Mailing with CEC - part 2: NCOA
Advanced Verification and Correction
This week we continue our series on mailing with CEC. In part 1, we explained the basic data verification and clean up services offered by CEC. Those steps apply to nearly every mailing project we handle. In this edition, part 2, the focus will be on more advanced verification, which is typically only applied to presorted mailings.

National Change of Address
Once CEC has finished the basic data verification steps described in Mailing with CEC – part 1, we can begin more advanced verification. This is where National Change of Address (NCOA) processing takes place. NCOA processing compares the addresses in the supplied data list against the change-of-address database on file with the United States Postal Service (USPS). If you’ve ever moved, you’ve probably filled out a change-of-address form at the post office to make sure your mail is forwarded to the new address. When you fill out that form, the information is added to the NCOA database. When a mailer, such as CEC, submits a data list for NCOA processing, the addresses in the list are checked against the NCOA database and any outdated information in the list is updated to match the NCOA database.

In order for CEC to submit your list for NCOA processing, we must first have your Processing Acknowledgment Form (PAF) on file. To receive a copy of the PAF to fill out, please contact a client service representative. PAF forms must be filled out yearly to ensure the information is correct.

Since 2009, the USPS requires that all presorted mailings be NCOA processed to save the expense of trying to deliver items to incorrect or non-existent addresses. This means that if you want the presort discount, CEC must have your PAF on file. There is one exception. If you are confident that the information in your mailing list is correct and/or you’re not concerned with making sure a specific individual receives the piece, then CEC can add the line “or current resident” above the address. This will not require NCOA processing but does still allow you to receive basic presort discounts.

Data Updated
Entries that are found to have a changed address in the NCOA database are updated with the new information. Additionally, during NCOA processing, each address in the submitted list is given a mailscore. This score, from 1 to 7, indicates what kind of discount — if any — each individual entry can qualify for. Typically, CEC will leave all addresses in the list regardless of mailscore unless a large percentage of addresses receive a mailscore of 7, which generally indicates that the address is not good and items mailed to that address will probably not make it to their intended recipient. We can, on request, remove the addresses that received a mailscore of 7 from the list and save them to a separate list to return to the client so they can correct them for future mailings.

The final step of the NCOA process is to generate a report about the list’s NCOA results. CASS Certification paperwork (form 3553), which is required for all presorted and bulk mailings that go through the USPS, is also created at this time and the list is now ready for presorting, which will be the focus of part 3 in this series.

Check back for the continuation of this series as well as other blogs over the coming weeks. If you have specific questions about upcoming projects, please contact a client service representative for immediate assistance.

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