NCOALink or NCOA (National Change of Address) is a data set containing approximately 160 million permanent change-of-address records filed with the United States Postal Service® in the last 48 months. This list consists of names and addresses of individuals, families, and businesses who have filed a change of address.
In other words, consumers will fill out a change of address form online or at their local Post Office. As a result, USPS will apply that move and mail will now be forwarded to their new address.
Before processing your NCOA update, TrueNCOA must first verify, validate, and perform hygiene on your input records according to USPS standards. The USPS Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) corrects and standardizes addresses, adds missing address information such as ZIP codes, cities, and states to ensure the address is complete, performs delivery point validation to verify whether or not an address is a deliverable address, and checks against the USPS Locatable Address Conversion System, updating addresses that have been renamed or renumbered. Because this process saves the post office time and money due to reduced sorting and undeliverable mail, mailers who use it can qualify for bulk mailing discounts. Please see the "About NCOA" section of our FAQ for additional information regarding the NCOA process.
An example of what CASS software will correct in an address
Oake park IL
1010 Lake St
Oak Park IL 60301-1102
It corrects city name, address street suffix, ZIP code, and ZIP+4 add-on, and it identifies the address as a business. You can read more about identifying Residential vs. Business addresses here.
NCOA Delivery Point Validation
Delivery Point Validation or DPV checks addresses against the USPS database to determine deliverability. Matching records are marked valid. If they have no matching entry, they are marked invalid with a corresponding note and cannot be delivered. The process also cleans up and formats the address according to USPS standards to ensure deliverability and qualify mail for bulk discounts. You can read more about how to identify invalid addresses here, and to see more detail on DPV notes, check out our data dictionary here.
CASS Errors and Warning Codes
Even if CASS determines a record is valid, it may still alter or add part of the address. When this occurs, an error or warning code is entered. Please see our data dictionary for a complete list of errors and warning codes that could be attached to a record during the validation process.