National Change of Address (NCOA) Certification – Effective November 23rd, 2008
A recent change in the United States Postal Service USPS Policy requires all mailing lists to-be NCOA Certified starting November 23, 2008.
NCOA is an acronym for National Change of Address. This is a system created by the Postal Service to keep track of people’s current and new addresses. This is generated when people move. When a person moves and submits their new address to the Post Office, the United States Postal Service enters the information into a database.
A few things affect the accuracy of and NCOA.
• NCOA requires an exact matching process. This is actually for the consumer’s protection of privacy. If a customer file doesn’t have the same original name and address as it appears in the USPS database, then the USPS will not provide the new address information. That being said, there is some flexibility to allow for nicknames and similar sounding but not spelled exactly the same matches. The record may be flagged as a possible move but a new address can’t be provided if a match can’t be confirmed.
• Not everyone files a Change of Address. In fact, estimates have ranged from 15% to 20% of the population moves without filing a Change of Address with the Post Office. That means an NCOA process will not catch those moves – they will probably get returned to you identified as having moved without leaving a forwarding address.
• It’s possible that a person may have moved but the new address they provided was not a good address or that they moved again.
• If you don’t update your database regularly – or haven’t for a few years – it’s possible the individual moved more than 4 years ago which means their move falls outside of the NCOA process-There will be a small fee for this $2.00 per 1000 with a $25.00 minimum. This cost should be offset by the saving incurred by not mailing Old or Bad addresses and by the increased number of pieces that arrive at the correct address.
For More Information on the NCOA link system, please visit the USPS website.