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How to Lower Mailing Costs with Address Cleansing

September 24th, 2014

Return_to_senderTimely and accurate mail delivery is vital to businesses everywhere. When your customers’ addresses contain typos, incorrect ZIP codes or non-standard state abbreviations, delivery rates can decline, time in transit can increase, and often times postage is wasted when mail is returned as undeliverable.  In addition to the money spent on returned postage, deliverability issues can have a huge negative impact on customer service.

But when you’ve got thousands of addresses in your customer database, it’s nearly impossible to manually ensure that each and every one of them is correct and formatted to the USPS’s preferred specifications.  This is where address cleansing software comes into play.

What Is Address Cleansing?

Address cleansing is accomplished by software that compares your addresses to addresses in the USPS database to help you discover any errors or inconsistencies regarding spelling, ZIP codes, or state abbreviations.  Often, the cleansing software will suggest an alternative, much like a spell checker.  Occasionally, the address will be incomprehensible; while this may sound like a bad thing, it is better to catch these mistakes before wasting postage on them.  Here is an example of an address that contains a couple of misspellings, an improper abbreviation and an incorrect ZIP code, as well as some missing information about the street:

John Smith
11950 Salam Dr
Granada Hils, CA 91333

Once the address is cleansed according to the USPS’s standards by fixing the street name, city, and zip, the address becomes:

John Smith
11950 Salem Dr
Granada Hills CA 91344-2347

Benefits of Address Cleansing

Here are some of the benefits that can result from cleansing your addresses:

  • Eliminate postage costs for items that cannot be delivered
  • Accelerate the sorting and routing of your mail so that it is delivered faster
  • Improve response rates to direct mail campaigns
  • When sending invoices, collect customer payments faster
  • Increase customer satisfaction through faster delivery

Stamps.com Automatically Cleanses Your Addresses

When you use Stamps.com for your mailing and shipping needs, you don’t need to worry about address cleansing; Stamps.com automatically does it for you! Stamps.com periodically syncs with the USPS Address Matching Service Database to make sure that your customers’ addresses are complete, state abbreviations are standard, and ZIP codes are up to date.  For no extra charge, Stamps.com cleanses every address on your mailing list before printing labels or postage, and you can rest easy knowing that your mail will be delivered quickly, correctly, and without unnecessary expense.

  1. Eric Nash
    August 16th, 2010 at 18:09 | #1

    @Jimmie Louu Julian
    Hi Jimmie,

    We never advise customers to write over or change labels in any way. However, in this situation you could simply retype the original address you want to use for the postage label.


  2. Jimmie Louu Julian
    August 10th, 2010 at 17:18 | #2

    Today is my first day to us Stamps.com and a window stating “address cleaning” came up and I tried it. It changed the address where I was sending my package and I could not get it to change back. Now do I change the street on the label?????

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