Why YOUR Coupons Are Missing Barcodes!

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A lot of you have been concerned about your coupons printing without a barcode and I am here to shed some light on this situation and what it means.

The company that “creates” the bar codes for coupons is called GS1. They have been working on creating a new system and this includes putting the “Databar Barcode” on coupons.

Here’s how it’s changed….

You can see that any coupons  that were released before 2008 had 2 UPC bar codes on them (as seen in image above).

In the coupons released after 2008, you can see in the image above, the barcode is smaller and there is now a Databar Barcode.

Nowadays, coupons more and more are starting to look like the one above with just a Databar Barcode and this has a lot of you concerned.

What is the “Databar Barcode” you ask?

Well, this Barcode contains a lot more information which was created to make your checkout go more smoothly and quickly. Encoded in these codes are things like the expiration date, weight of the products accepted, exact products, quantity and any other information that the manufacturer would like to put in the coupon.

Therefor, the cashiers don’t have to spend as much time reading the coupon, making sure it’s being used in the correct items, not expired etc. In return, it’s going to help make sure WE as couponers are doing things correctly and not fraudulently using coupons (whether it’s on purpose or by accident).

How does this affect us when using our coupons?

Unfortunately, some retailers have not updated their scanning equipment which is causing a “beep” when your Databar barcode is scanned. We are all just waiting for the computer systems to be updated soon so we no longer have any bumps when checking out. You may also want to learn more about it on the GS1 website here AND print out some information to show the cashier when using these coupons.

Thanks, Coupon Sense

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  1. julie strassle says

    This is GREAT information!! there was an issue with a Walmart coupon a while back someone printed it and tried to use it AT Walmart and they said it was not valid. when I saw the comment I didnt even bother to print it. NOW I know better. thx so much!!

  2. sandy says

    I uploaded the reach coupons and also the ones for the ky jelly and both were rejected at Walmart. Our Walmart says one of the bars are missing and since it won’t scan by hand, they are not allowed to accept them. They will NOT try to type them in at all. If they don’t scan, we cannot use them. Unfortunately, I printed several ceral ones which also look like this new one so, that is sad they won’t accept them now

  3. Kuleen says

    My Walmart has gotten SUPER picky. They won’t take the coupon if the pictures don’t match. It doesn’t matter if the description says ALL XXXX products. If the picture isn’t the exact same they won’t do it. I have stopped shopping there.

  4. Gina Christmas says

    I have had Wal Mart and the Dollar Store both tell me they will not accept coupons unless they have the normal (old) bar code on them!!! I’m just disappointed bc a lot of the really good coupons this week dont have thday bar code on them! Glad at least I understand now, but I wish the stores wre more informed.

  5. Sue Khoury says

    I’ve had troble at WalMart too. I’ve gone to managers and they’ve over-ridden the cashiers, but they didn’t want to do it. I’ve stopped shopping WalMart until they get this fixed.

  6. April says

    When are stores supposed to update their systems to be able to scan the new barcodes? Since a lot of manufacturers are taking the old barcodes away from their coupons, stores are not accepting my coupons. They think I’m trying to commit coupon fraud. I have tried to explain to the cashiers and managers (and store managers in some cases) at HEB that they are NOT fake and it IS the manufacturer taking the old barcode away to help PREVENT the coupon fraud. They say their policy is that if it doesn’t scan, they won’t get reimbursed and they won’t accept it. One store has even posted up a picture of a coupon without the old barcode and says that it is fraudulent and will NOT be accepted. I have emailed corporate and all I get is a response that they will forward the concern to the store management. Of course I don’t get any response after that. :-(


    I too am having problems with Walmart and using coupons. They make it a problem each and every time I go and I wish it were as simple for me to say I will stop going there but living in a small town there is nothing here- I have to drive to the next town to even get to a Walmart and even then that is really the only “big” store they have in the town without outrageous small town prices and where you can actually find the items on the coupons. Shame on Walmart for making it so hard for those of us trying (needing) to save money, something that Walmart always claims to want to help us do, but they are falling short.

    • sandy says

      I just emailed walmart from their page and asked them about it and sent the link. Maybe others should as well so they don’t make it so difficult for all of us who shop there

    • Donna Tucker says

      I will not shop at wal-mart today or tomorrow. They act like I am not important to their future. They make me feel like I am trying to steal from them. I love my Publix where I am appreciated and do not mind the coupons. I shop at Target now also.

      • BRANDI POWELL says

        I have seen them treat the thieves in their store with more courtesy while escorting them out to the police car than I have been treated just for using coupons. Ridiculous.

        Also, we do not have a Target or a Publix. :c(

  8. kim frazee says

    i just wanted to Thank You for the info. Im a newbie and love learning about all this! Appreciated Greatly!

  9. Aaren Johnson says

    I’m a couponer and also started working abiut 2 months ago at Walmart as a cashier since I read all of the post and have dealt with other cashiers there arguing with me about coupons I dont argue with couponers in my line. I do make sure that they are buying that item and if it doesn’t scan I just type it in. It drives me crazy reading how others are treated. I’m sorry to those of you that have had a hard time and hope that it changes soon for you all

    • Jodi says

      Great to hear from someone who actually works at Walmart, Aaren!
      So far, when I’ve had them tell me the coupon won’t scan, I simply ask if they can enter it and they do OR else I try to make sure I get in the lane of a cashier that sees me on a regular basis and she will usually key it in for me without having to ask (they know I have what I have coupons for and I’m not trying to cheat the store).

      I actually talked to the one I had today (as she was one who recognizes me when I come in) and the data bar coupons that were in the J&J insert had no issue scanning, but the SS coupons had a longer data bar that wouldn’t scan properly, so she entered it anyway.

      Fingers crossed these scanners get updated soon (it’s not just Walmart affected!!)!

  10. Heather says

    I had an issue at Walmart this weekend with the KY and Reach coupon. I had 2 of each and the cashier said she couldn’t take it because the numbers on the bar codes were the same. She actually said “This is a copy.” I said, “I understand you have to do your job, but this is NOT a copy.” I didn’t argue with her, I just took one back. Then we got to an Always manufacturer coupon (from an Always package) and I had 2 of those also, and they both had the same barcode number. She said she’d go ahead and do that one since it’s not printed. But overall, Walmart is the best place in my area (Houston, TX) for coupons. They’re usually so great to deal with…if the cashier is knowledgeable about coupons.

    Also, I went to Target yesterday and got my Aquafresh which was .97 and my coupon was for $1.00. She said she couldn’t use it because the coupon was more than the cost of the product. I told her maybe she’d have to adjust the coupon to .97, but she said no. Then a manager was walking by and she asked her. The manager said, “Yes, we can take that. We’re not allowed to keep their overage anymore.” I said, “I didn’t realize that, good to know.” She said, “It’s something new.” Maybe everyone knows that already about Target and I’m behind. :-) But just wanted to share.

  11. Tracy says

    Heather target always has to manually enter them. I had that with the toothpaste and she had to input .97c ents for each one since the coupon is a $1. they don’t do overage like walmart. good thing you asked for a manager. half the time the cashier does not know :)

  12. says

    When my coupons from coupons.com started printing without barcodes, about 2 weeks ago., I flipped.
    I contacted coupons.com. I raved about the coupons printing wrong.
    I RAVED.
    They sent me emails.
    I sent them scans of the coupons.
    they told me to check my printer. to find a better browser, to ….
    they never told me that the format had changed.
    I even threw out all of those “misprinted” coupons
    I reinstalled my printer. changed my browser restated everything.
    Thanks for saving me with correct information.

  13. Erica says

    I stopped couponing about a year ago because of this. I just started trying to pick back up since my stockpile has diminished only to find I am STILL having problems with these types of coupons and more and more are coming out with this type of barcode!!! So frustrating!!! Many stores have a policy that they will not accept a coupon that doesn’t scan. Trying to explain this new barcode to a cashier is like talking to the wall. We are struggling financially and it would really help us out if I could just use my coupons!!! What a waste of paper and ink!!

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