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Top Differences between U.S. 5 Digit Zip Code and Zip Plus 4 Database

Top Differences between U.S. 5 Digit Zip Code and Zip Plus 4 Database

You’ve probably had your 5-digit zip code memorized since you were a small child, but you may be surprised to learn that some zip codes require an additional four numbers in order for mail to accurately and quickly arrive. So, when do you need the additional four numbers in your database? 

The Zip Plus 4 (9 Digit Zip Code)

While only the 5-digit zip code is needed to deliver mail If you’re a business sending large amounts of mail to customers, or if you need raw data power, a zip plus 4 database may be the right fit for you so you can ensure you have the most information possible. Its important to note that it is not necessary to include the plus 4 digits in order for a piece of mail to be delivered, and in most instances only a 5-digit database is needed. You can think of the extra four digits as more precise data to pinpoint where a house is located, kind of like a zip code within a zip code. Sometimes the extra four digits represent a apartment complex or a city within a zip code.

While we usually write only a 5-digit zip code on mail, or when looking up a city, the USPS still uses the zip plus 4 code in order to deliver mail. Luckily for us a USPS machine is able to determine the 9-digit zip code from the address listed on the envelope, but it is still used today as a means of quickly sorting mail to precise locations.

Accuracy is Everything

Of course, the most important element of any zip code database is how up-to-date the data is. At zipcodedownload.com we update our database monthly with the latest zip code changes made by the USPS.  Each month you can download the current month’s updated database, and know that you are using the best data available.