What is NCOA?
The NCOALink Product is a secure dataset of approximately 160 million permanent change-of-address (COA) records consisting of the names and addresses of individuals, families and businesses who have filed a change-of-address with the USPS®.
Developed with secure data store technology to increase security of postal customer data and protect the privacy of this information, the NCOALink Product enables mailers to process mailing lists and update lists with new addresses prior to mailing. The NCOALink Product can be integrated into mailers’ in-house computer systems to provide services or use internally. The use of the NCOALink Product is only available through licenses from the USPS.
In short, you give us a list we run it through the USPS National Change-Of-Address (NCOA) database and return every confirmed match to your database telling you who moved and when they moved. This access is not free from the USPS and mailers either pay for credits, or an annual licensing fee. Your mailer should be using NCOA and if they are not you may want to look for new mailer. This product is crucial for the maintenance of your customer database. Be aware the NCOA file only goes back 48 months so if a list has not been updated in the past 48 months the moves will not show up on the return file as they have been erased off the backend of the file. The damage is done at this point because the customers who did actually move will no longer show up on the database and are effectively lost customers. A well maintained list should be NCOA’d prior to being mailed and even if it is not mailed it should be updated at least once a year.