DMA: Allow Credit, Driver Data for Address Verification

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The Direct Marketing Association is urging the U.S. Postal Service to support the use by marketers of credit headers and driver's license data as address correction tools. Such a step would help reduce the estimated $1.8 billion the USPS spends on undeliverable-as-addressed mail, the DMA said.


The DMA made the request as part of comments it filed last month on a USPS proposal that would require mailers to update their mailing lists every 90 days rather than the current 180 days.


Mailers until recently could use driver's license and credit header information along with the postal service's National Change of Address data to reduce UAA mail, the DMA said, but now are prohibited from doing so. The use of driver's license data was halted by the Transportation Appropriations Bill of 2000. The use of credit header information was halted in 2001 through FTC regulations that were part of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.


Mailers now rely solely on the postal service's NCOA file to reduce UAA mail in their mailings, the DMA said, which leaves up to 20 percent of changed addresses uncorrected.


Jerry Cerasale, DMA senior vice president, government affairs, said the USPS proposal to increase the frequency of use of the NCOA file is a first step toward cutting its costs.


"But it does not go nearly far enough toward making lists more accurate -- the real problem causing the volume of undeliverable mail to skyrocket," he said. "Legislators looking at privacy policies, at the federal and state level, need to be more cognizant of the law of unintended consequences."


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