Archive for UPC Database

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.

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.

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.

How does a bar code work?

When you sell your products to a wholesaler or retailer (Amazon, Target, Borders Books, Autozone, etc.), they will have you supply them or will have you fill out a product information sheet.

The things that you put on that sheet is your company and product information including the UPC/EAN code number for each product.

Then, the wholesaler or retailer enters this information in their information systems computer. This computer ties into the registers at the front of the store. The cashier scans your item and the information comes up. Every time an item is scanned and sold, it deducts the number of items sold from their inventory.

UPC Databases

There are several databases available and none of them are complete. There are new products created every day and them come from giant manufacturers and from home-based entrepreneurs. Here is a partial list of databases and their purpose: UPC Database – This is an informal database created as a college project and is now a hobby project There are over 1,000,000 items in the database. Although this sounds like a lot, it barely scratches the surface. This database allows you to enter in a UPC or EAN number and see who manufactures the product. It does not allow you to enter a product and get a UPC code.

UPC Data – Another hobbyist site

Google Merchant Center – This is an interesting database since they feed this information to Red Laser and the Google and Android phone barcode applications GS1- This database is good for locating company codes. Very few products are listed.

Nationwide Barcode has a service to help you get your products listed with the Google Merchant Cnter Database, Red Laser, Shop Savvy, and Google Android Phone Scanner application.

Although there are no “official barcode databases” where retailers pull information, these databases can help to secure your products and your UPC barcodes in the marketplace, plus, with Red Laser, Shop Savvy, Google Android Phone Scanner and Google Shops, this helps you can gain a lot more visibility.