NCOA is a database compiled by the USPS that captures all change of address records.
Any NCOA changes are led by the recipients of mailpieces when they file a Change of NCOA form through USPS to indicate that they will be moving from their address to another address, with the intention to forward all mailpieces addressed to them to their original address, to their new address. Since this is a recipient-led process, Lob does not have control over how often NCOA changes happen nor how often the database is updated by USPS.
The NCOA process ultimately reduces the number of undelivered mail and ensures mailers are being sent to the correct individuals.
Usually, NCOA records get updated once every two weeks contingent on USPS updating their internal database.
NCOA is not available for international mailings.
How do I know if an address went through NCOA?
If the address got changed due to NCOA, the API response will have the field recipient_moved: true. Due to the USPS constraints, if an address has been changed through NCOA, we are required to suppress the following response fields for that address:
- The +4 portion of the ZIP+4 (5-digit ZIP code will still be present).
The black boxes in the address block mean the address went through our National Change of Address (NCOA) process. If you ever see the primary and secondary lines blotted out but not the city, state, and zip (without plus 4), that likely means it has gone through NCOA. If you’d like to know if an address went through NCOA, you’re also welcome to reach out to Lob support.
Below is an example of how this would look like in your Lob dashboard.