USPS® Move Update Requirement

Effective November 23, 2008, to qualify for automation rate or presort rate First-Class Mail® and USPS Marketing Mail® –  “Each address and associate occupant name used on the mailpieces in a mailing must be updated within 95 days before the mailing date, with one of the USPS-approved methods…” – The update standard applies to each address, not to a specific list or mailing. Mailers must certify compliance with the update standard when the corresponding mail is presented to the USPS.

The following are the USPS-approved methods for complying with the Move Update Requirement:

1. NCOALink®

  • Typically the most cost-effective method. Using one of the non-exclusive licensees of the USPS you send in your list, fill out a little paperwork and you get back your list with the addresses standardized and validated along with a new address (when available) for addressees who matched the NCOALink database.
  • Mailing lists are run against a database containing the previous 18 months of moves (Limited Service) or the full database containing all of the moves registered with the USPS in the past 48 months (Full Service.)
  • The database is compiled with permanent Changes of Address orders sent by individuals, families, or businesses to the USPS over the past 48 months. After 48 months the move is dropped from the database and you may have to contact the mover’s friends to obtain their new address.

2.  ACS / Onecode ACS®.

3.  Ancillary Service Endorsement (except “Forwarding Service Requested”.)

4.  FASTforward® MLOCR.

  • This applies those who process their mail on Multiline Optical Character Reading mail sorting machines that update each mailpiece as it is running through the machine.

5.  Alternative Move Update Methods. (Call the USPS-NCSC @ 1-800-238-3150)

  • For mailers who are legally restrained from updating their lists without the addressee’s approval, and for lists that are 99% accurate.

Effective January, 2010 the USPS will assess penalties for non-compliance of the latest Move Update requirement.  Using Performance-Based Verification (PBV), a sample will be taken from the mailing and run through MERLIN®. MERLIN will lift names and addresses, then transmit that data to the NCSC in Memphis. The NCSC will check for change-of-addresses (COA) that have occurred between 95 days and 18 months, and match these against the mailing.

The current tolerance is 70%. If the mailer misses some COA but still catches at least 70% of the moves, no penalty will be assessed.  A 7 cent per piece penalty will be levied against the portion of the mailing that does not meet the 70% threshold.

How the Move Update requirement is a benefit to mailers

The net effect of the Move Update requirement has been an overall positive for the USPS and the mailing public, their customers.  Over the nearly 20 years Lorton Data has been providing NCOA and NCOALink processing services, our customers have received many benefits as a result of this requirement.

Even customers who may only mail once or twice a year save many times the direct costs of the service through an increase in delivered mail, savings in postage, eliminating the costs of mailpieces that otherwise would have ended up in the recycle bin and the increased in ROI of a particular mailing be it sales, donations or increased participation in a program.

As a database management tool it is extremely cost-effective as the accuracy of your customer database degrades over time. While frequent customer purchases will keep you up to date with your best customers, it is unlikely that those customers amount to more than 20% of your customer list. According to information received at the USPS Address Quality Symposium there is an approximate average of 2.9% return rate on invoice and statement mailings.  Given that these are customers who are receiving monthly communications, you can see that for irregular communication this figure will compound as time passes. Having been here providing this service from the beginning, we believe it is accurate to say that without this requirement most small and medium-sized businesses would not be able to afford these services.

Address Updating Whitepaper (pdf)