CASS vs NCOA – What’s the Difference
How can you increase the number of mailpieces successfully delivered and reduce the number of those pesky return pieces? Return mail, or Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) is costly for you (think printing and postage) and costly for the USPS to handle as well.
So what can be done?
Always, always, always run your mail through CASS and NCOA processes prior to printing.
What is CASS and why do I need it?
CASS stands for Coding Accuracy Support System. The process standardizes address data and certifies that your mailing list meets automation rate specs and USPS presort discounts. Note that this is only improving your address by confirming the carrier route, five-digit zip code, zip +4 code, and delivery point barcode. Name-related fields are not taken into consideration during CASS processing.
What is corrected:
- Misspellings in street and city names
- Street suffixes such as Way, Court, Terrace
- ZIP code and ZIP+4
We let our customers drive what happens if an address fails CASS certification. We receive a report back of any UAA addresses and can either suppress them from the mailing, mail to that address knowing that it will result in UAA mail (some clients must mail to address as given for legal reasons), or return these addresses to client for research/updating as necessary.
What is NCOA?
National Change of Address (NCOA) meets USPS mandated Move Update requirements by bouncing your mailing list against an updated USPS database. The USPS database contains any moves where a Change of Address has been submitted. In 48 months the USPS records more than 150 million permanent address changes filed by postal customers.
In NCOA processing, both the name and address are compared in the database. Strahm receives a report back when a record is identified as having a change of address. This allows our clients the opportunity to update their own database with the new address information. It also prevents mailing to an old address resulting in UAA mail returns.
Keep in mind that you will still receive some amount of UAA mail even after NCOA processing. Not all movers submit a Change of Address to the Postal Service. Sometimes the CoA submitted to the Postal Service is not an exact match to the name in your database (John A. Smith on the CoA, John Smith in your data, for example).
What you gain with NCOA:
- Reduce printing/mailing costs by reducing the number of UAA pieces
- Ability to update your mailing list for future mailings
- Reduce internal processes for handling returned UAA mailpieces
- Speed delivery to mailboxes since USPS won’t need to reroute from an old address to a new address
To recap, you should always use CASS certification part of a process to qualify for presort postage discounts. Use of NCOA will reduce printing/mailing/handling costs associated with mailing to address which would result in UAA mail.
While you will probably not ever eliminate all Undeliverable as Addressed mail, managing the amount will reap rewards!