Today, I’m sharing a great article written by Karen of SavingTheFamilyMoney.Com. Kare is a wife and mother of two who enjoys writing about creative projects on her website. She enjoys sharing recipes, DIY projects and deals so you can spend less on everyday items and spend more on family fun.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to breakdown IPQ’s (internet printable coupons). When you print these and redeem them, you are sending the manufacturer information about where this coupon came from. That’s why I always reiterate in my coupon classes, that copying coupons is illegal. They will be able to track you down. The CIC or The Coupon Information Corporation is a Not-For-Profit association of consumer product manufacturers dedicated to fighting counterfeit coupons, mis-redemption, and fraud. They have worked with Law enforcement on significant coupon fraud cases since they were established in 1986 and have not lost a single case. They also have an extensive list of counterfeit coupons that are circulating. If you ever question a coupons legitimacy, you can check to see if it’s on the counterfeit coupon list. I love their cashiers corner where they give cashiers tips on spotting a counterfeit coupon. It talks about the hologram on a coupon and what things to look for when accepting coupons. I highly recommend reading it to give you the cashiers perspective.
Here is an image of an internet printable coupon from Coupons.com. We will start on the left side of the coupon and work our way to the right.
Product Image: The product image is embedded with copy detection and anti-copy built into it.
Watermark: Behind the coupon value and description is a watermark taken from the product image. This shows through the text.
Non- Standard Fonts: The writing on the coupons are non standard to discourage alteration.
Expiration Date: The expiration date on the top right contains a special pattern behind it to detect alteration.
Top Right Barcode: This barcode is 2-D and contains a unique serial number.
Coupon Frame Text: Each coupon is framed by text containing unique coupon info such as print date & time stamp. If you look closely at one you’ve printed, do you see your zip code? You IP address may also be embedded in the frame.
Now let’s breakdown the barcode on a coupon.
5 or 9 – MFR Coupons will start with either a 5 or a 9. MFR coupons should also have an address listed. This means you will be able to use these coupons at any store. The 5 means the coupon can double up to the amount your store will double, even if the coupons states “do not double”. Stores have the option to override this and double the coupon, but it is up to the store to decide. 9 means the coupon will not double.
MFR Number – These numbers identify the manufacturer of the couponed item and must match positions 2-6 of the UCC Company Prefix on the product that is being purchased. (This is the way that the register can validate you are purchasing the right product for the coupon being used.
Family Code – Most manufacturers break their products into families and the family code allows the coupon to be coded for a specific product that the manufacturer sells.
Value Code – This code tells the register what you need to purchase and how much to take off at checkout. The are over 100 Coupon Value Codes. Click the link to view them all. Here are some examples:
00: Free product Coupon– will beep and require the cashier to manually input the amount to take off. 14: B1G1
50: $0.50 off
99: $0.99 off
Check Digit – This is a calculated number used by the manufacturer. It has no relevance to couponers.
I hope you find this helpful and you now have more coupon knowledge than you’ll ever need!