Woman using tablet for online banking

Quality and standardised data to reduce delivery failures.

Eircode is Ireland’s brand new postcode system that makes finding addresses easier. But is it the same as Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF)? Many organisations are updating their systems to accept Eircode. Without this, they are likely to experience increased cart abandonment and post-purchase issues for Irish consumers.

Who uses Eircode? And how is it different than postal address file (PAF)?

One of the major issues that business owners have with their data is poor quality data. Inaccurate data analysis has repercussions that eventually result in bad business decisions that have a negative impact on how a business runs. It would be ideal if we all looked at some of the causes, effects, and preventative steps that an organisation can take into consideration to prevent inaccurate data gathering and handling given that the world is evolving toward a more data-oriented landscape.

Every residence in the Republic of Ireland now has a unique 7-character identification thanks to the 2015 launch of Eircode. In Ireland, there are up to 600,000 non-unique addresses, which presented challenges for logistics companies which traditionally had to rely on local knowledge and directions to get deliveries where they needed to be.

To precisely identify an Irish location and facilitate the easier delivery of products and services to homes, Eircode can be used on online forms in the exact same way as a UK postcode. Let’s see what this means for data quality and address validation.

What is an Eircode?

Eircodes are a relatively recent innovation which represents Ireland’s first smart postcode system, enabling people and businesses to find every address in Ireland, tackling matching challenges due to the non-existent strict address format, the big volume of non-unique Irish addresses and the inconsistency between postal and geographic addresses.

Over 35% of addresses in Ireland share their address with at least one other property, making it difficult to accurately identify the location of an address. Eircodes address that problem by assigning an Eircode to every residential and commercial address. In addition, all non-residential addresses such as office buildings, factories and hotels have individual Eircodes.

An Eircode is a seven-character location code composed of a three-character routing key to define the principal post town and a four-character unique identifier to distinguish each individual address. Unlike other countries, where postcodes define clusters or groups of addresses, an Eircode will identify an individual address – rural or urban – and help show exactly where it is located.

How Eircode differs from PAF

When it comes to address validation, the postal address file (PAF) is the form that is most familiar for database address lookups. The purpose and premise behind the Eircode are similar to the PAF used by Royal Mail, but they are two different systems. This is not problematic until you try to ship a package that involves transferring the correct address information between the two databases of various entities.

When it comes to getting the delivery address correct on your packages, shipped between the UK and Ireland, exact matching of Eircodes and the PAF is crucial. Addresses that are “PAF matched” means that the address in your address data file matches the information on the PAF exactly. This mail can be machine sorted and routed to its destination quickly. Those that do not match the PAF exactly must be hand-sorted and might incur a different cost. There is also a greater chance of delivery error or failure. The same applies to Eircode matching. Address validation solutions can help in this scenario, formatting and correcting address data in line with specific postal authority standards to ensure delivery.

There are many situations that can cause the address in your database to not match to the PAF or Eircode database:

  • Mis-typed or misspelt words
  • Wrong address given to you
  • Postcode error or outdated information
  • Property newly constructed and not added yet
  • Current property owner did not register change
  • Business name incorrect
  • Property destroyed and no longer there

A data validation solution can help tackle such issues. Address validation is a simple way to automatically check, validate and standardise address data against official postal sources in real time at point of entry, to make sure your address data is accurate.

83% of Irish consumers already buy online from UK retailers. This presents a key opportunity to increase sales to Irish consumers as consumers can complete transactions more easily and experience fewer delivery issues

How will Eircode change data quality management for UK businesses?

Address validation is the key to accurate, timely delivery for local Irish businesses and for those who do business in Ireland. For businesses that want to ship products to Ireland, it is easy to see how the new postcode Ireland system makes things easier and how it could cut down on missed or delayed deliveries. The ability to make deliveries on time depends on accurate address information.

Let’s say you have an online business and in the final checkout, the customer omits the number of their flat. Address validation software can validate the address against Eircode data, correct any errors and standardise the format of the data, meaning the package could still be delivered accurately. This means the difference between a happy customer who is likely to buy from you again and a refund.

Experian Data Validation solutions validates, formats and enriches contact data

Learn more

Solutions for Republic of Ireland postcodes and PAF address validation

Data quality is especially important when shipping to and from an address in Ireland. Experian address validation solutions make finding the correct Eircode easier and give you greater confidence in your package arriving on time. When no Eircode is available, differences in the traditional address system mean that several different potential address locations and Eircodes might be generated. Even though residents and businesses were instructed to use the new Eircode on their address, the idea has yet to catch on everywhere.

Experian’s software solutions are predictive and can help decide the most likely Eircode for the address. Its advanced algorithm makes it more likely to choose the correct Eircode from the list of possible addresses generated. This is a state-of-the-art system that can significantly reduce delivery errors. It is an excellent addition to your address validation arsenal that can help save time and reduce losses due to incorrect delivery addresses.

Experian Address Validation validates, formats and enriches postal addresses in real time as they’re entered into business systems to provide a frictionless customer experience whilst ensuring only accurate address data enters your database. With features including correction of inaccurate addresses, validation of addresses against official postal sources including Eircode data, and precision location enrichment using geocode data, our flagship address validation API is an ideal solution for businesses looking to improve the accuracy of address data and ensure it synchronises with both PAF and Eircode files.

If you are ready to see what Experian’s software and data validation solutions can do for your business, get in touch and explore the possibilities.