The NCOA process takes the mailing list and programmatically examines
each element of the address. The program attempts to verify or correct
the ZIP Code; standardize the format for address, city, and state
names; and append ZIP+4 Codes, carrier route codes, and delivery
point barcode information to the mailing list addresses. Once this
standardization process is completed, the entire list is matched
against the NCOA database. When a match from the list is made to
an NCOA name and address, the new address information is returned
to the list holder.
The NCOA database consists of address information for individuals,
families, and businesses that have moved within the past 36 months.
The names and addresses are compiled from Change of Address orders
presented to the Postal Service when a permanent move occurs. Temporary
moves are not recorded on NCOA. The NCOA database contains 113 million
permanent change of address records.
Since NCOA is used prior to a mailing, it greatly reduces undeliverable
as addressed mail, which in turn reduces rehandling costs.
Note: The United States Postal Service requires addresses on
all presorted and automated First Class to be updated within 180
days prior to the mailing date.