NCOAlink Information

We are required to run every mailing list that gets presorted through the NCOAlink (National Change of Address) process, unless there is documentation that the NCOAlink process has been run on your list within the last 90 days. The NCOAlink process checks the addresses in your mailing list against the ones maintained by the USPS to see if there are move updates. If a match is made because an individual, family, or business has moved, we are provided with the updated information. If a move has been made, and there is no updated information available because the move occurred more than 18 months ago, the addresses are flagged and we will not mail to them. This saves you money on postage by not mailing to addresses that are undeliverable.

We offer this service FREE to all customers that mail with us. In addition, we will provide you with a spreadsheet of the addresses that are updated or deleted as a result of running the NCOAlink process. This lets you know who in your list will not receive your mailing, and provides you with the updated information so you can maintain your mailing list database.

Let us know if you have questions on the NCOAlink process and what it does, or with the names you have received back from us with the updates.


Further Reading:
Over 40 million Americans change their address annually, which creates formidable obstacles in maintaining a high-quality mailing list. The NCOALink process makes change-of-address information available to mailers to help reduce undeliverable mail pieces before mail enters the mail stream.

The NCOALink process consists of computer software purchased, leased or developed by the licensee to access the NCOALink data. The Postal Service certifies the process and licenses the NCOALink product to private sector companies for commercial mail list processing or internal mail list management. Updated, computerized change-of-address information is provided on a regular basis to the NCOALink licensees by the Postal Service. The NCOALink process improves mail deliverability by providing mailers with current, standardized, delivery point coded addresses for individual, family, and business moves.

Input address information must first be standardized to conform to USPS® requirements, including the ZIP + 4® code. An attempt is made to match each name and address against the NCOALink product. Address change information is derived from the PS Form 3575, Change-of-Address Order, filed by relocating postal customers. If a match is made with the name and old address information in the NCOALink file, then the NCOALink licensee is permitted to provide the current move information (new address or undeliverable status) to update the mailing list.

NCOALink helps reduce undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail by correcting input addresses prior to mailing. Since 1986, Move Update predecessors such as ACSTM Service, National Change of Address (NCOA) and the FASTforward® system have saved mailers millions of dollars that otherwise would have been wasted in materials and postage. NCOALink continues this trend and, like its predecessors, provides the following benefits to mailers:

  • Reduces undeliverable mail by providing the most current address information for matches made to the NCOALink file
  • Prevents 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 mail pieces by using most current address information
  • Provides the opportunity for faster product/service marketing through accurate mail delivery

In addition to change-of-address information, NCOALink also utilizes Return Codes to provide explanation of match and non-match status. Return Codes which indicate that a match was obtained are accompanied by a new address or undeliverable status. Return Codes which indicate a match was not obtained provide the reason a match could not be made to the NCOALink file. The analysis of Return Codes can help the mailer determine the deliverability of specific address records.