A manufacturer coupon will have the following on the face of the coupon:
1. It will state "manufacturer coupon" on the face of the coupon~ usually its in a box next to the expiration date on the coupon, however it could be anywhere else on the face of the coupon.
2. There will be a redemption address in the small print. This address allows stores to mail the coupon directly to the manufacturer to be reimbursed.
3. The coupon will have a 12 digit code, usually towards the bottom split into two different bar codes, with the first bar code starting with a 5 or a 9. This is the most important difference because these bar codes are universal, meaning any cash register can read them.
**even if it has a store logo (i.e. you may see Target or CVS alot) on the coupon somewhere, and has all the above, its still a mfg coupon. All stores should accept mfg coupons, however, some less educated stores and/or cashiers will see a store logo on a mfg coupon and will refuse to take them at their store. This just happens. You can try to explain the above, however, sometimes its just not worth the aggravation.
Store coupons will have no redemption address in the small print and may say something like "target web coupon" or "target store coupon" (if its a target store coupon) somewhere on the face of the coupon. Target store coupons usually begin with a "9" in the bar code while CVS store coupons usually start with a "4" in the bar code. The bar codes are important because they are unique to each store, i.e. a CVS store register wouldn't be able to read a Target bar code from one of their store coupons.