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What is DPV?

delivery truck with location pin

Background

DPV stands for Delivery Point Validation and is designed by the USPS. An address is fed into the system, cleaned to match USPS standards, and checked against the USPS delivery file to ensure that it is a valid address that can be delivered to. 

Just because an address exists doesn’t mean that mail can be delivered there. Empty lots, for example, have an address but no mailbox or even a front door to deliver to. DPV will flag any address that lacks a delivery point as invalid. Side note: DPV can be used for countries outside the United States; it just needs to compare the entered address against that country’s authoritative database instead of the USPS database.

Delivery Points are given their unique barcode, the ZIP + 4 Code, followed by two additional digits (11 digits in total). These last two digits act as the identifier for delivery points within that ZIP + 4 Code. The existence of this 11 digit code (called a Delivery Point Code or DPC) is what is validated during the DPV process. 

The DPC is converted into a barcode and placed on every package sent to that delivery point. Since ZIP + 4 Codes often change, it is not beneficial to use these as the unique ID for addresses in your dataset. It will be easier to store it as usual and feed it to DPV when an address needs to be validated.

Benefits of Using DPV

DPV provides several benefits both for those sending mail and for those receiving it:

  • Validating the address with DPV ensures that the address is accurate and deliverable. This will prevent the mail from being returned to the sender
  • DPV also formats the address to the USPS standard – making the delivery faster and reducing the chance that your mail is lost
  • DPV will ensure that the entered address has the full ZIP + 4 Code, potentially reducing shipping cost by making it available for bulk mail discounts

Limitations of DPV

  • DPV is excellent at determining whether an address is valid, but it cannot confirm that the correct address was entered 
  • -If you live at 124 Main St. but enter 125 Main St. as your address, DPV will return it as a valid address, and your mail will be delivered to the incorrect address
  • -It is always important to double-check your address before hitting that “Submit” button!
  • DPV does not correct entered address; all it does is examine the address entered and return whether or not that address is valid and deliverable
  • -If your address is 124 Main St. but you typo 123 Main St., DPV cannot suggest 124 Main St. 

DPV Codes

When an address is entered into DPV, the system returns one of the following codes to communicate the validity of the address entered into it.

CodeDescription
YConfirms DPC value for an address. The address is valid and deliverable
DPartial confirmation of the DPC value. Some address information is missing
SPartial confirmation of the delivery point values. Some address information cannot be confirmed
NThe DPC value is not valid for the address
(null)The address did not contain a DPC value and was not presented for DPV confirmation