Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about UNSPSC®

General Questions

Subscriber Questions

The UNSPSC Codeset Tool (Subscribers Only)

Non-Subscriber Codeset Questions

Standards Based Questions

What is the UNSPSC?
The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code is a hierarchical convention that is used to classify products and services. It is an eight-digit numeric code that identifies products or services. It is not a barcode. It is not used in the supply chain. The UNSPSC was jointly developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (D & B) in 1998 and has been managed by GS1 US since 2003.

What are the benefits of Coding Products and Services?
By embedding UNSPSC classification standards into your product management systems - purchase orders, invoices, electronic documents, product catalogues, websites - all parties throughout the extended supply chain benefit.

  • Procurement can keep an eye on how much is spent buying what. This information is readily available to analyze the specifics in the buying process at the level of detail that most suits the business needs in a timely and precise manner. It can cut in half or less the time it takes to find the products needed by searching by commodity code through brokers, online exchanges, business partners, etc. across the globe. It allows organizations to spot buying patterns across departments or business units to leverage better conditions from suppliers and realize overall savings.
  • Marketing can get field data fast for market research, product development, and sales analysis, ultimately delivering to the company's bottom line, via customer satisfaction.
  • Sales can monitor sales channels and distribution all the way to the store shelf or end user. It enables a sales department to gather market intelligence quickly via electronic platforms for accurate sales analysis. It will extend the reach of their products to customers across the globe by publishing e-catalogues, registering with search engines or third-party marketplaces.

Who Uses UNSPSC?
Companies that need the code have been requested to do so by a government agency or retailer/distributor to identify what kind of company they are or what kind of product they are providing. Companies also use the code for internal cost analysis and procurement.

Do you publish a list of UNSPSC Subscribers?
We do not disclose UNSPSC subscribers to anyone. Due to privacy agreements, we do not divulge specific subscriber names. However, our subscribers comprise global corporations, small firms, and several government entities, as well as universities and other educational institutions also utilize UNSPSC.

How is UNSPSC Funded?
UNSPSC is funded through subscriber fees.

Is there a fee to become a subscriber of UNSPSC?
UNSPSC subscription is an annual fee. It covers the first year of subscription and is renewable annually thereafter.

  • General Subscription - $575 a year.
  • Solution Provider Subscription - $775 a year. This subscription is for companies that provide services and solutions for implementing UNSPSC Codeset for other companies or organizations.
  • Trade/Standards Organization - $150 a year. This subscription is for organizations that represent subscriber communities of business interests or organizations that develop or manage standards.
  • Students - $50 for 6 months. This subscription is for graduate students doing scholarly research.

How do I apply? How long does it take to process my application?
Visit the UNSPSC Store. Once you have completed the online application and submitted payment, your subscription is processed and activated immediately. Upon processing you will receive a confirmation email providing you with login and other information you will need as a subscriber.

How do I apply for the Trade/Standards or Student Subscription?
Prospects for this subscription type must send verification of qualification for these subscriptions using our contact us form.

  •  Standards Org should advise the Standard they are maintaining and provide a link to the standard for review
  • Trade Organizations should provide a Link to their website, specifically a page that shows the Structure (About, What We Do or Structure).
  • Current Student ID or enrollment verification

Once I become a subscriber, do I have voting rights for new codes?
In the fall of 2021, the voting step was removed from the methodology.

I paid but have no access. Subscription? Codeset?
Please contact us to resolve this issue.

I want to cancel. I want a refund.
The UNSPSC Subscription Fees are not refundable.

Will I receive a reminder that my subscription will expire?
You will be reminded of your subscription’s expiration via email approximately 60 and 30 days prior to the expiration.

How can I renew my subscription?
To ensure uninterrupted access, you'll need to repurchase the subscription from the UNSPSC Store. Here are the steps to renew your subscription:
1. Login or Create an Account: If you have previously subscribed, log in using your existing credentials at the UNSPSC Store. For first-time visitors, select "Create Account" to set up your subscription profile.
2. Choose Your Subscription: Once logged in, select the "General Subscription" and add it to your cart.
3. Proceed to Checkout: After adding the subscription to your cart, proceed to checkout. By following these steps, you can easily renew your subscription and continue enjoying the benefits of your UNSPSC subscription without any interruption.

Will I receive an invoice for my subscription purchase?
You will receive an invoice for your subscription order.

I misplaced my invoice, how can I get a copy?
Log into your UNSPSC Store account and go to My Account. Your invoice will be displayed under Order History.

I need to mail a check.
Unfortunately, we do not accept checks as a valid form of payment.

I am tax exempt, what do I need to do to apply?
Please contact UNSPSC support prior to purchasing a Codeset so we can accommodate your needs.

Why can’t I purchase the Codeset? I have tried and am taken to a page that tells me I’m in a sanctioned country.
GS1 US is compliant with the United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctioned Countries Policy. Our records show that you are located in one of the sanctioned countries identified by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Due to this, we are unable to conduct business with your company.

Who can I contact if I need additional information on my renewal?
You can send your renewal questions using our contact us form.

What happens if I don’t renew my subscription before it expires?
If we have not received payment by the due date, the account will be deactivated. Upon receipt of payment, the account will be reactivated.

How do I login to the UNSPSC Codeset Maintenance Tool?
Go to and enter your credentials.

How do I find a code?
Click here to access the UNSPSC Codeset Maintenance Tool. Log into your UNSPSC account and select View Codeset’s located at the top of the page. Select a Codeset version and search by Code, Title or Definition to display results.

How do I download the Codeset?
Click here to access the UNSPSC Codeset Maintenance Tool. Log into your UNSPSC account and select Codeset Downloads located at the top of the page.

Can you help me replace the only user on file for our company user?
Please contact UNSPSC support so we can accommodate your needs.

I have access to the tool. How do I add a new user? How many users can we add?
Log into your UNSPSC account and select My Account located at the top of the page. You may invite additional users by selecting Add New User and completing the required fields. There is no limit to the number of users.

How are new codes added? How can changes to the Codeset be made and by whom?
UNSPSC subscribers can submit changes to the Codeset. Click here to access the UNSPSC Codeset Maintenance Tool. Log into your UNSPSC account and select Codeset Change Requests located at the top of the page. The Codeset is updated annually by GS1 US.

  • Requests to Add or Edit the Codeset require a Title, Definition and Reason:
    • Title: A phrase that describes something or someone (e.g. “Gasoline outboard motor”). The title is required.
    • Definition: Information or attributes that will describe and differentiate the Codeset from other, similar product or services (e.g. “A gasoline engine mounted outboard of a small boat for propulsion”). The definition is required
    • Reason: Need or business case explaining how adding the new product or service will benefit the UNSPSC Codeset and its users. The reason is required.
  • Requests to Move or Delete the Codeset require a Reason:
    • Reasons: Need or business case explaining why a move or deletion is necessary and how the deletion would benefit UNSPSC users.

How are Codeset Change Requests processed?
Codeset requests undergo a structured review process to ensure accuracy and relevance. Submissions are reviewed monthly by our team. It's important to note that UNSPSC releases happen annually, and our evaluation of requests is aimed at efficiency, although no specific timeframe is set for the review, approval, or denial of these submissions.

Upon submission, you will be notified automatically once your request has been reviewed. This notification system ensures transparency and keeps you informed about the status of your submission throughout the evaluation process.

How can I update my company name and/or address?
Please contact UNSPSC support so we can accommodate your needs.

Can you help me replace the only user on file for our company users in the UCoM tool?
Please submit your request at Contact Us..

Is there a fee for the Codeset? How do I download the Codeset?
Anyone can download the current Codeset for free in a PDF format. Non-subscribers can purchase a download of the Codeset in Excel. Different versions of the UNSPSC Codeset have different value.

Can you tell me what code we should use to identify our company or product? 
We cannot tell someone what code to use. We can show you how to search the code and so that you can make the decision on which code is the best match for your organization. If you need additional support, you can work with a UNSPSC Solution Provider.

Does UNSPSC offer an API for the Codeset?
We do not offer a UNSPSC API solution currently or in the foreseeable future.

Can UNSPSC be Incorporated into machine learning (ML) to help a purchaser select and enter the right UNSPSC for their purchase. I would be interested in incorporating models already in use, or getting access to UNSPSC data, based on others’ purchasing activities, to train our own ML.
Currently, we only offer the UNSPSC Codeset in three different formats, PDF, XLS, and TXT. The PDF can be downloaded from the UNSPSC Store and is free. The Excel Spreadsheet can be purchased in the UNSPSC Store. In addition to online browsing, Subscribers get access to the Codeset TXT file format, which can be easily used in spreadsheet software or database software. If you need additional support, you can work with a UNSPSC Solution Provider.

Will new translated versions be offered?
Due to low interest in translated Codeset’s in the past, we are not planning to add new translated versions.

What languages is the Codeset being translated in?
The Codeset is published in English. Translated versions provided by community members are available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.

How can I view the Codeset in another language?
You can view a translated version of the UNSPSC Codeset using the Translate tools in Web Browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

How often do you release new versions of Codeset?
The UNSPSC Codeset is released once a year, in the third quarter.

Are there any system requirements to download Codeset versions?
There are no specific system requirements. You will need to ensure your organization will allow you to download files from the internet.

If I can't find the code for my product what should I do?
Codeset modifications can only be requested by subscribers. Please go to the UNSPSC Store to select the subscription that will work for your company

How can I find my company's UNSPSC code?
UNSPSC is a commodity code that identifies goods and services sold by a company not generally the company itself.

We would like permission to use UNCPSC for Commercial Use/License.  
The use of UNSPSC codes is free. You can embed the Codeset into your solution without any restrictions. You will need to sign an addendum to the terms & conditions. Please submit your request at Contact Us

Is Item Synchronization the same as Product categorization using UNSPSC?
Item synchronization means that the information regarding a product is consistent throughout the supply chain. This includes identifiers like UNSPSC.

I mark some of my products with a U.P.C. and some with an EAN symbol. What do I mark with UNSPSC? How does UNSPSC mesh with bar coding?
UNSPSC is a commodity classifier; it is not marked on products. Generally, commodity identifiers are assigned by manufacturers/suppliers although this may vary by needs of the business or the marketplace.

Will UNSPSC replace GTINs?
GTINs are used to identify trade items while UNSPSC is used to classify commodities, which generally are not as granular as trade items.

How does the UNSPSC and the Global Product Classification (GPC) relate?
GPC (unlike UNSPSC) provides detailed trade item classification attributes and values for catalogues while UNSPSC (unlike GPC) provides a global classification framework for all products and services in all industry sectors.

How does UNSPSC differ from NAICS and SIC?
The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) coding systems that describe the operations of a business, while the UNSPSC provides a very specific product-centric viewpoint.

Can the UNSPSC be encoded in XML?

Yes, the UNSPSC is a code table and XML is syntax. One can encode anything in XML including the UNSPSC.

Does having a UNSPSC subscription make the customer a member of GS1 US? Do they receive access to tools such as myGS1 US and Data Hub?
UNSPSC is owned by the UNDP and managed by GS1 US. UNSPSC Subscription does not grant access to GS1 US Products and Services.

I am a member of GS1 US? Do I have access to the UNSPS Codeset?
GS1 US membership does not grant access to UNSPSC Tools or Codeset downloads.