Address Verification Process
Address Verification or Address validation has become a standard process for businesses across all spectrums. As long as your business deals with customer addresses, you will need the address verification process to ensure the smooth and reliable operations that make use of this data. More often than not, businesses have a relatively large address database, and this only makes the need for address validation all the more essential.
The businesses that choose to ignore the address verification process run the risk of accumulating bad data, and we all know how severely bad data can affect your numerous business operations. Address verification process weeds out bad data in your address database and provides you reliable data that you can work with. In effect, the address verification process streamlines multiple business operations that use the customer data, including direct mail efforts and targeted campaigns.
This article discusses the address verification process, USPS address verification/validation, the steps involved in USPS address verification, “invalid” addresses, and more in detail.
What is Address Verification/Validation?
Address Verification is a process that ensures whether a mailing address is valid and deliverable by checking the given address against an authoritative and official database. When it comes to the verification of addresses within the US, this authoritative and official database belongs to the United States Postal Service or USPS. This process is also called address validation.
During the address verification process, if the system finds a match for the address in question in the USPS’s official database, then the address is classified as “valid,” and if not, it is classified as “invalid.” As you can guess, a “valid” address is real and one that is deliverable by the USPS. An “invalid” address, on the other hand, is considered to be non-existent or, at least, not registered with the official postal service, and hence, it is undeliverable by the USPS.
USPS Address Verification
As mentioned above, USPS holds the authoritative official database of addresses within the United States. The USPS address verification is the address verification process carried out using USPS’s official address database. Conducting a USPS address verification/validation is easy as long as you have the right service provider for the job.
With so many service providers in the market that supports USPS address verification, it might be hard to pick the perfect one for your business. However, there are certain aspects you can look for in an address verification tool to make sure that it is up for the job, such as CASS certification. CASS is short for Coding Accuracy Support System. It is a certification program developed by the USPS for service providers that can effectively access the USPS address database via an API for address verification.
If your business works with a large address database, then it makes sense to use an address verification tool with easy and simple bulk address verification capability. Businesses that want to bulk verify addresses often choose advanced address verification tools like PostGrid, allowing for easy address verification through a simple CSV file.
Advanced tools like PostGrid come with additional capabilities such as the address autocomplete feature that can be implemented on your landing pages, checkout pages, etc. Furthermore, systems like PostGrid can give you a full ZIP+4 code and even correct minor errors or typos in your address database. Therefore, it is essential that you get a good understanding of your address verification requirements before choosing a service provider, as not all of them will be able to provide you with such advanced features.
It is also worth noting that countries around the world have their official address database against which a given address can be verified or validated. Even though the different countries use different address formats, the address verification process essentially remains the same. In pretty much all address verification processes, a given address is checked against the official address database of the country, and if a match is found, then it is classified as “valid,” just like in USPS address verification.
How an Address Verification Tool Check if The Address is Correct
The Address verification process may seem pretty easy and straightforward from the user’s end because they have no idea what goes on behind the curtains. Although we make it sound easy, the process involved in address verification is much more complicated and lengthy. The actual process of verification or validation takes place after several steps are involved in the address verification process.
The addresses are often subjected to go through a primary cleanup before the system can validate them. This cleanup is accomplished through parsing and standardization processes. Below we discuss the steps involved in address verification/validation.
Address parsing is the first step involved in the address verification process. In this step, the address to be verified or validated is broken down into its constituent parts. The constituencies such as the city, state, and ZIP code are separated in this step. Different address verification tools may have different versions of parsing, and their accuracy level may also vary accordingly.
Once the address has been parsed, it is subjected to a standardization process. During address standardization, the given address is subjected to formatting where the parsed data is made to align with the standard address format defined by the country’s official postal authority, which in this case is USPS. Similar to address verification/validation, the address standardization process can only be carried out by a CASS-certified service provider.
The address standardization process by a CASS-certified service provider fills in any missing data and even checks for spelling errors or typos. Advanced address verification tools like PostGrid can fill in the gaps in the address, such as missing ZIP codes or street suffixes, etc. It can even use the necessary abbreviations such as converting “street” to “St.” or “Avenue” to “Ave.” the same goes for the abbreviations for states and provinces.
Once the address is standardized, it is ready to be checked against the USPS’s official address database. Now that the addresses are in the same standardized format as the official USPS database, the comparison becomes easier and faster. A match is found almost immediately (if there is one, of course) and classified as “valid,” and if no match is found, it gets classified as “invalid.”
Real But “Invalid” Addresses
Suppose an address does not get classified as “invalid” after conducting an address verification process. This does not necessarily mean that the address in question is not real. There are numerous reasons why an address may be returned as “invalid” by the address verification tool. Below we discuss some of the reasons why an address may show up as “invalid” after pushing it through an address verification tool.
If the given address is fake, hypothetical, or one that simply no longer exists, the address will be tagged as “invalid.” This usually happens when the customer does not want to reveal their real address and uses a hypothetical one by making up a house number or street name. Using the address of a building torn down six months ago will also have the same effect.
More often than not, people type in their addresses in a hurry, and it comes out poorly spelled or formatted that it virtually makes no sense. Similarly, the user may also unknowingly submit the wrong information. This could be an incorrect street name or a house number mixup. Such cases are treated as incorrect addresses. However, it’s worth noting that advanced address verification tools like PostGrid can correct the mistakes as long as the address is not entirely incorrect.
Sometimes the mailing address in your database will include addresses that are currently vacant or new. In such cases, where there is no one at the given address to receive the postal mail, the address will not be listed on the USPS’s official address database. And since the address is not present in the database, such addresses will not get validated.
There are numerous reasons why some may choose not to have their address registered with the USPS. Maybe they are moving to a new building, maybe they are new to a building, or maybe they simply don’t wish to receive posts, or the reason may be something else entirely. Regardless of their reason for not registering with the USPS system, the address will ultimately be missing from the official address database and will be returned as an “invalid” address.
Address Data Append
Appending the data is an option offered by many of the address verification services available today. Address data appending could mean different things to different service providers. The appended data could provide a variety of data such as census information or climate statistics of the area the addresses belong to or it could also provide you with the geocode coordinates of the address.
The appended data can be useful for your business, and how you use it could make a world of difference. Let’s take the example of climate statistics, this may seem almost useless for many businesses but not for all. For businesses that provide climate-dependent services such as landscaping services could greatly benefit from the appended data.
Similarly, different appended data can be innovatively used by different businesses or companies. The additional data obtained through CASS-certified address verification tools can be used to streamline your marketing efforts or even come up with entirely new ones. With an innovative mind and the right data, the sky’s the limit.
Address Verification Service Providers
Address verification or address validation process, especially those required by businesses, is best done through an address verification service provider. Why? Because, unlike personal posts, the ones sent from a business are usually of large quantity, and it becomes necessary to verify their address database. This means they need to java the capability to verify addresses in bulk.
There are many address verification service providers available in the market today, and at times it may become overwhelming to choose between so many options. However, there are certain aspects that you can consider before making this choice. Below we discuss some of the aspects that you can consider before choosing the right address verification service provider for your business.
We have briefly mentioned CASS, or Coding Accuracy Support System above. It is the first filter you can use to narrow down your choices. Like we mentioned before, CASS is a certification program developed by the USPS for service providers that can effectively access the USPS address database via an API. This means we can say for the fact that the CASS-certified software is approved by USPS themselves.
The fact that CASS-certified address verification can directly access the data on the USPS’s official address database makes them more reliable than the ones that do not have a certification from CASS. Furthermore, a CASS certification also implies that the address is deliverable by the USPS, which is the number one choice because of its reliability and affordability as a postal carrier.
Another thing about the CASS-certified address verification tools like PostGrids is that they can even give you the full ZIP+4 code of the addresses you push through it. The ZIP+4 code makes way for more accurate and quicker delivery of your postal mails. The postal mails sent with the right ZIP+4 code can allow your mail to reach almost two days faster than the ones without it.
Bulk Address Verification Requirement
Bulk address verification is not a mandatory process for all businesses, mainly because some of the businesses do not require it because they have a relatively small address database. So, if your business has an address database of a few dozens of addresses, you may not require an advanced address verification tool with bulk verification capabilities.
However, that is not the case for most businesses as they have an extensive customer address database. Businesses neither have the time nor the resources to be wasted on address verification, and bulk address verification will cost you both heavily. Many address verification tools work on a copy-paste-search system which is hardly convenient for large address databases.
Advanced address verification tools like PostGrid offer a much more convenient and faster way to verify your address database regardless of how big it is. Systems like PostGrid allow you to bulk verify addresses through a CSV file. All you have to do is get your address database into a CSV file and push it through PostGrid and get it verified/validated within a matter of seconds.
Address Verification or Address Validation is an important process that businesses employ to make sure that their various business operations get the optimal result. Like everything else in this world, the address verification process is not yet perfect, and there is still room for improvement. That being said, the address verification ensures that the data you have is correct and reliable to ensure all your business operations, including campaigns, get the best results.
As far as businesses are concerned, address verification is not something that they can ignore because doing so could cost them valuable time and resources. Furthermore, with so many address verification tools available in the market, businesses need to be careful about their choice of address verification tool. CASS-certificated address verification tools with bulk verification capability like PostGrid are the safest bet for businesses that have a large address database.
Advanced address verification tools like PostGrid makes questions like “how to find an address exists?” irrelevant with its easy-to-navigate interface. It allows you to check if the address is correct with a few clicks. It saves you valuable time and resources that can now be utilized for more urgent business operations and optimize your business’s normal functioning.
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