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How Do Barcodes Work in Australia

Each country or region has adopted the specific type of barcode it uses. Likewise, in Australia, there is a specific type of barcode that is mostly used.

What is a Barcodes

A barcode is a technology that is made of a combination of lines of different sizes and spaces, which stand for a set of numbers. Once created, a barcode holds information within each unique code. The information within the barcode can be accessed through a barcode scanner.

The Type of Barcode Used in Australia

Although there are several types of barcodes in the world, the most used barcodes in Australia are EAN and UPC.


EAN stands for European Article Number. It comes in two types, which are EAN-8 and EAN-13. This type of barcode is mostly found in products such as electronics, clothing, DVDs, groceries, and other products that are found in a typical retail shop. This type of barcode can be scanned using a barcode scanner at the POS.

A typical EAN-8 barcode is comprised of 8 digits, which can be found underneath the barcode. Likewise, the EAN-13 is composed of 13 digits and place under the barcode just like with the EAN-8 barcode. The EAN-13 barcode is mostly used for all types of products. The EAN-8 barcode is mostly used on products with small surface areas, which are not large enough to contain the EAN-13 barcode.


UPC stands for Universal Product Code. This type of barcode is also composed of two types, which are UPC-A and UPC-E. The UPC barcode looks a lot like the EAN barcode. Although used in Australia, the UPC is mostly used in the United States.

UPC-A and UPC-E are considered GTIN-12 barcodes. UPC-A is mostly used for products that are exported. The UPC-E makes use of a zero-suppression process to allow for the compression of information into an 8-digit arrangement.

Using Australian Barcodes

Australian barcodes are not unique to the country. Such types of barcodes can also be used in every country. However, some specific stores require a barcode to be registered. The Australian Global Standards body can help a product owner to register their barcode and allow for international use.

Getting a Barcode in Australia

GS1 (Global Standard 1) is the service provider responsible for giving out EAN and UPC barcodes in both Australia and other countries in the world. A company getting its barcodes from GS1 is sure that its barcodes are authentic, standard, and unique to it. The barcode-getting process is straightforward. A business only needs to buy its barcode from GS1 and become a member of the Australia GS1 branch. Once the barcode is gotten, it can be used in any location in the world.

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