Data Enrichment & Validation

Free Address Standardization vs. Paid Address Scrubbing: What to Choose

April 1, 2021
Inkit Team

Who wouldn’t like to cut software expenses? Companies constantly seek ways to leverage open-source solutions to optimize their budget. Based on recent statistics, up to 90% of tech leaders use enterprise open-source software. 79% expect to increase the usage in the next three years.

Despite the intensifying open-source trends, free solutions are not suitable for all software-related processes. When you have to deal with highly secure or confidential customer information, open-source just doesn't work. No one will provide you with open access to databases that store personal records.

Address scrubbing is one of the services that cannot be genuinely open-source. Open-source address validation would violate data protection laws and fail to protect confidential data.

That’s why subscription-based and paid address scrubbing software is the only suitable alternative to open-source address validation. As an option, you can use a free version of address checkers with basic functionality. It’s not open-source but requires no investment.

Learn more about why truly open-source address validation is not possible and how to choose between free and paid address verification in our post.

Key Differences Between Open-Source and Paid Software

Open-source software is provided under the license that enables third-parties to access, modify, and share the source code. Since this license allows only non-commercial redistribution of the software, such solutions are offered free of charge.

address alidation

Generally, open-source is a great shortcut for companies that seek free and customizable software. They take the ready code and modify it based on their needs to cut expenses and speed up the software development process.

With paid software, tech vendors invest in multi-functional secure solutions to later sell them for a one-time fixed fee or on a subscription basis. The paid model is more common for complex IT solutions or the software that processes personal information, like address scrubbing tools.

Open Source

  • Freemium model
  • Offered free-of-charge or less expensive
  • Limited functionality
  • No tech support
  • Low level of security


  • Fee or subscription-based
  • More expensive
  • Extensive functionality
  • Professional tech support
  • Highly secure

What Is Meant by Free Address Standardization and Why It Cannot Be Truly Open-Source?

The aspiration to save money and get freely available code is the main reason to look for open-source address validation. Nevertheless, when people google open-source address validation, many don’t fully understand what they need. They usually want to find an address scrubbing piece of code on GitHub or just search for free software to verify address information.

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So let’s make it clear. Address scrubbing software can be either free or paid, but there is no truly open-source address validation. You won’t be able to edit the source code and use it for your needs. This is essential for security measures and to protect the contact information of millions of individuals.

Hence, if you need address scrubbing, you will choose between paid and free address validation. Even though free options are cheaper, premium solutions have a range of considerable advantages listed below. 

Learn For What and for Whom Is Open-Source Address Validation?

5 Factors that Affect Your Choice Between Paid Address Scrubbing vs. Free Address Standardization

We’ve already covered the pros and cons of free address standardization in our previous blog posts. This time, we’ll focus on what differentiates premium address scrubbing services from free. Below are the main factors businesses should pay heed to when they make a choice.

#1. An in-house team of developers

To leverage any open-source solution or use third-party code in your project, you need engineering skills or a team of developers. If you don’t have either, you’d better opt for a reliable paid address scrubbing tool. Such software is ready for use and simple to integrate. You just follow a sequence of simple steps to connect it instead of hiring a full-time developer.

In case you already cooperate with few tech gurus or know what to do with the code, consider free address standardization software. Then, the time spent to customize and integrate it with your systems may pay off in the long run.

software engineer

#2. Data quality and security

When it comes to data security, subscription-based address scrubbing software is a better choice. Hence, banking institutions, healthcare providers, utility companies, and anyone else who handles highly confidential contact information should adopt paid services. The vendors selling their software implement more robust security measures than those who share their solutions for free. The reason is apparent: stronger data security requires considerable investment.

If you need to validate several addresses or just test address scrubbing functionality, free address standardization may be enough. 

#3. Technical support and frequency of updates

Free address standardization options won’t offer the same tech support as their paid counterparts. Hence, if you expect to get help with integration and always have someone to troubleshoot, choose premium services. Apart from quality support, they are also more frequently updated and boast improved performance.

In case you are ready to sacrifice support quality to save costs, free address standardization services are more suitable. Generally, it depends on the size of a business. Medium and large companies prefer vendors that offer tech support. Freelancers and small businesses can do with free address verification.

Discover the difference between Free, Paid, or Custom Rendering Tools

#4. Variety of functionality and integrations

If you want multi-functional software with a high level of automation and rich integration capabilities, choose paid address scrubbing. The vendors that offer such solutions continuously expand the functionality and initiate cooperation with other tech providers to add new integrations. These benefits are essential for businesses that leverage address validation for multi-channel marketing and paperless communications.

Those who need only occasional address validation capabilities can opt for free software. It has the basic functionality that enables companies to check address information in batches or one by one.

address batch

#5. Access to reputable databases with address information

Picking a tool for your company, always choose CASS certified address scrubbing software. CASS certification means that this solution is approved by the United States Postal Service and accesses the USPS database to validate records. Since USPS information is considered the most reliable, you should use it as a reference.

Even though both free and paid solutions can meet USPS standards, premium software has the CASS certification more frequently. So just make sure to check it before subscribing.

The choice between paid or free address standardization software depends on your company’s size, security needs, and budget. Quite predictably, it’s always better to use a premium and more advanced solution when you can afford it. Everything has its cost. Decent security and versatile functionality aren’t an exception.

Address Scrubbing with Inkit’s Verify

Verify is a product available as a part of Inkit’s reach enablement platform. It automatically matches address data, ZIP codes, cities, and states with the USPS database as soon as customers provide their contact information on your website. Verify also autocompletes addresses to help people share their details, fix spelling errors, and correctly format addresses.

Want to check how Verify works for your business needs and use cases? Talk to our team

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