NCOA Logo



NCOA Logo

Processing includes:


We're good:   

  • No Setup Cost
  • No Long-term Contracts
  • No Volume Requirements
  • Full NCOA-48 processing
  • Flexible Data Formatting
  • Low $45.00 minimum
  • Most affordable NCOA processing in the industry
  • usps logo


Getting to know NCOA: Its strengths & limitations


Understanding NCOA Processing


NCOA Matching Logic Explained


A detailed guide to help clarify what things can effect the results of your NCOA processing job.


48-month NCOA processing is the best tool for pre-mail address updating, with the greatest breadth and scope of data available, but it is important to understand how it really works. Knowing its strengths and its limitations will make you a more knowledgeable user of USPS NCOA processing.

First of all, one of the most important things to understand about USPS NCOALink is that the USPS-built matching logic is intentionally very strict. In other words, your input name and address must match the USPS data or there won't be a match. The wisdom behind the strictness of the USPS matching logic is that it is deemed far better to not give a new address if there is suspicion of it being wrong, rather than giving it and having it be wrong.

Furthermore, whether or not you receive new address information from NCOALink depends on a number of factors, a few of which include: the relocating postal customer must actually have filed a change of address; the relocating postal customer must also provide accurate information that corresponds with your data; the length of time since the change of address was filed; etc. Also, the demographic and geographic makeup of your list and the quality of the data in your list will affect the results of the NCOALink processing. Generally speaking, the better your input data, the better your results

I get it. So what can effect my NCOA match rate?

Before your file can be processed, it must be USPS-standardized, and you may not receive a ZIP+4 code for some addresses. Addresses that can't be standardized cannot be run through NCOA. It's that simple: if we can't Zip+4 append an address, we can't run it. Usually ZIP + 4 match rates run in the 93% to 98% range. The match rate is different for each list, of course, and it depends largely on your data. So why do some addresses fail standardization?

  • The data submitted may not be precise enough to narrow the address down to a single ZIP + 4 area. (e.g., "125 MAPLE" is submitted and both "125 N MAPLE ST" and "125 S MAPLE ST" are valid addresses in two different ZIP + 4 areas.)
  • The data submitted is not sufficiently standard for that area. (e.g., "1010 CENTENNIAL BLDG" is submitted where the Postal Service recognized address is "125 E 3RD ST SUITE 1010".)
  • The data submitted by the local Post Office is not complete.

What else can impact my NCOA match rate?

  • You may receive an incorrect ZIP+4 code and incorrectly standardized address. For most lists this is a rare occurrence but it is not uncommon on business lists that have many vanity addresses.
  • Example: The data submitted is not standard for the intended destination but similar to that for another destination. (e.g., "1010 PILLSBURY CTR" (Pillsbury Center is a building and the suite number is 1010), is submitted and "1010 PILLSBURY DR" falls within the same ZIP.)

Ok, anything else?

You may not receive change of address information when someone has actually moved. NCOALink processing will yield new addresses for many of the people and companies that have moved and filed address changes with the USPS, but some will be missed because of the strictness of the NCOA matching logic (and, yes, it's designed to be that strict). In this sense, the information you receive from NCOALink will depend on the accuracy of the name and address information in your file and also the information filed by the relocating postal customer.

  • Examples:
  • The name and address you submitted may be substantially different than the address change filed by the addressee. (e.g., The addressee submitted a change as "MARY G. SMITH-JONES", "125 MAPLE ST APT 125" and you submitted "M SMITH", "125 MAPLE ST". In this example, the last name, middle initial or address will cause a miss.)
  • Addressee may not have filed a change of address with the USPS.
  • When mail carriers submit "Move - No Forwarding Address" cards they rarely have complete information. (For example, if the carrier enters the information in a way that does not match the way you have it, it may not result in a match due to the strictness of the NCOA matching logic.)
  • The addressee may have moved too recently to appear on the NCOALink file. It takes 2-4 weeks for a change to appear on the NCOALink file.
  • In some cases, individuals intentionally enter information on their Change of Address card that is unlike their actual name resulting in a non-match. (Example: T. Smith-Jones instead of Tom S. Jones).

Ok. What else can go wrong?

You may receive a new address when the addressee has not moved at all. As strange as that sounds, it happens. Fortunately, these tend to appear in small numbers but do happen on a regular basis.

  • Examples:
  • Someone in a household filed a change of address incorrectly. (e.g., A child when moving out of parents' house submitted a "Change of Address" card indicating a family move. Therefore, when you do a search on the kid's dad, you're told he has a new address.)
  • Someone filed a "Change of Address" with the old and new addresses in the wrong place on the card. (In other words, they just didn't fill out the form correctly. It happens.)

Got it. Anything else I should know about?

Yes. In rare cases, you may receive an incorrect new address when the addressee has moved. These tend to appear in small numbers fortunately. Wondering why?

  • Someone has moved multiple times during the 48 month timeframe and the moves could not be linked or chained. NCOALink will attempt to link multiple moves providing back the newest address as long as each move filed contains complete address information and all move types are the same. (e.g. If an apartment number is included in one move and omitted in the next move, the link cannot be made.)
  • Two moves are filed from the same household under the same surname, one family move and one individual move or two family moves. The incorrect new address may be returned, although matching requirements exist to prevent this.