data quality

The Progression of Data Quality: From ZIP Codes to Identity Verification

The Progression of Data Quality: From ZIP Codes to Identity Verification

Melissa Team | 2023, Address Verification, Customer Identities, Data Quality, Digital Identity Verification, eIDV, ID Document Verification, Identity Verification, Uncategorized, ZIP Codes | , , , , ,

Data quality has changed a lot over the years. In the beginning of the digital age, access to the Internet was much more limited, and the way people interacted with technology was vastly different. Now, with our smartphones and tablets, access to most things we want or need can be instant and with these new expectations, businesses have had to adapt to new challenges in regard to data quality.

But what are these important changes? Let’s trace the data quality story and see what has changed throughout the years and technological advancements.

The ZIP Code was the first step in data quality. Mailers need to verify ZIP Codes in order to stay in USPS compliance. Each number in a ZIP Code tells where a piece of mail will be delivered—down to a tiny cluster of addresses with the addition of the ZIP+4.

The USPS uses automated sorting equipment that relies on accurate ZIP Codes to sort and route mail to its final destination. Incorrect or invalid ZIP Codes can result in misdelivered or undelivered mail, and is especially important to get correct since similar and identical street and city names can exist in different states. 

After the verification of ZIP Codes came complete address verification. As an addition to ZIP Code verification, having a correct and standardized address ensures that deliveries are accurate and delivered to the intended recipient. This cuts down on costs due to things like undeliverable mail and packaging waste.

But address verification does more than help make deliveries more accurate. Address verification also helps with fraud prevention and other compliance regulations. A verified address not only determines whether the address is legitimate, but also that it belongs to the person who claims it, cutting down on fraudulent transactions and account creations. 

Some sectors have stringent requirements such as healthcare, finance, and government. Address verification helps businesses meet these requirements by making sure that sensitive and protected information is being sent to incorrect individuals, as well as making sure that it arrives on time.

The next chapter in data quality after ZIP and address verification is contact verification. Contact verification ensures accurate communications and helps maintain customer relationships, but it is also an evolution of compliance and fraud prevention. 

Staying up-to-date with changes in name, email, phone number, and other contact information is crucial to reach intended recipients as well as maintaining a positive relationship. This allows businesses to learn the preferences of their customers for a better, more personal user experience.

Regarding compliance, contact verification means that a business is sure who a customer is and how to get in touch with them for time-sensitive information. It’s a similar case with fraud—having another form of communication to verify makes it so a business’s and their customers’ information is safe and real.

Finally, this brings us to the newest and one of the most critical steps in data quality today—identity verification. Identity verification is the process of verifying someone’s identity by taking personal information and verifying it against trusted databases or sources, and thanks to new technologies, this can be done electronically (eIDV) within seconds. 

eIDV can be done at onboarding to make sure that any customer entering a business’s system is validated to protect against fraud. This helps strengthen security by making sure that only authorized individuals access proper information, and makes it more convenient than a lengthy in-person verification process. And each business has different needs for identity verification. 

Some businesses may want to protect against losing large sums of money if customers place fraudulent orders. They can use eIDV to verify customer information given such as address, phone number, date of birth and social security number. Along with verification, solutions can also append missing customer information, such as Personator Consumer.

Some businesses have stringent requirements to meet, such as Know-Your-Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations, like banks and other financial institutions. These solutions should ensure privacy and be flexible to meet business needs. They can also include 2+2 verification, which uses 2 sources to corroborate and verify 2 separate pieces of information, and PEP, Sanctions and Deceased Watchlists so that a business is aware of all risk associated with an individual, such as Personator Identity.

Finally, businesses might need to check government-issued IDs before allowing customers to make purchases, such as gaming apps or automotive companies. There are solutions that allow customers to upload their government IDs, while checking to make sure the person is who they say they are, and that they are a living person instead of a static image. To see a demonstration of how this works, check out this video that shows a step-by-step process of Melissa ID.

Regardless of why a business chooses to use identity verification, there’s no doubt that identity verification gives customers and businesses ease-of-mind, as well as cuts down on fraud and helps with compliance regulations.

Melissa started with ZIP+4 verification, and since then has grown to bring the best of verification at each step—address, contact, and now, identity. Because Melissa is the Address Experts, we offer a unique layer to eIDV—data quality verification—where each piece of a customer’s information is verified instead of simply checked against a static list. 

For more information on Melissa’s Identity Verification solutions, or to connect with members of Melissa’s global intelligence team, visit or call 1-800-MELISSA. And be sure to subscribe to our blog for anything and everything data quality!

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