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2 min read

Using USPS Address Verification vs Autocomplete

package delivery van with verified addresses

So, what does autocomplete and verification have to do with e-commerce checkout? Anything that facilitates a faster, friction-free checkout can, of course, be considered a good candidate to incorporate into the checkout process, right? 


Google Places Autocomplete 

Autocomplete is a predictive text that is provided via Google Maps. Part of the Google Maps Platform, Google Places API is an HTTP service that returns place information, such as geographic locations, points of interest, and business establishments. Included in the API are several request types such as Search, Details, Photos, and Autocomplete. These requests allow integration into apps and sites, allowing you to search for businesses, points of interest, and get photos & details about them.  

Also available is an autocomplete request type that returns place predictions in response to an HTTP request. This is essentially an “on-the-fly” search feature that attempts to predict names and addresses of places as user types into text fields in real-time.  

Removing some of the tedium or effort of filling out forms by having Google Place Autocomplete predictively complete the addresses in your checkout shipping or billing forms seems like an easy win. Google also actively markets this feature as an option to avoid annoyance when encountering any form input field and “having to type the entire text. This especially goes for when entering an address […].”

Pro: Autocomplete helps make checkout frictionless with less typing required. 

Con: Google Places doesn’t recognize all addresses.  



USPS Address Verification 

Address verification is when a customer confirms an address matched with the postal service after typing in the form and submission. When it comes to e-commerce checkout, the addresses entered into the shipping and billing forms must be verified addresses. This means the address is certified with the U.S. Postal Service as existing within the comprehensive list of mailable and deliverable addresses in their Address Management System.  

Unfortunately, the addresses returned by the Google Places API autocomplete may not match those in the USPS system. This is because Google is providing a geocoding service, not an address validation service. While this may help in the context of an app that offers directions and map pins, it is not typically suitable for the precision required by e-commerce checkout to ensure packages are delivered without issue. 

Pro: Address verification ensures accurate delivery for customers. 

Con: Address verification is not predictive and adds another step for customers at checkout.  


Our Recommendation 

If you are looking for checkout address autocomplete, it is advisable to select an address verification service that is synchronized with the USPS address data and also offers an autocomplete service. This ensures a

good ecommerce site

that works with that verified address data.