Due to the demand for faster coupon clearing (for retailers) and quicker purchasing statistics (for manufacurers), bar codes have been developed to automate this process at the POS. This bar code is a variation of the standard UPC code in common usage in North America.

The basic UPC coupon code is comprised of five basic sections:

Number System Character of 5

Most POS UPC symbols on products begin with either 0, 3, 6, 7, or 8; however, regardless of the NSC used for the individual products, all widely-distributed coupons should have an NSC of 5.

Manufacturer’s Prefix

The five digit manufacturer’s prefix will be identical to the manufacturer’s prefix on the product itself.

Family Code

The next three digits following the manufacturer’s prefix are the family code. The manufacturer assigns family codes to each of their products. This three digit number is completely different from the product number used on an item, since many coupons are redeemable on more than one size, color, or form of a particular branded product. The family code is a key to validating that a consumer has purchased the couponed product.

Value Code

The value code identifies the redemption value of the coupon. This two-digit field follows the three-digit family code.

Check Digit

The twelfth digit of any UPC code is the check digit. This is a calculated number based on the eleven preceeding digits.