How to Choose the Best Reverse Phone API

Numerous solutions exist for reverse phone data, making it challenging to identify the best one. With extensive experience in the phone data space, though, we’ve gathered valuable insights to help you navigate the reverse phone lookup selection process. When vetting reverse phone number solutions, it’s important to understand the data behind the products, have a good framework for assessment, and look at some technical considerations to make – all of which are covered below.

Types of Data

When beginning a conversation with a vendor, a key question to ask is, “How do you source your data?” While many solutions rely on a single type of data, reverse phone lookup API products often encompass various data types. Here are the categories of data you should expect to encounter:

Phone Validation Checks 

The most basic form of a phone validation check ensures that a phone number includes the correct number of digits and syntax (e.g., area code + 7 digits). There is also something called the North American numbering plan, which allocates phone numbers to certain regions and carriers. This data determines if a number is valid based on where it has been assigned to a carrier. In other words, a phone number that was never assigned to a carrier can’t be valid. One thing to note, though, is this is not the same as whether a phone number is actually in use. 

Telco Metadata 

  • Metadata: There is a network of data available to provide insights about the ported carrier and line type data included in the response.
  • CNAM: This is a telco-based service that provides the 15-character string associated with the billing name of an account (typically the primary account owner) just like you would see on landline caller ID screens. Carriers have largely moved away from providing direct access to more robust account holder information.   

Licensed Identity Data

There are many sources of licensed data out there. They can be based on public records, utilities, scraped data, credit-based, etc. It’s always good to know the source of the data to ensure its reliability. These can be accessed via files or APIs.  

How to Evaluate a Reverse Phone API

In order to understand the efficacy of any data solution, it’s important to assess both coverage and accuracy. Data with full coverage but poor accuracy is just noise, while highly accurate data that’s seldom available can be impractical to implement. Therefore, evaluating both aspects is key to finding a reliable solution.

Coverage

Coverage refers to the percentage of times we at Trestle can successfully associate information with a given phone number. The coverage rate can vary significantly depending on the specific attribute being evaluated.

Accuracy

Typically, the first accuracy check involves verifying your own phone number. While this is a logical starting point, it’s important not to stop there. Expand your evaluation by creating a sample set of data from friends, family, and colleagues to use for comparison.

Here is a range for typical coverage and accuracy rates for our Reverse Phone API:

Attribute Category

Coverage

Accuracy

Phone Validity

100%

100%

Phone Carrier

99+%

99+%

Line Type

99+%

99+%

Name associated with a phone

93%

90+%

Demographic details of the phone subscriber

78%

N/A

Full address associated with the phone subscriber

90%

90+%

At least one additional phone number for the subscriber

90+%

N/A

At least one additional email address

80%

N/A

Technical Considerations

Today, enterprise-class delivery is table stakes for API-based solutions. Here are a few specific areas of focus: 

  • Latency: It’s important to understand the speed of the service you are evaluating, which is typically measured in milliseconds. For any kind of real-time lookup, it’s important to target the fastest response time possible; we’d estimate something in the range of 30-500MS. If you run batches or frequently have large queues built up, it will be important to understand what kind of rate limiting or queries per seconds (QPS) constraints there are on an API key. 
  • API Response: Most APIs now are RESTful, http-based and return JSON responses. Understanding the response set, documentation, and support infrastructure, its consistency in terms of values returned, and how the company thinks about any breaking changes is important for any enterprise-grade APIs.

Service Level Agreements (SLA)

Understanding the reliability of the service is crucial. With cloud infrastructure providers like AWS and Azure, high availability is a standard expectation. Additionally, it’s important to know what kinds of alerting and monitoring capabilities the API provider offers.

Privacy and Security

As this is PII data, both from the business and the queries being made by the customer, it is critical that the appropriate privacy and security standards are applied to safeguard this data.

Whether you are vetting your first data solution or an experienced data provider, you should consider these factors when choosing the best reverse phone API. You can look at our API documentation or contact us for more information on Reverse Phone API. And if you’d like to take a more in-depth look at data sourcing at Trestle, take a look at this blog, Data Sourcing at Trestle