Data Enrichment & Validation

AVS Service Versus USPS Address Checker: Which One to Choose?

October 27, 2020
Inkit Team

Most institutions and companies that collect customer addresses do this to stay in touch with consumers. They ship orders and deliver personal messages as a part of their communication strategy. In this case, mailing accuracy is the fundamental goal of using USPS address checkers and address verification.

Yet there is also another everyday use case. Some organizations, predominantly e-commerce marketplaces, collect address data to verify billing addresses. They integrate AVS address validation services to ensure the customer who places an order and pays for it is the same person. This reduces the volume of chargebacks and saves merchants and customers from endless disputes.

Long story short, address and ZIP code data matters. To understand when to use it for AVS address validation services and when to verify information with USPS address checker, read this blog post. We’ll review both kinds of verification to show how they differ and overlap below.

  • What is AVS address validation, and how does it help to verify billing addresses?
  • What is a USPS address checker, and when do you need it?
  • Where do AVS address validation and USPS address checker intersect?
  • Inkit’s reach enablement platform as a universal solution to validate addresses

What Is AVS Address Validation and How It Helps to Verify Billing Addresses

Address verification service (AVS) is a tool offered by the leading credit card providers, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover, to allow merchants to check the ownership of the credit card selected for payment. This method to verify billing addresses is used in credit card transactions that don’t happen face to face or, in other words, when a merchant cannot see the owner of the credit card. That’s when it’s critical to make sure that the individual placing an order and the cardholder have the same billing address. If the information doesn’t match, the risk of fraud increases, and the seller may decline the order.

payment bill

How AVS address validation services verify billing addresses

To better understand how the address verification service (AVS) helps verify billing addresses, imagine running an online store. Every day you get hundreds of online orders. At the checkout, customers enter their credit card information and billing address to complete the payment. Your website captures this data and automatically sends it to the customer’s credit card provider (e.g., Visa, Mastercard, etc.). After that, the card provider redirects the request to the issuing bank that compares the provided address data with the address on file.

Once the AVS check is completed, the issuer sends an AVS code back to your website’s payment gateway. Based on this code, you can differentiate between full, partial, or no address matches. The full match means that street addresses and ZIP codes are the same, and, most likely, the buyer and the cardholder is the same person. Hence, the transaction will be authorized and considered safe.

Yet keep in mind that AVS address validation services don’t provide 100% fraud protection, so you will need to combine them with other verification methods.

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Who needs AVS address validation services

First of all, you should note that AVS address validation services are currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada only. So if you do business outside of these countries, you cannot use this method to verify billing addresses yet.

Apart from that, AVS address validation services can be leveraged to verify billing addresses by e-commerce merchants. So if you sell any kinds or products or services online, AVS checks are essential.


What Is a USPS Address Checker, and When Do You Need It?

A USPS address checker is a tool that processes USPS address lists to verify their accuracy and mailability. It connects to the official address database provided by the United States Postal Service and matches the scanned records against it. Such tools usually cover the full address verification cycle, starting from address standardization and cleaning to validation.

How USPS address checkers work

There are two main categories of USPS address checkers: supported by the United States Postal Service and third-party solutions. The official services are usually offered for free, process low volumes of address data, and have limited capabilities. You can use them to paste the necessary address and run an occasional check manually.

Third-party USPS address checkers have access to the same official USPS database but provide more advanced verification. You can automatically validate thousands of addresses, benefit from data enrichment, or use an API to build software with a USPS address checker included. Although such tools’ configuration takes more time, they ensure better performance than official USPS address checkers.

Who needs USPS address checkers

USPS address checkers will come in handy to anyone who collects customers’ addresses. A bank that delivers account statements, an online store that sends marketing materials, a utility company that needs to share bills – these are just a few of the main categories of USPS address checker users. Without regular address validation, their communications will gradually lose their efficiency and, as a result, damage customer relationships.

Where Do AVS Address Validation and USPS Address Checker Intersect?

Although AVS address validation services and USPS address checkers have different applications, you may need to use them on par. It’s a usual combination for online businesses that need to improve the quality of personalized communications and prevent fraud.

Here is how it works:

  1. First, you will have to make sure the collected customer addresses are accurate. Start with data entry verification by using address form autocomplete on your web resource. This will help to minimize misspellings and record properly formatted data from the very beginning.
  2. Once the address data is collected, it’s time to start verifying it. At this point, you will need a USPS address checker. If you have a lot of data, find a tool that can automatically standardize and validate address records to avoid doing it manually.
  3. Now, when the records are verified, you can use them for getting in touch with customers and/or for fraud prevention. Your web resource will remember customers’ billing addresses in the right format, which significantly simplifies the checkout. This will enable you to process orders faster and benefit the overall customer experience.
customer experience

Inkit’s Reach Enablement Platform as a Universal Solution to Validate Addresses

Inkit is a reach enablement platform that allows you to connect with customers through multiple channels to collect and share data. It also provides address autocomplete in the form fields, so you will always reach the right recipient sending any communication.

Our tool can integrate with your CRM system and database to automatically access the necessary data, standardize it, verify, and use it to deliver communications. You will no longer need to manually record customer addresses, store them in multiple address lists, and use inconvenient checkers to verify the information. Inkit does everything for you.

In addition to address verification, Inkit also provides document rendering functionality to enable you automatically generate PDF communications, including bills, order confirmations, and other critical customer interactions.

This way, you get a single tool that can fully manage data verification, generate related communications, and carry out the delivery. If you need to verify billing addresses with an AVS address validation service, use Inkit’s API to set up a connection.

Eager to get the demo of Inkit’s reach enablement platform to test it? Contact our sales team to leave a request.

Start verifying addresses today
Don't waste time and money dealing with lost shipments that never made it to your customers.
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