Differences between a UPC Barcode and an EAN Barcode?

Below are the differences between a UPC Barcode and an EAN Barcode.

UPC BarodeEAN Barcode
Commonly known as UPC, UPC-12, UPC-A, or Universal Product Code.Commonly known as EAN, EAN-13, GTIN-13, or European Article Number that has been renamed to International Article Number.
12 digits long13 digits long
Originally created for use in the United States and CanadaOriginally created for international use, but is now valid and accepted worldwide

In addition to the list above, the other difference is the format of the number. If you assign a UPC number to a product, you cannot take the same number in the EAN format and assign it to a different product. If you do, that means you have assigned the same barcode number to two different products.

Here is an example:

UPC barcode 123456789104 versus EAN barcode 0123456789104

You can see they are the same numbers with the exception that there is a 0 in front on the EAN barcode. The 0 does not change the value of the barcode, but it gives it the 13 digit that is needed to change the UPC format into the EAN format and that is why it is valid and accepted worldwide. The 0 also indicates that the barcode number originated in the United States.

The following information applies to both the UPC and the EAN Barcode formats.

There is no information about you, your company, your product or pricing information hidden in the barcode. The lines are simply a font that a barcode scanner reads to tell it what the numbers are that are shown below in the human-readable format.

Your product and your UPC or EAN code will become associated with each other when you provide your barcode and product information to the stores that will be selling your products or when you create listings online with various retailers.

You will need a barcode number for each of your unique products.

You can use the barcode number an unlimited amount of times as long as it is on EXACTLY the same product.

If you change anything about your product (color, size, scent, shape, quantity, etc.) it becomes a different product and you need to assign a different barcode number. Think about this, when you go to a store and look at the barcode on a box of cereal all of the ones that are identical will all have the same barcode number on them. When you pick up a bigger box of the same brand and flavor of cereal, it will have a different barcode number because you have changed box sizes. If you go one step further and pick up another box that is the same size, but contains a different flavor, you will see that it has a different barcode number from the other two.

When you buy multiple barcodes all at one time, both the UPC and EAN numbers will be provided to you automatically in consecutive order.

The 12th digit of the UPC barcode and the 13th digit of the EAN barcode will be random because they are check digits that are calculated based on the other numbers of your UPC or EAN barcode.

If you buy more barcodes than you currently need, you can hold onto them and use them when you are ready.

The barcodes that you buy from Speedy Barcodes do not expire. They do not have an expiration date. They are exempt from any renewal and membership fees.

No other registration is needed.

Speedy Barcodes keeps an up-to-date database of all barcodes sold along with the information of who they were sold to – to ensure that no numbers are ever duplicated.

All of the barcode numbers that Speedy Barcodes sells are legal and legitimate numbers that were issued by GS1 (formerly known as the UCC) prior to August 28, 2002.

There are a few companies that will not accept barcode from resellers. The truth is that the majority of the stores do not care where you get your barcode numbers from as long as you legally own them or have the rights to use them. However, there are a few larger retail stores (such as Wal-Mart) that require you to obtain barcode number from the nonprofit company named GS1.