The Move Update standard is a requirement of Full-Service mail to obtain postage discounts and can lead to assessments. Pre-mailing NCOALink and post-mailing ACS are methods of satisfying the Move Update standard and updating the source databases, which has to be done in a timely manner. Many transactional documents, packages, and marketing mail pieces are costly to produce. Ensuring that a current address is being used can cut down significantly on the chance that the piece of mail will be UAA (Undeliverable as Addressed).

There are some key points to keep in mind regarding the NCOALink method. For mail service providers (MSPs) who submit eDocs with a customer’s mailing data, there are challenges with complying with the USPS Move Update standard in specific industries. Many companies mailing for the healthcare, insurance, and financial services industries require consent before a permanent address change may be applied to their internal databases.

So, what is an MSP to do? Some may run NCOALink before printing, inserting, and mailing, but only if the customer the data originates from allows the MSP to use a more current address on their mailing. The other side of this is that running NCOALink takes time and resources at the MSP, especially if the MSP was given a print image file by their customer. Furthermore, the print image may need to be transformed to ensure that the new address is in the right spot on the document.

The next part of running NCOALink at the MSP is to return new addresses to the source customer so they can update their database (requesting consent to update the address data of individuals when required). This could be costly for the MSP, and costs may be passed back to their customers. There are scenarios where customers provide an MSP name and address data that does not have current addresses. Also, the customer may not allow the MSP to perform any new address updates. When the MSP submits the eDoc under their own CRID, the MSP could end up above the .5% threshold, collectively, if new addresses are not applied in a timely manner. Charging back to customers can be time-consuming and difficult to track.

Tools are available that allow the MSP to view any new addresses not applied in a timely manner and track it back to the customer who gave them the source name and address data, allowing them to charge them back for assessments. The best practice for any name and address database is to make sure the address is correct, complete (including secondary address data), and current.

NOTE: For Seamless mailers, address changes not applied may create Seamless Undocumented redirection (barcode ID 93) pieces in IV-MQD (Informed Visibility Mail Quality Data) if the original piece before redirection was undocumented. Seamless mailers will not be assessed twice for an Undocumented mail piece in this scenario.

Bill Marsh is Senior Product Manager at Windowbook.

This article originally appeared in the March/April, 2022 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.