Barcode MythsFact or Myth

We’ve been working in the barcode industry for over sixteen years, so we know a lot about barcodes. Myths and misconceptions about barcodes abound, and understanding the facts about barcodes is crucial for business owners. This article addresses and debunks the top 10 barcode myths we hear.

Myth 1: There is Product Information Inside Barcodes

Barcodes themselves do not contain product information. Barcodes merely link to a number (GTIN), which is then used by inventory or sales systems to retrieve product details.

Myth 2: Barcodes Can Expire

Barcodes do not expire. However, if you lease barcodes and fail to pay renewal fees, you can lose the rights to them. Purchasing barcodes outright avoids this issue and saves you a lot of money.

Myth 3: Barcode Numbers Mean Origin of Productaustralian-made-owned-logo

Barcodes do not indicate the manufacturing location. Misconceptions arose in social media claiming products from certain countries could be identified by barcode numbers. In reality, product origins should be checked through “Made in” labels, not barcodes.

Myth 4: Barcodes Must Be Purchased from GS1

Many believe they must obtain barcodes directly from GS1. While GS1 is a well-known supplier, businesses are not obligated to buy from them. Australia has good laws to avoid monopolies. Most businesses can purchase legal and authentic barcodes from other sources, such as Barcodes Australia, which offers lower prices and no renewal fees.

Myth 5: GS1 is a Government Organisation

GS1 (formerly known in the US as the Uniform Code Council) is not a government entity, but is a non-profit organization. Despite its non-profit status, GS1 can be very expensive, as it charges joining fees and annual renewal fees. By purchasing from alternative providers, you can save yourself these ongoing extra costs.

Myth 6: I’m Selling Online Only, So I Don’t Need a Barcode

Even if you only sell online, barcodes are essential. Major online retailers like Amazon and eBay require barcodes for products. Barcodes help ensure accurate inventory management across multiple platforms.

Myth 7: Reusing Barcodes on New Products is OK

Reusing barcodes from a discontinued product on a new product is not recommended. Large retailers often prohibit this practice to maintain accurate inventory management. It’s better to purchase new barcodes for new products. This is because the information from the previous product is still in retailers’ databases. It can be a costly mistake if your product appears as a different product in a retail system.

Myth 8: Reversing Barcode Colours is OK

Barcodes work by contrast, which is why black bars on a white background are optimal. Reversing the bar colour so the bars are white on a black or dark background will mean your barcode won’t scan.

Myth 9: Barcodes with a Failing Verifier Grade Will Scan Properly

A barcode with a failing verifier grade may not scan correctly with all scanners. Verifiers have special decoding abilities, and a failing grade indicates a high chance of scanning issues with some devices. For more information on barcode verification, please read our verification page. Verification is normally only required by the large FMCG stores, mainly Woolworths and Bunnings.

Myth 10: The Inability of Scanners to Scan a Barcode is Not the Scanner’s Fault

When scanning issues arise, both the barcode and the scanner can be at fault. Different scanners have varying tolerance levels. Ensuring your barcodes adhere to ISO specifications can help mitigate scanning problems.


By debunking these myths, business owners can make informed decisions about barcodes, ensuring smoother operations and avoiding unnecessary costs and complications.