Intelligent Clearing Network Receives U.S. Patent to Validate and Clear Paper Coupons Electronically

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With this newly issued patent, ICN is rolling out its Coupon Validation Center suite of products nationally.

"There is no comprehensive solution like this one to achieve real-time validation at the POS,” said Don King, a former Procter & Gamble executive “Ultimately, shoppers will benefit from a more efficient checkout experience.”

Intelligent Clearing Network has received US Patent #8,386,309 for the electronic validation and clearing of paper coupons. ICN is now rolling out its Coupon Validation Center suite of products nationally.

The award of the patent comes as the company completes a successful six-month test of electronic, real-time validation and clearing of paper coupons in a live retail environment.    

While digital coupons are increasing in use and popularity, paper coupons remain the principal form of promotional discounts for grocery, drug, and mass merchandise retailers representing more than 90% of the national advertised offers. These offers have traditionally been viewed by the industry as a way to create widespread awareness, but remain a headache because of instances of mis- and mal-redemption. ICN’s patented solution aims to address these long-standing concerns that have intensified in the current promotional environment.

“Today, digital promotions are being delivered to consumers through a range of sources — from websites and email to mobile phones; however, paper coupons continue to represent the majority of offers in the marketplace and have been a challenge of every retailer. These retailers are looking for a single solution, which allows the validation, and clearing of both paper and digital coupons through a single streamlined process. This is the solution that ICN now brings to the marketplace though its patented approach,” said Eric Williams, former CIO of Catalina Marketing.

“As digital coupon usage continues to grow, ICN’s technology can handle both digital and paper processing through the same point-of-sale connection and manage the critical issue of deal stacking between these two forms of coupons,” says Rich Thibedeau, Executive VP of Operations for ICN.

ICN’s technology works by capturing item-level transaction data in real time and intercepting each paper coupon as it is scanned at the POS. Validation is performed in milliseconds by ICN’s server. The server then instructs the POS how to handle the coupon. This up-front validation stops erroneous and fraudulent tendering of coupons and reduces or eliminates the need for costly back-end accounting for paper coupons.

"There is no comprehensive solution like this one to achieve real-time validation at the POS,” said Don King, a former Procter & Gamble executive who is familiar with coupon issues. “Ultimately, shoppers will benefit from a more efficient checkout experience.”

ICN’s solution is extremely flexible and can fully validate all coupon barcodes including GS1, System 5 and system 99 as well as the unique requirements of custom retailer barcodes. One of the key features of the ICN system is its ability to validate the consumer-specific barcode printed on most home-printed-coupons. Using the Patented ICN system, retailers can now be assured of the validity of these home-printed offers right at the checkstand. The system provides the print-at-home industry with a solution to address the issues of coupon fraud once and for all.

ICN’s hosted service can provide retailers with family-code-level validation and up-to-the-minute fraud protection efficiently, without the retailer having to manage the Family code file. For retailers that do store-level coupon accounting, this is an opportunity to save on labor. The system will audit the electronic record against the paper coupons turned in by each store and report discrepancies automatically and accurately.

About Intelligent Clearing Network:
ICN is an innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that electronically validates and clears paper and digital coupons and other incentives in real time at the point-of-sale in grocery, drug and mass merchant retailers. ICN’s single connection to a retailer POS can help solve the problem of mis/malredemption and fraud for the coupon industry.

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Jon Robertson
Intelligent Clearing Network
(203) 395-4339
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