What is Address Validation?
Therapists validate people’s feelings. Retail stores validate your parking. Health departments validate vital records. But what does it mean to validate an address?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word “validate” has several meanings – and for your address data, the most important one is to “Check or prove the validity or accuracy of (something).” In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into address validation, including why it is important, and what it can do for you.
The case for address validation
The primary purpose of address validation is to verify, correct and append address information, before you add it to a contact database, or use it for shipment or customer communication. At their most basic level, address validation services are used to:
- Ensure that an address is, in fact, an actual existing and/or deliverable location
- Fix common errors such as misspelled street or city names – for example, changing “26 Chstnt St, Vntura CA” to “26 Chestnut Street, Ventura, CA”
- Add missing data to complete a searchable address, such as ZIP or ZIP+4 codes in the US
Beyond the basics, our own suite of address validation tools add numerous capabilities to help you get the most out of your addresses. For example, these tools can standardize addresses to USPS, Canada Post or international postal service formats; autocomplete an entire address as it is being typed in, right down to the suite or apartment level; power your addresses with associated data such as latitude/longitude coordinates or demographics, and more.
Depending on your use case, address validation tools can serve functions ranging from better service quality to greater marketing ROI. The benefits of address validation range far beyond the address itself, including:
- Accurate shipping and billing
- Faster and more accurate data capture at the point of entry
- Protection against fraud and compliance penalties for bogus or inaccurate contacts
- Better targeted marketing through address-associated data
- Reduced cart abandonment from user-entered addresses
- Documenting compliance with geographical-based regulations such as fair lending practices
A wide range of address capabilities
Service Objects’ address validation products are designed to embed seamlessly within your business applications, to ensure accurate data at the time of data entry or usage. DOTS (Data on Time Services) family of contact data quality services offers six address APIs to address different needs:
Address Validation: Our US, Canada and International address validation solutions correct, standardize and enhance your global address data to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date, using continually updated data from postal authorities.
Global Address Complete: Our international address autocomplete service suggests complete addresses for users as they type in an address, right from their first keystroke, and is the ONLY address suggester solution that is compliant with USPS CASS standards.
Address Geocode: Provides the latitude and longitude of an address, and also offers reverse geocoding, which provides an address for a specified location.
NCOA Live: Our real-time and USPS-approved change-of-address API is in lock-step with the postal service’s address change data (NCOALink®) to help maintain up-to-date mailing addresses for both residential and businesses in the US.
Address Detective: This powerful API uses fuzzy logic and any available data points to solve and fix fatal addressing errors that standard address validation services cannot. This service incorporates our CASS-certified Address Validation for US addresses, and can also provide an address location when you enter latitude and longitude coordinates.
In addition to our standard API interfaces, we also offer convenient batch list processing services, for cleaning up your address data with no programming required. And you can even test-drive our capabilities or examine our full technical documentation right on our website!
Incidentally, another official dictionary definition of the word “validate” is to “recognize or affirm the validity or worth of a person; cause (a person) to feel valued or worthwhile.” Our friendly product experts do this every day with people who contact us – so if we can help you explore address validation or any of our other contact data quality solutions, get in touch!