Mailing Tutorials

Cass Certifying:

Cass certification adds the last four digits to the zip code making it a zip + 4, creating a common format for address matching.

ie 52233-1458

Cass certification is required unless the customer can provide documentation that they have cass certified their list/s prior to submitting to Cedar Graphics. If not already cass certified, Cedar Graphics can perform this service to all mail lists received.

Cass certification is necessary in order to receive a barcode discount

NCOA-National Change of Address:

National Change Of Address (NCOA) NCOA is a database maintained by the U.S. Postal Service of all individuals and companies who completed a Change of Address form in the previous four years. By sending your database to be NCOA processed, it will be updated with the most current  address information. In fact, the average database is improved by 5% using this convenient service. The cost of using NCOA is minimal and a speedy turnaround time means it will never delay your mailing.

Running the mail list/s through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database is the method Cedar Graphics uses to ensure the presorted mailing meets the USPS Move Update Requirements. 

Effective 11/23/08, postal rules require all addresses in a presorted mailing to be move update processed within 95 days before a mailing. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is requiring this in order to reduce expenses from extra handling. National Change of Address (NCOA) is just one of the approved methods for meeting the move update requirements.


What are the best reasons to use NCOA?

Stop Losing Customers – Hidden in your database may be hundreds or even thousands of prospects that do not receive your mail anymore. Instead of losing those names, you can update your database with their most current mailing addresses.

Mail at Lower Postal Rates – To qualify for the best postal rates, the USPS requires you to send your mailing through a move update service every 95 days. If you do not use a qualified move update service, like NCOA, you will have to mail at a higher postage rate.

Increase Your Return on Investment – NCOA is the perfect opportunity for you to lower your total mailing cost and raise your response rate. You save money because NCOA will identify those individuals that have moved, as well as closed P.O. boxes and moves with no forwarding address. And since updating your addresses means more of your mail pieces will be delivered correctly, you should also increase the number of responses you receive.


Common NCOA Questions

How does NCOA work?

When a person or business moves, they generally wish to continue to receive their mail at their new location. By filling out a Change of Address form, bills, bank statements, letters, and all other first class mail is forwarded to the new address for a period of one year. This information from the Change of Address form is added to a giant database containing more than 125 million changes of addresses. Through our NCOA service, your database is cross-referenced with the Postal NCOA Database to find moves and then updated with the newest addresses.

How current is the NCOA database?

Address moves appear in the NCOA databases approximately four to six weeks after the Postal Service is notified.


How long is a change of address kept in the NCOA database?

Changes of addresses are kept in the NCOA database for four years. So moves taken place longer than four years ago will not come up as an NCOA “match”.


When will the NCOA database NOT find a match?

  1. The input address is not a legal Postal address.
  2. The person never filled out a Change of Address form.
  3. The person filed a temporary move (eg. A college student who moves home for the summer).
  4. The person filed a move within the last four to six weeks.
  5. The person moved too long ago (over four years) to be in the database.


Does sending my list through NCOA guarantee that I will not receive any returns?

No. In fact, you still may get 5% back or more after using the NCOA Service. The reasons are many. First of all, NCOA is not foolproof: Sometimes people do not fill out a Change of Address Form; or, they have moved more than four years ago, or less than four weeks ago. Even more of a problem is the “match” itself. While the addresses are standardized to keep from errors, NCOA also matches on individual or business names. Misspellings of names may cause NCOA to not find a match. Lastly, NCOA is only a Change of Address service. It will not tell you if someone passed away, or a business closed down. In conclusion, NCOA will clean up your list to some extent, but no service will make it perfect.


How often should I update my file?

The Postal Service requires companies to update their files every 95 days to qualify for the automated postage rates. NCOA is one way to update your files. Also, there is another reason to use NCOA often. It is extremely inexpensive compared to sending out a mailing piece to the wrong address. Many companies feel that the savings justify using NCOA before every mailing.


What part do you play in sending my list through NCOA?

To submit your file for NCOA it needs to be formatted a specific way. We will handle this formatting. Also, when your list comes back, we run it through software that uses the information provided by the NCOA database to update your fields. We encourage our customers to use NCOA because we know it will increase their return on investment and make their direct mail more successful.

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