Mailing & Print Services for Central Virginia

Dominion Market Research

NCOA Link - What it is and how it works

Don't over pay for NCOALink processing. We've seen prices at high as $25 per thousand. We charge $8 per thousand with a $30 minimum. Some exceptions may apply for lists that need extra work to get them ready for NCOA processing. Call or email if you have questions. These rates apply when NCOA processing is part of a mailing handled by Dominion Market Research. 

The USPS made a significant change in mailing requirements that went into effect on November 23, 2008. Any presorted First Class or Standard Class mailings have to certify that the addresses in the mailing list were updated within the previous 95 days using one or more of five USPS approved methods. For most of our customers National Change of Address (NCOA) processing will be the most convenient and least expensive method to meet the requirement. Information on NCOA follows.

Information about the National Change of Address (NCOA) service is provided below. Please contact us for pricing and file format requirements.

National Change of Address (NCOA) is a process that helps you keep track of customers and prospects who move. Over 40 million Americans change addresses annually, which creates formidable obstacles in maintaining a high-quality mailing list. NCOA makes change-of-address information available to mailers to help reduce undeliverable or duplicate mail pieces. NCOA service is a comprehensive program that aids mailers in identifying changes of addresses before mail enters the mail stream.

NCOA is a product of the US Postal Service. It is a complete list of everyone who filed a permanent change of address notice with the US Postal Service during the previous 48 months. The file includes the old moved-from address, and new moved-to address.

How it works...

Address information provided by a mailer is first standardized to conform to USPS requirements, including the ZIP+4 Code. Once the address has been standardized, an attempt is made to match the address against the NCOA file, which contains approximately 156 million records or 48 months of permanent address changes. Address change information is derived from the Change-of-Address Order, filed by relocating postal customers. If an exact match is made with the old address information in the NCOA File, then the new address is provided.

The service also compares your addresses to the Postal Service Local Address Change Service (LACS) database as well as CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) certifies your addresses meet postal regulations. If your database contains RR or HC addresses, you should consider using NCOA to update your list. Many county governments have changed local addresses from Rural Route type addresses to 911 type street addresses. Many Post Offices no longer deliver to Rural Route (RR) or Highway Contract (HC) addresses.

Why use NCOA?...

The Postal Service requires mailers to update their files in the 95 days before a mailing. NCOA is one way to update your files.

There is another reason to use NCOA. It is extremely inexpensive compared to sending out a mailer to the wrong address or using an endorsement like "Return Service Requested". Many companies feel that the savings justify using NCOA before every mailing.

NCOA is a "before you mail" solution that allows you to put more good addresses into the mail. No lost time in forwarding. No waiting for corrections to be returned. No need to re-mail address corrections. Faster delivery means quicker turnaround for orders and improved cash flow.

Updated addresses give more uniformity to files that are merged. When all addresses are as current as possible, you improve the potential for uncovering duplicates.

NCOA helps reduce undeliverable-as-addressed(UAA) mail by correcting input addresses prior to mailing. Since 1986, this service has saved mailers millions of dollars that otherwise would have been wasted in materials and postage.

NCOA provides the following benefits to mailers: 

— Reduces undeliverable mail by providing the most current address information for matches made to the NCOA file.

— Prevents duplicate mail pieces or re-mailings after address corrections are received because the address correction is applied prior to the mailing.

— Reduces mailer costs by reducing the number of undeliverable and duplicate mail pieces by using most current address information.

— Provides the opportunity for faster product/service marketing through accurate mail delivery.

The "Nixie" option is used by mailers to cleanse their mailing lists further. Nixie uses a code to indicate a match was close but not good enough to meet the strict USPS matching guidelines. The nixie code indicates the reason a match could not be made with the NCOA file, and a mailer can investigate the address record and provide necessary corrections. A no-match to the NCOA file does not return the new address - the Nixie option indicates why.