National Change Of Address System (NCOA)

Over 40 million Americans change their address annually, which makes maintaining a high-quality mailing list a challenge. The USPS National Change of Address (NCOA) program makes change-of-address information available to you, enabling you to update or remove undeliverable addresses before you waste money mailing to them.

National Change Of Address System (NCOA)

NCOA processing will improve mail deliverability and reporting by providing current, standardized, delivery point coded addresses for individuals, family, and business moves.

How does it work? First, we standardize all name and address information to conform to USPS requirements, including ZIP +4 codes. Then, NCOA tries to match each name and address against the NCOA National Change of Address Database, which contains approximately 160 million records of permanent address changes, going back for 48 months. (The Address Change Service (ACS) also uses this database).

Address change information is derived from those little change of address booklets you fill out when you move, so mail will be forwarded to your new address (USPS Form 3575, Change-of-Address Order). If a match is found with your name and old address information in the NCOA database, NCOA provides your current move information – either a new address or an undeliverable status (aka Nixie) code so you can update your mailing list.

NCOA Offers You The Following Benefits

  • NCOA reduces your undeliverable mail by updating your database with the most current addresses available.
  • NCOA prevents re-mailings (see Retroversive) after NCOA corrections are made, because your addresses are updated before you mail – saving you a ton of wasted postage.
  • In addition to change-of-address information, NCOA also provides Return Codes that explain each address’s match and non-match status. Where NCOA matches have been made, returned records also have either a new address or undeliverable status. When a match could not be made, NCOA includes a code indicating why not.
  • NCOA also includes the following important address-defining codes:
    • Delivery Point Validation (DPV) enables you to verify that the address exists and is currently receiving deliveries.
    • Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS) improves your list’s deliverability and enables you to identify more potential duplicate addresses by rewriting rural addresses to USPS approved city-style addresses.
    • Commercial Mail Receiving Agent (CMRA) tells you that this address houses private mailboxes at a distribution location, so your mailing piece will end up at a private mail-receiving and/or forwarding facility (e.g., Mailboxes Etc. or Postal Annex). These addresses usually include a PMB (Personal Mailbox) line in them.
    • DMA Suppression is a flag tells you that the recipient at this address has requested to opt out of all advertising mail through the Direct Marketing Association.

Delivery Point Validation (DPV)

Delivery Point Validation (DPV)

The USPS-based Delivery Point Validation (DPV) system enables you to verify that the address exists as written (CASS coding only tells you that the submitted address is written correctly and falls within a USPS-approves address range). DPV validates the existence of both primary and secondary address numbers and can additionally determine whether an address is a Commercial Mail Receiving Agent (CMRA), housing private mailboxes at a distribution location. When DPV is used in conjunction with address validation software, the system can perform more lookups to attempt to identify and resolve multiple match situations. Delivery Point Validation (DPV) codes are included when Northwest Database Services processes your list the National Change of Address System (NCOA).

DPV Offers You These Benefits

  • Delivery Point Validation attends to multiple match addresses. When two addresses are so similar that a single unique address cannot be selected, DPV processing will inspect both house and secondary unit information. (If a house or secondary unit is not valid, the address validation software can eliminate the invalid address, breaking match ties.)
  • DPV footnote intelligence codes help Northwest Database Services resolve ambiguous addresses. Delivery Point Validation provides an intelligence code for each address record that will identify the magnitude of failure and assists you in the correction process – e.g., “Primary House Number Valid, but Secondary Unit is Missing on Input.” (Northwest Database can help you figure out how to use these to strengthen your list.)
  • Delivery Point Validation provides a Commercial Mail Receiving Agent (CMRA) determination (CMRA determination is important when you prefer not to send information or products to addresses where the recipient acts as an agent to receive and/or forward mail delivery for others; allowing, marketers help validate information upon data entry.)
  • Delivery Point Validation validates primary and secondary numbers and unit designators (apartment or business suite numbers). The USPS updates this data monthly to ensure the most current information is available for your primary and secondary address information.

Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS)

Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS) codes enable Northwest Database Services to update your lists when local authorities have converted addresses by renaming and renumbering of existing city-style addresses as well as converting rural-style addresses to city-style addresses due to a 911 conversion effort.

LACS improves deliverability and enables us to better identify potential duplicates between name and address records that have the original address and those records in your list that are already using the new converted address. Note: The Postal Service will only deliver to the old-style address for one year, after a LACS conversion has been put into effect.

Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS) codes are included when Northwest Database Services processes your list the National Change of Address System (NCOA).

Commercial Mail Receiving Agent (CMRA)

A Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA), also known as a mail drop, typically operates as a Private Mailbox Operator; therefore, addresses at a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency are typically given the designation “PMB” (Private Mailbox) instead of “POB” (Post Office box).

A customer of a CMRA will receive mail and other deliveries (UPS, Fed-X, etc.) at the Commercial Mail Receiving Agency’s Street address rather than at their own street address. Depending on the agreement between the customer and the CMRA, the Commercial Mail Receiving Agency can forward the mail to the customer or hold it for pickup.

Typically, a customer will use CMRA services for privacy, i.e., a person running a home-based business may not wish to divulge their home address. Alternatively, a customer in one community may contract with a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency in another community with a better-known or more prestigious address (aka Vanity Address).

A CMRA can usually receive parcels shipped by means other than the postal system that some postal authorities (such as the United States Postal Service) will not. CMRA’s also provide ancillary services such as copy or courier services. Many Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies will discount their other prices for mailbox subscribers. The cons of having a box at a CMRA include getting mail later than one typically would at a Post Office box.

Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) codes are included when Northwest Database Services processes your list the National Change of Address System (NCOA).

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