Address Verification

How to Validate My Address

By 10 November 2021No Comments
how to validate an address

How to Validate My Address?

Validated mailing addresses are crucial for businesses and customers as they allow smooth and quick deliveries. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a database allowing them to deliver mail to the correct addresses. However, some postal addresses do not exist in this database because they are “invalid.”

how to validate an address

So, you must know how to verify an address and why they are marked invalid in the first place.

Many Americans face the issue of delivery delays and misplacements. It is surprising for them to find out that their mail is returned to sender.

Also, businesses find it hard to complete orders on time due to incorrect and invalid address lists. Such situations can affect their sales and reputation both significantly.

Luckily, there are many ways to fix these problems. And, with the correct steps, you can get your address registered with the USPS. It can further help you to get your mail delivered to you accurately and in time.

We have put together this guide for those who ask how to validate my address. Once you read the details below, you will understand the various ways to verify addresses and use the US postal address check.

Different Approaches to Verify Mailing Addresses

The approach you use to standardize and validate addresses depends on your exact requirements. Sometimes, you would need to verify addresses at the point of entry. But, at other times, you would need bulk address verification.

PostGrid offers both an address verification API and software. Find the details below:

Address Verification Software

How to get your address verified through address verification software? What are the benefits of using it?

Well, you can install our software on your system and start using it in just a few minutes. The set-up is simple, and you don’t need any technical expertise for it.

After installation, our software can help you enhance and verify your database at any time. It can add in the missing details, include ZIP+4 codes, and also correct misspellings and typos.

Companies can use address verification software when they already have mailing lists that they need to cleanse. It doesn’t matter how old your mailing lists are; the software can troubleshoot all the issues to make your addresses mailable.

Partial and post-entry postal address verification is possible while using such software.

Partial address verification is helpful for mailing lists with incomplete information. The software completes the rest of the details. For example, if you enter ZIP codes, the software can automatically fill in the city and state names.

Similarly, post-entry address verification means autocompleting and validating addresses after they are collected. It is the same as bulk address verification.

You may think that you can complete address verification manually. But, the truth is that it can take several days and weeks to verify your mailings accurately. Moreover, it is very tricky to identify any errors in your database before you can modify them.

On the other hand, address validation software gives you the flexibility to verify mailing addresses whenever needed. You can instruct your employees on how to verify an address USPS regularly before mailing anything to anyone.

Address Verification API

You can integrate PostGrid’s address validation API into your CRM, accounting, or human resources management software. Or incorporate it into your website or shopping application.

The prime purpose of using an API is to verify addresses as the users enter them. For example, if users enter their mailing address into your website, the API can verify it on the spot. Such on-spot or on-demand address verification blocks incorrect data from entering your database.

An address validation API like PostGrid leverages the USPS datasets to enhance your mailing lists and make them ready to use. Hence, you can start shipping orders without any delays or the need to double-check the addresses.

Type-ahead and drop-down address data verification are the most common uses of this API. In type-ahead verification, the API suggests a list of addresses to the users as they begin typing. The users can then select their mailing address from this list. This process does not take more than a few seconds.

The drop-down address verification tool helps users find their city, state, and country names using drop-down options. It provides a list of names for you to select.

By incorporating an address verification API on your website, you can improve its user experience and push customers to complete checkouts.

How to Validate My Address With USPS?

To verify valid addresses, you need to follow the steps mentioned below:

Address Parsing and Standardization

Address standardization is the process of formatting mailing addresses. In the US, you must format all mailing addresses as per the USPS address format and guidelines. So, to get your items delivered through the USPS, make sure your mailing lists are standardized. 

Apart from the formatting, address standardization helps correct many more errors like misspelled words, wrong abbreviations, incorrect spacing, typos, etc. 

For example, if someone has written Los Vegas instead of Las Vegas, it can fix it. Or if you mention the word “street,” it will be changed to “ST” in this step. 

Standardization also changes state names into state abbreviations and adds ZIP+4 codes to your addresses. All these things help the USPS address verification API to search for these addresses in its database. 

But, standardization alone cannot correct everything. It can spot the above errors and modify them, but it cannot fix completely incorrect addresses. 

Here’s an example to help you understand better:

56 Acket Ln, Princeton, NJ

Here, there is a misspelling in the street name, and the ZIP code is missing. So, standardization can fix it to

56 Acken Ln, Princeton, NJ 08567

However, it cannot fix the address

89 Academy ST, Princeton NJ 08567

It is because the house number and street name are different from the actual postal address. Hence, avoid using address standardization alone.

Try pairing it up with address parsing, wherein every part of the address is disassembled and labeled separately. Using parsing and standardization together can help you correct any errors more effectively. 

However, address parsing alone can also not verify your addresses. For example, if the recorded address is

106 Franklin, ST. Roanoke, VA 24011

Parsing cannot help you see that it is wrong. The valid address is

106 Franklin ST, Roanoke, VA 24011

But parsing alone does not identify such things. Therefore, parsing and standardization are often used together and accompanied by the steps mentioned below.

Checking the USPS Address Verification Database

If you wonder how to get my address validated, this step is your answer. After parsing and standardization, your address verification tool checks your mailing addresses against an authoritative database built by a postal authority over the years.

In the US, the USPS is the concerned postal authority. Similarly, Royal Mail is the postal authority in the UK, and so on. After your addresses are parsed and standardized correctly, they are cross-checked with this database to know if the address exists in it.

If yes, the address is marked valid, and you can continue to send mail to it as it is active.

Otherwise, it is marked invalid, and you need to take further steps to make the USPS recognize your address.

But, sometimes, not all addresses marked as invalid are invalid. Please note that the USPS database contains all the mailing addresses to which it delivers. If it doesn’t deliver mail to an address, there are chances that the address isn’t present in its database and is marked invalid.

Hence, PostGrid combines the USPS database with other datasets to give you additional coverage.

Address Validation

The last step is to verify the invalid addresses. Some addresses might be non-existent or fake, so there’s nothing you can do about it. However, some mailing addresses are invalid for fixable reasons.

Address verification tools can help you correct or modify addresses so that you can access mailing lists with complete and deliverable addresses.

Why Are Some Postal Addresses Not Recognized By the USPS

You can never understand how to validate a mailing address if you don’t know the possible reasons why addresses are marked invalid. Below are the reasons why the USPS does not recognize some addresses:

Input Errors

Sometimes, there are some unfixable input errors. There are several occasions when a person enters an address incorrectly. Severe misspellings, incorrect ZIP codes, and typos count as input errors.

Similarly, parsing and standardization cannot correct mistakes like entering completely incorrect street names or ZIP codes. These errors can make your addresses invalid.

Missing Address Information

Missing address details are another common cause for invalid addresses. Address parsing and standardization cannot add missing details like missing house numbers or street names.

If the city, state, or ZIP code is missing, it is easy to find them with the help of the street address. But, it is relatively hard to find the street address with just the city name.

Hence, addresses with missing details are invalid and undeliverable.

Fake or False Addresses

Most of the time, people provide fake or falsified mailing addresses to businesses to keep their identities discrete or steal others’ identities.

Regardless of the reason, such falsified addresses are also invalid. But, sometimes, these falsified addresses are real addresses of other people. It is why PostGrid uses geocoding with its address validation API to capture the person’s correct mailing address.

Out of Service

There are a lot of areas in the US where postal workers do not deliver mail or where their services are not available. From rural areas to places that are weather-challenged, the USPS has a list of unserviceable places.

Some private carriers can reach there and deliver your mail. But, if you are validating addresses against the USPS database, these addresses are likely marked invalid.

Also, there are some PO box-only ZIP codes in the US. You need to mention the PO box number on your mail items to help the USPS deliver them correctly.

So, if you mention the physical address of a person residing in a PO box-only area, the address is considered undeliverable.

Vacant or Unoccupied Addresses

If nobody is present at an address to register it with the USPS, the USPS does not consider them. So, such unoccupied addresses are not in the USPS database and are considered invalid.

Not Registered

In some cases, houses are not vacant, and yet the residents aren’t receiving any mail. It is because they failed to sign up for receiving mail and have not completed their address registration. These are known as unregistered addresses.

The USPS does not register every existing address. They depend on the residents to register their addresses and sign up for receiving mail.

Hence, unregistered addresses, irrespective of whether somebody is living there or not, are marked invalid.

New Addresses

New addresses are treated the same way as unregistered addresses. Maybe the owner of the place hasn’t got the chance to register their address yet. Or, probably, the USPS is in the process of updating the new address. Either way, the address will show up as invalid until it is registered.

Thus, before asking yourself how to validate my address USPS checks whether you registered your address.

Non-Existent Addresses

Addresses that are demolished, condemned, or no longer used are non-existent addresses. The USPS usually filters out such addresses, which is why they become invalid.

Even imaginary addresses that never existed come under this category.

Why Should You Verify Your Addresses?

A lot of people ask why should I verify my address? Residents or individuals need to validate their addresses to be able to receive mail. If the USPS has not registered their mailing address, they may be unable to shop online. Also, they may be unable to receive important correspondence from anyone.

But, it is a different story for companies. They not only need to receive mail but also send out mail from time to time. From marketing to transactional mail, businesses need to print and mail items regularly.

Find below the various advantages you can avail when your address and mailing lists are updated:

Save Money

The most prime benefit is saving money. If you send mail items to incorrect addresses, they might get lost, misplaced, or returned to you. These aspects may lead to massive losses and can cost you mountains of money.

But, if you choose to verify your mailing lists before sending anything to them, you can guarantee on-time deliveries. It will also help you save like never before!

Avoid Reshipping

Returned items require reshipping. It might be simple for you to reship some small mail items. But, when the value of the products and mail volume is high, it can get hard to handle.

First of all, returned items are often damaged to a certain extent. So, you need to bear the loss and reship other items. In addition to that, you need to spend on extra packaging, postage, etc. Again, these things lead to huge losses and also waste a lot of time.

With the perfect address verification API like PostGrid, you can avoid reshipping and can mail accurately at the first time itself.

Cut Down Manual Work

Manual address verification needs a lot of effort and time. Also, such manual work is prone to create several issues like typing errors or misspellings. So, it is always advisable to automate the process.

Also, by verifying your database regularly, you can cut down the effort needed to re-pack and reship items.

Complete Orders On Time

It is practically impossible to complete your orders on time if your mailing lists aren’t accurate. You may face a lot of issues like missing address details, unreal addresses, and so on.

To get these things sorted and continue mailing out orders smoothly, you need an address validation API like PostGrid. It can standardize and verify your mailing lists within minutes. So, you don’t have to waste any time or take any risks.

Companies can increase their brand visibility by having an updated database. For example, incorporating an address verification API on their website improves their user experience. It also helps convince customers to fill in their details and check out faster. This way, it can be the first step towards improving your brand image.

Also, sending out tax forms and other crucial documents on time also helps you preserve your reputation.

Reach Out to Prospects Before Competitors

In marketing, you must reach out to your target audience before your competitors can. For example, if it’s the holiday season, you should be the first to reach out to the prospects and talk about your seasonal offers.

But, to accomplish that, you need to update and cleanse your mailing lists often. So, whenever you launch a new product or announce a discount, you can advertise the same almost instantly.

PostGrid’s address verification solutions can help you always be ready and mail speedily.

Attract New Leads With Direct Mail

Address validation helps you conduct small-scale and large-scale direct mail campaigns with ease. You can invest in targeted and personalized mailing campaigns and boost your response levels.

By validating your mailing lists, you can avoid wasting time and money and focus on productive leads.

What to Do When My Address Is Invalid?

What can I use to verify my address? If the mailing addresses you have are imaginary or completely fake, there’s very little you can do. But, in other cases, you can take some steps to validate the addresses in your mailing lists, like: 

Double-Check Your Records

There are probably some obvious mistakes in your address entries. Making minor errors while inputting addresses is common. 

Perhaps, something didn’t get copied correctly, or you forgot to add some details. So, it never hurts to have another look and double-check everything. 

Look Out For Spelling Mistakes and Other Common Errors

Always cross-check misspelled names, reversed numbers, inaccurate street directionals, and other such common mistakes. These mistakes can lead to the postal workers completely misinterpreting the addresses and making wrong deliveries.

How to verify home addresses that have such mistakes? Look out for these errors right from the start. Encourage your customers to mention their accurate and most recent mailing addresses. Also, instruct your staff to note down and record addresses that are cent percent precise.

Check Whether Your Address Is a PO Box

As mentioned above, people residing in PO box-only areas should write their PO box numbers on their addresses. If they fail to do so or mention their physical address, their mail items might be returned.

Fill In Missing Details

Always check whether your addresses have all the address fields. Breaking down mailing addresses into different parts and checking all of them can help you do that. 

Sometimes, the reason for an invalid address is just a missing number in your ZIP code or a missing house number. So, before you mail anything to any address, check whether all address parts are present. 

Register Your Address With the USPS

How do I confirm my address with USPS? It is an easy process but can take up to a few months to complete.

Walk into your nearest post office and submit an address change request. The USPS maintains an Address Management System (AMS) that enables individuals and companies to submit address registration requests.

Find a local AMS office here by entering your city, state, or ZIP code. You will then receive the contact details of the office in charge of registering addresses. Call them up or visit the office to register your address. 

Use Public Records and Online Mapping Services

Google Maps is quite helpful to locate the addresses. You can use such mapping services to verify single and residential addresses. Also, you can get your hands on some public records to confirm whether an address is correct. 

But, there are some obvious limitations to these steps. Google Maps is helpful for you only when you need to know where a place is situated, not when you need to mail something there. It is possible that the address has a PO box, or the shipping address is different from the mailing address. 

With online mapping services or any public records, it is not possible to validate an address completely. Aso, it is hard to verify bulk mailing lists through these methods.

Take Help From An Address Validation Service Provider

All the steps mentioned above are perfect for validating single addresses. But, they are not viable for companies that need to mail regularly. 

Also, undertaking all the above steps is daunting and time-consuming. It is better to use an address verification API like PostGrid and save yourself a lot of effort, time, and money. 

We will go back to the different features of PostGrid’s address verification API and software in some time.

Use of Virtual Addresses

Virtual addresses are an excellent choice for those people whose addresses do not exist in the USPS database. If you are always facing trouble getting your mail delivered to you, maybe it is time that you use virtual addresses.

Also, virtual addresses offer great help to people residing in PO box areas.

Some home-based businesses also use virtual addresses to protect their physical location and maintain privacy. So, if you need to direct your mail elsewhere or want a mailing address, virtual addresses can do that for you.

A virtual address is a street address that receives postal mail on your behalf. If you also opt for a virtual mailbox, you could check scanned and uploaded copies of your mail items. Also, you can request scanned images of the contents of the envelope.

This way, you can always stay updated about your incoming and received mail right through your computer or phone. Of course, services like mail forwarding are available for you. So, you can further direct mail items to any address you want.

In this case, you don’t need to worry about how to verify street addresses? When you sign up for a virtual address, you receive a street or physical address that is deliverable and valid. Hence, you can receive mail without any delays or other issues.

Some virtual address service providers also offer meeting room and receptionist services for companies. So, if you don’t have a physical space to meet up with clients, you can rent the premises for a few hours.

USPS Correct Address Format

Before asking yourself what is my correct postal address, consider whether your address is formatted. So, read this section to know the USPS prescribed address format and how to standardize addresses. 

A typical USPS mailing address has three lines, and they are:

  • The first line has the recipient’s name. Write the full name of the person. In case you are mailing a commercial address, mention the concerned person’s name. You can also mention their department name next to it. 
  • The second line is also referred to as the delivery address line and consists of the house number and street address. It is the most crucial line and enables the USPS to complete your delivery. 
  • For commercial addresses, the second line should consist of the company name. Hence, the delivery address line shifts to the third or second last line. 
  • The last line has the city name, state abbreviation, and ZIP code. If you don’t know your state abbreviation, click here

PostGrid’s print and mail API also helps you know your state abbreviation along with your ZIP+4 codes. So, you don’t have to search and write anything manually.

Find below the complete address format:

Attention line – [Name of the recipient]
Company name
Delivery address
City, state, ZIP code

So, a properly formatted postal address would look like this:

Caroline J King
King Industries Pvt. Ltd.
790 NS Calico Rd
Scottsdale, AZ  85251

Please note that the USPS automated mail sorting machines read your addresses from the bottom up. They look for the last line first and then the delivery address line. If either address line is missing, your mail items might get misrouted or delayed. Hence, make sure to follow the format as it is. 

Below are some additional guidelines to help you format your addresses well and know how to verify an address on USPS:

  • The address and postage should be on the same side of your mail. 
  • Avoid using any punctuation. 
  • There should be exactly one space between the city name and state abbreviation. 
  • Use two spaces between the state abbreviation and ZIP code. 
  • Always use black ink on any light-colored paper. 
  • Use legible handwriting or a 10-point type. 
  • Mention the correct street directionals in the delivery address line. Also, refrain from using words like “street,” “east,” “road,” etc. Only mention their abbreviations. 
  • The attention line should always be the first line of your address. Don’t write this line anywhere else. 

By following these guidelines to validate your addresses, you can skip asking how can I verify my address with USPS? Also, PostGrid can help you build mailing lists considering all these things. So, you don’t have to spend another minute thinking about mailing addresses or logistics. 

How Can PostGrid’s Address Validation Software and API Help You?

Below are some prime and useful features of our address verification API and software:

Geocoding

An address validation API that uses geocoding is more accurate than an API that doesn’t. It is because geocoding supports logistics significantly. 

You can place the geocodes on the top of the users’ houses to capture their most precise addresses. Such rooftop geocoding enables you to record correct addresses even when users enter incorrect addresses or make mistakes. 

International Coverage

PostGrid does not restrict you to validating only local and national addresses. You can also standardize and verify international addresses. Hence, you no longer need to think twice before expanding your business operations abroad. 

Our API and software both are capable of transliterating mailing addresses and formatting them according to the destination country’s format. PostGrid can help you mail to over 240 countries around the world with complete convenience. 

Data Management

You can conduct address matches now and then and always maintain your data quality. This way, you are always ready to send out mail or carry out a direct mail marketing campaign. 

PostGrid can also deduplicate your entire mailing list. Hence, you can save yourself from mailing to the same address multiple times. 

A data management system as such helps your company stay productive and increases the efficiency of your operations. 

CASS-Certified

CASS stands for Coding Accuracy Support System and is a certification introduced by the USPS for address validation vendors. PostGrid’s API and software are CASS-certified and can help you validate addresses with the postal service USPS

Being CASS-certified also means that we use the National Change of Address (NCOA) dataset. It combines the current USPS database with information regarding all the address changes in the past five years. So, you can get rid of old and outdated data and replace it with valid data using PostGrid. 

We also use SuiteLink, Residential Delivery Indicator (RDI), Delivery Point Validation (DPV), and Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMBs)

  • SuiteLink helps you to identify and validate secondary address units like the house or suite number. 
  • The RDI helps differentiate between commercial and residential addresses. 
  • DPV codes state the validity of a mailing address.
  • IMBs allow you to track your mail items and also get postal discounts.

Manually, it is impossible to combine such datasets and return precise results while validating mailing lists. But, PostGrid can make it possible. 

Design, Print, Mail, Track

Now that you know how to verify an address through USPS, you should know that PostGrid does much more than verifying your mailing lists. 

Apart from helping you access high-quality, targeted mailing lists, PostGrid also enables you to create, print, and mail your items. You don’t have to do anything or go anywhere. Our print and mail services can help send out your marketing and transactional correspondence easily. 

Also, you can track your mail items in real-time and access the campaign reports from your dashboard. PostGrid helps you streamline all your printing and mailing activities.

Some more features of PostGrid are:

  • Scalability
  • Security and compliance
  • In-built design templates
  • No minimal charges
  • Simple to integrate API, etc.

Wrapping Up

Invalid addresses are a real problem. If you have not encountered invalid addresses yet, chances are you are likely to do so soon. These issues might slow down your day-to-day activities and leave your business with a bunch of hiccups to deal with every day.

There is no point in shipping orders only to get them returned to you, or worse, to get them misplaced and lost. It is better to take the necessary precautions beforehand and validate your mailing lists.

So, how to verify an address with the post office and use the online address check? In this blog, we have discussed various ways to validate your mailing lists.

However, all those steps require some effort, time, and patience on your part. But, PostGrid can take off the workload from your shoulders and automate everything.

Ready to format, cleanse, standardize, and verify every record in your mailing list? You can now focus on productive business areas rather than worrying about a list of undeliverable addresses with PostGrid.

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