Best Virtual Mailbox Service – TOP 7 REVIEWS [2021 EDITION]
Virtual mailbox services have revolutionized the way businesses, expatriates, world-travelers and even online shoppers deal with traditional mail and package management and delivery.
Whether you need a virtual address as the face of your business, or reliable mail scanning services, standard package forwarding, or secure mail management and shredding; the best virtual mailbox service will be able to take care of all this and more.
However, in 2021 there is an ever-growing list of service options available. Which company should you entrust with your mail management needs?
That’s exactly what we will look into today. We have selected a range of mail forwarding services to give you the low down on some of the best solutions currently on the market.
For a summary of the best options, check out the selections below. For in-depth reviews on all of our picks, plus a detailed buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
- Top Picks
- Virtual mailbox Service Comparison
- Virtual Mailbox Service reviews
- Virtual Mailbox Services – A Buyer’s Guide
- Key advantages of using a mail forwarding service
- Tips on collecting your forwarded mail
Virtual mailbox Service Comparison
US GLOBAL MAIL
FREE MAIL ITEMS PER MONTH
Up to 200/mo
Up to 240/mo
Up to 250/mo
Up to 200/mo
50 - UNLIMITED
FREE MAIL STORAGE
45 - 180 Days
DropBox, Evernote, Bill.com, GoogleDrive
DropBox, Evernote, Bill.com, GoogleDrive, QuickBooks, Xero
RECYCLING & SHREDDING
2048 bit SSL
PRICE PER MAIL (OVER QUOTA)
Up to $1.00
$15 - $55
$9.99 - $69.99
$19 - $79
$6.50 - $80+
$9.95 - $24.95
$14.95 - $49.95
Virtual Mailbox Service reviews
After looking at what some of the available virtual mail services offer, let’s dive in with the reviews.
1. TOP PICK: Traveling Mailbox Review
When looking for a reliable, feature-rich virtual mailbox service, Traveling Mailbox is one you should check out. The company is a highly reputable provider of quality mailbox management services.
One of the major benefits of Traveling Mailbox is that each package includes an online postal mailbox, mail forwarding, business addresses, post mail scanning, mail storage, secure document shredding, mail filtering (to exclude junk mail), and secure check deposit services. It also provides Letter eMail services.
The only real difference between the plans is your quota amounts. This leads to a very transparent service with little confusion on what is being offered.
These various plans are designed to accommodate the different needs of travelers, expatriates settled in one place, and businesses that require a virtual address and global access to their mailbox at any time.
Much like any virtual mail service, Traveling Mailbox allows for mails, correspondences, checks, and invoices to be converted into digital documents (such as PDF scans) that can be viewed remotely.
The service also allows direct integration with software such as Evernote, DropBox, and Bill.com for a more fluid workflow for businesses.
Bulk scanning of multiple pages is provided via a ScanPAK bundle. Meanwhile, envelope scanning is done by the QuickScan application.
Moreover, the scanned PDF documents are turned into searchable PDF documents by being processed through an OCR (Optical character recognition) software. This is a real bonus as not all competing services have this facility.
On another important note, all the services are provided directly by Traveling Mailbox, LLC; which ensures that issues can be easily taken up with the company itself or resolved through its efficient customer support department.
Online mailbox management service
As the screenshots above demonstrate, the service comes with a proprietary and easy-to-use online mailbox management service that allows one to access their mails 24/7 via the dedicated smartphone app or computer.
Users are notified via email and phone push notification when mail has arrived. This then allows you to choose whether to have the contents scanned, shredded, forwarded to your physical address, returned to sender, or held for future pick-up.
You can also tag the digitized mail so you can quickly search and retrieve it at a later date. (As already mentioned, Traveling Mailbox also allows you to integrate the digital mail into 3rd party storage services and software applications).
The Traveling Mailbox Service Plans
The services offered by Traveling Mailbox come in three different service packages; the Basic plan, Extended plan, and the Small Business plan.
All 3 plans come bundled with an online postal mailbox, mail forwarding services, postal mail scanning, and of course, your choice of US address from the available options.
However, it is worth noting that the ScanPAK bundle and fax services are only included in the Extended and Small Business plans.
No matter the plan you opt for the service is compatible with Evernote, Bill.com, and DropBox.
With regards to mail forwarding, all the 3 plans come with exterior item scans for both letter mails and packages using the QuickScan tool, with the scans being sent directly to your email or online mailbox for you to determine whether the mail or package should be forwarded to your real address.
If mail forwarding is chosen, you need to create a shipment profile that determines how the items are packaged, when they are to be shipped, and the shipping insurance to be bought. Thereafter, the parcel is shipped through a courier service provider.
As we already mentioned, the major difference between the packages is the monthly quota on the main services. This makes it possible to easily choose the best option for your needs.
The basic plan with the capacity to process 40 incoming mails and 35 scans should most individuals and/or families, (3 recipient names can be added to the account).
On the other end of the service spectrum, the small business plan allows for 200 incoming pieces of mail, with 180-page scans and 10 recipient names. At $55 a month, this is an extremely good value package, that should suit the demands of a small to medium-sized enterprise.
2. iPostal1 Review
iPostal1 is a large digital mailbox service provider operating throughout the U.S. The company first started its mailbox services back in 2007.
Over the intervening years, iPostal1 has expanded its infrastructure considerably and the service now has one of the largest networks of digital mailbox locations available on the market.
In fact, the company can now boast around 1000 real street addresses. These exist at professional shipping stores across the U.S where mail handling actually occurs on-site, (rather than being forwarded to a central office which is how many other providers operate)
There are 3 main plans available, one for personal use, business use, and a virtual office plan that has added features such as phone call and fax management.
Let’s take a closer look at those plans to see how they hold up against the competition.
The 3 Main Plans with iPostal1
The standard plan provides the customer with a virtual mailing address. The cost of the basic ‘Green’ package is just $9.99 a month.
Designed for personal or family use, it gives the user 30 mail items a month. You can be billed monthly or annually, (with the latter offering 2 months free).
If you need more items per month, you can opt for the Blue ($14.99), Silver (24.99), and Gold (39.99) packages. These provide 60, 120, and 240 mail items per month respectively.
The same pricing structure applies to the virtual business address. The 4 plans (Green, Blue, Silver & Gold) ranging from $9.99 to 39.99 a month, and differ merely on the number of mail items that you can have handled per month.
The billing structure remains the same too. The advantage here is that you will be provided with an address better suited to the image of a professional business.
iPostal1 really shines with this virtual office plan. This is a cut above the competition as it really does provide the small business with a complete virtual office suite.
Prices start at $39.99, for the virtual office plan and include a digital mailbox service suited to office-based mail quantities.
On top of that, you will get a local phone and fax numbers, as well as the much needed virtual business address to create a sophisticated presence for your operation.
The pricing structure here is dependent on 4 the mail handling quantity, as well as the nature of the phone number (there’s a choice of toll-free for a higher subscription cost).
A really positive aspect of all iPostal1 plans is that they do not make you sign up for a strict contract or subscription duration. You can alter your plan at any time as well as end your relationship with the service whenever you see fit.
iPostal1 Services (Company Video)
As the video above explains, iPostal1 works similarly to all good virtual mailbox services.
The company is there to ensure that all of your mail and packages are safely managed (i.e received, stored, and handled in line with your requests) once they have arrived at the address you have chosen as your virtual presence.
By simpling logging onto the iPostal1 website or signing into the smartphone app, you have the ability to view and manage your mail and packages wherever you happen to be in the world.
You have the option to have your mail forwarded to another address, opened and scanned, shredded, and/or discarded.
Essentially, distance does not get in the way of you having complete control of incoming correspondence.
A closer look at the Online Interface
The online interface is one of the most important aspects of a virtual mailbox service.
This is the area that you will be dealing with the most, and a customer will want that to be clear, intuitive, and easy to use.
It should also have all the functionality you need to efficiently manage your mail remotely.
On the face of it, iPostal1 does well here as it has both an IOS and Android compatible phone app as well as a portal online.
These interfaces provide access to real-time shipping prices, and of course, you have access to all the menu options you need to carry out your mail management, (read opened mail, request to have items scanned or shredded; you can also request check payments, etc).
On the plus side here, iPostal1 has recently revamped its apps and given them a much-needed overhaul. What was once quite a clunky, unintuitive interface now provides a much better user experience.
At least the upgrade has proved better for me. Just check out some of the reviews in the Apple App Store and you’ll see that for a few users the new app has caused some compatibility issues. Overall though, it is definitely an improvement.
- Related Content: 5 key benefits of using a virtual mailbox & address service
3. BEST FOR BUSINESS: Earth Class Mail Review
Earth Class Mail is a highly regarded provider of office mail automation services and arguably one of the best known on the market.
Their packages include a whole host of services including mail management, mail forwarding, mail scanning, mail storage, secure document shredding, and secure check deposit handling using CheckStream.
However, where they really shine for businesses is the virtual mailroom. These service packages are designed to provide a total and secure makeover of traditional office mail management, providing a modern, automated digital mail platform for users.
This transformation allows for mails, correspondences, checks, and invoices to be converted into digital documents that can be uploaded or downloaded from digital mail platforms such as e-mails, apps, and website portals.
Moreover, this automation allows one to integrate digital mails into applications/software that are running business operations such as billing software, accounting programs, and storage applications.
Beyond business owners, their lower-priced mailbox services are suitable for travelers, expatriates, and people who have moved residences. These are called the Mail Box Plans.
Mail Box Plans
Earth Class Mail offers their mailbox automation services in personal, shared, and premium packages.
The difference between the 3 is based on whom the service is aimed at. The personal plan (priced at $19mo) will allow for only one recipient name, so is geared towards digital nomads, remote professionals, and single travelers.
The shared plan ($29mo) allows for 5 recipient names and is appropriate for families and groups of travelers. Meanwhile, the premium plan ($79mo) is designed for small businesses, providing a high mail quota and up to 20 recipients on the account.
Upon signing up the user chooses an address provided by the Earth Class Mail network, while also selecting the plan that best suits their need.
Earth Class Mail also offers automatic check deposit services with their unique online tool identifying checks and requesting permission from the virtual mailbox post owner to deposit it so as to save the owner the bank trip.
Likewise, checks can be forwarded to a customer using the mail forwarding service if one wants to personally deposit the check.
There is also excellent customer support and a reliable 99.9percent uptime which ensures that the service runs without interruptions caused by server downtimes.
Regarding mail forwarding, all 3 mailbox plans come with exterior item scans for both letter mails and packages with the scans being sent directly to your email or online mailbox for you to determine whether the mail or package should be forwarded to your real address.
If mail forwarding is chosen, you need to create a shipment profile that determines how the items are packaged, when they are to be shipped, and the shipping insurance to be bought, with Earth Class Mail dealing with customs forms.
The MailRoom plans offered by Earth Class Mail are geared towards business and enterprise users. The unifying features of these plans include unlimited recipients, free shredding, 30 days of mail storage, and a wide selection of business addresses.
The differentiating factor here is the allocated mail quota, with the 3 plans being set as follows:
- Start-up MailRoom = $139mo (100 pieces of mail)
- Business MailRoom = $229mo (250 pieces of mail)
- Enterprise MailRoom = From $1,029 (Full customizable)
One of the mail reasons Earth Class Mail is our top pick for businesses is the level of clarity on pricing and the customizable nature of the enterprise package.
In short, if your business needs comprehensive mail management facilities, this is the company, best served to provide them. This doesn’t come cheap mind you.
- Related Content: Anytime Mailbox Review: The Mailbox Service to Use in 2021?
4. BEST BUDGET: AnyTime Mailbox Review
From one of the most expensive virtual mail services to one of the lowest-priced. It’s time to look at our winning best budget virtual mail provider of 2021, AnyTime Mailbox.
Offering over 1000 location addresses, (Anytime Mailbox also provides addresses outside of the USA), the service has all the features you would expect from a virtual mailbox including package and mail forwarding, scanning, storage as well as secure document shredding. The company will also oversee the secure handling of check deposits.
Monthly plans as low as $6.50
This is where the service really shines for the budget-minded user. The lowest-priced plans are depended on the location (out of the 1000+ addresses, very few offer the lowest rate of $6.50), however, if you are flexible on the virtual address you choose, sub $10 a month plans are a common feature.
Here’s an example of an $8.99 plan based in California:
However, the important issue to note on the lowest-priced plans with AnyTime Mailbox, is that the cost will quickly add up if you have frequent mail that needs to be managed.
Here’s a breakdown of what you get with this Californian virtual address:
Here, you can receive 10 mail items a month which is appropriate for an individual user. However, opening and scanning cost $0.99 per page. This will add up quickly if you use the service.
Our point is, although Anytime Mailbox offers some great value monthly packages, you should think carefully about your potential usage in order to purchase the most appropriate plan for your needs.
Get it wrong and it may not be such good value any more.
Bronze, Silver, Gold & Unlimited Packages
Another benefit of AnyTime Mailbox is the sheer variety of their plans. Each address generally offers bronze, silver, gold, and unlimited packages, the main difference being the number of incoming mail items you can receive for free within your monthly quota.
Because the address you choose has an impact on the number of features and price of the plans, it is best to browse their website for more in-depth details on what each location provides.
However, it is worth noting that although the company does offer remote check deposit services on some plans, it is not available at all locations.
Also, unlimited is a bit of a misnomer as in many instances unlimited packages will still incur charges over a set amount of mail item scans. The “unlimited” generally relates to aspects such as shredding, recycling, and storage, etc.
Here’s an example of an “Unlimited” plan breakdown:
As you can see, unlimited does not apply to all features. This is a common feature (some may say flaw) with AnyTime Mailbox. On one level, the range of packages provides a lot of flexibility to the user.
However, it does require a little more research on the part of the potential customer… there’s a lot of options to filter through.
5. US Global Mail Review
However, the inclusion of the company certainly had to make our list of the best virtual mailbox companies.
US Global Mail has been around since 1999 and is one of the largest providers in the USA. With over 20 years in the game, they clearly have been doing something right.
The Houston based operation is very popular with US ex-pats and now has over 80,000 subscribers.
With up to 80% off shipping costs due to the relationship the company has with the likes of DHL and UPS, there’s a lot to like.
Let’s have a closer look at what they offer.
The Three Main Service Plans
US Global Mail has 3 main plans Individuals, Business, and Company Relocation.
Each plan has the following services as standard:
Which is the right plan for you?
The three plans available cater to very specific needs. Your personal situation will direct you to the appropriate level of service.
Individual (& family) Plan
The individual plan is designed for ex-pats, overseas retirees, digital nomads, and backpackers. It can be upgraded at a small cost to cater to families; this basically involves adding additional names to the account.
With this service package, you will receive all the features listed in the box above, which should take care of most individual needs.
If you opt for the 2-year plan, it comes in at a very low $10.00 a month. For this price, you will have a physical US-based address (in Houston) and 24/7 access to the online virtual mailbox interface.
You will also have included mail scanning, correspondence pre-sorted for junk mail, free shredding, and up to 80% off on shipping rates to a destination of your choosing.
The business plan is a popular choice and was highly regarded by our contact out in Vietnam.
The main difference between this and the standard individual/family package is that you have access to a US-based office address and have a higher volume of items that can be processed each month.
A business address rather than a P.O Box is an important benefit to companies. The price on a 2-year basis for the business plan is $20.00 a month.
The third package is a very unique assortment of services as far as virtual mailbox providers go.
The service is designed to help give large companies global mobility. Here a company can expand into different, foreign markets while having all mail items managed by US Global Mail.
As stated on their website, the service will help “reduce costs and HR headaches with handling employee mail in house. Eliminate risk, liability, and compliance issues.”
The specifics of the service are done in a bespoke manner, therefore no pricing information is available. The company will literally tailor a service plan to suit the demands of your company and its situation.
This makes US Global Mail one of the best virtual mailbox alternatives to Earth Class Mail if you own a business.
- Related Content: Earth Class Mail Review – Worth the Money in 2021?
A Check List of US Global Mail Service Features
Below is an extensive list of services that are included within US Global Mail plans. Some are asterisked to indicate where additional fees apply.
The Interface (Real Time Mail Management)
As we have covered throughout this review round up one of the most important features of a virtual mailbox service is the online interface the subscriber uses to manage their mail.
Here it can be said that US Global Mail delivers in spades. In fact, they actually boast real-time mail management.
Once a mail item is received at your provided US address, you receive a ‘ping’ notification. This will contain an image of the parcel or envelope that has arrived for you.
From within the app or online interface, you can then select what you want to happen; the contents scanned, shredded, or packaged and forwarded to your current location.
(If the item is a check, you can even have it paid into your bank account as per your instructions)
Response time from when you select action on your mail to it happening is very short, (the company states within 30 minutes however the reality is often much faster).
And all of this is carried out from a very intuitive and easy to use interface.
80% savings on shipping costs
A huge benefit of US Global Mail is the reduction you can enjoy on shipping costs.
The huge volume of items that the company has to ship on the behalf of its subscribers means they receive hefty discounts from the shipping companies.
These discounts are then passed on to you.
US Global mail has relationships with all the main US postal services including the big three: FedEx, UPS, and DHL.
Not only do you get discounted shipping to any location around the world, but the service will also take care of any repackaging and will also bundle items for reduced costs and greater efficiency.
This aspect of the service has made US Global Mail popular with online shoppers around the world looking to purchase items from US-based eCommerce stores.
As an expat it also means home isn’t that far away after all.
6. Mailbox Forwarding Review
Mailbox Forwarding is a reputable service provider of high-quality virtual mailbox services. Along with the normal features you would expect, the company also provides fax services.
This company places special emphasis on providing global mail access 24/7 to travelers, expatriates, and businesses.
Mailbox Forwarding comes with its own proprietary and easy-to-use online mailbox management service that allows you to access their emails 24/7 from anywhere so long as there is a reliable internet connection.
This online mailbox management offers 3 key options for mail handling; scan mail contents, forward mail, or shred mail.
The service also comes with an email notification feature that notifies one when mail has been received so that one can choose what to do with the mail.
Mailbox Forwarding Monthly Plans
The services offered by Mailbox Forwarding come in three different service plans; Basic plan, Professional plan, and the Premium plan.
The screenshot from their website below showcases what you can get with each plan.
All these 3 plans come bundled with an online postal mailbox, mail forwarding services, free mail storage (for one month), secure mail shredding, postal mail scanning, and a shared toll-free fax-line.
The scanned documents are sent as PDF documents to your email address or to an online mailbox. As with other services, you can then decide whether the mail or package should be forwarded to your real address.
If you choose mail forwarding, you need to create a shipment profile that determines how the items are packaged, when they are to be shipped, and the shipping insurance to be bought.
Thereafter, the parcel is shipped through USPS, UPS, or FedEx.
7. USA2Me Service Review
USA2Me is a dedicated provider of US mail forwarding services. It is mainly intended for the use of individuals or businesses based outside of the U.S, that require a U.S address in order to buy or sell products in the United States.
It, therefore, specializes in providing 2 key services; virtual mailbox addresses and forwarding of mails and packages.
Even so, these 2 key services come bundled with other virtual mailbox services such as mail storage, mail scanning, and secure shredding of junk mail. It also provides fax services.
The complete service suite allows one to set up a U.S-based virtual office, or to shop for items in the U.S; and for retail or distributor businesses, it allows them to set up re-mailing services for sending packages to their U.S-based customers using cheaper U.S postage rates.
In other words, it allows a foreign business to establish a virtual presence in the U.S, as well as achieve global mail access at any time.
All these services are provided by the family-owned company, USA2Me.com, which ensures that complaints can be addressed to the company itself or resolved through its customer support department.
This service provider can convert shipment and inventory documents, among other physical mails, correspondences, checks, and invoices, into digital documents through secure scanning so that they can be uploaded into a digital mail platform such as e-mails, apps, or its official website portal for the user to view and download the documents.
Likewise, this company comes with its own proprietary and easy-to-use online mailbox management service that allows one to access their mails from anywhere and at any time.
This online mailbox management offers 3 main options for mail handling; scan mail contents, forward mail, or shred mail.
USA2Me Monthly Plans
The services offered by USA2Me.com come in 4 different service plans. These plans are the Basic plan, Standard plan, Premium plan, and the Ultimate plan.
All these 4 plans come bundled with an online postal mailbox, mail forwarding services, free mail storage (for at least a month), postal mail scanning, and fax reception.
However, the Basic plan lacks the secure mail shredding option, while the other 3 plans offer this service for free.
If you choose mail forwarding, you need to create a shipment profile that determines how the items are packaged, when they are to be shipped, and the shipping insurance to be bought. Thereafter, the parcel is shipped through a courier service of your choice.
Virtual Mailbox Services – A Buyer’s Guide
The internet revolution has simplified the way people send and receive mails and letters, with the digital electronic mail (e-mail) supplanting the traditional mailbox as the most popular mode of sending mail messages.
Even so, packages and some letters need to be delivered to a physical mailbox, and this requires one to have a physical mailbox address. For those that do not have access to this address a mail forwarding company, or virtual mailbox service can be very useful.
Let’s now look at the types of situations where such a service is beneficial.
Who Benefits from a Virtual Mailbox?
A virtual mailbox can be beneficial to a wide range of people and circumstances, let’s take a look at a few of them now.
Expats (Individuals and families)
If you are living full time in a foreign country but still have connections back home (bills, voting, and taxation for instance), you will want an easy way of sending and receiving mail from your native land.
This is especially relevant if you are living abroad for work, and maybe returning to your home country after a year or two, once the position ends. You may still own a property and have other ties back home that make it necessary to have a physical mailing address so that you can receive important mail.
If so, using a virtual mailing address in your former home state would prove very beneficial.
Online Business Owners
Another situation where a virtual address can assist is where someone is operating an online business from their home.
A virtual mailing address means you can use a more professional-sounding address located in a big city. It also stops business-orientated junk mail from coming into your letterbox.
However, the biggest benefit is privacy. You will not have to make your home address public on platforms such as your website or business social media accounts.
If you are lucky enough to be on an extended travel journey (something that doesn’t really exist in our current COVID-19 stricken world) and will be away from home for months or even longer, you may want to use a virtual mailbox service so that you can keep up to date with all your correspondence.
It certainly beats hassling friends, family, or your housemates from taking care of your mail by sending you screenshots every other day. They will definitely thank you for finding an alternative way of sorting it out.
Digital nomads are increasingly becoming a large market for virtual mailbox services, (with some such as Traveling Mailbox, launching their new phone app to meet the standards of tech-aware customers).
If you are one of the close to 5 million Americans classed as digital nomads, (no fixed abode as you work in various destinations from the comfort of your laptop), a virtual mailbox will give you as much freedom over the when, where, and how of your mail as your lifestyle demands.
If you’re on the road in your RV for several months of the year but still within the U.S, a virtual mailbox could really be of assistance to you.
Life on the road makes it difficult to keep on top of your mail, and for receiving packages. With a virtual address, you can have your important mail forwarded to your next destination or a convenient pickup point along your route.
What you can expect with a virtual mailbox service
The online postal mailbox is normally offered as a service package called virtual mailbox services.
The virtual post mailbox comes with a professional address of your choice with the associated street address allowing any courier to deliver your mailboxes at a designated point.
Likewise, this online PO box comes with another unique service; mail forwarding, which allows your mails and packages that have been delivered to your virtual post mailbox to be forwarded to your real address upon your request.
Expectedly, the virtual post mailbox offers all the services provided by the traditional PO mailbox.
- Related Content: What is the best virtual phone system on the market in 2018
Still, depending on the virtual mailbox services package that you have subscribed to, the Online PO Box can come with additional services such as online mailbox management, mail scanning services, junk mail filtering, hybrid mail services, and mail delivery options for both international and domestic mails.
Even so, the virtual mailbox service provider (VMSP) does not allocate you a physical address, but instead collects and processes all your mails as per your agreements before forwarding them to you, hence the term virtual address.
Choosing a Virtual Mailbox Service – What are your needs?
If you remain undecided after reading the various reviews above, it could be that you are not clear about what you need from the virtual mailbox service.
This is understandable, with the many options available to you, sorting through what would suit you best can be confusing.
If this is the case, the following questions may help you narrow your focus to the all-important features for you.
A Word about Virtual Mailbox Fees
A word of warning when looking at the various mailbox service available, prices vary widely and some packages may have hidden fees that can add up if you go over your allocated quota.
An example would be the number of mail scans you can have in a given month, go over this and you can be charged per sheet scanned. A business user may run into problems when receiving large documents.
Most services will also charge extra for the cheque depositing feature. You should also watch out for markups on the forwarding services. Some providers will allow you to choose the postal service you use (UPS, DHL, etc), others have less of a selection, meaning forwarding packages could be less cost-effective.
A benefit of many of the leading service providers is that their different packages (and applicable fee structures) are designed to suit the demands of personal users as well as business owners.
You can choose one with the relevant features that meet your needs. A business owner will pay more for higher security, and other office-related services for instance.
Essentially, however, all services work on a monthly fee basis, with additional charges for forwarding mail and packages, depositing cheques, and receiving/scanning letters above the monthly quota. The important fact is to know in advance, how much extra those fees might be.
Key advantages of using a mail forwarding service
There are 4 key advantages that a virtual post mailbox offers over the traditional postal mailbox.
1. Best mail scanning service
To begin with, the virtual mailbox provides the best mail scanning service. Most packages will include an online mailbox management service that allows for mails to be scanned and then uploaded online or sent to an email address for one to view.
Usually, when a mail is sent to the specific online PO box address, the front of the envelope is automatically scanned, and sent as an image to the address owner as a part of a mail received notification.
2. Increased document security
The owner can be confident that their mail is handled securely. You will be able to instruct the service provider to open the mail and scan its contents, and thereafter upload the scanned document to a specific email address.
The owner can also choose to have the mail opened, scanned and then shredded. Likewise, one can choose to have the mail returned back to the sender or shredded if it is not needed.
3. Best package forwarding service
Likewise, the mail or package can be forwarded to a specific address or placed on hold for the owner to come and physically collect it from the service provider. This is a very efficient system that can all be controlled from your online user control panel.
4. Access to your mailbox anytime and anywhere
Because all the mail handling is conducted remotely, with the contents uploaded for you to view, the service gives you the ability to access the mailbox at anytime and from anywhere.
This makes the virtual post pox the best mail forwarding service for expats and travelers, living and working away from home.
5. A reputable virtual address for business
Another major advantage is that the VMSP is based at a reputable commercial location, and this allows one to own an online PO box address that has a real/physical (commercial) street address hence allowing the mailbox holder to have a professional address that enhances his/her professional image.
This is especially important for owners of small businesses who need to build confidence and trust with their customers.
You can also receive mail packages from all couriers with the VMSP being there to sign for the parcels.
6. Flexible services
A good service will provide hybrid mail. This allows a letter to be delivered in both electronic and physical (hard-copy) formats.
This means that digital data in an email letter is converted into a physical letter item upon printing, and this form of a letter is called a Letter Mail or L-mail.
The printing centers are distributed across a region, with the VMSP ensuring that the L-mail is printed by a printing center that is closest to the delivery address.
7. Reliable ‘Letter Mail’ Delivery
During this process, the printer is called the mail transfer agent (s)he issues the printed letter to a mail transport agent who packs the letter in an envelope and then gives the sealed enveloped to a mail delivery agent (also called a postman) for delivery to the physical address of the online PO box holder.
Likewise, there is a reverse system that ensures that handwritten letters are scanned and delivered as an email attachment. This type of letter is called a Letter eMail.
Tips on collecting your forwarded mail
If you have no fixed address (you’re a digital nomad, backpacker, or RVer for example), collecting forwarded packages isn’t always straight-forward. You’re a person on the move, and knowing where you will be when the mail arrives can be difficult.
However, with a little planning and/or foresight, it doesn’t need to be a big deal. Here are some tips on where to send your forwarded mail.
A digital nomad can use a coworking space to receive mail. If you are a member of one of the larger providers, you can expect to find a space in most larger cities across America.
Not only are you likely running your online enterprise from one of their hot desks, but you can also have your mail collected at the reception desk.
Commercial Delivery Services: FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc
Local offices of major delivery services will store a parcel for you if you have used their service to ship it from the virtual mailbox provider depot.
You should find out how long they hold the package for, however, as most will send them back to the sender within 10 days to 2 weeks, (it varies, hence it being important you check).
It is also worth phoning ahead to the office you plan on sending the package to, to get the most up to date advice.
If you know in advance that you will be staying at a hotel/hostel for a set period of time, (several days or more), it is possible to have mail sent to the address of the place.
You will need to time the delivery for the period of your stay, however. A delayed package is a pain if you are planning on moving on to your next destination.
Overall, this is the riskiest method to collect your mail as it is logistically more difficult.
Local Post Offices
Post offices across the UK and other countries in Europe will allow you to forward your mail to main depots for pick up upon arrival. Again, phoning ahead to see which offices provide this service is advised.