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Jan 05 2012
5 years ago
3:10 PM MST

Are Your Coupons “Missing” a Barcode?

Jan 05, 2012 @ 3:10 PM MST
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

Think your coupons are missing a barcode? Keep Reading…

I’ve gotten quite a few emails lately with questions regarding online coupons printing without a proper UPC barcode and asking whether it was legit.  After doing a little research, I thought it would be beneficial to provide you with information that may help clear up any confusion on this subject, which may help your shopping trips go smoother during checkout.

First of all, the company that produces the bar codes for coupons is called GS1.  Over the past few years, they have slowly started making changes to how barcodes appear on coupons in efforts to bring data integrity and efficiency to coupons.  The new system was needed to help companies with U.P.C. Company Prefixes greater than 6-digits and also to allow a larger number of optional fields for specifying the more complex coupon offers in use today.

Check out the progression of how coupon bar codes have changed over the years…

Coupons that were issued before 2008 had two UPC bar codes on them (called the UPC-A and the GS1-128), as seen in the top coupon image above.  Then in 2008, the barcodes changed to look like the middle coupon above.  They included the UPC-A (on left) and the GS1 DataBar Barcode (on right).

Starting in 2010, coupons started gradually converting to look like the bottom coupon above.  You will see that the standard UPC-A barcode is missing from the left-hand side and only the second DataBar Barcode is there now.  The purpose for this is that the DataBar barcode contains a lot more information that will ultimately make your shopping trip go faster, such as the expiration date, weight of the products accepted, exact products, quantity and any other information or restrictions that the manufacturer would like to put in the coupon.  (Example: Do Not double, etc.)

Although this may not seem that exciting, essentially this is great news that should help clear up any future debates regarding how coupons should be properly redeemed.  The downside to this new system is that, unfortunately, many retailers have not updated their scanning equipment yet.  This means that when you go to use one of these coupons, it will beep and/or cashiers may not know how to redeem it.  The best thing to do is to call your local stores and find out if they have updated their systems to accept the DataBar Barcode scanners.

Have you had success redeeming the new DataBar Barcoded coupons? Please share!

(Thanks so much, Coupon Sense!)

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