NCOA Beyond the Basics

Perhaps the most indispensable process of updating addresses is NCOALink®. Best reserved for address maintenance and capturing recent moves, NCOALink® processing is an excellent way of improving the deliverability of direct mail. Since all updated addresses found from this process are returned in USPS Standardized format, they immediately qualify for postal discounts.

NCOALink® also provides the date of the move that is associated with an individual, family or business and plays a critical role in the process that should be considered when updating your alumni database. The type of move is also an important factor before making any permanent changes on your system that could send you down the wrong path towards reaching your constituents.  And finally, the NCOA match return codes and DPV® footnotes that are often overlooked provide detailed reasons on specific records that miss the mark.

The experience that BCI has gained from processing NCOA for clients over the past 20 years can help you avoid many of the most common errors, and enhance your upload process with new logic that assures you are not making mistakes that overwrite accurate address data with older, misdirected information. What could be worse than replacing current addresses you’ve obtained on your own with new NCOA addresses that are wrong. It happens!

Astute data managers are well aware of the pitfalls and realize the limitations of NCOA. Systematic date stamping of new address data is one of the surest ways to avoid the risk of wiping out existing data that’s hard to come by and perhaps impossible to replace.

Everyone Wins With NCOALink®

NCOALink® Improving the quality of address information benefits everyone from the customer, to the mailer, and right up the line to USPS. Mailers benefit by catching updated address information early on while reducing mailing costs, and other business expenses associated with handling inaccurate address information. The USPS benefits from reduced volume of undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail which results in lower processing and handling costs. And mail customers are assured of greater privacy along with safer delivery of their mail. This win-win-win result for mailers, customers, and the USPS has made the transition from NCOA and FASTforward Mailing List Correction (MLC) to NCOALink®  well received.

NCOALink® Safeguards Your Data

 NCOALink®NCOALink®  provides a better way of protecting move update data under new guidelines and legal requirements established by USPS. Although USPS also enabled mailing list processors to release updated address information previously (through NCOA), the NCOALink® database is a major technological advance based on safeguarded information that is totally undecipherable to anyone looking at it. NCOALink® data is based on an encrypted mathematical formulation that is converted back to simple text after a mailing list has been processed. As a result, high volume mailers can easily integrate new NCOALink®  updates  with greater confidence.

NCOALink® Licensing

NCOALink®Who holds an NCOALink®  license?  Licenses are limited to a small number of high volume mailers and Service Bureaus that process mailing lists for their clients. Why does USPS require a license to obtain NCOALink®? USPS provides NCOALink®  through a restricted licensing program to ensure that the use of USPS proprietary, intellectual property is limited to its intended purpose. These purposes must fall within specific USPS guidelines in order to continually protect the security of change-of-address information. NCOALink® licenses are enforced under provisions by the USPS.

How NCOALink® Differs From NCOA

NCOALink®NCOALink® is a secure, revolving data-set of approximately 160 million records that are matched with updated change-of-address information as reported to USPS on a weekly basis. The primary difference to NCOA is in how the data is stored. Instead of simple text format that NCOA was based on, NCOALink® data is encrypted and totally unintelligible to the reader. The information returned from an NCOALink®  match is a mathematical 11-digit representation of the new address that is converted back to plain text when processing is completed. This new system prevents the remote possibility of producing lists consisting exclusively of updated addresses, since mailers must have name and former address to begin with.

CASS™ Delivers

NCOALink®Once an address has been cleaned up, standardized, and verified as deliverable, you can be nearly 100% sure that it will be delivered as expected.

CASS™ Certification

NCOALink®The Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) enables the USPS to evaluate the accuracy of software that corrects and matches street addresses.

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