Where can I get cheap barcodes for product?


I know there are a lot of sites out there offering UPC code leases, but the price seems astronomical per product. I have about 16 products that I want to get UPC codes for, but I can't justify spending hundreds of dollars getting them. Maybe there is another coding system out there that will work just fine?

This is really a test to see if barcoding my products will do any good, this is the main reason that cost is an issue.

Products Identity

asked Mar 4 '11 at 05:03
145 points
  • If you are just doing a test and you are the only one reading your barcodes, couldn't you use a non UPC barcode? i.e. just encode a unique number for each product. – Michael Pryor 13 years ago
  • I'm looking to do a test at market. – Polyhedron 13 years ago

6 Answers


Go to the source:
http://www.gs1us.org/barcodes_and_ecom/i_need_a_u.p.c._barcode $760 for 100 skus. Cost of doing business in large retail.

or checkout http://www.growmap.com/upc-codes/ and http://ezupc.com/

answered Mar 4 '11 at 05:10
Jim Galley
9,952 points


JIMG's advice is dead on correct.

All retail products sold in the US & Canada (with the exception of books) require UPC-A bar codes. You can not pick another symbology. (You can use an EAN bar code in most stores now- but that's just a UPC bar code with an extra digit, using the same bar code symbology as UPC.) GS1 has a monopoly on the number assignments. There are people reselling portions of their own UPC number assignments at a lower cost. These people purchased their assignments before August 28, 2002 and were part of a class action lawsuit against GS1. Only their numbers can be resold- but those numbers trace back to the original company, not your company. So you can find lower prices on the internet, however, if you use those number assignments you may later run into problems using them at major retailers like Walmart.

Also note that the old number assignments (before the class action lawsuit) lasted forever. New number assignments have yearly or every other year fees associated with them. This is simply part of the cost of doing retail business. Just like a computer program for the PC needs to be code signed, a retail product has to have a UPC bar code to be sold in most stores.

I own an authorized reseller site: My Bar Code Store I also wrote an eBook on UPC Bar Codes which you can get for free by simply posting a tweet about the book. The Truth About UPC Bar Codes

answered Mar 4 '11 at 06:25
Gary E
12,510 points
  • A computer program for the PC does not need to be code signed. Only places where you must do that are various app stores, such as iOS and Mac App Storeā€¦ and none of those platforms are typically called a PC :-) – Ivan Vu?Ica 13 years ago
  • All PC computer programs need to be code signed, unless you don't mind your potential customers fleeing from your software. Every version of Windows from XP and on has added more and more ominous warnings when you try to run a non-code signed program. Windows 7 puts up a warning box **every** time you run a non-code signed product. Do you think your customer's like having to click through a Windows warning every time they run your software? – Gary E 13 years ago
  • @Gary - that is not true - it depends if you run with UAC on or off. – Tim J 12 years ago
  • I would guess that less than 1 customer in 1,000 would know how to turn UAC off. Every Windows program needs to be code signed, or you will lose sales. And wait for Windows 8! – Gary E 12 years ago


Going to GS1 is fine, but frankly, their application process is time consuming and stupid and they are a huge rip. I took this route for my first products and ended up paying for15 bar codes $1500 to register, then $150+ (depends on your sales) every year. That's a lot.

I sell products on a variety of retail sites and have used the 'verified resellers' that are mentioned above (I use www.nationwidebarcode.com, and am most envious of his business that just prints money). If I have an issue, it will not be difficult to pay the $$ to GS1 at that time to get a really extra super valid code. Will Amazon/Wallmart boot me for a clerical error? I don't think so.

It's difficult to tell what sites are really legit as any one of them can easily fake your 'certificate of authenticity' and any list you find of firms that were part of the lawsuit refered to in the other answers. To be frank, I don't have the time to vet these firms and if they are fraudulently selling me UPCs and it does me actual damage, I'll go after them at that time, class action, etc.

Advice from someone who went the cheap route and hasn't gotten into trouble yet, get your code cheap and get on with doing things that you need to be doing.

answered Jun 1 '12 at 01:52
21 points


An alternative to joining the GS1 and paying about $1000 annually is to purchase only the codes that you need. www.cheap-upc-barcode.com, for example, allows you to purchase a pack of 20 codes for a one time fee of $39.80.

Good luck!

answered Oct 29 '11 at 04:25
11 points


I am the owner of Nationwide Barcode (and thank you for the kind comments above).

My company owns a number of prefixes that all predate the UCC (GS1) lawsuit allowing us to sell UPC Barcodes

There is a gentleman who does take time to research all of the barcode companies, whether or not they are legitimate and if they can legally subdivide their barcode prefixes. Mr. George Laurer, the inventor of the UPC barcode co-authors the site Authenticated UPC Registration Directory. Laurer, since he still has a vested interest, puts us through a qualification process and those that can meet those standards get approved.

Phil Peretz

answered Oct 26 '12 at 06:16
Phil Peretz
11 points


http://www.nationwidebarcode.com/ is the cheapest i could find so far

answered May 4 '12 at 07:35
11 points
  • Note that there are many resellers of UPC numbers, but not all of them are **legal** resellers. Only firms that purchased their UPC codes before August 28, 2002 and were part of the **class action** lawsuit against the UCC can legally resell their bar code numbers. And only those numbers are good forever. All other numbers are **rented** from GS1. – Gary E 12 years ago

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