How to Choose the Best Address Verification Provider

Bad data costs businesses, on average, $9.7 million each year. And, a large component of bad data is found in malformed, inaccurate, or simply outdated customer data. It cripples marketing campaigns, reduces customer satisfaction and trust, hampers the ability to make informed decisions, and drives up costs associated with missed opportunities. One of the most important data elements you need to get right is the ADDRESS. It’s the foundation of data-driven success. Having high quality address data means you can connect with your target customers, keep customers happy and loyal, and make informed decisions.

Because address quality is so important to your business, it’s imperative that you choose the best provider possible to verify, clean and correct your U.S. and international address data. But trying to decide which address management company is best can be hard. In this post, we’ll take a detailed look at three of the largest address management companies, what their capabilities are, and what you get for your money.

The Differences Between Melissa, SmartyStreets & Loqate

Melissa, SmartyStreets and Loqate have emerged as major players in the industry. All three have carved out their own space with distinct features sets and solutions. But all providers are not equal. We break it down below.

Capabilities SmartyStreets Loqate
Address Quality
USPS CASS® / DPV
SuiteLink®
Non USPS Verification
Address Plus™
RBDI
Canada SERP®
Move Update
USPS NCOALink®
Canada Post NCOA®
Geocoding
Level of Accuracy Rooftop ZIP9 Rooftop
Compliance
HIPAA / HITECH
SOC2
What About Google?

You might be thinking, “can’t I just use Google Maps for address verification?” We get this question all the time. Although Google is known as an epic-scale global data gathering company, when it comes to the quality of a queried address displayed on Google Maps, it’s a different story.

In fact, Google does not parse, standardize, validate or verify an address actually exists. Aptly named, Google Maps simply plots a point on the globe where the address would exist, if it even exists at all. It can even give you directions to a possibly mythical address and tell you how long it will take to drive to this fantasy place.

Because Google Maps doesn’t verify its data against authoritative reference data from the USPS and Canada Post, their update frequency is no where near that of USPS CASS or Canada Post SERP. Buildings with apartment, unit, suite, floor and PO Boxes (whether they exist or not) are all geocoded to the same address, and roughly 30 million apartment listings are missing in the US alone. Because their API isn’t geared toward the same needs as businesses requiring rigorous address quality, we don’t consider them a relevant address management provider to compare against the major vendors.

What Makes Melissa Unique? We're the Address Experts.

Through decades of enhancements, our address solutions yield proprietary features & capabilities the competition simply cannot meet.

Proprietary Address Engine

We don’t simply license the USPS postal engine like many vendors do. Our proprietary address engine had been developed over 35 years, and we are constantly fine-tuning the rule sets, advanced parsing and fuzzy matching to deliver best-of-breed results. Because we built our own engine, we are not dependent on waiting for updates from the USPS. We can immediately update our software build to fix addresses that don’t code and meet customer’s requirements for speedy resolution.

Advanced Address Corrections

An address that can’t be corrected is worthless; a lost opportunity cost. Even the USPS has struggled with correcting some types of malformed addresses, but our advanced address correction techniques and years of deep domain expertise help rescue addresses with incorrect street name and range data, or intelligently suggest likely matches.

Multisourced Reference Data

Our address engine is linked to multiple USPS and non-USPS datasets. We can verify over 5 million addresses the USPS doesn’t recognize, but may be serviced by UPS and Fedex. Those 5+ million records represent 1 in 30 valid U.S. addresses. Our RBDI technology provides a business/residence flag, and our AddressPlus technology taps proprietary datasets to append not only missing suite numbers, but also missing apartment numbers – a major cause of undeliverable mail.

Unique Address Key Technology

We assign a unique 10-digit integer to every U.S., Canadian and internal address. Utilizing a Melissa Address Key (MAK) number makes correcting, updating, and deduping records a snap, improves processing speed tremendously, and ensure the anonymity of personally identifiable information (PII). Although address data can change – and often does – the MAK never will, so you always have access to the most accurate and timely data about that street address.

Stringent Compliance

We take data security seriously. In fact, it’s part of our culture and we treat it as an ongoing process. That’s why we invested in getting SOC 2 certified, maintaining HIPAA/HITECH compliance, and adhering to the U.S./EU Privacy Shield regulations. We’re doing our best to keep our software and data secure, and we’ll keep improving the integrity of our processes in the years to come.

Robust Data Enrichments

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Want to Keep Reading?
How does DPV improve address accuracy? What if a street address has multiple delivery points, like units in an apartment building? building. We break down what DPV means and why it’s important.
What is the difference between a vanity city & USPS preferred city name? Learn how USPS treats different types of city names during CASS processing.
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