Postal Alphabet Soup: NCOA Processing and CASS

John Young

July 13, 2015

John Young

July 13, 2015

If you use bulk mail for some or all of your mailings, here are two acronyms you should know and understand: NCOA and CASS. They play a role in your mailing and their success.

National Change of Address (NCOA)

NCOA is a database of change-of-address records that the United States Postal Service (USPS) maintains. As a mailing service, we have access to NCOALink, which allows us to compare our customers’ mailing lists to the NCOA list. The USPS requires that all bulk mailings be run through NCOA. The reason is simple. NCOA cleans up mailing lists, kicking out repeated addresses and updating old, outdated ones with new information from change-of-address records. Cleaning up mail lists cuts down on UAA (Undeliverable as Addressed) mail, and that in turn allows the USPS to give discounted rates for bulk mail.

Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS)

CASS was developed by the USPS to evaluate the accuracy of various address-matching software programs, like the one we use at Bluegrass. When we run your mailing list through our CASS-certified software, it standardizes addresses and adds zip +4 codes. If you want to add barcodes to your bulk mailings, your mailing list must first be CASS certified. Barcoding discounts are not as large as those for bulk mail, but for large mailings the savings can add up. Barcoding is not mandatory for bulk mail and your mailing list does not have to be CASS-certified every time it is used. CASS certification is good for 90 days for carrier routes.

NCOA and CASS are good for the post office and good for you. Having a clean, updated mailing list means you waste less on postage and your mailings make it to their intended destination and get there faster. And, correct addresses reduce the amount of nondeliverable and unsorted mail, saving the USPS time, money and manpower.


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