Updating Your Mailing List

Over 40 million Americans change their address annually, which creates formidable obstacles in maintaining a high-quality mailing list. In order to receive discounted First Class postage, the USPS requires that your mailing list include up-to-date addresses for individuals, families, or businesses that have submitted Change-of-Address Orders. This requirement is called 'Move Update'.

As a partner in your direct marketing efforts, Modern Postcard can assist you with meeting this requirement. The USPS recognizes the follows methods as meeting the 'Move Update' requirement:

NCOALink 18 and NCOA

The NCOALink 18 and NCOA (National Change of Address) products make change-of-address information available to mailers to help reduce undeliverable mail pieces before mail enters the mail stream.

Address change information is derived from Change-of-Address Orders, filed by relocating postal customers. If a match is made with the name and old address information in the NCOALink 18 and NCOA Files, then the current move information (new address or undeliverable status) is provided to update the mailing list. NCOALink 18 contains 18 months of permanent address changes and NCOA contains 48 months of permanent address changes. NCOALink 18 and NCOA provide the following benefits to mailers:

  • Reduces undeliverable mail by providing the most current address information for matches made to the NCOALink 18 and NCOA 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 mail pieces by using most current address information.
  • Provides the opportunity for faster product/service marketing through accurate mail delivery.
Appropriate Ancillary Service Endorsement

Ancillary Service Endorsements (ASE) make change-of-address information available to mailers to help reduce undeliverable mail pieces after mail enters the mail stream. ASE's are used to request an addressee's new address and to provide the USPS with instructions on how to handle undeliverable-as-addressed pieces. The endorsements are the same for all classes of mail, but the treatment and cost differ by class of mail. Use of an ancillary service endorsement on a mail piece obligates the mailer to pay any applicable charges for forwarding, return, and separate address notification charges.

The use of an ASE requires that a return address be included in your layout. The return address must be on the same side as the recipient address and must be laid out horizontally. The two most commonly used ASE's are ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED and RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED.

Address Service Requested

  • If a Change-of-Address notice has been submitted with 12 months, mail is automatically forwarded and a separate notice with the new address is returned to the sender. Additional postage is due for this separate return notice.
  • For the next 6 months (13 to 18 months after a Change-of-Address has been submitted), the mail piece is returned to the sender with the forwarding address attached. Returned at no charge when mailing First Class.
  • After 18 months, or if undeliverable for any other reason, the mail piece is returned to the sender with the reason for non-delivery. Returned at no charge when mailing First Class.

Return Service Requested

  • All undeliverable mail pieces are returned to the sender with the forwarding address (if known) or reason for non-delivery. Returned at no charge when mailing First Class.


The endorsement must be placed in one of these four positions:

  • Directly below the return address.
  • Directly above the delivery address area (which includes the delivery address block and any related nonaddress elements such as a barcode, keyline, or optional endorsement line).
  • Directly to the left of the postage area and below or to the left of any rate marking.
  • Directly below the postage area and below any rate marking.

Occupant / Exceptional Address
Another option afforded to mailers is the use of an Occupant or Exceptional Address. The Occupant Address format may be used to address mail without using the addressee's name:

Current Resident
10 Elm St
Anytown NY 12345-6789

The Exceptional Address format includes the addressee's name and an exception:

John Doe
Or Current Resident
10 Elm St
Anytown NY 12345-6789

Mail with an Occupant or an Exceptional Address format is delivered as addressed and is not forwarded. Such mail is treated as undeliverable only when the address is incorrect or incomplete or when the mail cannot be delivered for another reason related solely to the address (e.g., a vacant building).

Exceptional Addressing is ideal for mailers who have a well defined trade area and who do not want their pieces to be forwarded outside these boundaries. Variants of "Current Resident" can also be used and include, but are not limited to:

  • Current Business At
  • To My Friends At
  • Pool Owner At
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