How NCOALink® Processing Service Works

NCOALink processing service is offered by licensees of the USPS®, and Lorton Data is a non-exclusive Full Service NCOALink licensee. There are less than two dozen NCOALink Full Service Provider licensees.

Your mailing list is first processed through CASS Certified™ software to standardize the addresses and append current postal codes. All records with a valid ZIP+4® Code are then passed along for matching to the permanent change of address orders filed by relocating postal customers. When name and address information on your mailing list matches name and “old” address information on the change of address database, new address information, where available, is returned to you. New address information is not available for all matches. In these instances, the address submitted for processing is flagged as no longer valid for the associated recipient.

Change of address information is controlled by strict name and address matching logic. The required name matching is determined by the type of move (Individual, Family, Business) filed. To explain further, an individual move requires a match on full name and address. Gender and nickname are considered. A family move may also be referred to as a household move, and this requires a match on last name and address. A business move requires a business or firm name and address match.

When possible, postal customers who move multiple times within the four-year period are linked, or chained, to ensure that the latest address is furnished when a match is made. This is not always possible if subsequent moves are not filed in exactly the same manner as previously filed moves. (e.g., if move types are different – e.g. Family and Individual – they will not be chained)

Limitations of NCOALink Processing Service

It is important to have realistic expectations when using the NCOALink processing service. The results will depend on the accuracy of the name and address information on your file and the information filed by the relocating postal customer. Broken down even further, factors that impact the success of the service include:

  • How and when you initially collected the name and address information.
  • Completeness of the name and address information on your list.
  • Length of time since you’ve collected the name and address information, and what you’ve done to keep it current.
  • Demographic and geographic make up of your list.
  • How the name and address is carried on your list versus how the change of address was filed with the Postal Service.
  • Length of time since the change of address was filed (too recent or too old).
  • Only people and businesses that file of permanent change of address with the Postal Service are on the change of address database. No temporary moves are provided.

NCOALink processing is a great tool; however, it is not a complete mail list cleanup system. You can receive address changes through NCOALink processing that are not available elsewhere, and there are changes you will not receive from NCOALink processing that are available through other means therefore it is important to consider additional address quality solutions.

Ask us about a database maintenance program and we can discuss options that are best for you.

The NCOALink Processing Acknowledgement Form (PAF)

Businesses who use the NCOALink processing service must agree to use change of address information in accordance with USPS® regulations. The NCOALink PAF was put in place to allow the Postal Service™ and the mailing industry to comply with the Privacy Act of 1974, and enables mailers to use change of address information for mailing purposes.

All NCOALink service provider licensees are required to get a PAF from each customer before they can send their list through NCOALink processing. The NCOALink PAF identifies the mailers to whom the Postal Service has disclosed change of address information via the NCOALink processing service. The PAF must be completed and signed by the list owner, the NCOALink licensee and any third parties that are part of the transaction between the list owner and the licensee. The form must be renewed annually.

ezPAF (online PAF)
ezPAF Video Tutorial