OCIO » Address Validation Service

Address Validation Service

Last modified by Matthew Harshbarger on 2018/04/24 15:45



The State of Iowa offers an Address Validation Service.  The service provides two forms of validating and standardizing United States addresses – a real-time web service and a batch process.   The cost of each service is one half cent per address plus time and material for time setting up and running the service for a given job. 

Real-time Web Service Processing

The OCIO has entered into an purchase agreement with Melissa Data to get access to their Address Validation Web Service product called Personator.  Customers wishing to use the new offering should reach out to OCIO to obtain an API key.  Go to https://help.iowa.gov to make an API key request.

The following are some reference sites to help you implement Personator in your application or have questions answers should your run into issues.  OCIO does NOT offer technical support for the real-time address verification service.

OCIO will purchase a bulk number of lookups as part of a State of Iowa account and allow by the use of API keys other agencies to do lookups against the bulk number.  OCIO will bill each API key owner monthly for all usage by their API key.  The amount billed will be a direct pass though of the actual cost per lookup based on the total bulk price.  OCIO will not add any additional fees on top of this price as OCIO will have no direct involvement in this service outside of making bulk purchases as needed.

The following are a few things you should keep in mind as you consider using Melissa Data's Personator service.

  • Each application is responsible to code/connect to the service directly.  There is no State of Iowa wrapper app like the old real-time service had because the Personator is a web service itself whereas the old service called a desktop product before.
  • Each lookup against the Personator service will incur a fee.  Lookup fees are based on the total purchase price of the yearly bulk purchase amount divided by number of bulk records purchased.  For example the initial purchase of 100k lookups would have a per lookup call fee of $0.0355/ea.  This initial 100k was just to get us going for the first month so prices should be lower when more are purchased.  As more and more systems start using AVS and the State of Iowa makes larger and larger yearly bulk lookup amounts the price should come down. 


  • Q: How are AVS look up billed.  A: OCIO will charge agencies for all usage based on API key activity recorded by Melissa Data.
  • Q: What is the maintenance window and will I get notified of any outages.  A: Melissa Data has redundant servers so are never down for maintenance nor do they have planned outages.  


  • Be careful if you double/multiple click a link/button that calls the AVS service as it may incur multiple lookup charges.
  • The AVS action "check" is the most basic core API in the Personator service but there are others.  Keep in mind that some API calls may incur more lookup charges.  You should not think of costs based on a lookup but rather depending on what action you call in the API it may cost a different number of "credits".  The following gives you and idea on how "credits" relate to the different service actions.  https://www.melissa.com/credits/listware


AS OF 3/12/2018 the Real-time Web Service no longer works as the underlying software product vendor shut their service off.

The following information about Real-time Web Service are being retained for documentation purposes.

Click here to get more details about the Web Service.

The web service allows validation and standardization of addresses upon input into a website. A standardized, corrected address is returned. An example of this usage is the Iowa Department of Transportation which uses the service to validate and standardize addresses as they are entered into drivers’ license terminals. The following additional items can be returned: geo codes, congressional districts, federal county number.

Maintenance window for this service is 2am-4am. The service could be unavailable during this time.

Batch Processing

Click here to get more details about the Batch Service.

The batch process provides the following:

·         Processes addresses contained in a file.   

·         Returns a file with the revised addresses.   This file can contain as much or as little information as required.

·         Provides CASS Certification and DPV

·         Addresses can be processed through the National Chang of Address (NCOA).  If the change of address is within the last 18 months, the resulting file will return the new address.  If the address was changed between 19 and 48 months previous to the current date, a message will be returned indicating the address submitted is invalid.  The information returned will annotate if the move was an individual, family or business.

·         Provide NCOA reports with a listing of all addresses which have changed

·         Determine if duplicate addresses are submitted in the file. 

·         Create the appropriate forms needed by the United States Post Office for mailing.  This process will also divide the items into trays and create the tray tags.

·         Name parsing

There is no maintenance window for this service as it a manually ran product by OCIO so we will update when needed.

Mailing List

As with many services offered, we communicate with customers using mailing lists.  All Address Validation customers are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the "notices" mailing list for this service.  This is the default means that we use to send out information on changes, updates, issues and outages with the service.

Individual users can subscribe to this mailing list by sending an e-mail message to 10214-addressvalidationwebserv-notices'-'join@forge-lists.iowa.gov, or unsubscribe by sending a note to 10214-addressvalidationwebserv-notices-leave@forge-lists.iowa.gov.

Here's a more detailed tutorial on GForge Mailing Lists.

Created by Mike Phillips on 2011/06/07 11:37

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