you will be directed to a page where you can download your UPCs.

What do I do after I get my UPCs/EANs?
You either include the barcode graphic as part of your packaging design or (if it’s already done) get barcode labels. We’ll get you great prices from our friends at Pacific Barcode. They are fast, too. You are now ready for business and can start selling your products to stores  We have sold barcodes to clients who in turn sell on Amazon, to Lowes, Staples, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Office Max, Target and thousands of other stores. Click here to read some recommendations.

Ready To Order UPCs?Click here - immediate service.

Do I need to register my UPC barcodes?
There is no formal EAN or UPC database of products either nationwide or worldwide. You supply the stores with a list of your products, product details and the UPC/EAN number for each item. We also own – this is an optional registration service for U.S/Canadian companies that we provide where we push the data from the site to a variety of search engines. There are several reasons why you will want to upload your product to the site.

  1. You are formalizing the ownership of your UPC Barcode. If anyone ever made up a number that coincidentally was the number you own, you can use this as quick and easy proof that you own the number.
  2. It’s marketing…additional marketing is always good.
  3. This becomes an inbound link from our site to yours and will help with SEO of your site.
  4. It’s pretty cool to have your products available for the world to see,

How Barcodes Work:

  • There is nothing embedded in a UPC or EAN barcode except for the numbers that are beneath the barcode. When they enter the info into their database, the numbers are associated with your product. When a barcode scanner scans the barcode, it turns the bars back into numbers and looks for the item associated with it.
  • There are a number of ways that you can communicate this information to the retailers, your retailer will let you know how they want the information. Sometimes they will ask for a printed sheet with a list of your items, sometimes they will want an excel spreadsheet that they can upload to their database. This all depends on the number of items and their level of technical requirements.
  • The information that you have supplied gets entered into the computer that connects all of their POS systems (electronic cash registers). All of this is done at store level because there is no accurate and complete database of products, and if there was, it could potentially carry billions of items. That’s too much data for local stores to access, so, all stores only concern themselves with their inventory.
  • Your products are delivered to the retailer and once received into inventory and are now available for purchase.
  • Sometimes your retailers will ask you to add an additional barcode to the outside carton. They will refer to this as a Shipping Container Barcode or a GTIN-14. We can provide those too.
  • A customer picks up the item to be purchased and heads to the checkstand.
  • The item is scanned and the point of sale system (cash register) requests information about the product from the database. Once purchased, the Point of Sales system tells the database to subtract the number of items purchased.
  • The customer pays for the item and the transaction is complete.
Ready To Order UPCs?Click here - immediate service.
UPC/EAN QuantityUnit PriceTotal

Ready to buy?
Ready To Order UPCs?Click here - immediate service.

How do you register a barcode?

After you buy a barcode, the next steps are pretty simple. First, there are no formal comprehensive regional or world-wide database. Open sites like and are hobbyist sites that are really well done but contain a small fraction of barcodes and products, and, since it is an “open to the public” site, many times the barcode and product information can be inaccurate.

The true registration process is less formal than what people anticipate and is strictly between you and your retailers. When people purchase EAN or UPC barcodes from us, we provide a transfer of ownership (and certificate of authenticity) for the single or block of barcodes. We also send along an excel spreadsheet containing all of the numbers to make it easier to track which barcode goes with each of your products. The process of choosing which barcode goes with which product is completely arbitrary. Many people use the spreadsheet that I send to keep track of their barcode assignments.

Then, as you are about to launch a new product and sell it into stores, you assign one of the barcode numbers to the product and then convey the information about that product to your retailer.  If you are selling products that have variations (size, design, style, quantity, etc.), you will need to assign a different barcode number to each one of these items.

The retailer then inputs this into their inventory management system which is tied to their electronic point of sale systems.

The way it works is:
1. You tell the retailer about the product that is going into their store (description, price, barcode number)

2. The retailer enters the information into their database along with the starting inventory and usually the quantity where they plan on reordering your item(s).

3. Then, they sell the item…customer picks up the item in the store, takes it to the check stand, the item is scanned and the ‘cash register’ sends a query to the database. The database sends the item and pricing information to the ‘cash register’. At the same time the ‘cash register’ tells the database to remove the items purchased from inventory

Every retailer from your local hardware store to Amazon has their own ‘closed’ system. Every retailer has their own system based on the inventory management and accounting systems that they use.

Between UPC numbers (US and Canada) and EAN numbers (Europe, Australia, South America, Africa), there is the potential to have 100 Billion different numbers that can be used for barcodes.  (Not every series is used and some of the number series are reserved for internal use or coupons, but it’s still a massive number) Nobody wants to manage a database this large, so, everyone manages their own system that is relevant to their inventory.

When you purchase from Nationwide Barcode, you can sign up at UPC Barcodes .com, a site that will take your UPC Barcode and Product information and make it available  as part of an indexed data feed going to Google and Bing.

Learn how  to get your barcodes to show up on smart phones.

For musicians and video producers, Soundscan is an optional registration process.

GTIN-14 Shipping Container Barcodes

If you need to determine what the checkdigit is for your GTIN-Shipping Container Barcodes based on your UPC barcode, here is an easy way to do this.

A Shipping Container Barcode is configured as follows:


X is the packaging indicator. Although you can use 0 through 7, we recommend 1 through 7 since this will minimize problems with dropped zeros in Excel.
Y is always 0 (Zero)
Z is the first 11 digits of your UPC barcode
A is the check digit

The way that you can determine the checkdigit is by creating an Excel Spreadsheet, enter the numbers X through Z into cell A1 and enter the following formula into cell A2

=A1 & MOD(10 – MOD( SUMPRODUCT(MID(A1, {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13}, 1) * {3,1,3,1,3,1,3,1,3,1,3,1,3}), 10), 10)

If you would like us to create your GTIN14 Shipping Container Barcode, click the link.

If you have software and want to do it yourself, you will use an Interleaved 2 of 5 symbology with a mod 10 check digit.

Our philosophy

Message from founder and President, Phil Peretz

I appreciate our clients and hope that you will consider us for all of your EAN and UPC barcode needs. We want to make the purchase and ownership of UPC Barcodes and EAN Barcodes to be easy as possible for businesses of all sizes.

Our goal is to provide barcodes at a very fair price backed by world-class phone and email support for our clients. Whether you need 1 barcode for a single product to be sold at a local retailer, a batch for all of your products to be sold nationwide at stores like Whole Foods, Lowes, Costco, Fryes Electronics or other chain stores or you need thousands of barcodes for selling on Amazon, Google Merchant or other internet websites we will treat you like a VIP. We believe that our clients are our most valuable asset. We appreciate you and know that without out you, we wouldn’t be in business.

There is a lot of information on the internet about barcodes…some fact and some fiction.  We have a tremendous amount of information on our site and we do this to help you understand the process and to make an informed decision.

We take a no-nonsense approach to business and pride ourselves on working with you every step of the way. We also have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. This demonstrates our business ethics. A rating and no customer complaints.

What we do is legal because of a class action suit won against the GS1 back in 2002 and our stockpile of barcode prefixes from our high tech manufacturing days.  We guarantee that our numbers have never been previously used nor recycled. When you buy from us, these numbers belong to you and become an asset of your organization. When we sell a number or block of numbers, our infrastructure allows us to lock these out of our system so they can never be resold to anyone else. We don’t like errors or surprises. We know you don’t either.

In addition to top-notch service, we also send you a link to download a complete resource and support guide….and we provide free phone and email technical support.

We have a video that we have produced that is a very comprehensive tutorial. You can find this video on our home page toward the bottom of the page.

We are commerce, SEO, marketing, graphics and merchandising professionals. Our sister company is Media Media Inc, a long standing member of Visual Media Alliance and Printing Industries of America. We know how important it is to get high quality graphics, guaranteed unique barcode numbers and an attention to detail not found anywhere else.

We also know that you need these quickly, so we have automated our site allowing you to get your barcodes within seconds of placing your order.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call our sales department or e-mail us directly at or, look in the bottom right hand corner of your screen and click on the contact tab.

Thank you for your business,

Phil Peretz
Nationwide Barcode
Direct Number: 775-376–8075

This direct number comes directly into my office. If you have questions and would prefer to speak directly to me instead of my customer service team, I welcome the call.

UPC Barcode celebrates 40th Birthday

George Joseph Laurer developed the Universal Product Code in 1973.  As an engineer at IBM he was asked to develop the pattern used for the Universal Product Code.

A 36-year veteran of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who retired in June 1987, George Laurer is the holder of 25 patents. He is also the author of 20 published Technical Disclosure Bulletins.

During his career, IBM recognized and rewarded him for many technical innovations. He received the prestigious “Raleigh, N.C. Inventor of the Year” award in 1976. In 1980 he was honored with IBM’s Corporate Technical Achievement award for his work on the Universal Product Code proposal that was issued in 1970 by McKinsey & Co. and Uniform Grocery Product Code Council, Inc.

Before joining IBM, he received the B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1951. He came to the University after having served in World War II and attending a technical school to learn radio and TV repair. Upon completion of his first year at the technical school, his instructor convinced him that he should not continue that course of study, but that he should go to college.

The Barcode was first used commercially in 1966, however there needed to be some standards set in order for it to be universally used.

About 1970 McKinsey & Co. (a consulting firm) in conjunction with UGPCC (Uniform Grocery Product Code Council, a corporation formed by the grocery industries leading trade associations) defined a numeric format for product identification. A request was made to many companies to make a proposal of a code, a symbol incorporating the code, and specifications for both. The request went to Singer, National Cash Register, Littion Industries, RCA, Pitney-Bowes, IBM and many others large and small.

Most of the other companies had optical codes and scanning equipment in the market place already. IBM did not. Therefore, in 1971 George Laurer was given the task by IBM management to design the best code and symbol suitable for the grocery industry.

After considerable effort he conceived an approach and detailed the symbol. Two other men then worked with him to theoretically calculate the readability and to write IBM’s formal proposal to the industry.

They submitted three proposals, each with minor changes requested by UGPCC. One was to extend the capacity to eleven digits, and another was to design a “zero suppressed” version.

All contenders were asked to demonstrate their equipment and have it evaluated by Battelle Memorial Institute. Laurer was very instrumental in the design of the equipment and received several patents describing the methods they used in “finding”, decoding, and error correction.

In May of 1973, IBM’s proposal was accepted. The only changes made by UGPCC was the type font used for the human readable and the ink contrast specification.

The UGPCC migrated to the U.P.C. symbol set or Universal Product Code, which is still used throughout the US and Canada. (The EAN, a variation of the UPC is used in other parts of the world) Because of this, George J. Laurer is considered the inventor of UPC or Uniform Product Code, which was invented in 1973.

The first UPC barcode scanner was installed in Troy, Ohio in June 1974 and the first product to have a barcode printed on the product was a pack of Wrigley’s Gum.

Additional information


Labeling Packaging and Containers

According to the FDA, there are two ways to label packages and containers for food and drug items.

The first way is to place all required label statements on the front label panel. The front label panel is also called the Principal Display Panel or PDP. The second way is to place certain specified label statements on the PDP and other labeling on the Information Panel. The information panel must be immediately to the right of the PDP so the consumer can see the information panel facing the product.

Place the statement of identity, or name of the food, and the net quantity statement, or amount of product, on the PDP and on the alternate PDP.

The information panel label must contain certain label statements including the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, the ingredient list, nutrition labeling and any required allergy labeling.

When designing the information panel labeling, use a print or type size that is prominent, conspicuous and easy to read. Use letters that are at least one-sixteenth (1/16) inch in height based on the lower case letter “o”. The letters must not be more than three times as high as they are wide, and the lettering must contrast sufficiently with the background so as to be easy to read. Do not crowd required labeling with artwork or non-required labeling.

Intervening materials are items that are not required by the FDA and these items are not permitted to be placed between the required labeling on the information panel. A UPC Barcode is not considered a part of the FDA required labeling. A UPC Barcode is not regulated by any government agency and is merely a convenience or requirement of retail stores to help convey pricing and manage inventory.

For more information about UPC barcodes and to buy a barcode, contact Nationwide Barcode.

For more information about labeling requirements, go to the FDA website.

If you need labels, contact Pacific Barcode. Pacific Barcode is a preferred vendor of Nationwide Barcode.

Combining EAN and UPC Barcodes for packaging design

This article is part II about UPC and EAN barcodes being the same.  We’ll recap quickly and then move on…

UPC barcodes are 12 digit barcodes and are used exclusively in the United States and Canada. You can convert a UPC barcode to an EAN, but you cannot go the other way. This is because the Country Code for both the U.S. and Canada is zero.  EANs are 13 digit codes and unlike UPCs contain a country code.

The entire article is here:

When you purchase barcodes from Nationwide Barcode, you receive a few things including a spreadsheet of numbers and barcode graphics.UPC-A and EAN-13 graphic overlay

The spreadsheet will have a list of both the UPC number and the EAN equivalent (or variant).

Since the mathematical computation for determining the check digit is exactly the same for both the UPC and the EAN, the additional number for the EAN is a zero which doesn’t doesn’t affect the barcode’s check digit, you can see in the illustration above that the only difference is the extra number below the EAN barcode graphic.

The leading zeros are nulls, meaning that they don’t get recognized, 01234 turns into 1234, 001234 turns into 1234, etc.

Here is our solution for the addition of a barcode if you are planning on selling in different parts of the world.

UPC and EAN barcodes for packaging

Simply use the UPC barcode graphic and below typeset your EAN number.

Since the graphic for both EAN and UPC are the same and the only difference is the addition of a leading 13th digit (zero), this will solve the issue of having to repackage or relabel for countries that exclusively use EAN barcodes.

Leading Digits – UPC-A Barcodes

The first digit of a UPC-A Barcode is number system character. The following table shows you what different number system characters mean

0:      Standard UPC number
1:      Reserved
2:      Random weight items (fruits, meat, vegetables, etc.
3:      Pharmaceuticals
4:      In store marketing for retailers (a store can set up unique barcodes for themselves, but no other store will be able to read them)
5:      Coupons
6, 7,8   Standard UPC number
9:      Reserved

Are UPC-A and EAN-13 the same?

Before you buy a barcode, we have written this tutorial to help you understand the differences between UPC Barcodes and EAN Barcodes. Below are both an EAN barcode and a UPC Barcode. The EAN contains a 13 digit number and the UPC contains a 12 digit number.

UPC Barcode and EAN Barcode graphics

EAN = 0012345678905
UPC = (0)012345678905 or 012345678905

The GS1, the original source for barcodes has created the confusion between UPC (Universal Product Codes) and EAN (European Article Numbers also called International Article Numbers). The UPC-A barcode was the original format for product barcodes. As demand in Europe, Asia and Australia started growing, country codes were added.  US and Canada have a a country code of zero which is not printed under the barcode nor is it entered in US and Canadian Inventory and Point of Sale Databases.

If you look at the graphics above, you will see they are exactly the same. The width of the bars and the width of the spaces between the bars are exactly the same. The only major difference is the placement of the numbers below (human readable numbers) which are there only as a back-up in case the barcode doesn’t scan properly and the information has to be manually entered into the point of sale system.

UPC-A and EAN-13 graphic overlay

Taking this a step further, we have overlaid the UPC and the EAN graphics (symbologies) so you can see that the graphic is identical. The country code doesn’t appear beneath the barcode in a UPC since the GS1 didn’t grasp the importance of US  and Canada indicating country codes. They felt that since the majority of products sold in both countries originate from importers, distributors or manufacturers in the   USorCanada, they could forego the leading zero in the human readable numbers.

We still believe that if you are currently doing business in the United States and Canada exclusively, it is safer to order UPC barcodes for your products. Many retailers, especially smaller retailers may be using older accounting and inventory systems that only allow them to enter in 12 digit UPC numbers and not a 13 digit string. If this changes in the future, you can convert your 12 digit UPC to a 13 digit EAN by adding in the country code 0.  There is nothing on the horizon indicating that the USa nd Canada will ever switch over to EAN 13 barcodes.

This following information is used with permission from George Laurer– . Mr. Laurer is the inventor of the UPC barcode.

There seems to be considerable confusion concerning the difference and use of the U.P.C. code and EAN codes

“U.P.C. Version A” and “EAN-13” are and always have been 13 character symbols and the numbers themselves have always been 13 characters long. The U.P.C. (Version A) symbol and the EAN13 symbol are essentially one and the same. They both have the same number of bars and spaces.

* I have used the name UCC throughout to avoid confusion although it evolved to this name over many years. In 1975 it was called UPCC (Uniform Product Code Council).

The origin of EAN vs. U.P.C. confusion.

When I conceived the U.P.C. for the grocers in theU.S.only 12 digits were required including the check character. I designed a symbol in which the left half of the symbol was composed of “odd” parity characters and the right side was composed of “even” parity characters. Each printed character has two bars and two spaces and is made up of 7 modules. Odd parity simply means the printed representation of the numeric digit has an odd number of dark modules. Conversely even parity printed digits have an even number of dark modules.

The UCC* chose to call the U.P.C. a 10 character symbol and they chose to print only 11 of the characters in human readable form. The 10 characters identifying the manufacturer and item were printed below the bars. The “system number” character was printed halfway up the left side. Further, they chose to carry only 10 digits of the number in their files. The reason was both political and practical.

Before the symbol marking was considered a well know consulting firm had been hired by the fledgling UCC to determine the number of digits needed to accomplish the goals of the grocery industry. Considering many factors, not the least of which was the limited power of computers of the day, a figure of 10 digits was recommended. It was a tough sell to convince the many groups involved that they would have to change whatever numbering system they were using to the new 10 digit number. Rather than admit that the consulting firm was wrong and so as not to open the number of digit argument again, the decision was to maintain that the U.P.C. was a 10 digit symbol and number. Another factor considered was that it was more difficult to key the EAN human readable that the U.P.C. human readable when the symbol did not scan. They fostered the illusion by requiring that the check digit be stripped at the scanner. The SN (system number) was necessary for in store processing but it was not needed in records transferred between systems. The illusion was reinforced by not printing the SN in line with the 10 product identifying digits and not printing the check digit at all.

After the U.P.C. had been in use several years, Europerecognized the usefulness of the U.P.C. but realized a 13th digit was needed to identify the many countries. I encoded the extra digit by encoding the left half of the symbol with 3 characters of even parity and 3 characters of odd parity and then arranging them in various patterns, each pattern representing a different country code. The scanner recognizes a series of digits as the right half of a symbol if the parity of the characters is all even and it recognizes the left half if it is composed of all odd OR if three characters are odd parity and three characters are even parity characters.

With the acceptance of the EAN in Europe it was understood that the U.P.C. was actually 13 digits because the parity pattern of the left half of all odd characters was assigned the value (or country flag) of “0”. I pointed out that the UCC only printed 11 of the 13 digits and carried only 10 digits in the system. The UCC continued the delusion by using the foolish argument that “0” means nothing and therefore could be ignored. On the other hand, the European’s were smart enough from the very outset to call the EAN symbol what it is, “EAN-13” and they printed all 13 characters. Systems in Europe carried all 10 country flags including 0 in their records and their systems could process both U.P.C. and EAN symbols and/or numbers. The  U.S. groceries chains at the time were selling very few foreign goods and saw no reason to spend money modify their installed equipment. Although the U.P.C. was not widely accepted at that time, the UCC accommodated the foreign companies by issuing them U.P.C. numbers with the invisible country flag of “0”.

Although this was a burden on the European companies and was a waste of numbers since many European companies had both U.P.C. and EAN-13 numbers, it wasn’t until two decades later that something was done about this. In 1997 the Uniform Code Council, Inc announced project SUNRISE. This initiative required that all U.S. and Canadian companies must be capable of scanning and processing EAN-13 symbols, in addition to U.P.C. symbols, at point-of-sale by January1, 2005. This has been completed, the UCC has changed its name to GS1 US, and they have taken the responsibility of controlling both U.P.C. and EAN numbers.

Simply put the U.P.C. and EAN-13 symbols and numbers are the same. Below is a U.P.C. symbol with its equivalent EAN-13 superimposed in red. One can see that the bars and space are the same, only the human readable is different. Note that the U.P.C. has evolved in that the check digit is now printed and also that the SN has been brought down in line with the other characters but the country flag is still not printed. I would expect that in the near future the human readable will also be changed to the EAN format.

UPC-A and EAN-13 image

Because there are more than 9 countries, the country flags have been further subdivided by using the next two digits for various uses and countries. The United  States and Canada have the country flag 0 and subdivisions 000 thru 139. It is interesting to note that the publishing industry produces so many products that it is its own country called “Bookland” for number assignment purposes. Bookland has been given two subdivisions of the country flag 9. They are 978 and 979.

–end of article by George Laurer.






All about Barcodes

Wherever you go, the grocery store, department store, on line at Amazon or your own refrigerator or pantry, you’ll find that everything that you purchase has a UPC barcode on it. Sometimes they are a little hard to find, but if you flip the package around, it’s there.

A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data. One of the first uses of barcodes was to label railroad cars, but they were not commercially successful until they were used to automate supermarket checkout systems, a task in which they have become almost universal.Systems such as RFID are attempting to change the standard, but the simplicity, universality and low cost of printed barcodes has limited the role of these other systems. It costs less than one-half of one cent to implement a printed barcode compared to seven to thirty cents to implement a passive RFID.*

George Joseph Laurer developed the Universal Product Code in 1973. As an engineer at IBM he was asked to develop the pattern used for the Universal Product Code (UPC-A Barcode).

GS1, which used to be called the Uniform Code Council (UCC) is the provider of UPC barcode prefixes. A company goes to the GS1, they purchase the prefix and then are responsible for the self-assignment of the identification numbers that go after the prefix.

The Barcode prefix, the first 6, 7, 8 or 9 digits, is called a UPC Barcode Prefix The company who has been assigned the UPC Barcode Prefix is responsible for the assignment of the next digits (making up a total of eleven digits) to their products.

Then, as the barcode number is designated, the last number is mathematically determined through an algebraic equation to create a checksum (check digit). This check digit is the final digit. When you join GS1, you get a prefix certificate along with your start-up package.

As far as we know, there are only a small handful of companies that require a copy of this certificate: Kroger’s, Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club and Macy’s.   The common denominator of these companies is that they are using the manufacturer prefix for their EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). Since this is how they make sure their vendors get paid,

Unless you are specifically going to do business with these three chains, you have the option of using a company that is legally able to subdivide their barcode prefix.

The GS1 maintains the database of Prefixes. It is our opinion that, although this database is conceptually a great idea, and has to be maintained, it is virtually ignored, unknown and unused.

Retailers input information from product data sheets filled out or given to them by their suppliers. The supplier gives the retailer the product information including the barcode based on the human readable numbers (12 digit UPC or 13 digit EAN)  and the retailer enters it into their point of sale system.

There are no formal centralized databases of product barcodes. Using the mathematical formula x=11×10 there are potentially 10 billion products that can be represented by UPC-A barcodes at any given time – 100 billion if you take add the extra digit on an EAN.

This, more than anything else, explains why there is no centralized database of products. No one has the bandwidth, energy or resources to catalog something this massive.

There is nothing programmed into a UPC or an EAN barcode. The bars only represent the number that is the barcode. The retailer associates these numbers with the product information. This information is pulled from the retailer’s database when a product is scanned.

You have two choices when you need to buy a barcode or block of barcodes. You purchase directly from the GS1 (They charge a minimum of $750.00 plus a yearly renewal fee) or you purchase from us or a company like Nationwide Barcode (  Nationwide Barcode and similar companies received their prefixes in the 90’s or early 2000’s

In 2002 GS1 attempted to codify the agreement with UPC Barcode prefix holders which included renewal fees. The codified agreement included rules that were in the form of a contract which included not being able to subdivide a barcode number. Prior to this, none of this existed.

The GS1 decided to change the way they were doing business. They started sending out renewal notices insisting that the prefix holders pay renewal fees and agree to the new terms and conditions.

Ultimately a class action suit was levied against the GS1 in the state ofWashingtonand the GS1 lost. All prefix owners prior to August 28, 2002 became exempt to the GS1’s renewal fees and new codified agreement.

Quoting the UCC Settlement web site: 

This Settlement provides that companies who became members of UCC before August 28, 2002, are not obligated to pay membership renewal fees to UCC to maintain membership as a condition for their use of Company Prefixes issued to them by UCC, or as a condition for Basic Membership Benefits as defined in the Class Settlement Agreement. Class members who have paid a renewal fee to UCC are entitled to compensation from a $3,895,000 settlement fund. The settlement also provides that the “licensing agreement,” which accompanied UCC renewal fee invoices, is null and void as to those who became members in UCC before August 28, 2002. ** 

Quoting George Laurer, “Often I am asked if a person that purchases a number from a subset seller will have legal problems in the future. Again, I am not a lawyer, but if the number was originally assigned to the seller by the UCC before August 2002, the answer is no problem.”****

Nationwide Barcode is one of the companies deemed legitimate by George Laurer.

The decision to go with the GS1 or Nationwide Barcode (or a company similar to Nationwide Barcode) is a matter of economies of scale. GS1 charges an upfront fee and a yearly renewal fee based upon the number  barcode numbers that you need along with your company’s revenue.

The more you make, the more the barcode prefix will cost you, and this amount can increase over time.

We believe that the GS1 is a great organization, they provide a tremendous service, however, for a small business with a limited budget, a Barcode Subdividing company makes the most sense.

* Text provided by Wikipedia and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. ** *** (page on George Laurer’s website) **** (George Laurer’s site)

1D Barcode Formats

There are many different types of One Dimensional Barcodes. This tutorial will show you many of the 1D Barcode Formats and will help you understand the differences. A 1D barcode or One Dimensional Barcode is called this because of how the barcode is read. A 1D barcode is read from side to side.

If have barcode numbers and you need help generating them, please go to this page – barcode graphics –  or contact us by phone or email.



Codabar Bar code
Originally developed by Pitney Bowes, the Codabar Barcode is used primarily by US Blood Banks, Photo Labs and Overnight Delivery Services. Codabar  can encode the numbers 0 through 9, the start/stop characters A, B, C, D, E, *, N or T. and the six symbols (-:.$/+).

 CODE 11 Barcode
Code 11 Barcode

Code 11 is a barcode symbology developed by Intermec in 1977. It is used primarily in telecommunications. The symbol can encode any length string consisting of the digits 0-9 and the dash character (-). One or more modulo-11 check digit(s) can be included.

CODE 128 Barcode
Code 128 Barcode

Code 128 is a very high-density barcode symbology. (A special version of it called GS1-128 is used extensively world wide in shipping and packaging industries.) It is used for alphanumeric or numeric-only barcodes. It can encode all 128 characters of ASCII and, by use of an extension character (FNC4), the Latin-1 characters defined in ISO/IEC 8859-1.

CODE 2 OF 5 – Interleaved
ITF or Interleaved two of five Barcode.
Interleaved 2 of 5 is a continuous two-width barcode symbology encoding digits. It is used commercially on 135 film and on cartons of some products, while the products inside are labeled with UPC or EAN.

CODE 39 Barcode

Code 39 Barcode
Code 39 (also known as Alpha39, Code 3 of 9, Code 3/9, Type 39, USS Code 39, or USD-3) is a variable length, discrete barcode symbology.

The Code 39 specification defines 43 characters, consisting of uppercase letters (A through Z), numeric digits (0 through 9) and a number of special characters (-, ., $, /, +, %, and space). An additional character (denoted ‘*’) is used for both start and stop delimiters.

One advantage of Code 39 is that since there is no need to generate a check digit, it can easily be integrated into existing printing system by adding a barcode font to the system or printer and then printing the raw data in that font.

Code 93 Barcode

Code 93 Barcode

Code 93 is a barcode symbology designed in 1982 by Intermec to provide a higher density and data security enhancement to Code 39. It is an alphanumeric, variable length symbology. Code 93 is used primarily by Canada Post to encode supplementary delivery information. Every symbol includes two check characters.

Code 93 is designed to encode 26 upper case letters, 10 digits and 7 special characters:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

-, ., $, /, +, %, SPACE.

Each Code 93 character is divided into nine modules and always has three bars and three spaces, thus the name. Each bar and space is from 1 to 4 modules wide.

In addition to 43 characters, Code 93 defines 5 special characters (including a start/stop character), which can be combined with other characters to unambiguously represent all 128 ASCII characters.

EAN 13 Barcode

EAN 13 Barcode

An EAN-13 barcode (originally European Article Number, but now renamed International Article Number) is a 13 digit (12 data and 1 check-digit) barcoding standard which is a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) system developed in the United States.[1] The EAN-13 barcode is defined by the standards organization GS1.

If you need an EAN 13 barcode, you can purchase these from our site:

EAN+ 2 Digit Barcode

EAN Barcode with 2 digit extension
This is a variant of the EAN barcode. This can be used for magazines where the last two numbers represent the volume or month of issue.

EAN 13 + 5 Digit Barcode

This is a variant of the EAN barcode. Often used for Greeting Cards and other items when the manufacturer or distributor is responsible for inventory tracking

EAN 8 Barcode

From wikipedia: An EAN-8 is a barcode and is derived from the longer European Article Number (EAN-13) code. It was introduced for use on small packages where an EAN-13 barcode would be too large; for example on cigarettes, pencils (though it is rarely used for pencils), and chewing gum packets.

EAN-8 barcodes may be used to encode GTIN-8s which are another set of product identifiers from the GS1 System. It begins with a 2- or 3-digit GS1 prefix (which is assigned to each national GS1 authority) 5- or 4-digit item reference element depending on the length of the GS1 prefix), and a checksum digit.


ISBN Barcode using EAN symbology

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin,for the booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith and others in 1966. (Wikipedia).

An ISBN barcode uses an EAN symbology.

 ISBN with 5 digit Add On.

Most ISBN graphics also include a 5 digit add on. The first barcode is the ISBN barcode (using an EAN symbology) and the second barcode to the right indicates the price of the book. The first number, 5, represents a dollar sign ($). The next four numbers are the price of the book.  In this exanple 51295 means that the book sells for $12.95. Since there are only 4 numbers after the 5, books that sell for more than $99.99 will be represented by 5999.

ISMN Barcode

The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is a unique number for the identification of all notated music publications from all over the world, whether available for sale, hire or gratis–whether a part, a score, or an element in a multi-media kit.
The ISMN is designed to rationalize the processing and handling of notated music and the respective bibliographical data for publishing houses, the music trade and libraries.
As of 1 January 2008 the ISMN consists of 13 digits starting with 979-0
Existing 10-digit ISMNs are prefixed by 979-
The leading M- of the 10-digit ISMNs will be replaced by 0- (zero)
The resulting 13-digit number will be identical with the EAN-13 number that is currently encoded in the bar code
ISO Standard 10957 gives the basic rules of the ISMN system.
The thirteen-digit number allows a billion items each to carry a different number.

For Information about ISMN numbers go to:

ISSN Barcode

Used mainly throughout Europe, The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)  identifies periodical publications as such, including electronic serials.

The ISSN is a numeric code which is used as an identifier: it has no signification in itself and does not contain in itself any information referring to the origin or contents of the publication.

The ISSN takes the form of the acronym ISSN followed by two groups of four digits, separated by a hyphen. The eighth character is a control digit calculated according to a modulo 11 algorithm on the basis of the 7 preceding digits; this eighth control character may be an “X” if the result of the computing is equal to “10”, in order to avoid any ambiguity.
The first 3 digits

 ITF 14 (GTIN 14)

The ITF14 is a 14 digit barcode used to mark the master shipping containers of products with a UPC identifier. It is based on the I2of5 barcode. ITF14 barcodes usually contain a top and bottom bar (sometimes rectangle) called the Bearers bar. These bars make sure that the barcode is read completely. The first number is typically an arbitrary number between 0 and 7, the next number is a zero, the following 11 numbers are the first 11 numbers on a UPC barcode and the last number is a check digit.


LOGMARS (Logistics Applications of Automated Marking and Reading Symbols) is a special application of Code 39 used by the U.S. Department of Defense and is governed by Military Standard MIL-STD-1189B.

MSI Barcodes

MSI (also known as Modified Plessey) is a barcode symbology developed by the MSI Data Corporation, based on the original Plessey Code symbology. It is a continuous symbology that is not self-checking. MSI is used primarily for inventory control, marking storage containers and shelves in warehouse environments.

Pharmacode Barcode

Pharmacode, also known as Pharmaceutical Binary Code, is a barcode standard, used in the pharmaceutical industry as a packing control system. It is designed to be readable despite printing errors. It can be printed in multiple colors as a check to ensure that the remainder of the packaging (which the pharmaceutical company must print to protect itself from legal liability) is correctly printed.

SSCC18 Barcode also known as UCC 128

This Symbology is also known as UPC-128 Shipping Container Code, Code 128 UPC Shipping Container Code, Serial Shipping Container Code, UCC-128, EAN-18, NVE (Nummer der Versandeinheit)

This is a special version of UCC/EAN-128, with Application Identifier (AI) = 00. It is used to identify shipping containers by a serial number.

SSCC18 Barcodes can be configured 3 different ways, no bearer bars, bearer bars top and bottom or bearer bars on all 4 sides.

UPC A (UPC 12)

UPC-A Barcodes are used for marking products sold in stores throughout the USA and Canada. The barcode is comprised of three groupongs of numbers, the manufacturer ID (the company who owns the barcode prefix) which is 6, 7, 8 or 9 digits in length, the balance of numbers totalling 11 digits and the final 12th number (Check Digit or Checksum).

UPC A with 2 Digit Extension

Often used for Magazines – the second barcode indicates month or edition.

UPC-A Barcode with 5 Digit Extension

Often used for Greeting Cards where the publisher takes responsibility for inventory management and stocking of product.


Barcodes – Where Products Come From

This viral email has been going around for a couple of years that is mainly untrue. The email says that you can tell where a product has been manufactured by the UPC or EAN barcode. This tutorial will help you understand how to read a barcode. Here is the email that is going around…and after the email, I will explain how this really works. Read More→

Barcode Fonts

The following is a list of companies where you can purchase or download barcode fonts.
  • Aeromium Barcode Fonts – Develops and publishes barcode fonts package that creates Code39, Code128, UPCEAN and I2of5 barcodes.
  • Azalea Software Inc. – Publishes bar code software that creates Code 39, PDF 417, Code 128, UPC, EAN, Interleaved 2 of 5, and other barcode symbols. Bar code fonts work under Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and other platforms.
  • BarFonts – Collection of PostScript Type 1 fonts for printing bar codes, available under the GNU General Public License. The fonts consist of bars only, there is no human readable text along with the bars.
  • Barcode Writer – Open source PostScript barcode writer.
  • BarcodeSoft Fonts – Publishes barcode fonts and MICR fonts for cheque printing.
  • – Bar code fonts including Code 39, Code 128, EAN and UPC. High density barcode fonts such as PDF417 and DataMatrix are also available. Free downloads.
  • Carolina Barcode – Code 2 of 5 Primer and Extended Code 3 of 9 fonts for Macintosh or TrueType format. Demo available.
  • ConnectCode Barcode Fonts – Develops and markets barcode fonts that supports the I2of5, UPCEAN, Code128, Code39 and UCCEAN barcodes.
  • Elfring Soft Fonts, Inc. – Developer of a wide range of barcode TrueType and LaserJet fonts for use under DOS, Windows and Unix. Trial packages available for download.
  • Free Code 39 font – Free Code 39 true type bar code font. This font supports the 43 characters of the Code 39 symbology.
  • FreeFloat Barcode Package – Barcode package includes the following symbologies Code 39, Code 128 (UCC/EAN-128), Standard 2 of 5, Interleaved 2 of 5, and Codabar.
  • I Shot the Serif – Free 3 of 9 – Completely free Code 39 font includes all ASCII characters.
  • IDAutomation TrueType Fonts – An easy to use package of TrueType Barcode, MICR and OCR fonts.
  • Kanecal – Offers symbols used in drafting/blueprint callouts. Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) symbols (with Feature Control Frames) plus Statistical Process Control (SPC) symbols. Barcodes for government shipments and Quality symbol fonts.
  • PrecisionID Inc. – A global supplier of barcode software and fonts including Code 128, Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5, EAN, UPC, ASP, PDF417, Data Matrix and more

Creating a QR Code Strategy

What is a QR code?
A QR code is a 2 dimensional barcode. Unlike a UPC or an EAN barcode that contains numerical data only, is read in a single direction and requires some sort of database to pull information, a QR barcode contains alpha-numeric data and is read both horizontally and vertically.
Data is embedded in a QR Code. Typically, the data in a QR code is a URL pointing people to a website or a Facebook page. It can also be used for virtual business cards and to send other information, however the most common use is directing your customers to a website landing page.

Why scan?
If you are going to add a QR code on your packaging, flyers, website, posters, etc., do it from your client’s perspective. Make the experience count. Get your landing page to take them to the next step in the business relationship. Don’t tell them the same thing you already told them and make it fun, interesting or educational for everyone involved.
Things that you can do are: Give additional information, have a contest, send people to your online store, scan for directions to your business, sweepstakes, liking your Facebook page, conduct a survey, etc.

Make it serve a purpose.
In addition to making it worthwhile for your customer, there has to be a reciprocal reason for you. What is your purpose for adding a QR code? If you are not gathering information about your client so you can further the business relationship, it’s truly a waste of time for you. This can be done either by getting them to sign up for your mailing list, liking your Facebook page or making a purchase.

The Right Size
Make the QR code big enough to scan easily. The minimum size should be 1.25x 1.25. If the QR code is any smaller than that, the code becomes difficult to scan. QR codes were created to make it easy for people to link content so, make it easy for them to scan properly.

Make the codes easy to read.
The longer the URL for the landing page, the more data there is in the QR code. The shorter the URL, the easier it is for the smartphone to grab the image. Think about using URL shirtners like TinyURL or Bitly.

Provide multiple paths.
The QR code is secondary, your primary goal is getting people to respond to your campaign. Not everyone will use a code reader to ‘snap’ the code so it is very important to include multiple paths to get to your campaign. A shortened code that they can click on or input into their web browser will get more people involved.

Check out our new eBook

Watch our video to learn more 

Media Media Inc. can help with your QR code strategy. Contact us at or call 775-376-8075


Watch our Video

Looking to buy a barcode?  Want to learn how barcodes work and how  they help you get your product to market? Watch our informative video about EAN and UPC barcodes.

Nationwide Barcode Facts

Periodically we do a search to see what our competitors are doing and we chuckle at the assortment of nonsense in the marketplace. There are people touting that they are the official source or official site. There is one fellow who tells people to be wary of low prices. There is one that says, “Avoid Shady Imitators.” Our marketing strategy is to lead with knowledge…not to diminish our competitors with their weaknesses.

There are two classes of businesses that sell barcodes. Those that obtained their prefix prior to August of 2002 and those that haven’t.  The ones who obtained prefixes prior to this date can sell or subdivide their barcode prefixes. There are only a couple of businesses that are violating their agreement with the GS1 (where all barcodes originate) and they can be found here:

We fall within the first class. We legally and professionally do what we do….and we do it really well. In addition, we have an A Rating with the Better Business Bureau. This speaks to our being an ethically based business.

Nationwide Barcode is in the business of selling barcodes.  We do have another business which focuses on new business development, marketing and promotion. We help people and companies get better at what they do. For us, our business is working with people in business. It’s not Horse Chiropractic, selling fishing bobbers or other unreleated diversion. Our focus is helping people market themselves or their products…and a barcode is a very important part of that.

We are listed on Mr. George Laurer’s Website as being a legitimate reseller, we are the preferred vendor of choice a ton of clients but most notably, Pandora. Pandora is the world’s largest internet radio company that dovetails with Amazon.

We have thousands and thousands of repeat customers throughout the world equally divided between small to mid size manufacturing companies, independent musicians and Amazon resellers. We obtained all of our prefixes prior to that August 2002 date, we’re part of a grandfathered program with the GS1 which insures that can do what we do and we don’t pay renewal fees. Since we do not pay renewal fees, neither do you.

Our business is based on providing barcodes at a very affordable price. We can afford to be the lowest in price because of simple supply and demand.

We have a very large supply and there is a high demand. Since we have a high demand, we can afford to be the least expensive in the industry. We want to make a lot of money but our strategy is to make money based on the volume of barcodes sold…not from one customer.

In addition, we base our business on great customer service and knowledge. This knowledge is not just about barcodes but about retail and wholesale process management. We know how barcodes work, we understand graphic design and label manufacturing and wholesale and retail process flows. We are members of Printing Industry of America, Visual Media Alliance and several Amazon groups that allow us to stay informed of upcoming changes in the industry.

Our goal is to be  the ‘last man standing’ in this industry. The majority of our competition only has one barcode prefix, they are attempting to turn a quick buck from this asset. This means, when they sell out, they’ll disappear. Your barcodes will continue to be good, but if you need support, you lose your certificate of authenticity and need help, they will be gone. When you need support a year or two or five years from now, we’ll be here.

With our reserve of almost two million barcodes, we will be around for a long, long time…plus with our secondary business of ‘new business development’, we’re not that hard to find. Our business is helping you. It’s what we do.

We have a toll free number and each order comes to you with Nationwide Barcode’s President and Founder, Phil Peretz’ direct phone number. If you want to contact Phil by e-mail, you can e-mail him at – He answers every email personally. Nationwide Barcode appreciates your business.

Why our ‘All Sales Final Policy’ is the best guarantee for you.

If you are looking for guaranteed unique barcode numbers, our fair but firm policy makes the most sense for you.  Because of our integrity and unique business proposition, you are safer buying barcode numbers from Nationwide Barcode than from any other reseller.

1. We guarantee 100% that our numbers are unique. If we had to refund you, we would lock these numbers out of our database. We would refund your money if there were duplicated numbers or if the numbers were ‘no good.’

With over a million barcodes in our pool, we have never had to refund anyone.

We are careful. We know that doing it right thing the first time is important.

2. Our customers are smart.
You know what you are doing and if you don’t, you are smart enough  to know to call and ask questions so we can help coach you in this labyrinth of barcodes.

3. We do not take barcodes back…ever. We do not take a barcode that we issued to one person and put it back into our database.  We do not have a 1-day, 5-day, 7-day or 30-day buyback policy. We cannot take this chance. Since our customers are smart (see #2) this will not be an issue.

This is a potential issue with the majority of our competitors. Since they cannot compete against us with experience, knowledge of the industry nor price, they create Return Policies to make you feel good about doing business with them. A guarantee is good (If you have a problem with a number, we’ll give you your money back), a return policy  creates a pool of ‘used’ barcodes.  We don’t do that.

We value all of our customers and want to make sure everything goes perfect. That’s our commitment.

Price Check by Amazon – Barcode Scanning from your phone

There are a number of great barcode applications on the market, but Amazon has made it easier as faster to locate items where you want to do some comparison shopping.

There are three ways to locate items.

Scan it, simply locate the barcode on the product and the application searches the extensive Amazon database for the products.

Snap It. I took photographs of a lot of different items in the house and my office and the best results were with Books, CDs and Books.

Say It. I am in awe of voice recognition software and was delighted with the almost instantaneous listings of the products that I was researching.  What work really well is reading the UPC or EAN barcode number, in fact, this is a lot faster than scanning the barcode number.

If you are scanning, the application scans the barcode quickly and accurately. I’ve used other applications that scan barcodes and the scan time varies. The Amazon Barcode Reader is fast. The steadier your hand, the faster the application works.

Centering the barcode is easy. With many other barcode readers, you have the feeling of threading a needle, not with this application. The instructions mention that you need to avoid shadows and glare, but I found that it was quite easy to scan directly from a computer screen

Once items are located, you get a list of all matching products and you can purchase directly from your smart phone.

Beware of buying a Cheap UPC barcode.

Are you looking to buy a cheap UPC barcode?

There are a lot of companies on the internet that sell barcodes. Many of them give you truthful information and there are a handful that are quite deceiving using such terminology as Official Site or Official Source, etc.

Be aware of what you are getting yourself into when you decide to make your purchase. If a company mentions that they have to pay renewal fees, they are in breach of their agreement with the GS1 (formerly known as the Uniform Code Council). Only companies that hold a valid prefix that predates August of 2002 can subdivide their pool of barcodes and sell them.

Sometimes Buying a Cheap UPC Barcode isn’t so cheap. There are companies that have convoluted terms and conditions hidden on various pages eluding to the fact that once they sell you Cheap UPC barcodes they will then charge you a monthly subscription fee. There are companies will accept barcodes back which means that there can be multiple vendors using the same barcode.

There are only two ways to get a barcode. You enter into an agreement with the GS1 which can be a sizeable amount of money or you go Nationwide Barcode or a similar company.

Barcodes are a very important aspect to getting your product to market. It can be very expensive to learn after the fact that your provider didn’t have legal right to sell you barcodes or your barcodes have been assigned to another company. We are the least expensive legitimate barcode provider on the internet.

Nationwide Barcode:

What’s the Difference between a UPC and EAN?

There are two components to a barcode graphic. The barcode graphic and the number beneath the bars.

EAN = 0012345678905
UPC = (0)012345678905 or 012345678905

The GS1, the original source for barcodes, has created the confusion between UPC (Universal Product Codes) and EAN (European Article Numbers also called International Article Numbers). The UPC-A barcode was the original format for product barcodes. As demand in Europe, Asia and Australia started growing, country codes were added. (We have a list of country codes on this site). US and Canada have a a country code of zero which is not printed under the barcode nor is it entered in US and Canadian Inventory and Point of Sale Databases.

If you look at the graphics above, you will see they are exactly the same. The width of the bars and the width of the spaces between the bars are exactly the same. The only major difference is the placement of the numbers below (human readable numbers) which are there only as a back-up in case the barcode doesn’t scan properly and the information has to be manually entered into the point of sale system

Taking this a step further, we have overlaid the UPC and the EAN graphics (symbologies) so you can see that the graphic is identical. The country code doesn’t appear beneath the barcode in a UPC since the GS1 didn’t grasp the importance of US and Canada indicating country codes. They felt that since the majority of products sold in both countries originate from importers, distributors or manufacturers in the US or Canada, they could forego the leading zero in the human readable numbers.

We still believe that if you are currently doing business in the United States and Canada exclusively, it is safer to order UPC barcodes for your products. Many retailers, especially smaller retailers may be using older accounting and inventory systems that only allow them to enter in 12 digit UPC numbers and not a 13 digit string. If this changes in the future, you can convert your 12 digit UPC to a 13 digit EAN by adding in the country code 0.  There is nothing on the horizon indicating that the US and Canada will ever switch over to EAN 13 barcodes.

Other countries are able to scan and read UPC barcodes.

The Retail Buyer’s Checklist

You have spent a lot of time and money developing your new  business and now, you plan on making phone calls or knocking on the doors of the retailers in your area.

The job of a retail buyer is to make informed decisions whether or not to buy your product. They have to do this because they report to senior management who will ask them all these same questions before signing the Purchase Order and approving the purchase.

Here is a list of questions that many buyers will ask prior to adding your new product to their inventory.

  • Who is your target audience? How do you know this?
  • Do you own patents to this product? Can it be knocked off by a competitor?
  • If I place an order, do you have it in stock or is there a lead time before you can ship?
  • What are the minimum order requirements?
  • Who pays freight from your warehouse? Is there a certain order qualtity where you will pay freight?
  • Do you have competition? Who is it?
  • What is my cost on the product?
  • What is the retail selling price?
  • How did you determine this price?
  • Do you think this is a competitive price?
  • Who else is selling this product?
  • How did you test and certify this product? (electrical products need UL)
  • How do we deal with defectives?
  • What is the warranty?
  • What is the average defective rate for this item?
  • How is the product boxed and shipped to the retailer?
  • How is your item packed to sell? Box, bag, clam shell, etc.
  • Do you have a UPC/EAN barcode for your product?
  • Do you have product samples available for testing?
  • Do you have marketing funds for us to help sell your products?
  • Is their training for the retail sales associates? How is this training delivered?

Remember, although your item may be a passion for you, it is a business for the retailer and is one of thousands and thousands of items in their shop. They want to feel confident about your product

As a barcode provider, we can help you get UPC and EAN barcodes for your product.

As business consultants, we can also help you with your business. Feel free to book an appointment for consultation at

Are UPC Barcodes the “Mark of the Beast”?



The short answer is “no”

The longer answer follows:

Revelation 13: (17) so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. (18) This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

Barcodes are all database driven. The barcode only represents a series of numbers containing a prefix, item numbers and a check digit.

The numbers corresponding to the barcode are scanned or entered into a database exactly as indicated below the barcode (the human readable numbers). Along with the barcode number, the information relating to the product including ‘regular’ and ‘sale’ price is also entered. When an item is scanned, the information is pulled from the database and the customer is charged the proper amount of money, at the same time, inventory is adjusted downward.

There are the three sets of guard bars, two bars on the far left, the far right and in the middle. Since these guard bars appear three times in a barcode, and look similar to the number 6, some people have claimed that the pattern 6-6-6 was embedded in every barcode.

According to Mr. Laurer, the inventor of the UPC/EAN barcode, “There is nothing sinister about this nor does it have anything to do with the Bible’s mark of the beast. Each character is a fixed length, 7 modules and composed of two spaces and two bars. From the outer ends toward the center, the character starts with a space and therefore a single bar is required to ‘close’ the character. The other bar is used to allow the level setting (gain) circuitry to adjust to the contrast of the particular symbol. The center pattern is narrow space, narrow bar, narrow space, narrow bar. This pattern is 4 modules wide and distinguishes it from the a 7 module character thus giving direction and end information to the logic. The assignment of digits to specific patterns was arbitrary.’

Barcodes are one of the things that helped bridge the gap between physical products and automated inventory tracking.

Sources:  and common sense.

How is price determined in a Barcode?

There is no data, except for the barcode number itself, embedded in a UPC or EAN barcode. When the scanner at the checkstand scans the product and reads the barcode, the electronic cash register sends the number to the stores central database where the number is looked up. The central database sends the information back to the cash register where the customer is charged.

If there was pricing embedded in a barcode, nothing would ever be able to go on sale without replacing all of the barcodes. This allows the store to change the pricing as needed and gives complete flexibility to the store to put things on sale.

UPC and EAN Country Codes

We get a lot of questions from clients about barcodes and if you can tell where something is manufactured.

Barcode prefixes do not provide identification of origin for a specific product. They merely provide number capacity to different countries for assignment of barcode prefixes by the GS1.

UPC  Barcodes do not show the leading zero. A UPC Barcode that starts with 7 would have a country code of 070 – 079.

Here is the current list of country codes

  • 000 – 019 U.S. and Canada
  • 020 – 029 Restricted distribution
  • 030 – 039 U.S. drugs (see U.S. National Drug Code)
  • 040 – 049 Restricted distribution (MO defined)
  • 050 – 059 coupons
  • 060 – 099 U.S. and Canada
  • 100 – 139 U.S.
  • 200 – 299 Restricted distribution
  • 300 – 379 France and Monaco
  • 380 Bulgaria
  • 383 Slovenia
  • 385 Croatia
  • 387 Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 389 Montenegro
  • 400 – 440 Germany (440 code inherited from old East Germany on reunification, 1990)
  • 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 SAR
  • 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
  • 640 – 649 Finland
  • 690 – 695 China, The People’s Republic
  • 700 – 709 Norway
  • 729 Israel
  • 730 – 739 Sweden : EAN/GS1 Sweden
  • 740 Guatemala
  • 741 El Salvador
  • 742 Honduras
  • 743 Nicaragua
  • 744 Costa Rica
  • 745 Panama
  • 746 Dominican Republic
  • 750 Mexico
  • 754 – 755 Canada
  • 759 Venezuela
  • 760 – 769 Switzerland and Liechtenstein
  • 770 – 771 Colombia
  • 773 Uruguay
  • 775 Peru
  • 777 Bolivia
  • 779 Argentina
  • 780 Chile
  • 784 Paraguay
  • 785 Peru
  • 786 Ecuador
  • 789 – 790 Brazil
  • 800 – 839 Italy, San Marino and Vatican City
  • 840 – 849 Spain and Andorra
  • 850 Cuba
  • 858 Slovakia
  • 859 Czech Republic
  • 860 Serbia
  • 865 Mongolia
  • 867 North Korea
  • 868 – 869 Turkey
  • 870 – 879 Netherlands
  • 880 South Korea
  • 884 Cambodia
  • 885 Thailand
  • 888 Singapore
  • 890 India
  • 893 Vietnam
  • 896 Pakistan
  • 899 Indonesia
  • 900 – 919 Austria
  • 930 – 939 Australia
  • 940 – 949 New Zealand
  • 950 GS1 Global Office: Special applications
  • 951 EPCglobal: Special applications
  • 955 Malaysia
  • 958 Macau
  • 960 – 969 GS1 Global Office: GTIN-8 allocations
  • 977 Serial publications (ISSN)
  • 978 – 979 Bookland (ISBN) – 979 formerly used for sheet music
  • 980 Refund receipts
  • 981 – 983 Common Currency Coupons
  • 990 – 999 Coupons

Prefix 950 (GS1 Global Office) is used for special applications and bi-lateral agreements.

Is there data encrypted within a UPC or EAN bar code?

No. The bar code bars represent only the  number below. There is no other information contained within the bar code. All information is supplied to you to the wholesaler or retailer.

A barcode is a graphical representation of the numbers below the graphic. UPC and EAN barcodes rely on data being entered into the retailers database. The 12 digit UPC or 13 digit EAN number is associated with the product name, specifications and selling price. When a barcode is scanned, a query is sent to the database and the response is the information about the product.