It is important to address mail items correctly in order for them to be delivered as intended. Experts in the mail industry have several things they watch in order to help with deliverability. Here are some things we keep an eye on when working with addresses.
Spell out street names rather than abbreviate them, and make sure the spelling is correct. For example, 123 MLK Dr should be 123 Martin Luther King Dr.
Insert a space, but no symbol, between a house number and street name. Eliminating the space or using a symbol will result in an “address not found” error during CASS Certification. For example, it is proper to use 143 15th St but not 143-15th St or 143Fifteenth St.
Be sure to use the correct abbreviation for street type. If you aren’t sure of the abbreviation, spell out the entire word. Correct abbreviations include ST, AVE, PKWY, TPKE, TER, CIR, and PL.
Use No., #, APT or STE when abbreviating Apartment or Suite.
Use County Rd, State Hwy, State Rd, and US Highway when appropriate and do not abbreviate by using St for State or Co or Cty for County. Used properly, the address reads 123 County Rd W, not 123W.
Do not use spaces in street directions. Proper use is NW and SE.
Using Fields and Spreadsheet Columns Correctly
Fields should consistently contain the same type of information. Examples of fields include Company Name, Contact, Street Address or PO Box, Street Address Line 2 (if needed), City, State, Zip.
Place PO Box address and Street Address in two different fields.
Do not include building names or other non-USPS address information on the line with the street address.
Box versus PO Box
Box 99 and P.O. Box 99 are two different things. Don’t assume it is okay to put the letters “PO” in front of a box number.
Zip Codes should not contain any extra numbers, letters or symbols.
In some states, addresses include both a direction and an identifying number such as N1234 or 123N456. This type of address should be listed with no spaces between the letters and the numbers.
For military addresses, use APO and FPO as the city, and AP and AE as the state abbreviation.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a great resource for looking up addresses. If you are unsure of an address, you can look it up on the USPS website: http://usps.com. Go to “Look Up a Zip Code” feature to see the standard format of an address.