The meaning of dedupe, merge, purge and other bits of mailing jargon.

Mailing and postage is a complicated area full of jargon. 

Here, we try to demystify some of the words, phrases and acronyms used and give you some additional knowledge to help you understand this complex area and unlock potential savings on your next creative direct mail campaign.


Deduplication, or deduping for short, is the process of removing identical entries from two or more data sets such as mailing lists. Also called purging.


Down Stream Access, is a company that collects the mail and delivers it into Royal Mail further along the pipeline (usually to the secondary mail centre) and in so doing passes on some of the discounts provided by Royal Mail to the client.


This is the process of combining two data sets to create one combined list. This could also mean combining data with a text document to create a print file.


The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a free service provided to UK consumers so they can request to have their name and home address removed from direct mail lists by suppressing their data against databases for mailing.


The Postcode Address File (PAF) is Royal Mail’s file of all correct postal addresses in the UK. Daily, it is kept up to date by postal workers. It contains:

• 30 million UK residential and business delivery addresses

• 1.8 million UK postcodes

• 1.4 million business names.


Printed Postage Impression (PPI) is a pre-printed alternative to the traditional stamp or franking mark. These are used when docketing work through Royal Mail OBA (Online Business Account) or sending work via a DSA supplier.


The process of eliminating duplicates and/or unwanted names from one or more lists. The same as dedupe.


Data suppression refers to the removal of any records from a database. This is done by comparing data against a suppression file in order that data can be removed or updated. Data can also be suppressed using industry suppression files like Mailing Preference Services (MPS) or the Bereavement Register. BCQ have access to all up-to-date suppression files used within the industry.

Schedule 17 Agreements

This is an agreement between the client, the DSA provider and Royal Mail to charge less VAT on postal services. Although not entirely VAT free, all work is billed through a non VAT-able part of Royal Mail so the customer only pays VAT on the DSA provider’s part of the bill. This can only be used by organisations such as charities, insurance companies and professional bodies and cannot be used by companies that are liable for VAT. To take advantage, these agreements must be set up directly between the client and the DSA provider.


Volume Related Discount, is a percentage discount applied by Royal Mail dependent on the volume of mail sent each day. These discounts only apply to Royal Mail postage and not Downstream Access.

If you need any specific help or have any questions about mailing or have a mailing requirements, please contact us, we'd love to help. Or if you would like to find out more about how we can help you, have a look at our mailing services.