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Postcode Address File (PAF®) raw data

With more than 29 million UK addresses and 1.8 million postcodes, PAF is the definitive source of postal address information. 37,000 UK businesses rely on PAF solutions for capturing and verifying customer contact details and for keeping their databases as clean as a whistle.

PAF® Raw Data

PAF® is a database of all UK addresses and postcodes. PAF® is used widely for the efficient delivery of mail and, increasingly, for online use particularly for address look-up, address verification, and in mapping software. We hope you can find all of the information you need about raw data and PAF® powered software solutions, however, if you have any questions please feel free to Contact Us.


Product information

PAF® contains:

  • 29 million business and residential addresses to which mail can be delivered

  • 1.8 million UK postcodes

  • 1.4 million business names

  • Small User Residential, Small User Organisation and Large User Organisation details

  • records for England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man

Please note: PAF® doesn't include any address details for the Republic of Ireland or for addresses that are unable to receive mail such as telephone exchanges and electricity sub-stations. Also, since PAF® is a database of delivery points you won't find the names of private individuals, except when it is the only method of identifying a Delivery Point.

PAF® product options There are two PAF® options available – Full PAF® or Part PAF®. A Full PAF® record comprises all known delivery address and postcode elements in the UK, whereas a Part PAF® record includes some of the same elements but not all. We have created a PDF to show the different data elements that are included in Full PAF® and Part PAF®:

Maintaining the quality of PAF® PAF® users value and depend upon the accuracy of the data we provide. Maintaining the accuracy of the data is the Address Management Unit's number one priority. Royal Mail's 90,000 postmen and women capture thousands of address changes every day that we use to continuously update PAF®. If you purchase PAF® raw data from Royal Mail you can:

  • take a complete edition of PAF® monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually

  • take a complete edition of PAF® followed by daily updates, monthly updates or quarterly updates

  • take updates only if you already have a complete edition of PAF®

Customers looking to buy a PAF® solution from a Solutions Provider should ask about the regularity with which PAF® is updated.

Uses and benefits

Tens of thousands of businesses already use PAF® in a wide variety of innovative ways. PAF® users recognise how PAF® helps improve the effectiveness of their customer communications, and the professionalism with which they serve customers.

Here are some common uses of PAF® along with examples of how it could benefit you:

1. For database management

  • Standardise all address records in your customer database(s) and/or mailing lists

  • Correct mistakes and fill in gaps in your existing customer records

  • Use the postcode to link customer records together

2. For mailing purposes

  • Present your business in a professional way to your customers whenever you send mail

  • Improve the efficiency and speed of getting mail and parcels to your customers

  • Cut the costs associated with returned and undelivered mail

  • Qualify for discounts on Royal Mail mailing services

3. For improving customer service

  • Verify your customers' address details over the telephone or online

  • Make it quicker and easier for your customers to enter their address details and complete transactions when they shop online

  • Provide online maps and location-based services to your customers

  • Enable your customers to look up addresses on your website

Sample data

If you are interested in developing your own software solutions that incorporate address data then you can download a sample of PAF®. Simply complete the registration process, accept our terms and download your data. Alternatively, our First Steps CD contains samples of PAF® and our other raw datasets. Request your free copy of First Steps now.

Technical information

File formats Royal Mail supplies PAF® as raw data. There are three different PAF® files available:
1. Main File: The master database Main File contains complete Postcode and address information for over 29 million UK addresses. Main File contains no software and the raw data within it must be processed for use through IT applications.
2. Compressed Standard File: An expanded form of the Main File with over 29 million UK addresses in sequential order, as well as Delivery Point Suffix data.
3. Ranges File: A similar format to the Compressed Standard File, it takes up less space by ranging numbered properties on the same Postcode together in one record.

Address format The addresses held on PAF® are in a relational format, i.e. they are held as a series of alpha-numeric keys, or pointers, which relate to supporting files of Address element text rather than text. The supporting text files are:

  • Localities File

  • Thoroughfares File

  • Thoroughfare Descriptor File

  • Building Names File

  • Sub Building Names File

  • Organisations File

Each address on PAF® has an eight-digit number associated with it – the Address Key. This number in conjunction with the Organisation Key and Postcode Type identifies the address.

If you want to use PAF® raw data to develop your own solutions, you may want detailed technical information to help you with your programming.Learn more from our Programmers Guide

Licensing & licence fees

The table below sets out the fees that you will need to collect from your End-User for their internal and external use of PAF®. You can also license PAF® on a Postcode Area basis. This costs £2 per Postcode Area.


  For your End-Users’ Internal use
For example in a call centre
    Full PAF® only Full PAF® & Full Not Yet Built™ Full PAF®, Full Not Yet Built™ & Full Multiple Residence™
Single Legal Entity
Per Transaction (click)
Shared across the entity
Per User
Unlimited annual use for a single terminal
£8 per 100

£75 per User
£9 per 100

£10 per 100

Multiple User Blocks
Up to 300 Users OR
Unlimited Multiple User Blocks

Multiple Legal Entities
Corporate Groups £90,000    
Associate, Broker and Extended Use Groups Up to £49,500    


For your End-Users’ External Use
For use online
  Full PAF® only Full PAF® & Full Not Yet Built™ Full PAF®, Full Not Yet Built™ & Full Multiple Residence™
Per Transaction (click)

Unlimited Transactions
Fixed annual fee
£1 per 100 transactions

£1.10 per 100 transactions

£1.20 per 100 transactions

Corporate Groups £45,000    

If you act as a bureau, or if you license your End-Users to offer bureau services, you will need to return the following bureau fees:


Number of records in third party database cleansed or processed in immediately preceding financial year Bureau Fee (per annum)
Up to one (1) million £250
Over one (1) million and up to ten (10) million £750
Over ten (10) million and up to one hundred (100) million £3,750
Over one hundred (100) million £10,000

All Solutions Providers must pay the appropriate fees for the supply of their data. The costs vary depending on how regularly you want your data to be refreshed and on whether you choose to receive your data on a CD or via an online download.


  Data Supply Medium Option
  Online CD
The Annual Package
1 1 x Complete Edition £300 £400.00
The Updates Package
2 2 x Half-Yearly Complete Editions £600 £800.00
3 4 x Quarterly Complete Editions £750 £1,000.00
4 12 x Monthly Complete Editions £900 £1,200.00
The Changes Package
5 1 Complete Edition* and 3 x Quarterly Updates (Changes) £750.00 £1,000.00
6 1 x Complete Edition* and 11 x Monthly Updates (Changes) £900.00 £1,200.00
7 1 x Complete Edition* and Daily Updates (Changes) £2,250.00 N/A
8 4 x Quarterly Updates (Changes) – not obtainable in year one £750.00 £1,000.00
9 12 x Monthly Updates (Changes) – not obtainable in year one £900.00 £1,200.00
10 Daily Updates (Changes) – not obtainable in year one £2,250.00 N/A
  For Options 5, 6 and 7 the Complete Edition must be on CD.  

Download the full Data Supply Agreement

You can view your Data Supply Order Form within the ‘Support’ section.

How to buy

To buy a software solution containing Royal Mail’s address data

Find a supplier – you can either search by your addressing need or by keyword

To buy data from the Royal Mail Address Management Unit

Email us at address.management@royalmail.com or call us on 0845 606 6854 (option 3)

To become a Solutions Provider

Contact us

Other products you may be interested in

Multiple Residence Whilst PAF® provides details of business and residential addresses; Multiple Residence identifies separate dwellings or businesses that sit behind the address delivery point.

Not Yet Built PAF® is a database of addresses that are capable of receiving mail, however, Not Yet Built contains records of properties planned and under construction.