Frequently Asked Questions

If you are still unsure about what PAF® can do for your organisation, and whether you should find a ready-made PAF solution or use the PAF data yourself, you will find the answer to the most commonly asked questions about PAF here. If, however, you would like to speak to someone who can provide more information then please Contact Us.

Choosing the right solution for me

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How do I find Solutions Providers that can help me?

Solutions Providers are organisations licensed by Royal Mail to sell sophisticated solutions and software products. These solutions incorporate PAF address data alongside other data to provide organisations with the capability to make their operations more effective and efficient. You can find a list of licensed PAF Solutions Providers within our Supplier Directory.

How should I choose one Solutions Provider over another?

You should start by searching within the Supplier Directory and selecting suppliers with appropriate expertise.  We recommend that you speak to more than one Solutions Provider however: in order to assess factors such as price, regularity of data updates, whether they incorporate other valuable datasets into their solutions, ease of installation, provision of ongoing support and suitability for your needs.

Does Royal Mail offer a simple addressing solution?

Yes it does. Our UK Addresses product allows users to search, print and export PAF addresses quickly and easily.  UK Addresses is available via online download or an easily installable software solution supplied on DVD.  For more information click here.

Licensing and pricing information

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I have an e-commerce website, how much does it cost to license use of PAF?

Organisations with a low volume use may prefer ‘Pay As You Go’ by licensing blocks of transactions, prices start from £1.68 for 100 clicks. Alternatively, larger users may wish to simply cap their costs. Speak to a Solutions Provider for more information.

In the simplest terms, what can I use PAF data for?

You can use PAF data to make online transactions easier, verify customer identities, manage your database and deliver mail more efficiently. If you want to find out more about how you can use PAF in your organisation click here. 

Does it cost more to license PAF from a Solutions Provider?

The licence fee is the same whether you take data directly from Royal Mail or from a Solutions Provider. However, a Solutions Provider will charge you for the full solution (including PAF data) whereas if you take data directly from Royal Mail, you will pay the data licence and data supply fees.

Try before you buy

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What information is included within the sample data?

Our PAF sample data is available in two formats – .CSV and .FWF – and comprises approximately half a million records across two Postcode Areas; York (YO) and Plymouth  (PL). Sample data is also available for all of our addressing datasets. To find out more about sample data click here.

How should I decide whether to buy a solution or develop something for myself?

If you have the capabilities in-house to programme data then you may prefer to develop your own solutions. In this instance, we always recommend downloading sample data before purchasing a data product to ensure that you are able to work with it.  If you don’t have this capability or would prefer the convenience of using a ready-made PAF solution then we recommend you search for a Solutions Provider within our Supplier Directory.

Is it possible to try a Solutions Provider’s product before I buy?

In many cases, yes. Solutions Providers have the ability to provide potential customers with access to their solutions on a trial basis. Individual contact information for licensed Solutions Providers is available within our Supplier Directory. We recommend that you discuss terms and conditions directly with them.

Free access to PAF

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As a small charity, do we qualify for free access to PAF?

If you are a UK-based registered charity or Community Interest Company (CIC) with less than £10 million income per annum you may qualify for a free copy of Full PAF. Contact Us to find out more.

Can my micro-business qualify for free access to PAF?

If you are a micro-business with 9 employees or fewer and turnover below £2 million per annum, you may qualify for a free copy of Full PAF for the purposes of developing PAF-based addressing solutions. At the point that you have completed your development and your solution is available for your own use or use by others, data and appropriate licence fees will apply.  To find out more, please Contact Us.

Can I quickly look up a small number of postcodes?

Yes, PAF data powers Postcode Finder on the Royal Mail website. It enables users to search for a small number of addresses per day. Click here for access. If your daily requirements exceed this limit, you may benefit from using a PAF-powered solution instead.  Contact Us to find out more.

Public Sector access to PAF

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As a public sector organisation, are we eligible to use PAF for free?

Public sector organisations falling within the definition of a ‘contracting authority’ in Regulation 3 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, such as local government bodies, healthcare providers and emergency services will be eligible. You will find eligibility guidance within the ‘Who can apply’ section of our Licensing Centre.

In what ways can using PAF data help in the delivery of public services?

The PAF Public Sector Licence (PSL) has been developed to broaden the public sector’s use of accurate address and postcode information. The PSL Use Terms allow licensed public sector organisations to share data and work collaboratively with other licensees. We expect that this will help to stimulate innovation and create important efficiencies within the public sector. Find out more about the PAF Public Sector Licence here.

How can I find out if my public sector organisation is licensed to use PAF?

A list of licensed Public Sector organisations can be found within the PAF Licensing Centre.