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Addresses are Complicated…

Verification vs. Correction

A common misunderstanding about what CDYNE Postal Address Verification service does has to do with the difference between verification and correction. Verification simply says something is correct or it isn’t. We can easily verify 2 + 2 = 4, likewise 3 + 3 = 4 fails verification. Verification makes no attempt to fix what is false. It is a simple statement that something is correct or it isn’t.

Correction on the other hand takes a statement and tries to make it true and that is a much more complicated process. Take the above example: 3 + 3 = 4; we can correct that to 3 + 1 = 4 OR 3 + 3 = 6. Both corrections are true but which statement was originally intended is unclear. To properly correct we need more information.

CDYNE PAV is certified by the United States Postal Service under a program called CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System). CASS rules require that our software take an input address and verify it exists in the USPS databases. Of course there is more to it than that. There is standardization, limited spelling correction, and certain inexact matches are allowed, but ultimately following CASS rules is about verification not correction.

This is best summed up by an excerpt from the USPS Address Matching Guidelines documentation:

“…the main goal of all address-matching software
should be to make THE MATCH — not just any match”

When an attempt is made to match an input to the database, if a match cannot be found, or it is unclear which address the input should match, the input fails verification. It is also important to point out that failing verification does not mean an address cannot be delivered, but mailing out something without a verified address may take longer, it might go to the wrong location, it might be returned undeliverable, or it might be lost in the system.

Addresses are Complicated…

Addresses are a mess. One of the greatest contributing factors to this is that the USPS has no control over city, street names, or street numbering. City borders move, streets are renamed, and numberings can change based on local and state government decisions.

Furthermore each municipality may create its own way of making addresses. For instance in Wisconsin the following addresses is common:

S90 W13970 Boxhorn
DrMuskego, WI 53150

In this case S90 W13970 are actually latitude and longitude coordinates.

To counter this USPS has developed its own collection of identifiers that it uses to expedite the movement of mail:

Finance numbers are typically assigned to a single post office and contain multiple zip codes.  For the most part it isn’t necessary for anyone outside the USPS to know about finance numbers, but they are convenient for creating a collection of addresses to verify a single address against.

Zip codes are usually a collection of routes used to deliver mail, but may also be a collection of PO boxes, a unique number for a single business, etc. It is important to recognize that while zip codes are often thought about as regions they really are a group of places mail can be delivered. As such they can overlap or even be discontinuous.

Plus 4 values further subdivide a zip code into areas like a city block.

Delivery point number, which is only added after an address has been fully verified, signifies a particular location that receives mail.

The USPS has created and assigned these numbers for one reason only: to make delivering a piece of mail as easy as possible.

Address verification is the process of taking the input address, finding the best match in the USPS database, and returning the address found in the database.

Street Information Broken Down

Typical street information can be broken down into parts. While most addresses follow this format there are many that don’t and have to be handled separately. Consider the following prototype:

1234 N Main Street S Apt 101

Primary number (1234)Typically the primary number is the first element and contains sequential alphanumeric information. Most often the input is checked to be in a range of values for verification. This value is present in almost all addresses and cannot be corrected, it’s either wrong or its right.

Pre-Directional (N) – The pre-directional can be one of the 4 cardinal directions or one of the 4 ordinals. This value isn’t always present and correction for it follows a very narrow set of rules.

Street Name (Main) – The street name is present in almost all addresses. It often contains more than one word and can be the most loosely matched too.

Suffix (Street) – The suffix is the “type” of street: Avenue, Road, Parkway, etc. Like the pre and post directionals it can only be corrected in a limited fashion, must match a set of values, and is abbreviated. While you will usually see a suffix it is sometimes missing.

Post-Directional (S) –The post-directional can be one of the 4 cardinal directions or one of the 4 ordinals. This value isn’t always present and correction for it follows a very narrow set of rules.

Secondary Abbreviation (Apt) – The secondary abbreviation is typically one of a collection of possible values: Apt (Apartment), Ofc (Office), Flr (Floor), Ste (Suite), etc. If all other address information matches this will be corrected to the database value if possible.

Secondary Number (101) – The secondary like the primary number contains alphanumeric information that is typically part of a sequence. It also cannot be corrected.

The Process

All address verification starts with the City, State, and Zip Code data; commonly referred to as the last line. From this information a list of finance numbers is built, and the finance numbers are separated into 8 categories:

The table above shows the priority of address matches in each finance number. For instance a match found in a Finance number that matches the City, State and ZIP in the input address would have higher priority than a match that is in a finance number that only matches the City and State of the input address. It’s important to note that a street address must match at least two pieces of the last line data, the only exception is when a zip 5 is the only piece of last line data provided.

Next a list of street names is pulled for all of the relevant finance numbers. There can be tens of thousands of street names and all of these must be compared to the input street name which can be ambiguous itself. A list of all possible addresses is generated from possible matching street names.

An attempt is then made to match the input address to one of the addresses in the list. If a single match is found it is returned, if multiple matches are found some tie breaking is attempted but if no single match can be determined the address fails verification.

Just because an address fails verification does not mean it is undeliverable. The post office may still attempt to deliver the piece of mail but it will most likely take longer to deliver, if it is delivered at all.

Click here for more information about PAV, or get a free trial key to test the API for free.

CDYNE PAV Infographic

Companies can save money on lost production and postage fees simply by running their addresses through a CASS certified program like CDYNE PAV, which verifies the deliverability of addresses. The API compares your addresses against the USPS database and will let you know if they are deliverable. Click here (opens a PDF) to see the importance of address data quality, some reasons for bad addresses, and the return on investment when validating the accuracy of your address lists.

Click here for more information about PAV, or get a free trial key to test the API for free.

PAV Delivery Point Data Returns

A valuable benefit of using PAV is to check whether or not an address is deliverable in order to receive barcode discounts. PAV includes DPV (Delivery Point Validation), which is the USPS process for verifying deliverability. A delivery point is a single point at which mail is delivered (e.g., a mail slot, PO Box, or mailbox). It is not the same as a street address. In fact,  an address can contain multiple delivery points such as an apartment building or business office with numerous suites. The USPS defines DPV as a specific set of digits between 00 and 99. Combined with the ZIP+4 code, a delivery point gives each deliverable address a unique identifier. Delivery points are encoded in barcodes, which allows automated sorting for the USPS.

Developers can utilize PAV to return detailed mailing industry information including DPV data returns. This data is accessed when using the “VerifyAddressAdvanced” method and setting the “MailingIndustryInfo” parameter to True. The following are example address input and outputs.

Input: 505 independence parkway, suite 300, chesapeake, va, 23320

Output: 505 INDEPENDENCE PKWY STE 300, CHESAPEAKE, VA, 23320-5178

  • DeliveryPoint = 75
  • DpvConfirmationIndicator = Y
  • DpvCrmaIndicator = N
  • DpvFootnote1 = AA
  • DpvFootnote2 = BB
  • DpvFootnote3 = Null

In this example, the unique identifier and delivery point is 23320517875 (ZIP+4+delivery point). PAV confirms this address does have a delivery point and mail can be delivered there (DpvConfirmationIndicator = Y). The DpvCrmaIndicator = N means that the address is not associated with a valid CRMA, which stands for Commercial Mail Receiving Agency, and is also known as a Private Mailbox (PMB) operator. The DPV footnotes indicate the address has been matched to the ZIP+4 file (AA) and all components of the address were matched to DPV (BB).

The keys below show all available PAV data results.

DPV Confirmation Indicator Key

  1. Y – Address was DPV confirmed for both primary and, if present, secondary numbers
  2. D – Address was DPV confirmed for the primary number only, and secondary number information was missing
  3. S – Address was DPV confirmed for the primary number only, and secondary number information was present but unconfirmed
  4. N – Both primary and, if present, secondary number information failed to DPV confirm

DPV CMRA Indicator Key (CMRA = commercial mail receiving agent)

  1. Y – Address was found in the CMRA table
  2. N – Address was not found in CMRA table

DPV Footnotes Key

  1. AA – Input address matched to the ZIP+4 file
  2. A1 – Input address not matched to the ZIP+4 file
  3. BB – Input address matched to DPV (all components)
  4. CC – Input address primary number matched to DPV but secondary number not matched (present but invalid)
  5. F1 – Input address matched to a Military address
  6. G1 – Input address matched to a General Delivery address
  7. N1 – Input address primary number matched to DPV, but address is missing secondary number
  8. M1 – Input address primary number missing
  9. M3 – Input address primary number invalid
  10. P1 – Input address missing PO, RR, or HC box number
  11. P3 – Input address PO, RR, or HC box number invalid
  12. RR – Input address matched to CMRA and PMB (postal mailbox) designator present (PMB 123 or # 123)
  13. R1 – Input address matched to CMRA but PMB (postal mailbox) designator not present (PMB 123 or # 123)
  14. U1 – Input address matched to a unique ZIP code

Manage Residential and Business Addresses with RDI

More than 90% of the 140 million Postal Service’s delivery points are classified as residential. RDI, or Residential Delivery Indicator is a USPS delivery type status that flags an address as residential or business. Because some delivery companies charge more for residential deliveries, the biggest advantage of knowing the RDI for an address is the ability to shop for the most cost-effective delivery option. Some of the benefits of identifying an address as residential or business include:

  • Reduce residential delivery surcharges
  • Lower shipping charges by price-shopping for a service that meets your needs
  • Enhance Customer Relationship Management (CRM) by demonstrating efficient and accurate shipping practices
  • Identify shipping patterns to improve operational efficiency
  • Providing online rate-shopping services on websites

CDYNE PAV API includes an optional RDI flag free of charge. It can be returned with VerifyAddressAdvanced method by setting the parameter “ReturnResidentialIndicator” to “True.” If the address is a residence, PAV will return “N,” and if it is a business, PAV will return “Y.” The following is an example showing an address classified as a business.

Input:

505 independence pkwy, chesapeake, va 23320
Return Residential Indicator: True

Output:

505 INDEPENDENCE PKWY, CHESAPEAKE, VA 23320-5178
Residential Delivery Indicator: N

For more information about CDYNE PAV, please contact an account representative at 1-800-984-3710, inquire by email, or initiate a chat for more details.

Or sign up for a free trial license key to test CDYNE PAV.

Developers find CDYNE PAV API integration details on the CDYNE developer’s wiki.

Part 5: CDYNE Postal Address Verification DPV Code Suggestions

CDYNE Postal Address Verification API returns USPS mailing industry information that can be useful for interacting with address verification at point of entry. In the chart below, the first two columns outline the values returned when using the VerifyAddressAdvanced method.
For example, inputting the address “2125 smith ave, chesapeake, va” will return the following mailing industry values:
  • DpvConfirmationIndicator: D
  • DpvFootnote1: AA
  • DpvFootnote2: N1
Comparing D AA N1 to the chart below may prompt a suggested interaction of, “Verify secondary information, it is not present.” In other words, the suite number is missing. Depending on the data entry scenario, you can generate an error pop-up to ask for the secondary address information, or flag the address for future processing or validation.

DPV Return Code

Footnote

Suggested Interaction


N

AA

Verify the address
. The address validated on the CASS certified software engine but cannot be validated in the DPV process.

N

AA M1

Verify the Primary Number, it is not present. The address validated on the CASS certified software engine, but cannot be validated in the DPV process

N

AA M3

Verify the Primary Number
, It is present but not valid. The address validated on the CASS certified software engine, but cannot be validated in the DPV process.

N

AA P1

Verify the box number
, it is not present for this RR or HC address but needed to confirm in the DPV process.

N

AA P3

Verify the box number
, it is present for this PO Box, RR or HC address but cannot be confirmed in the DPV process.

Y

AA BB

No action needed
, the address validated to all components.

Y

AA RR

No action needed
, the address validated. It has been found in the CMRA table with PMB information present.

Y

AA R1

The address validated
. It has been found in the CMRA table without PMB information.

Y

AA F1

No action needed.

Y

AA G1

No action needed.

Y

AA U1

No action needed.

S

AA CC

Verify secondary information
, it is present but cannot be confirmed in the DPV process.

S

AA P3

Verify the box number
, it is present for this PO Box, RR or HC address but cannot be confirmed in the DPV process.

S

AA CC RR

Verify secondary information
, it is present but cannot be confirmed in the DPV process. It has been found in the CMRA table with PMB info present.

S

AA CC R1

Verify secondary information
, it is present but cannot be confirmed in the DPV process. It has been found in the CMRA table without PMB information and is not required for USPS delivery.

D

AA P1

Verify the box number
, it is not present for this RR or HC address but needed to confirm in the DPV process.

D

AA N1

Verify secondary information
, it is not present.

D

AA N1 RR

Verify secondary information
, it is not present. It has been found in the CMRA table with PMB information present.

D

AA N1 R1

Verify secondary information
, it has been found in the CMRA table without PMB information and is not required for USPS delivery.

Blank

A1 M1

Get correct address
, this address cannot be found in CASS certified software engine so it is not presented to the DPV process.

Blank

A1 M3

Get correct address
, this address cannot be found in CASS certified software engine so it is not presented to the DPV process.

Blank

A1

Get correct address
, this address cannot be found in CASS certified software engine so it is not presented to the DPV process.
You can read the rest of the blog series by accessing the links below:

For more information about CDYNE Postal Address Verification, please contact an account representative at 1-800-984-3710, inquire by email, or initiate a chat for more details.

Or sign up for a free trial license key to test CDYNE Postal Address Verification.