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Move Update

Mailing list updating methods


Mailers who claim presort or automation rates for First-Class Mail® or Standard Mail® service must demonstrate that they have updated the addresses in their mailing lists within a specific timeframe prior to the mailing date. The Postal Service™ makes the following move update options available to meet the needs of mailers at reasonable costs. Each mailer may need to experiment with several options to determine the most effective method or combination of methods to update addresses in different mailing situations.

ACS™ Service

Provides a cost-effective, efficient means of obtaining accurate change-of-address information.

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ACS service helps meet the needs of business mailers by providing a cost-effective, efficient means of obtaining accurate change-of-address (COA) information. ACS saves mailers time and money by…

  1. Reducing the amount of undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mailpieces.
  2. Reducing the need to manually key address changes.
  3. Eliminating other labor-intensive steps involved in address change operations. ACS is available to mailers of First-Class Mail, Periodicals Mail, Standard Mail and Package Services.

To participate in ACS, mailers must modify their mailing label format to include a mailer identification (participant) code assigned by the National Customer Support Center (NCSC). (A mailer-assigned keyline is also required if the mailer wants to participate in the nixie service.)

As ACS-modified mailpieces are processed via the USPS® nationwide network of Computerized Forwarding System (CFS) sites, electronic COA notifications are generated when possible. However, ACS is an enhancement to the traditional process of manual (hard copy) notifications: it does not completely replace or eliminate hard copy address change notifications.

Mailers participating in ACS receive the following benefits…

  • Timely COA information provided on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.
  • COA information that relates specifically to their address files.
  • In many cases, the ability to make changes directly from electronic media rather than the costly manual process, which is prone to transcription errors.

Address change problems encountered by mailers in the past, such as poor quality photocopies, postal labels placed over the old address, and crossed-out old addresses, are reduced substantially for ACS participants.

The ACS process involves the daily transmission of COA information from CFS sites to the NCSC, where the changes are consolidated into a file on a mailer-by-mailer basis. These records are organized by mailer identification codes and distributed to the participant mailer. Depending on a mailpiece's class and endorsement, mailers may also receive information on addresses that are undeliverable for reasons other than a customer move (i.e., nixie notifications).

Publication 8A, ACS™ Service - Traditional PDF | HTM

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Ancillary Service Endorsements

Used to instruct the Postal Service regarding the mailpiece's appropriate disposition upon determining that it is UAA.

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Undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail is forwarded, returned to sender, or treated as dead mail as authorized for the particular mail class. A mailer endorsement is used to instruct the Postal Service regarding the mailpiece's appropriate disposition upon determining that it is UAA. On First-Class Mail service, the following endorsements may be used as an updating method to meet the move update standard…

Return Service Requested. If UAA, the mailpiece is returned with the new address or reason for nondelivery at no charge.

Temp-Return Service Requested. If UAA and a temporary change-of-address have been filed, the mailpiece is forwarded at no charge. No separate notice of a new temporary change-of-address is provided. This endorsement option is available for First-Class Mail only.

Address Service Requested.

  • Months 1 - 12: the mailpiece is forwarded; no charge; a separate notice of the new address is provided; an address correction fee is charged.
  • Months 13 - 18: the mailpiece is returned with the new address attached at no charge.
  • After month 18 or if undeliverable: the mailpiece is returned with reason for nondelivery attached at no charge.

Change Service Requested. Separate notice of new address or reason for nondelivery provided; in either case, address-correction fee is charged; mailpiece is not forwarded or returned but disposed of by the Postal Service. This endorsement option is available for First-Class Mail only when used in conjunction with electronic ACS™ Service.

Ancillary service endorsements allow the sender to obtain on request (provided the appropriate endorsement is used) the addressee's new (forwarding) address (if the addressee filed a Change-of-Address Order with the Postal Service) or the reason for nondelivery. These endorsements also provide the Postal Service with instructions for the disposition of UAA mail. These new endorsements provide a simpler and more consistent system than the previous endorsements.


In addition to the current location under the return address (1), ancillary service endorsements may be placed above the delivery address block (2), to the left of the postage area (3), or below the postage area (4) (postage stamps, meter stamps, or permit imprints). See DMM M012.4.3 for more information.

Image of envelope showing optional ancillary service endorsement locations

FASTforward® System

All FASTforward/LPE software and data fulfillment have been discontinued as of Jan. 27, 2013. After that date all FASTforward licensees must seek other alternatives to meet the Move Update requirement. Please contact your MLOCR vendor for more information regarding FASTforward compatible systems, such as NCOALink® MPE (Mail Processing Equipment) systems that are currently available today, or contact the Move Update Department at 800-238-3150 ext. 6588 or via email at for other Move Update options.

NCOALink® Systems

A comprehensive program that aids mailers in identifying address changes before mail enters the mail stream.

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Over 40 million Americans change their address annually, which creates formidable obstacles in maintaining a high-quality mailing list. The NCOALink product makes change-of-address information available to mailers to help reduce undeliverable mailpieces before mail enters the mailstream.

The NCOALink process consists of computer software purchased, leased, or developed by the licensee to access the NCOALink data. The Postal Service certifies the process and licenses the NCOALink product to private sector companies for commercial mail list processing or internal mail list management. Updated, computerized change-of-address information is provided on a regular basis to the NCOALink licensees by the Postal Service. The NCOALink process improves mail deliverability by providing mailers with current, standardized, delivery point coded addresses for individual, family, and business moves.

Input address information must first be standardized to conform to USPS® requirements, including the ZIP + 4® code. An attempt is made to match each name and address against the NCOALink product. Address change information is derived from the PS Form 3575, Change-of-Address Order, filed by relocating postal customers. If a match is made with the name and old address information in the NCOALink file, then the NCOALink licensee is permitted to provide the current move information (new address or undeliverable status) to update the mailing list.

The full NCOALink Product contains approximately 160 million records or 48 months of permanent address changes and is available to Full Service Provider Licensees. The limited NCOALink product contains approximately 60 million records or 18 months of permanent address changes and is available to Limited Service Provider and End User Licensees.

NCOALink helps reduce undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail by correcting input addresses prior to mailing. Since 1986, Move Update predecessors such as ACSTM Service, National Change of Addrfess (NCOA), and the FASTforward® system have saved mailers millions of dollars that otherwise would have been wasted in  materials and postage. NCOALink continues this trend and, like its predecessors, provides the following benefits to mailers…

  • Reduces undeliverable mail by providing the most current address information for matches made to the NCOALink file.
  • Prevents re-mailings after address corrections are received because the address correction is applied prior to the mailing.
  • Reduces mailer costs by reducing the number of undeliverable mailpieces by using most current address information.
  • Provides the opportunity for faster product/service marketing through accurate mail delivery.

In addition to change-of-address information, NCOALink also utilizes Return Codes to provide explanation of match and non-match status. Return Codes, which indicate that a match was obtained, are accompanied by a new address or undeliverable status. Return Codes, which indicate a match was not obtained, provide the reason a match could not be made to the NCOALink file. The analysis of Return Codes can help the mailer determine the deliverability of specific address records.

More information on NCOALink and the licenses available.
Visit the NCOALink page on RIBBS® ›

Need a list of Licensed Vendors?
Visit the NCOALink Vendors page on RIBBS ›
Contact the National Customer Support Center at 800-589-5766.