Address Verification

What Is NCOA?: Understanding The Basics

By 12 May 2024May 30th, 2024No Comments
what is ncoa mailing address

How to Reduce Postage Expenses With the National Change of Address (NOCA) System?

The National Change of Address (NCOA) is a database set by USPS to register all Change-of-Address (COA) requests. Reducing the postage expense is straightforward: by regularly updating your mailing list through NCOA, you ensure that addresses are current and accurate. It becomes easier to re-engage with active, lost, and future customers while also reducing marketing wastage from return mail.

The database works by comparing the records with various factors and returns with the updated records. Businesses must pass the requirements of the Rapid Information Bulletin Board to access the NCOA database. However, outsourcing with a reliable partner saves time and reduces challenges.

Key Takeaways

  • Businesses use the NCOA system to update their recipients’ old addresses.
  • USPS is responsible for managing the National Change of Address system.
  • NCOALink helps businesses to reduce their return mail and ensure timely delivery.
  • USPS imposes fines if a business has high return mail.
  • An NCOA partner must complete the certification process and have a CASS-certified software program.
  • Professionals can manage thousands of customer entries while ensuring the integrity of their database.

How to Reduce Postage Expenses and Improve Deliverability With the NCOA System

Do you know- Over 40 million Americans tend to change their addresses every year. Quite a number, right? Somehow, this is not good for the businesses that depend on direct mails to reach out to their customers and prospects. As people move to a new location and their contact information does not get updated in the database. And, this may lead the businesses to start losing oodles of money.

what is ncoa mailing address

Here, NCOA (National Change of Address) can help reduce the risks that can cost you a lot. It includes duplicate and undeliverable mail assets by validating and correcting addresses before they enter your mail stream.

There is no secret that the cost for UAA (Undeliverable-as-Addressed) may also pile up, especially if your database is outdated.

Luckily, there is a solution!

The NCOA mailing address database contains the change-of-address records managed by the USPS. Also, in the year 2013, the US Postal Service stated that the cost of processing these UAA mails was around $1.5 billion.

But, what is NCOA, how exactly it works, and why is it crucial for your business?

So, let us unpack it all!

What is NCOA?

NCOALink is a USPS product to record all Change-of-Address (COA) requests. 

The Post Office stores hundreds of millions of permanent COA records in its NCOA datafile, including-

  • Names of individuals, families, and businesses, and
  • Their old and new delivery addresses. 

However, these people and organizations must file the COA request for USPS to update their details accordingly. Luckily, it cross-checks and filters its data frequently, helping the NCOA data file remain accurate and up-to-date. 

Businesses use NCOALink for the same reasons they use other USPS products, like the RDI (residential delivery indicator) and SuiteLink (a service to help you know the suite numbers for your recipients’ mailing locations). 

They use it to ensure on-time mail deliveries and prevent returns. Also, it helps them maintain an error-free database, letting them make informed and quick business decisions.

USPS has developed NCOALink with safe data storage technology to protect information privacy and improve its security measures. It allows businesses to process their mailing lists and replace their intended recipients’ old addresses with new ones. 

The Post Office regularly offers the NCOALink data file to companies that have bought the USPS license to use it. 

You can use NCOALink to send First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, packages, and periodicals. However, you can also buy a license if you don’t ship items via postal services. 

Buying NCOALink’s license allows commercial mailers to stay ahead of their logistics processes and ensure efficiency throughout!

How Does NCOA Works?

NCOA or National Change of Address databases provide the most up-to-date addresses to senders. You can successfully re-engage with active, lost, and would-be customers while reducing marketing waste due to undelivered mail pieces and parcels. In addition, Cross-selling and up-selling are also facilitated by knowing a customer has recently moved.

The address validation NCOA performs various steps before starting every job. It includes uploading your list to the NCOA address database. Changing your address with USPS is a voluntary process. The data is available through NCOA address processing to several organizations so that they expand their outreach.

Also, this process will automatically return a new address for the ones moved in the past 48 months. Once done, the NCOA mailing address database compares the records by considering the following factors and returns the same with the updated records:

  • What is there on the file?
  • Why is it necessary to make the changes?
  • Are the reasons valid enough?

PostGrid assures you that your mail list is authentic, updated, and processed through NCOA and CASS. It means that the address verification at Postgrid will ensure that your data flows swiftly and authentically within the relevant systems. Here is a log view of the NCOA address updating process:

ncoa address validation

Source: Salsa Labs

Why is NCOA Mailing Address List is Important For Your Business?

It may sound insignificant for you unable to use bulk mailing rates, or a few mailpieces are left undelivered. The numbers, however, paint a completely different picture. The result would be a total waste of money & time in the long run.

Keeping that in mind we have compiled a quick list of how NCOA can help your business with:

1. It Enhances The Rate of Delivery:

Delivery rates are improved in three ways by NCOA services. Firstly, NCOA provides new addresses of the ones who have moved within the last 48 months. Things get a lot easier if you have mail that reaches its intended recipient if your address is updated.

Furthermore, it helps to check other information related to address change, so you don't send mail to vacant or incorrect addresses. Additionally, NCOA will standardize every address as per US Postal Service standards. As a result, mail delivery is swift and on or before the expected time.

2. It Saves Your Hard-earned Money:

Returned mail can be quite expensive to deal with. You lose money on wasted postage whenever you receive returned mail. As a result, you might have to a small few if your receive returned mail pieces. However, if an entire segment of your mail campaign comes back to you, the cost of wasted postage can add a lot to your expense.

Here, having an NCOA mailing address list can help you save mountains of your hard-earned greens and time as well.

3. Avoid Unwanted Penalties:

The USPS can impose a fine on you if there is a high rate of your returned mail. An NCOA service, you can stand up to the Move Update Standard, help you qualify for bulk mailing offers or discounts, and avoid unwanted fines. Additionally, NCOA processes can save you up to $0.44 for every wasted postage and penalty!

Other Benefits of Using NCOA Address Services

Some of the other worth considering benefits of using an NCOA mailing address list are:

  • Increases response rates and ROI by maximizing sales opportunities
  • Improves customer relationships
  • It helps you re-engage with your active or lost customers
  • Reduces print and postage expenses

How Can You Comply With NCOA?

It allows you to continue communicating with customers and clients even if they haven't updated their addresses. NCOA (National Change of Address)  can only be accessed by passing the requirements set forth by Rapid Information Bulletin Board System by USPS:

  • There are several documents you need to complete. These include an access request form, a confidentiality statement, and a self-certification statement.
  • Depending on the NCOA product you opt for, you will need to pay an annual license fee ranging between $1,175 and $203,000 per year.

To make the application process easier, you can hire someone to do the work for you. It's easy to keep in touch with customers and clients after they shift addresses thanks to NCOA. Follow the rules outlined by the USPS if you want access to the NCOA database. 

Also Read: Policy Change Letters

NCOALink Licensing Information

All licensees must complete a certification process and use the CASS-certified software program to become eligible for using NCOALink. 

The licenses are of six types, including-

  1. Interface Developer: The software developer NCOALink license grants companies and third parties the right to build an NCOA-enabled interface for internal reasons. They must pay an initial license fee of $8,250 and an annual fee of $1,725. 
  2. Interface Distributor: This license enables the licensees to distribute the NCOALink interface. It is available only for a yearly fee of $39,520. USPS prorates the initial charge. 
  3. Full-Service Provider (FSP): All FSPs get 48 months of COA data weekly from the USPS. These companies provide specialized services to third parties, which should contribute to at least 51% of NCOALink processing. Also, they can process only up to 49% of records internally. FSPs pay an annual fee of $275,600. 
  4. Limited Service Provider (LSP): An LSP could provide services to third parties or use the NCOALink product internally. LSPs get 18 months of COA data weekly. Their annual fee starts at $22,880. 
  5. End User Mailer (EUM): EUMs can only use NCOALink to process their in-house files. They cannot process the mailing lists of any parent, affiliate, subsidiary, or other company. EUMs get 18 months of COA records monthly. Their annual fee begins at $11,440. 
  6. MPE Solution: NCOALink MPE solutions enable users to use the NCOA data files on multiline optical character readers (MLOCR) and spray the COA information on their mailers before shipping. Some companies also use them on delivery point barcodes to spot and remove all undeliverable addresses. 

Examples of How the NCOALink Can Benefit Your Business

You may think, “I don’t need to use NCOALink because my staff always calls the customers and updates their new addresses in our system manually.”

But you are overseeing why you need this shipping product for your company.

Hence, we listed some use cases to help you understand better:

Managing Thousands of Customer Entries

You can expect your staff to call every customer and confirm their delivery addresses when you only have a few records. Otherwise, it is hectic and time-consuming to manage thousands of entries manually.

Also, your staff might make mistakes when noting the new addresses, killing the purpose of calling customers and causing failed deliveries.

Since manual work is always prone to errors, an online or automated solution is the way to go!

Fast Marketing Services

You can rely on NCOALink to connect with your targeted customers via interactive marketing services. It makes speedy marketing possible, helping you contact customers with time-critical printed items for maximum sales.

Database Management

Businesses licensing the NCOALink product can use the data file for their internal database management activities.

They can compare the NCOA data file to their customer records and make the necessary changes. Thus, they can avail themselves of newly-updated entries without calling every customer.

Also, they can be confident when relying on their database to make significant decisions, like opening a new franchise somewhere.

Imagine you use the NCOALink product and notice many of your customers have shifted to Seattle. You can use this information to launch a new store in Seattle and expand your network.

An updated database lets you identify business opportunities, determine customer-dense locations, and plan effective sales strategies.

Luckily, PostGrid offers address verification solutions to companies with the NCOA feature. So you don’t need to complete any paperwork or buy a license.

Being CASS-certified, we can help you replace outdated data with new records and identify when your customers move to different locations via NCOA processing.

PostGrid’s Address Verification API: Get Features like DPV, RDI, NCOA, and Much More

You can integrate PostGrid’s address verification API into your CRM or download our software to validate your mailing lists and update your customer records. 

It is more affordable and effective than buying different USPS products, like SuiteLink, NCOALink, and more. 

PostGrid’s address verification solutions provide you with

  • Delivery Point Validation: You may get DPV codes with your verified addresses to identify the mailing routes for every recipient. 
  • Geocoding: Get latitudinal and longitudinal data for your customers’ delivery addresses with rooftop geocoding. PostGrid also offers reverse geocoding to help you compile mailing lists from different places. 
  • SuiteLink: This feature lets you add suite numbers to your addresses to enhance deliverability. Our address verification solutions ensure you verify your lists to the premise level and get secondary address unit information at your fingertips. 
  • CASS and NCOA: Our CASS certification helps us offer you effective address verification services. You can ensure the Post Office delivers your mail to the correct destinations by validating your lists via our API or software.


PostGrid validates the entire dataset of approximately 160 million moves on file over the past four years to ensure your mailing list is up-to-date. Simply register with us, and PostGrid will assist with high-end address verification. This will allow you to keep track of the wrong or invalid addresses.
We strive to improve your deliverability rate, save you money through our Print & Mail services, eliminate wasted postage, and more.

Lastly, at PostGrid, we combine our global datasets with best-in-class technology to help businesses verify customer addresses around the world. With our easy-to-integrate API, our customers can verify customer data right at the point of capture.

What are you waiting for? Register with us today and get started.

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