NCOA Changes


This is the first of a series of articles to get you ready for the new Move Update standards that take effect later this year.

Effective Nov. 23, 2008 the Postal Service is increasing its effort to improve the percentage of deliverable mail by revising the Move Update standards. The Move Update standards provide ways for mailers to reduce the number of mailpieces that require forwarding or return by the periodic matching of a mailer’s address records with customer-filed change-of-address orders. The final rule published Sept. 23, 2007, included the following changes related to Move Update processing:

Increase the minimum frequency of Move Update processing from 185 calendar days to 95 days prior to the date of mailing.

Extend the revised Move Update standards to include all Standard Mail (letters, flats, parcels and Not Flat-Machinables), as well as automation-rate and presort-rate First-Class Mail.

The Postal Service and the mailing industry believe these revised standards are crucial to the business interests of mailers as well as the continued vitality of the postal system. In fiscal year 2004, the Postal Service handled 9.7 billion pieces of undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail at a cost of $1.85 billion. These revised standards will result in better address quality by removing incorrectly addressed pieces from subsequent mailings, which will reduce UAA mail.

In cooperation with the mailing industry, we are committed to reducing UAA mail volume in order to create and maintain a cost-efficient mailstream. An efficient automated mailstream works best when mailpieces have complete, correct and up-to-date addresses. Revisions to the Move Update standards are needed to improve the percentage of deliverable addresses for mailings entered at discounted rates. High-quality addressing, best possible depth of ZIP+4 Codes and accurate Intelligent Mail and POSTNET barcodes that result in the delivery of the mailpiece to the intended recipient in an efficient manner, should be primary tools that mailers use to reduce UAA mail volume.

Move Update Requirement for All Standard Mail
A key reason for this extension is that one of the conclusions of an independent study of the cost, volume and characteristics of UAA mail found that mail entered as Standard Mail accounted for 62.8 percent of all UAA mail volume.

For Standard Mail mailers, the new Move Update standard does not mean that you begin an updating process on Nov. 23, but rather, starting Nov. 23, mailers must begin using addresses that were updated within the previous 95 days. For example, a mailing entered on Dec. 1 must bear addresses that were updated no earlier than Aug. 28.

Authorized methods for Standard Mail to qualify for the Move Update standards include:

  • NCOALink processing.
  • FASTforward MLOCR processing (letter mail only).
  • OneCode ACS (Address Change Service) in conjunction with an Intelligent Mail barcode and a mailer ID.
  • Address Change Service used with an ACS participant code and an appropriate on-piece ancillary service endorsement.
  • Use of an appropriate on-piece ancillary service endorsement without ACS.

Keep in mind, to complete the Move Update process, mailers who rely on ACS or on-piece ancillary service endorsements without ACS, must incorporate the address changes received prior to subsequent mailings. Also, if an address used on a mailpiece in a mailing at one class of mail is updated with an approved method, the same address may be used during the following 95 days in another mailing as well as another class of mail, and meets the Move Update standard.

Mailpieces using an alternative addressing format in Domestic Mail Manual 602.3.0, such as “John Doe or Current Resident,” “Occupant” or “Postal Customer,” are not subject to the Move Update standards. Alternative address formats, however, may not be used on mailpieces with any extra service, such as Delivery Confirmation, with any ancillary service endorsement, or mail addressed to an overseas military post office.

Customers with questions should contact the Post Office where they enter their mailings. For additional information, go to Postal Explorer at and click Address Quality.

Effective Nov. 23, 2008, per postal regulations “Move Update” standards will be extended to ALL classes of discounted mail. New NCOA processing period will be compressed from 185 calendar days to now 95 days prior to mail date. The new regulation changes will assure that higher quality addresses are entering the mail stream and ultimately reducing the number of UAA (undeliverable as addressed) pieces. Please contact us for more details.

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