Are You Prepared for the USPS Move Update Change?
The United States Postal Service (USPS) sure likes to keep us on our toes! On top of the most recent rate changes, the latest regulation going into effect March 2018 is around the Move Update standard. Move Update is used by lettershops and data providers to make sure the mail files used in our mailings have the very latest and updated addresses. The biggest change with this new regulation is that if you are not regularly updating your mail files to USPS compliance, you could now be assessed penalties.
It’s no big surprise the USPS would like to reduce the amount of UAA (Undeliverable As Addressed) mail it handles. Just take a look at these numbers:
- The Postal Service currently handles about 6 BILLION UAA pieces every year, at a cost of $1.2 billion
- Of those, 2.2 billion are delivered with address discrepancies at an additional estimated cost of $160 million
- Those that can’t be delivered are either discarded or returned, for an additional $185 million per year.
With 12% of the US population moving every year, and the USPS adding around 2 million addresses annually, our mail files need to be updated constantly – every 95 days, to be precise.
There are four USPS-approved methods to process mail and update addresses to meet the Move Update requirements:
- NCOAlink (Most popular with all Production Solutions clients!)
- Ancillary Service Endorsements
- 99% Accuracy Method
So, what is changing?
Mainly, how mailpieces are assessed for Move Update compliance and what happens if your mailing is out of compliance. First, the USPS is moving on from their MERLIN Technology as a way of evaluating mailpieces for address legibility and Move Update compliance. It is being replaced with the “Address Quality Census Measurement and Assessment Process” more commonly known as “The Census Method”. This new method is focused more around Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMbs) to evaluate mailability.
How might you fall out of compliance, and what happens if you do?
The threshold is only 0.5% – but thankfully, that threshold is applied to ALL of the mail submitted in a calendar month and only applies to the eDoc submitter (a.k.a. the mailshop or commingler submitting your mail). For example, Smith Lettershop submits 100 million pieces of mail in the month of March for 100 different clients. If 500,000 piece or more are found to be out of compliance, they will be assessed a penalty.
As you would expect, unless those lettershops are running the Move Update for their clients mail, they will be passing along those fines. And the penalty is set at $.08pp for each piece of mail found over the threshold! Clearly, not to be taken lightly – you DO NOT want to be found as one of those clients over the threshold.
This regulation is effective April 1, 2018 beginning with a review of all mail submitted in the month of March 2018. Therefore, we are strongly recommending all clients make sure their mail files are being run through NCOA. But don’t forget, the NCOA programming only IDs records that have a new address available from the USPS. The change also needs to be made to your original mail file!
If you would like more information, see this helpful guide from the USPS here.
If you have any concerns about your mail files not being compliant, contact Production Solutions and we would be happy to guide you through this process personally.