Many countries across the globe have worked in cooperation with the mailing industry to develop certification programs to test the accuracy of software and equipment used in mailing related services. The purpose of these certification programs is to decrease mailing costs and increase deliverability.
Mail service providers who use certified software to cleanse their address list or in their automated sorting machines, which use address matching software, enjoy reduced postal rates and cut back on fees for undeliverable pieces due to an invalid address. In return, a countries’ postal system cuts costs by reducing wasted time spent on undeliverable mail and time spent sorting mail. The following paragraphs give the name and a brief description of some countries’ certification programs.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) uses a program called the Coding Accuracy Support System, or CASS. Address matching software and mailing lists are evaluated against the USPS Address Matching System (AMS). A valid address must contain a correct street name and number, city and state, and the correct 9 digit zip code. In order for a product to be CASS certified it must achieve a level of accuracy as described by the CASS terms and conditions. A CASS product must also be recertified on a yearly basis.
The French Postal service has also set up a computerized processing procedure, administered by the Service National de l’Adresse (SNA) known as the Restructuring, Standardization, and Postal Validation, or RSPV. This process ensures that the various address elements are in the correct place, checks that the address complies with the French address standard, and ensures the elements of the address are exact. All data processing service providers can apply for an audit of their RSVP product, and once a certification is granted it is good for two years.
Canada’s certification program is known as the Software Evaluation and Recognition Program, or SERP. SERP tests and validates both commercial and internal software programs for correcting mailing lists by comparing them to the Canada Post’s Address File. Companies who use Canada Post services, such as Incentive Lettermail or Publications Mail, must meet the programs requirements.