Approaches Used By Name Matching Software

While it may seem insignificant, name variations can cause duplication of records across data sources. Consequently, your reps spend extra time attempting to consolidate information of customers. They need to verify if the two customers are indeed the same person or not.

Besides the time spent or rather wasted on verification, your analytics, too, might give you a flawed view. But, overall, it affects your business decisions.

This is where Name Matching software comes in handy as it prevents such accidents.

Read this blog to learn more about this software and its approaches.

What is this Software?

Before jumping into the approaches of the software, it is essential to understand what it is.

It is the process of making sense and drawing sensible conclusions from multiple variations of any name. For instance, Katherine may be written as Catherine, Kate, Katy, and other ways.

The software simplifies this by identifying the variations and associating them with the correct name. In this case, Katherine.

However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Names in a database form unique identifiers, implying that people rely on it to look up specific records. Especially when you use marketing tools such as personalized emails, wrong names can defeat the entire purpose. Furthermore, it could lead to the loss of hundreds and thousands of dollars of business.

This software helps by removing duplicate names and inaccurate strings of names. It retains the correct and common name while storing the variation as a separate field.

Approaches to Resolve Issues with Matching Names

Matching names has been a challenge for organizations for years. Now, there are several approaches by which this struggle can be overcome.

The following are some of the common approaches used:

Common Key

The most common name challenge is phonetics, which can be resolved using Common Key. Under this system, names are represented using a code or a key based on their English pronunciation.

The sound of the name is used to index them. For instance, Carl and Karl both have C350 as their code. Although this method seems easy and has a high recall value, it is limited.

List Look-Up

This approach is straightforward. It lists all possible name variations and then matches them to a common source.

The list look-up approach is most suitable for multicultural data since those names have several deviations. For example, Aisha can also be written as Ayesha.

Since this approach is research-intensive to cover all possible variations, there is scope to miss out on certain variations.

Edit Distance

The edit distance approach breaks down each name into characters. These characters are given a weightage. For instance, Karl and Carl have a single edit distance – K to C. So, it transposes the K for C.

Edit refers to inserting, deleting, and transposing to match the strings.


The final approach depends on human knowledge. Although labor intensive, this approach incorporates names from multiple cultures.

The most notable features of the rule-based approach are:

  • it does not translate names of a foreign language into English
  • maintains the cultural nuances of every language.

Wrapping Up

The Name Matching software is crucial to several industries, including anti-money laundering, fraud detection, and homeland security.

It allows them to save time managing and handling huge quantities of information and sorting through all the data.