What is a barcode?

A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data. The most common formats for barcodes are 3 of 9, 128, and UPC.

How do barcodes typically work on a gift card?

Each gift card is printed with a unique serial number barcode with or without human readable characters. When a customer purchases a gift card, the barcode is scanned or its human readable characters are keyed into a point of sale (POS) system. The point of sales system recognizes the gift card’s unique serial number and prompts the cashier for a value to be assigned to it. For this example, the customer wishes to put $50.00 on the gift card. The cashier takes the customer’s $50.00 and keys in this amount. The point of sales system then assigns this value to the gift cards serial number. The value of the gift card is not stored on the card but within the point of sale system.

When the customer returns with the card, the barcode is scanned or the human readable characters are entered. The point of sale system then displays the stored value assigned to its serial number. The customer may add additional funds to the card or use its value to make a purchase. The history of the transaction and remaining balance amount is stored within the point of sale system for reference and future transactions.

How do I know what type of barcode my Point of Sales system needs? How can you ensure the barcode will work?

We have the ability to print many barcode formats onto our products. If you are not sure what type of barcode your system requires, please contact your point of sale system provider. They can assist you with which type of barcode will work and the necessary characters for your particular system.

Please ask your point of sale (POS) system provider the following questions:

  • What barcode format or formats work best with your system?
  • Are there any specific characters or number of characters necessary to be used in a barcode serial number?