USPS Set to Implement NCOALink on Oct. 1

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service is proceeding with NCOALink, which will replace its National Change of Address and FASTforward products starting Oct. 1, a postal official said yesterday.

Jan Caldwell, manager of address management at the USPS, also told attendees at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting that the postal service still will retire the existing NCOA database, "so if anybody thought we were going to change our minds, I am here to tell you that we aren't, we didn't and we are moving ahead."

The NCOA and FASTforward Mailing List Correction products let mailers comply with the Move Update requirement to qualify for First-Class mail automation and presort discounts. NCOALink replaces both systems with one product that will securely release address information in a format that is a mathematical, 11-digit representation of the new address.

The USPS has said that this will let licensees provide access to sensitive address data in a more convenient and secure format, reducing USPS oversight. The USPS also said NCOALink will let it expand its distribution, which will improve address quality and undeliverable-as-addressed mail.

The week of Sept. 20 will be the last time NCOA data will be provided to licensees, Caldwell said, and Sept. 30 is the last permissible use of current NCOA data.

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