Obtaining EAN Barcodes for Free in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

16/01/2024 08:15

The need for EAN barcodes is essential for businesses looking to sell products in the UK market. While several avenues exist for obtaining EAN barcodes, acquiring them for free is an attractive option for small businesses and startups. This report outlines the steps and resources available for obtaining EAN barcodes at no cost in the United Kingdom.

Understanding EAN Barcodes

EAN (European Article Number) barcodes are crucial for product identification and tracking. They consist of a unique 13-digit number assigned to each product, facilitating efficient inventory management and sales tracking.

Free EAN Barcode Providers

Fortunately, there are legitimate ways to obtain EAN barcodes for free in the UK. The following platforms offer free barcode generation services:

a. GS1 UK Membership

GS1 is a global organization that manages the assignment of EAN barcodes. While GS1 typically charges for membership and barcode allocation, it occasionally offers free trials or special programs for startups and small businesses. Check the GS1 UK website for any ongoing promotions or trial memberships.

b. Barcodes UK 50

Some online platforms, such as Barcodes UK 50, offer free EAN barcode generation services. Users can create a barcode and download it. However, it's essential to verify the legitimacy and acceptance of these barcodes in the UK market.

Application Process

If opting for a GS1 UK membership, follow these general steps:

a. Visit the GS1 UK website.

b. Explore membership options and eligibility criteria.

c. Sign up for a free trial or any available special programs.

d. Complete the application form with accurate business information.

e. Await approval and receive your assigned EAN barcodes.

Verification and Compliance

Ensure that the obtained EAN barcodes comply with industry standards and are accepted by major retailers in the UK. It's crucial to confirm that the barcodes are globally unique and meet the specifications required for product identification.


Acquiring EAN barcodes for free in the UK is possible through platforms like GS1 UK and certain online barcode generators. However, it's crucial to verify the legitimacy and compliance of the generated barcodes to prevent issues with retailers and ensure smooth product distribution.


It's essential to stay informed about the latest developments and changes in barcode regulations and standards. Always check the official websites of barcode providers for the most up-to-date information.

By following this guide, businesses can obtain EAN barcodes at no cost, contributing to the efficient management and successful marketing of their products in the UK market.

How to test the authenticity of an EAN barcode

Testing the authenticity of an EAN (European Article Number) barcode is crucial to ensure that it is legitimate and complies with industry standards. Here are steps you can take to verify the authenticity of an EAN barcode:

Check the Prefix

The first few digits of the EAN barcode represent the GS1 prefix, which identifies the GS1 Member Organization that issued the barcode. Verify that the prefix aligns with the information provided by GS1, the global organization responsible for managing EAN barcodes.

GS1 Database

Utilize the GS1 database to check the authenticity of the EAN barcode. GS1 maintains a database of valid prefixes and the companies to which they are assigned. You can use their online tools or contact GS1 directly to verify the legitimacy of the barcode.

Verify Company Information

Cross-check the company information encoded in the barcode with the details provided by the business claiming ownership of the product. Ensure that the company name, address, and other relevant details match the information associated with the barcode.

Checksum Digit Validation

The last digit of the EAN barcode is a checksum digit, calculated based on the other digits in the barcode. Use an online checksum calculator or a barcode verification tool to confirm that the checksum digit is accurate. If the digit doesn't match the calculated value, it may indicate a non-authentic barcode.

Industry Standards Compliance

Ensure that the EAN barcode adheres to industry standards and specifications. Any deviations from the standard format may indicate a potential issue with the barcode's authenticity.

Use Barcode Verification Tools

Several online tools and software applications are available for barcode verification. These tools analyze the barcode structure, check for compliance with standards, and provide information about the barcode's authenticity. GS1 itself offers tools for barcode verification.

Consult with GS1

If there are any doubts about the authenticity of an EAN barcode, contact the GS1 Member Organization that issued the barcode. They can verify the information and confirm whether the barcode is valid.

Be Wary of Free or Unreliable Sources

Barcodes obtained from questionable sources or free barcode generators may not be authentic. It's advisable to use reputable barcode providers and to verify the legitimacy of the source.

Retailer Acceptance

Confirm with retailers whether they accept EAN barcodes from the specific GS1 Member Organization that issued the barcode. Retailers often have specific requirements and may reject products with non-compliant barcodes.

Legal Assistance

In cases of suspected barcode fraud or counterfeit products, legal assistance may be necessary. Consult with legal professionals who specialize in intellectual property and trademark issues.

By following these steps, you can enhance your confidence in the authenticity of an EAN barcode, ensuring that it meets industry standards and is accepted by retailers and supply chain partners.