Choosing International Barcodes

How does the international barcode system work?

International barcodes consist of either EAN-13 or UPC-A barcodes which are all part of the same database of globally unique numbers. This system is administered by GS1 who ensure that each number is only allocated to one product, so that there are no double ups and confusion in stores. GS1 also leases numbers out to people who are memberships, however this is expensive as they charge a joining fee and annual membership fees. Alternatively international barcodes in either format can also be purchase from a barcode reseller. Barcode resellers purchase barcodes that are now outside of GS1’s control in bulk to be onsold for a one off cost.

What type should I get and where should I get it?

Choosing between EAN-13 and UPC-A format generally depends on where you will mostly sell your product. UPC Barcodes are used predominantly in the USA whereas EAN-13 barcodes are more common elsewhere. Please see our UPC-A vs EAn-13 page for more details. Aside from that you then need to choose between sourcing your barcodes from GS1 or from a barcode reseller. If at all possible people tend to opt for barcode resellers (like us) because they are cheaper and generally the barcodes work the same way, however, in some cases there are restrictions on reseller numbers. Please see barcode acceptance for more details.

Barcodes can be purchased from us here. A comparison of our service with GS1 and other resellers can be seen here.


“Thanks David, Great service. I sent the paypal payment through as requested. We should have quite a few more for you shortly.” Don H

“I’ll be buying every 2 months, so I’ll be back with you again round about September. Thanks a Million.” Emma C