Target Coupon Policy


The Target coupon policy is the set of rules that guide the store's practices for accepting coupons. In addition to coupon fine print, the coupon policy is the other list of terms a shopper must follow when using coupons. The coupon policy answers questions like,

  • Does Target take coupons?

  • Does Target accept expired coupons?

  • Can you use CVS coupons at Target?

  • Can you use Ulta coupons at Target?

Because reading terms and conditions can do as much confusing as it does clarifying, I'll review each section of the Target coupon policy and explain what it means. Or you can read the policy in its entirety on Target's site. Generally speaking, Target's is one of the best coupon policies around.

Target policy on stacking coupons

Two phones showing laundry detergent coupons on the Target app

Let's talk through the first section of the official Target coupon policy. In italics is the direct quote from the Target corporate policy, then immediately below I'll explain what each section means.

"Only one manufacturer coupon (paper or digital), one Target coupon (paper or digital), and one Target Circle offer can be combined per item."

Coupon stacking is the practice of using more than one coupon on an item and it's one of the basic premises of how to coupon, regardless of where you shop.

Target operates like most stores and allows one manufacturer coupon (a coupon that is funded by the manufacturer, meaning the corporation that manufacturers the brand on the coupon reimburses whatever store accepts its coupon) and one store coupon (a coupon that is cobranded and often cofunded by both the brand and the store, and can only be redeemed at that one retailer). Target houses both types of coupons in the Target Circle app. This section of the policy says that regardless of whether the coupons are paper or digital, only one of each type (manufacturer and Target coupons) is allowed on one item.

Target coupon policy limits

"We have the right to refuse, or limit the use of any coupon and/or the subsequent return for any reason, including if guests' reoccurring behavior becomes disruptive or the items are deemed not to be for the purpose of using or gifting."

As to the first part of this sentence, every store has a section of the policy that the lawyers write that says "and regardless of any of the rules we have for accepting coupons, we can also refuse them for any reason, including those not listed here." As a practice, this is uncommon.

One reason a person might be refused is if their shopping habits look more commercial than personal. If you're shopping for personal use or gifts for others, it's unlikely you'd run into this. If you've got a side hustle reselling goods on Facebook marketplace, that's another story. If you're curious, we looked into, if it's illegal to resell items.

This section also addresses that returns of items purchased with coupons may be refused. Stores don't ever like returns, but returns of products purchased with manufacturer coupons become increasingly complex. More on Target return policy and how returns with coupons work below.

"Limit of 4 identical coupons per household, per day (unless otherwise noted on coupon)."

Since 2012, Target has limited shoppers to four of the same coupon each day. So, for those who like to use newspaper coupons, even if you buy five copies of the newspaper at Dollar Tree, you'll only be able to use four of the same coupon per day at Target. For most of us regular shoppers, this never keeps us from getting a great deal.

"We do not accept expired coupons."

Target has never accepted expired coupons.

Target coupon policy rules

"All coupons and Target Circle must be presented to the cashier during checkout and have a scannable barcode. Coupons and Target Circle offers cannot be applied to previous purchases.

Manufacturer coupons must scan at the register, which validates to a master file of valid coupons. Coupons not on the master file are not accepted."

The first part of this is just saying that if you realize you've forgotten your coupons while standing at the checkout lane, you can't ask to come back later and have the coupons applied retroactively.

And your coupon must scan. If your printer is low on ink, your printable coupon may not scan. If your valid manufacturer coupon does not scan because it doesn't match the centralized master file, it won't be accepted. The centralized master file is run by a third-party called Cube by Sigma Ledger.

This new criteria was added to the coupon policy in October of 2022. Its launch caused widespread problems with Target in-store coupons as shoppers all over the country experienced their valid paper coupons being refused in-mass because the tool Target launched had not onboarded the majority of consumer packaged goods brands, and therefore coupons.

"Item purchased must match the coupon description (brand, size, quantity, color, flavor, etc.). Acceptance of unmatched coupons is against policy."

Coupons can only be used on products that match the description. Make sure to read the varieties and sizes included and excluded on the coupon and triple check that your product matches exactly. It's worth noting that the product does not have to match the image on the coupon. Often, a broad variety of flavors or even sizes are all eligible as matching products for one coupon.

A person holding out a stack of manufacture coupons. The coupon on top is for $2 off Tide Pods.

"Coupons are void if copied, scanned, altered, transferred, purchased, sold, or prohibited by law.

We do not accept counterfeit coupons.

Manufacturer coupons are not accepted on mobile phones, with the exception of Target Circle manufacturer coupons."

Manufacturers release only a certain quantity of coupons in any given batch. And they pay out for each valid coupon redeemed. Each printable coupon has a unique identifier. Each newspaper coupon is budgeted for. Photo copying or attempting to duplicate coupons is illegal.

"The value of a coupon will be applied up to the reduced price of the item and any excess value will not be applied to the transaction total.

We do not give cash back nor do we apply any overages to the remaining items in the transaction if the value of a coupon is greater than the purchase value of the item."

Krazy Coupon Lady makes no apology for being the reason this section of the Target coupon policy exists. We're so good at finding deals that sometimes we even get things free or find moneymaker deals. In the above section of the policy, Target clarifies that if you have $2.00 in savings on a product that costs $1.89, that extra eleven cents will not be paid back to you in cash or applied toward the total cost of your transaction.

"The sales tax is calculated by using the full value of an item prior to applying a manufacturer coupon. Target coupons reduce the taxable amount of the items to which they apply, unless prohibited by law."

Now we're reading the Federal government's coupon policy. They don't care how smart a shopper you are, they're making sure they get to collect sales tax on the full value of the item wherever possible. At Target, you'll pay tax on the full value of a $2.00 item, even if you used a one dollar off manufacturer coupon. If that dollar off was a Target coupon, you'd only pay sales tax on the actual cost, $1.00.

"We cannot accept coupons from other retailers, or coupons for products not carried in our stores.

"Target coupons and Target Circle offers cannot be used on products sold by CVS."

Does Target accept competitor coupons?

No. Target does not accept competitor coupons, but Target will price match competitors.

Can you use CVS coupons at Target?

No. You cannot use CVS coupons at Target. This includes CVS locations inside of Target. And you can't use Target coupons at CVS either.

Can you use Ulta coupons at Target?

No. You cannot use Ulta coupons at Target, not even on Ulta inside Target.

Target policy by coupon type

Pampers diaper coupons next to a Free GiftCard sign inside Target.

The main types of coupons Target addresses in their coupon policy are internet/printable manufacturer coupons, BOGO coupons and store category coupons.

Internet Coupons

"We gladly accept valid internet coupons with a scannable barcode."

This point is a restatement of a requirement already listed above, but a good reminder that being low on printer ink coupon mean your coupon won't be accepted.

"​We do not accept internet coupons for free items with no purchase requirements."

Printable coupons for free items are basically non-existent. If you've found one, I'd highly recommend you check its source because the likelihood that it's valid is low. You're likely looking at a counterfeit coupon scheme, which is why Target spells out that they won't accept a coupon like "Free Gatorade 32 oz, no purchase necessary".

​​Category and Storewide Coupons

This section is referring entirely to Target store coupons, not manufacturer coupons. There are two types of Target coupons discussed here: category coupons (10% off electronics) and storewide coupons ($10 off $50 purchase). Target sees both these coupons differently than a typical Target circle item-level offer like 15% off Pantene shampoo or 10% Thomas & Friends toys. The rules below apply only to category and storewide coupons.

"Only one Category/Storewide Coupon per guest can be used for any individual item, unless otherwise noted on the coupon."

There are two types of coupons discussed in this section and you can generally only use one of each type on the purchase of any item. In the case below, you can use one storewide coupon like a $10 off storewide offer, plus one category coupon, like a 10% off one electronics or video game. The $10 subtracted first, then you save 10% on the remaining order balance.

Target deal breakdown

"Only one Storewide coupon per guest can be used per transaction."

An example of a storewide coupon would be a 5% off during your birthday month for being a Target Circle Card member. Generally, these types of coupons are rare. It'd be unlikely you'd be able to find more than one at a time, but even if you could, the policy says you couldn't use two in a single transaction.

If redeeming more than one coupon for different categories or storewide coupons, you must meet the purchase requirements for each coupon individually.

Here's a scenario I found myself in recently. In my Circle app, I had a $5 off $25 medicine coupon and a $15 off $75 Just for You coupon. I wanted to use both during my shopping trip.

In this case, if I spent $25 on medicine and $50 on other stuff to reach a total of $75, I would not be able to use both coupons. Meeting the purchase requirement of each coupon individually means, I would need to spend $100 total — $25 on medicine and $75 on other stuff.

Buy One Get One Free Coupons

Tresemme shampoo and conditioner bottles with BOGO coupons

"BOGO coupons cannot be combined (i.e. you cannot use two BOGO coupons on two items and get both for free). Unless stated otherwise on the coupon, the use of one Buy One Get One Free coupon requires that two of the valid items are presented at checkout of which one item will be charged to the guest and the 2nd item will be discounted by its full retail price."

Props go to whoever wrote this part of the Target coupon policy. BOGO offers are notoriously difficult to describe and this makes it pretty clear.

BOGOs can get a little complicated, especially if you ever try to use a couple BOGO coupons on purchase of items in a gift card promo. Things get weird. Target reduces the value of each item by the proportional value of the gift card before it assigns the value of your BOGO coupon. Headache? You can skip. KCL will always to the math and verify it in store before publishing Target coupons and deals for you.

In a recent Dove promo: buy 4 items, get a $5 gift card, here's an example scenario:

4 Dove items $5.00 each 2 BOGO Free coupons

You'd expect the two BOGO coupons to save you $10, but because of the gift card promotion, the value of each Dove item would be looked at as $3.75 each instead of $5. ($5 gift card divided by four products=$1.25 reduction on each items' value in the eyes of the POS system.)

So, after your coupons you'd pay $12.50 ($20 subtotal minus $7.50 for the two BOGO coupons) Then, you'd get your $5 Target gift card.

At KCL, we say that's like paying $7.50 for four items after factoring gift card savings.

What Target coupon policy says about returns

A person talking to an employee at the Target guest service counter.

"Returns of items purchased using manufacturer coupons may receive coupon value returned in the form of a Target GiftCard."

Because the store is reimbursed by the manufacturer for the value of each coupon, when a shopper returns an item they used manufacturer coupons on, Target may issue a refund for the full value of the item before the coupon, splitting the refund between the form of original payment and a Target gift card.

In my testing, Target did not refund the value of the manufacturer coupon on a recent transaction.

"Target coupons reduce the refundable amount and coupon value will not be given back upon return of the merchandise."

If you return an item purchased with a Target coupon, you'll only be refunded the amount you actually paid. Neither the coupon nor its equivalent value will be returned to you as cash.

"Target reserves the right to decline the return of items purchased with manufacturer coupons or rebates."

As always, Target has the last say. As long as you don't habitually return products purchased with coupons, it's very unlikely your returns will ever be refused.

Learn how to coupon at Target, then check out KCL's latest Target deals.