Move to exclusive use of GS1 DataBar™ will improve efficiency and reduce fraud, mis-redemption

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Joint Industry Coupon Committee (JICC) today urged retailers to prepare for the retirement of UPC Prefix 5 barcodes from manufacturer coupons.  These symbols will no longer be used after June 30, 2015 as manufacturers shift to exclusive use of the GS1 DataBar™ format for coupons.

Most existing retail scanning systems are capable of reading the GS1 DataBar™, advises the JICC.  To ensure readiness, retailers may simply need to enable the functionality in their systems. In some instances, software and/or hardware modifications may be required.  To avoid a disadvantaged position in the marketplace after June 30, retailers are encouraged to implement and activate these technologies as soon as possible.

Retailers and consumers alike will benefit from use of the GS1 DataBar™.  In addition to coupon redemption efficiencies, it can reduce incidences of intentional coupon fraud and unintentional coupon mis-redemption.  Specific benefits include:

  • Automatic coupon expiration-date check
  • Automatically ties double-coupon value limits to exact purchase requirements
  • Reductions in cashier intervention with complex offers placed within the code
  • Allows for retailer-specific coupons

Failure to transition to the new coupon technology exposes retailers to a number of risks, including:

  • Processing of expired or fraudulent coupons
  • Inability of customers to use coupons at self-checkout kiosks
  • Increased cashier labor and time to manually process coupons
  • Reduced profitability of promotions

The decision to move to exclusive use of the GS1 DataBar™ was announced in 2007, with the phase out period for UPC Prefix 5 barcodes beginning in 2011 and concluding June 30, 2015.  For additional information, visit the GS1 US web site:     

The JICC works to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the development, distribution and redemption of coupons. It is comprised of retailer and manufacturer executives who oversee coupon programs and is administered by the Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Grocers Association.