Top Barcodes Myths - What's the deal?

We know that barcodes can be confusing and there's a lot of misinformation out there regarding the purchasing process. We've provided some answers to help clarify some misconceptions about the world of UPC and EAN barcodes.

Myth: There's Hidden/product Information Inside Of The Scannable Barcode

False: The scannable lines only represent the numbers below the barcodes in machine/scanner readable format. Since there are many types of fonts and also a need for an extremely quick but accurate system, the barcode lines were designed so that any system can easily scan and automatically pull up the number inside their inventory or sales system. This number is tied to information in their system which was entered separately. There isn't any additional information besides the number inside the scannable barcode. < Learn More >

Myth: I Don't Need Barcodes Because I'm Only Selling Online.

False: Online retailers have been increasingly requiring GTIN (Global Trade Item Numbers) for products sold on their platform. Almost all physical stores require this but as we move to an online world, these online retailers also need to have an accurate and reliable barcode system. Some companies may make it optional but it's always better to be ready by having a Barcode assigned to your product to avoid any headaches when expanding operations. < Learn More >

Myth: UPC/EANs & Their Data Get Uploaded Into A Global Network That All Stores Connect To, Like The Internet.

False: There is not a global bar code network, neither is there a barcode-internet that a store's POS system plugs into. Each store has its own private, internal database & P.O.S. system. So that when a can of Coke appears "$0.99" when scanned it's because of the store manager or employee on the back end that manually typed it all in before it ever entered the building. < Learn More >

Myth: I Have To Purchase Barcodes Directly From GS1

True and False: A handful of retailers have a personal policy requiring all barcodes to be purchased directly from GS1. The majority of these retailers are part of GS1 in some capacity, most likely as a board member. Unfortunately, since these are private companies, the rules they force upon their suppliers cannot be broken. Thankfully, over 99% of businesses do not require this and only require that the barcodes are authentic and legally obtained. This is where Bar Codes Talk comes in. We obtain these barcodes in bulk, subdivide and allow our customers to purchase at much lower prices than GS1 with no ongoing/yearly fees. < Learn More >

Myth: A Barcode Must Contain A Company Prefix

False: A GS1 company prefix used to only be 6 Digits long and consist of 100,000 barcode numbers, this all changed in 2002 when GS1 had their class-action suit. Since that lawsuit, everyone now has two options, rent from GS1 or own by purchasing through an authentic reseller. GS1 still provided 6,7,8,9 or 10 digit Prefixes but resellers provide just the UPC or EAN number and no prefix. Most businesses prefer to own as it's usually immediately cheaper and also doesn't come with yearly renewal fees. However, some stores require barcodes rented directly from GS1. GS1 is not a government organization, they are a “non-profit” that is run by the likes of Walmart, Macy’s, Kroger, etc. If you are working with a retailer (eg: Walmart, Kroger, etc) that forces all of the vendors underneath them to rent from GS1 then there's only one choice. Here's a small list of companies that we know require this GS1. If your store is not listed on that list, you'll save money and time by getting your barcodes from us.

Myth: GS1 Is A Government Organization

False: GS1 is not a government org, they are a "non-profit" created in the '70s. It should also come as no surprise that the founders, many board members, and board of governors of GS1 are also part of the very stores that force you to rent.

Myth: I Can "repurpose" My Barcode On A New Product If The Original Product Is Discontinued

True and False: While technically you can, it's not advisable, and most larger outlets ban this for possible inventory management issues. We recommend buying your barcode numbers with future products in mind.​ The good thing is that we make our barcodes so inexpensive, there shouldn't be a need to "repurpose" them, you can just assign a new barcode to a new product (Which we recommend).

Myth: Barcodes Can Expire

True and False: Purchasing barcodes from Bar Codes Talk means they will be active for life. However, if you were to go through a company that leases barcodes, you will be responsible for the annual renewal fees whether you're using the barcodes or not, if you do not pay the fee you will lose the rights to the barcode number(s).

Myth: Barcode Numbers Are Product Specific

False: The answer to this one lies right within the name UPC (Universal Product Code). The barcode numbers we sell are not item specific, actually, quite the contrary, they can be used on almost any retail product. We also supply both UPC and EAN formats to make sure you're covered anywhere in the world that you plan to sell. 

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