GTIN vs UPC: Why You Need to Understand the Difference Between the Two

by Tomer

December 13, 2022

If you’re new to Amazon selling, you’ll encounter different Amazon numbers and barcodes that can be confusing. You’ll encounter codes such as UPC, GTIN, ISBN, and more.

So, in this blog post, I will cover the difference between GTIN and UPC, how GTINs and UPC are used on Amazon, and how to obtain a GTIN exemption.

Make sure to read until the end to find out if it’s possible to list items on Amazon even without a UPC.

GTIN vs UPC: What’s the Difference Between the Two?


A GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is the identifying number of a product being sold. The GTIN is not the actual barcode but is instead used within barcodes. It consists of 14 digits and is embedded within barcodes, such as the UPC. The GTIN is printed on the packaging, either above or below the barcode. 

UPC (Universal Product Code) is a type of GTIN. It is a unique identifier for products and contains a scannable barcode and a unique number. UPCs are the most common type of barcode used in retail stores and online. 

GTINs are created by GS1, formally known as Global Standards 1. It is a non-profit group that designs and implements global standards. GS1 provides the bar codes with numbers for products in several industries. It is where sellers can purchase legitimate UPCs to use on their Amazon products. 

Related Reading: UPC to ASIN Converter: Top Conversion Tools FBA Sellers Use

What are the Different Types of GTIN?

GTIN is an umbrella term for unique and universal numbers used in various organizations and countries. In North America, the dominant GTIN is UPC. In Europe, it is EAN or European Article Number. Below are three of the most common GTINs.


GTIN-12 is also known as the UPC. It is a 12-digit number mainly used in North America. The first 6 to 9 digits are the Company Prefix. The next set is the seller’s product numbers. The last digit is the check digit, which is calculated depending on the preceding numbers and helps ensure the integrity of the barcode number.


GTIN-13 is a 13-digit number used primarily by countries outside of North America. The first three digits are the country code or the GS1 Prefix. The digits that follow the set are the unique number issued to the company. The last is the check digit.

International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN)

The ISBN is a 10- or 13-digit number, often having a 978 prefix, that identifies a publicly printed book. The ISBN is printed on the packaging or the back cover and located above the barcode. 

How Amazon Uses GTINs and UPCs?


There are over 25 product categories that require GTINs, and sellers must provide GTINs for each sellable unit they list on Amazon. 

Amazon ensures that GTINs are in place because proper unique product identification helps customers find products easily, leading to increased sales and loyalty.

Amazon requires sellers to provide a UPC or a unique product identifier for new product listings. This ensures that the brand name in the new listing matches the brand name associated with the UPC in the GS1 database.

If in case, the UPC doesn’t match the information in the GS1 database, Amazon will not allow you to list your product because they will consider your UPC invalid.

Related Reading: NEW 2022 Helium 10 Listing Builder Optimization Tool for Amazon FBA

Can You List Products on Amazon without UPC?


Listing products on Amazon without using UPC is possible through a GTIN exemption. It is an option that allows you to add your products to Amazon without a UPC. You can file a GTIN exemption if you meet the following:

  • The products you want to sell are your own private label brand, have no brand name, or are handmade.
  • The brand or manufacturer of the product you wish to sell does not provide a GTIN.
  • The items you wish to sell are bundled and contain more than one product. 

To request a GTIN exemption, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Amazon Seller Central.
  2. Perform a search for “Apply for GTIN Exemption.”
  3. On the GTIN exemption page, choose the category for your product.
  4. Add the brand or publisher. If your product is unbranded, enter “Generic.”
  5. Select “Check for eligibility.” 
  6. If your item is eligible for a GTIN exemption, it will be indicated by a green check mark under status.  
  7. Click “Continue” to submit your proof that the item doesn’t have a GTIN or UPC. 
  8. Enter the product name and upload at least two photos of your product and its packaging. The picture should clearly show there is no UPC. 
  9. Click “Submit Request.” It usually takes up to 48 hours to get a response from Amazon.
  10. Check the status of your request in your Case Log.  


Amazon constantly works to maintain the authenticity of the products sold on its platform. Understanding the difference between GTINs and UPC is important in managing your inventory. 

As a responsible Amazon seller, it is essential that you ensure your products are compliant with the site’s policies. It starts with understanding what GTINs and UPCs are and how they affect the goods you sell on the platform. 

About the author

My name is Tomer, and I founded Sourcing Monster to share proven tips and methods that I use every day for my Amazon business to provide value and growth for you as well as you journey through your own business!

Feel free to comment or share any feedback down below!

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