Global Address Verification

Build Vs. Buy: Which Is The Better Option For An Address Verification Solution?

Whether it’s applying for a home loan, paying insurance or shopping for a pair of shoes, we’re doing more and more online these days. No doubt it has broken the geographical barriers and brought brands closer to their customers. While it may seem counterintuitive, this has increased the need for physical address verification. Manually checking every address entered and verifying it is next to impossible. Hence, the need for an automated address verification tool becomes a necessity. This brings us to the question – build or buy? Let’s find out more.

Why is address verification important?

When talking about the importance of address verification, there are 3 main concerns.


Global e-commerce sales crossed the $5.7 trillion mark in 2022. With each year, this number increases. To deliver an order, brands need the customer’s correct address. By verifying street addresses, shippers ensure that the address submitted is deliverable. This cuts down on the number of undelivered orders and returns. Further, it allows delivery agents to optimize routes and deliver on time. In turn, this helps control shipping costs – when an order is returned, shippers must spend extra on checking and reshipping the orders.

Understanding customer needs

Address verification is also instrumental in providing good customer service. A simple example would be the use of address verification to calculate home insurance premiums. Similarly, address verification helps a fashion e-commerce brand understand where its customers live and the type of clothing required by them.

They could use this information to customize marketing campaigns. For example, kaftans and swimsuits may be promoted to people living in a beach town while hiking pants can be promoted to people living in a hill town.


Then there’s the issue of safety. Fraudsters are known to manipulate street addresses to bypass security checks. For example, they may change ‘St.’ to ‘Street’. The system would identify this address as a new address rather than a duplicate.

This puts customer data safety at risk and lowers the overall quality of the company database. Having all address data pass through a stringent verification tool that can standardize address formats is the only way to overcome such challenges and maintain a clean database.

Building an address verification solution

When you can DIY almost everything else, why not create an internal address verification solution too? This is something companies that want to validate customer addresses independently can consider. You can develop simple logic/ rules models to standardize address formats or license files to build internal validation logic for address strings. It may sound easy but it can be quite a challenge.

Address databases need to be constantly updated

Address verification is not a one-time exercise. The databases that are used to validate addresses must be regularly updated. Customers may shift homes within a city or move between cities. You need to keep up with customers as they shift addresses as well as city administration when street names, etc. are changed.

It can be expensive

Maintaining an independent address verification database can be quite expensive in terms of money and time. It needs a dedicated team to tweak models as required, update logic rules and keep an eye on address trends. This can be especially challenging for companies trying to streamline resources.

Keeping up with global trends is harder

Maintaining such a solution when dealing with an international audience is even more challenging. It’s not just languages that vary, different countries also follow different address formats. For example, The USA uses a 5-digit area PIN code. However, Australia has a 4-digit area PIN code. This makes it difficult to standardize verification rules.

Address Verification Through Existing Solutions

The alternative is to building your own address verification system is to incorporate verification tools offered by third-party address verification solution providers. In this case, the verification models are maintained by the service provider. They can validate global street addresses and standardize them so as to minimize the risk of having duplicates.

The system is more cost-effective, especially for businesses with a large global customer base and more reliable. Of course, this depends largely on the service provider chosen. Some of the factors you should consider are:

Access to data

Address verification engines are typically linked to datasets such as those maintained by Postal agencies like USPS or providers like FedEx. Hence, the accuracy with which they can verify addresses depends on having access to up-to-date multi-sourced reference data. It is important to ensure that the address verification tool can check addresses in all the countries your customers are based.


Verifying the existence of an address is only one of the steps to maintaining a high-quality database. In addition to ensuring that the data submitted is accurate, an address verification tool should be able to enrich the address with missing information to improve deliverability.

Further, it must be able to standardize addresses as per postal formats and correct any syntax errors to remove duplicates. In addition to this, some address verification solution providers are also capable of converting street addresses to geolocations and vice versa. This helps pinpoint delivery stations on the map and optimize routes accordingly.

Ease of integration

While verifying addresses is a necessity, it must not slow down the customer experience. Hence, it should be easy to integrate with customer onboarding and check-out forms. It must provide quick verification results without causing any inconvenience to the customer or requiring any additional input. A built-in autocomplete function can be a big asset as it reduces the number of clicks required by the customer to enter his/ her address.


Lastly, it must comply with government data regulations. Data security is important for maintaining customer trust as well as reducing the exposure to fines and penalties.

Summing it up

Irrespective of whether you ship orders to your customers or provide 100% online service, verifying street addresses must be prioritized. Rather than reinventing the wheel, look for global address verification solutions that can be tailored to your needs. It’s a simple step that can help you learn more about your customer’s demographic details and step up the services provided to give them an exceptional customer experience at every interaction.

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