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See I told you, this would help!

Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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New Coupon Barcode Databar

If you’ve printed coupons recently you probably have noticed that the barcodes are a little funny.  Coupons are switching over to a new bar code system called the GS1 Databar.

Updating the coupon format is intended to make it easier for manufacturer’s to specify what they want the coupon used for and more easily enforce it at the register. They are now able to have more options for purchase requirements, values, and have more complex offers.

You have heard me say over and over that you should always follow the wording on a coupon and this new system allows the register to make sure you meet the requirements instead of a cashier.  The barcode is equipped to include all language like do not double, product sizes and even flavors so the requirements should be really clear to everyone upfront.

With the new system:

  • Coupon value codes can now be in any amount up to $999.99, and they are not limited to a table of only 100 possibilities like the old system.
  • Precise offer descriptions and validation of offers involving specified quantity purchases can now be expressed.
  • Fraud is reduced due to complexity of description and save values. Also, the entire barcode encoded data is not presented in human readable format.
  • Automatic expiration date checking for retailers.
  • Coupons can be made store specific.

But what does this mean for you as a couponer?

This means you have less to worry about. Since you will know exactly what the coupon is intended for, you won’t have to worry about if a coupon will work. Also, you won’t have to worry as much about coupon fraud. People will not be able to use a coupon for an item that it is not intended for, or easily make fraudulent coupons.

You should have less hassle with cashiers as well. Since it is more obvious to you and the cashier what the coupon is intended for, there are less “hard to handle” coupons. You should be able to avoid the past frustration of knowing a that coupon is valid for a product, but the cashier disagreeing.

During the transition to the new system, some stores may have issues with the new bar code. Many coupons have both bar codes during the transition, which should help. However, you may have noticed an increasing number of printable coupons without the traditional barcode.

This should be remedied soon as all stores will have to update their systems. Until then, some stores may have to enter the coupon manually or not accept it (many people have experienced issues with Walmart not accepting them).

In the end, the hope of this new system is to make it easier for manufacturer’s to ensure that coupons are being used correctly. This helps to encourage manufacturer’s to continue to offer great coupons. It also means that as long as you are using coupons correctly, the new system shouldn’t cause you any problems.

If you are ready to test it out for yourself, you can go ahead and print coupons to check out the new barcode.  If you are new to couponing, you can learn more about how to coupon here.

For those of you who want more in depth technical details on the new system, check out the GS1Databar site for more info.

What has been your experience with the new system?

    • Mom77

      Last week two of my coupons would not scan at Winn Dixie. The cashier could not accept them even though they were valid. (I checked them online afterward to make sure) The manager said that they can no longer manually input coupons even if they are not printable…..even if they are valid. I’m assuming my Winn Dixie has not updated their cash registers?

      • Mom77

        These particular coupons only had the final databar not the interim pictured above. They were printable Kellogs pop tarts coupons.

        • Smellsscentastic

           Not sure where you are located (state, city, etc) but I work for Winn Dixie and you were given false information.  As long as they can verify that your coupon matches your purchase they could have gone around the barcode altogether and given you the coupon value.  I would ask for the Front End Manager next time.

      •  A lot of the online printables have fully switched over to the new system and retailers are trying to catch up. It may be worth discussing with a manager to clear things up.

        • JeffVL

           Or a massive boycott or call-in to CVS.  Publix Target (and ugh even Walmart) has a pharmacy… so it’s not like the “old days” of Eckerds or ? no-one      Also… when someone sux – as Food Lion did in FL (imo) or is a pain they can easily go out of business in this economy.

      • Melis0720

        My CVS also told me that they will no longer accept coupons if they do not scan. No matter if it’s for the right item or not.  The cashier told me that they had to sign a 3 page document stating they can lose their job if they do not follow the new procedures.

    • Thank you thank you thank you.  I took a break from couponing for awhile for school but now I’m back and this whole bar code change was giving me a headache.  Last thing I want is to go to Publix or Kroger and have them tell me they can’t take my coupons without the old barcode on them.

    • Andi330

      I’ve had several coupons out of the newspaper with only the new barcodes that wouldn’t scan. Thankfully, every time this has happened the store has been willing to override them manually after verifying that I purchased the correct item.

      • Onethriftydiva

        Me too!

    • Thanks for the update!

    • Guest

      The thing I don’t like about the new barcode is that we can’t tell if the coupon starts with a “5” or a “9” and therefore if it will double or not.  Wish there was a way to figure that out.  Some deals just aren’t that good if the coupon doesn’t double.  :/

    • Angel in Charleston

      That was my question, too: how can we know if a coupon is subject to doubling or not?

    • Mcleodsc

      already ran into this at Food Lion and Bi-Lo. Their registers need updating to take the new bar code.

    • Boydfamily94

      So, how will this affect coupon doubling?? I know with the old barcode the #5 means that it will double even though it may say “does not double”. Almost all coupons I have come across (printable & ads) have the 5 on them and they always automatically double at the register. Is the manufacturer trend moving toward eliminating doubling or tripling?? This will drastically decrease the deals that we all are looking for.

      • My hope is that the coding will be exactly as the wording on the coupon states so that we’ll know upfront if they will double or not.  It’s a new system though, so only time will tell.

        • Brooke

          Unfortunately if this is so, a lot less coupons may double. My HT recently decided that they are no longer doubling DND coupons even if they start with a 5 (although not all cashiers look…) so I have started paying more attention to what says DND and what doesn’t. I would say over half the coupons I use say DND, If new barcode system automatically won’t allow it to double, that is a lot of coupons we are going to not longer be relying on to double. I have seen very few DND coupons that start with a 9. 

        • Boydfamily94

          How will you know if it doubles before you get to the checkout. Now most q’s say DND, but if they have a 5 I use them. I don’t know how to plan my trips with the new q’s.

        • Ketta

          Jenny, does this mean that if a coupon says do not double, Publix will no longer double 50 cents or less?  They have always doubled these in the past.  Just wondering. . . .  also, many thanks for all of your hours and hours of work.  I am grateful.

    • JenS

      Albertsons in my area is also having trouble with these new barcodes. They’ve been wonderful about it though. Walmart has been hit and miss. I’m in TX.

    • Jcr18

      The Walmart here in Columbus, GA will not take them actually had a manager tell me I copied them and was committing fraud today I was so pissed by this not because they wouldn’t take them but because she made me feel so outcasted by it. I kindly told her I did not want to complete my transaction then went to Target and the coupons scanned just fine. Another reason of many why I hate shopping at Walmart.

      • thatgurl

        To me, Wal-Mart and Kroger are the worst. I barely shop in either store now. I’d much rather drive completely out of my way to Publix and Target just to have a more positive experience.

      • Naty306

        I feel your pain!  What’s up with these people assuming we photocopy our coupons just because it didn’t scan.  It happened to me at a target here in CA.  I had 4 coupons for the kreo optimus product because I have 2 computers..2 scanned..1 beeped and the manager told me he can’t accept it because I copied it were the first words out of his mouth.  Needless to say he reluctantly accepted it after I put up a big fight :) but still felt it was supposed to look differently…saying it supposed to have this “foil” on the coupon..how are you to print “foil” from the printer..too weird..

      • Susan Heard

        Same thing happened to me at Food Lion. As a very honest couponer, I was insulted. I told the clerk I had never and would never copy coupons. She then told me the coupon was a copy because it was not printed with colored ink. After I explained I print my coupons with black ink only and that colored coupons could also be copied in color, I still got a “no”. I will not shop there again.

        • Lacat

          Have you seen the Food Lion commercial that claims their MVP card saves customers 5 million dollars a day!  I don’t see how they could get that much revenue in a month!

          • JeffVL

             Saved Food Lion $$$$. too ….From SALES – since they all closed in Florida – Have A Nice Day  – Food Lyin

      • JeffVL

         Thank You. Walmart sux. They do not know what their coupon policy / price match policy is & contradicts their price guarantee. Calling corporate gets you nowhere because you get some customer service employee reading out of a book or? and can’t get someone that even knows what the policy is. They just say they’ll get your store manager to call. Pass the buck and the manager was clueless. Publix & Target – no problem.  And because their scanners aren’t calibrated or … sorry … coupon is counterfeit.  Yeah right – anything to get out of taking a legit coupon.  But it’s in B&W – it must be a copy… No .. It’s a B&W printer (or I’m just using black to save ink.  My Walmart shopping excursions are few & far between … and I get better coupon usage and results @ Publix (and Target) anyway.

      • Coupons090

        i know i am posting this everywhere,trying to help.if my thinking is correct and all wal-marts systems are the same,then just have them use the scan gun,cover with a hand everything but the code, for some reason that one little lazer on it scans better than the ten or so do.i would try this first with one coupon at the register, when it works , i would then got to your new favorite manager,and pass along the information and wait for them to apologize.

    • Amber

      Haven’t had problems with them being accepted but have had lots of problems with them not scanning easily!

    • SarahR

      I had a printable from another zip with only the new barcode.  It would not scan and the cashier would not take it. It was for cereal and I had purchased the correct item.    I was wondering if I had an issue because the coupon was not from my area (zip). 

      • JenS

        That should not be a problem. I print from all sorts of zip codes far far away from me. These new bar codes are causing lots of issues.

    • thatgurl

      Hmm….just printed a few coupons today for use at my Publix. Hopefully, their systems will accept the new bar codes.

    • tori729

      I don’t know if any of the stores around here actually accept the new bar codes yet. If I have any with just the new bar code, they usually don’t scan.

    • Freestuff4cb

      Wouldn’t scan at walmart…they don’t accept if the don’t scan. Grrr

      • Coupons090

        try getting the cashier to use the scan gun,cover everything but the barcode it works for me.

    • Colonels_wife2

      I have run into a couple of problems…and I stopped printing coupons completely because I was so frustrated.  I’m in Ellenwood, GA and I frequent our Walmart and Kroger.  Coupons I had been printing out (strictly from Jenny’s website) were printing without a barcode and several had (in the upper right-hand corner) an Offer Id# and a pin number printing.  Kroger told me that these were fraudulent coupons (even when they scanned & even after scanning the QR code with my phone to verify).  They said they have a huge binder w/a list of these fraudulent coupons.  I was told that ANY coupon with an offer ID# & pin number were frauds & it wasn’t losing her job of 22 years.  Walmart has given me problems with coupons from the paper (no printouts) simply because there was no barcode.  Even after verifying the purchase, I was told they weren’t allowed to bypass the system and enter coupons manually any longer.  If it doesn’t scan, it is not accepted.  I just printed three coupons from SmartSource…first time in a long time and I notice the same wording in the upper right-hand corner and only one has a barcode.  This is aggravating because now I’m not certain if these coupons are legitimate and, if they are, why they aren’t scanning. 

      • JeffVL

         I would like to know where you are getting a coupon w/ no barcode. I print hundreds (or?) of coupons and do not have any without a barcode (some have 1 or 2 and a maybe a pin scancode). You might have a printer problem (not printing images) and other computer/printer problems (w/ java &/or active x)

      • Coupons090

        this happens to me when i am low on ink

    • suelynn

      I read about this about 6 months ago on the q tipping mom website.  Since then several stores have just now started being able to scan these.  The way I understand it.  This has been in the works for almost 2 years.  

      • suelynn

        Oh yeah, and I should add, one coupon from the All You would not scan at walmart & they would not accept it!

        • Delucas65

          Interesting, since All You is a Walmart exclusive magazine! LOL Another reason why I don’t go crazy with coupon shopping in Walmart!

        • Coupons090

          gs1 coupons will scan at wal-mart with the gun that the cashier has .

    • Dealsaccount

      My problem is regarding the “do not double!”  Why would a manufacturer give a darn about doubling?  The store pays for the double, not the manufacturer!!!!!

      • Spanishtulip

        That’s what I have been wondering.  It seems like the manu. would love stores that double since it means more people buying their products.

    • Joette

      Jenny, the concept of “DO NOT Double”  has baffled me for some time.Please explain in detail why a manufacturer would be against a store doubling a coupon if they only reimburse the store for the face value and it helps sell  its product. THe store is losing the extra, correct?

      • Guest

        I had been wondering about this for a long time and then I saw a post from Jenny under a Harris Teeter list where someone asked the same question that explains it.  HTH!  It helped me!  :)

        She said, “Another reason is that it screws up the manufacturer’s number on supply
        and demand.  Do you honestly love their product and they need to make
        more?? or are you only buying it because you had $3 off with super
        doubles?  They have no way to know and can’t plan accordingly.”

      • Amy

        The average coupon campaign has X% redemption. If a store doubles the coupon and it is a fabulous deal, their X% goes up. They have 2 options- make less total coupons available or put the DND on the coupon.

        I read an article where a company put out 1/1 making the product 1/2 price. They expected a 27% redemption. Their product was free with  doubles and their redemption was almost 70%. Think of what a difference that made to their bottom line.

        • Angelas001

           That makes so much sense.  I hadn’t been able to fathom a single reason why they wouldn’t allow doubling.

        • Guest

           Many coupons I will not even use if they won’t double, since a lot of the time they are .50 and under. Seems a waste of paper, ink, etc to put out coupons that a lot of people will just look at as junk.

    • crystal

      will this be for printed coupons or is it for the paper coupons as well.

      • Coupons090

        it is on some of the newspaper coupons as well.

    • Guest

      I am glad for the new codes. One reason is so people will forced to be honest. I have tried to explain to people why it’s dishonest to use $10 Crest White Strips coupons on toothpaste to get extreme overage and I’ve been called names.

      Now it will be less a matter of leaving the door wide open for people to take advantage. It sounds like I’m blaming the manufacturers, and I don’t mean it that way. But I do think the manufacturers should have assumed people would try every avenue, even the unscupulous ones.

    • YN

      Most of the store seem like they already have updated their system like cvs,walgreen and publix. This system maybe more accurate and precise but it not perfect and sometime a pain. I never miss use a coupon but when I use a coupon on the exact product in the description I’m expecting to scan not arguing with the cashier that this coupon – product is what I brought!! This was in walgreen using the GS 1code. Ever since that I hate GS 1 codes

    • luv2shop

      So far, I have not really had any problems, but my stores are pretty forgiving.  I don’t think I will venture into Wall’s with a new Q.

    • Barbara

      printed the ICBINB coupon and it would not scan at Winn Dixie

    • Printed 2 ICBINB coupons and the did not scan at Winn Dixie.

    • Ed In Ncarolina

      At my Harris Teeter, the new coupons will not scan at the u-scan (self checkout), so the u-scan cashier has to call for override help. They work fine at the regular checkout lanes.

    • couponmama3

      I wonder if this is the issue I had at Bi Lo last week? I had two .50/1 Qs for honey nut cheerios (from Coupon Network dot com) and they wouldn’t scan. The cashier said they’re not allowed to take anything that won’t scan, & I was mystified as coupons from that site have always worked before…

      • Squirrellyec

         My bilo recognized the coupons as having the new barcode and informed me that they wouldn’t scan with them, so they just put them in manually.  Remember to take advantage of that survey on their receipt.

    • JeffVL

      But Jenny you left out one of the interesting things you can do. At the Bar Code Graphics, Inc. link you provided is a link to

      Bar Code Graphics has created two complimentary utilities to both Decode & Encode the new Databar Coupon information:

      GS1 DataBar Coupon – Data Encoder
      GS1 DataBar Coupon – Data Decoder

      That will show what specifically the Full Code means.

      Pretty neat.

    • jazigirlnc

      I had this problem all throughout super doubles week at Harris Teeter last week. Thankfully they entered them manually which took a lot of time for the manager as I had 20 coupons on each transaction and alot of them were online coupons which all had the new bar code. I hope they get their systems updated soon…I don’t know how long I would be willing to continue to spend 10-15 min manually entering coupons per customer with the high volume of couponers that Harris Teeter has as regular shooppers.  

    • Angelas001

      I just had a problem at the u-scan at Kroger last night, but the cashier suspended the transaction and I was able to complete it at customer service- AFTER the lady tried implying something about I shouldn’t print online coupons… I didn’t let her finish, said I’d been doing this for a year and never have a problem. Not sure if she thought they were copied or just online coupons cause trouble- either way, I went through trouble to shop at that store, and she could go through the trouble of scanning the coupons until they went through. Even with the correct scanner it took a dozen tries on 2 coupons.
      It was the first trouble I’d had, hope it’s not just the beginning.

    • Kathy Lipphardt Wickham

      Winn Dixie in Florida, told us they won’t accept these new coupons at all. 

      • Coupons090

         you should make a phone call,to someone higher up .sometimes even store managers with their infinite wisdom ,get it wrong.i think they are so afraid of fraud they are scared of anything new.there is no need for you to miss out on stuff when they have been misinformed or have been given no information at all ( more likely). i use them all the time at wd self check out. tip: these new barcodes scan better at wal-mart with the little scan gun thinge.

    • Pjaugustine

      I have also seen a few coupons in the Sunday Paper with just the new barcode. At Kroger last week at the self checkout lane the checkout person new how to use them, he overrode the system and scanned the coupons at the register instead of using his handheld scanner, they worked fine. Ingles has been a little behind the times, but they are getting better.

    • Meechandnicksmom

      Had a coupon for GE CF light bulbs in new GS1 format. Register at Target couldn’t scan it, nor did it work when entered manually. Manager came over and did a manual reduction for the value of coupon, so I was fortunate.

    • Abethanygirl2

      I hope with this new system someone will create an iphone app for coupons. I would love a way to scan the coupon, and have it loaded automatically for tracking.

    • momof2boyce

      One of Harris Teeters in Winston-Salem would not accept the new coupon for GM cereal.

    • Rrbarr

      Will you be able to tell if the BOGO Q is attached to 1 product or both products?

    • Mommy

      Target and Walgreens have also had issues with the new barcode. These cashiers act like the coupons are conterfeit. If you try to explain, they act like you’re lieing.

      • Jamie Longhurst

        Yeah I had a similar problem a few weeks ago at Walgreens. I had a printed coupon for Kotex and the bar code looked funny to me then, but now I know it was a GS1…anyways, the casheir said that it wouldn’t scan b/c the rest of the bar code didn’t print. I will add that all the other coups I had beeped when she tried to scan them the first time, but eventually she got them to work. I think this was just user error. Frustrating though.

    • Kcreviews

      Our Lowes Foods still can’t handle the new bar codes so the cashiers are having to manually type them in. I was surprised to hear that they are even more specific because…listen to this…so weird…I used two printable Pop Tarts coupons the other day at LF and the cashier had trouble getting them to scan. She finally did get the first one to scan but the second one, no, so SHE SCANNED THE FIRST ONE AGAIN AND IT WORKED and also doubled (it was for 70 cents). I thought this was not possible–I thought every coupon was different and could only be used once. 

    • Ladybugpam

      Many stores in my area have not update their systems to take these new q’s.  Seems to defeat the purpose of making the q’s more specific if the coupons all need to be punched in manually!  the coupon companies should’ve given the stores more time to update before releasing these new coupons!  I hate sweating at the register when my q’s take forever to input and my q’s are looked at suspiciously through no fault of my own=/

    • Ann S

      This explains why the Stayfree, Viactiv, etc coupons wouldn’t scan at RiteAid.  I thought they looked funny and was annoyed that a coupon from the paper wouldn’t scan!

    • Ann S

      This explains why the Stayfree, Viactiv, etc coupons wouldn’t scan at RiteAid.  I thought they looked funny and was annoyed that a coupon from the paper wouldn’t scan!

    • Nonnie Mouse

      Once they get the technical kinks worked out, I hope they have someone with concise, clear grammar provide equally clear descriptions for the increasingly complex coupon offers. As it is now, so many written descriptions are already confusing. With increased offer complexity, shopper error is going to increase. More aggravation at the register for everyone.

      I think couponing is on its way to becoming a nightmare for the next year or two…

    • Bowtifan

      Is there any way that we can tell if the new coupons will double before we use them or do we have to watch the register? In most cases, if my coupons don’t double, I’m not going to buy the product.

      • If the coupon says do not double at the top, it will not double.  Otherwise, it should double at the appropriate stores.

        • Bowtifan

          I used coupons yesterday that said “do not double” and they doubled at Harris Teeter. 

    • Teedlesp73

      I had a coupon with the one barcode from maybelline a couple months ago. That wouldn’t scan at Kmart.  I just thought my coupon didn’t print correctly.

    • Teedlesp73

      I had a coupon with the one barcode from maybelline a couple months ago. That wouldn’t scan at Kmart.  I just thought my coupon didn’t print correctly.