How to Register a UPC Barcode

Updated April 17, 2017

UPC barcodes are found on retail products, and are a unique item number assigned by the manufacturer for each product. UPC stands for Universal Product Code, and is 12 digits long. These barcodes are scanned at cash registers and also used for inventory. UPC barcodes do not contain product prices, just a lookup number for reference. They are distributed by GS1 US, a non-profit group that sets standards for international commerce.

Join GSI US, which "administers the U.P.C. and develops worldwide standards and solutions for electronic commerce", according to the website. Businesses pay to join GSI US, which assigns each business member its own identification number that appears as the first part of the UPC. It is £487 as an initial fee and then an annual maintenance fee of at least £97.

Add product identification numbers to the rest of the UPC code to get the 12 digits. The company assigns each product its own specific item number, so therefore each UPC produces its own unique barcode for that company.

Add the UPC barcodes to your products. Some products can have the barcodes incorporated into the product design, to be scanned at the cash register and recorded for inventory.


Some websites sell barcodes that have been used by previous companies, so the beginning numbers of the UPC aren't unique.


Do not assign a specific price to a UPC barcode, since then the barcode would have to be changed once the price changes.

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About the Author

Meg North has written professionally since 2008 as an online copywriter for the Sturbridge Yankee Workshop. She also published a short story in "The Maine Scholar." North has a Bachelor of Arts in media writing from the University of Southern Maine.