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Thinking of retiring abroad? Read this first

About 10,000 baby boomers retire every day.

 

Yet, according to a study by Northwestern Mutual, 45% think there’s a chance that they’ll outlive their savings. For many, the answer to this problem is to continue working long past the day they turn 65. But there’s another option to consider- retiring abroad.

 

Retiring abroad, specifically in a country where the cost of living is lower than that of the US, allows you to maintain the lifestyle you have with a smaller budget in addition to experiencing the adventure of exploring a new country and its culture.

 

Each and every year, thousands and thousands of people choose to take advantage of geographical arbitrage to retire overseas much earlier than they would have been able to in the US. They get to live like royalty on a budget that would have been almost impossible to pull off in America, all without having to sacrifice a lot of the amenities and opportunities that they would have enjoyed back home, too.

 

Retiring abroad still isn’t a picnic though, so here’s what you need to do to start planning:

 

Decide when to retire

 

Do you want to? Retiring past 65 out of choice isn’t abnormal. You might enjoy your job and want to further your career or maybe you enjoy the social interaction it provides. Many retirees cite that they feel bored.Do you have enough money? Try speaking with a financial adviser . There’s also the less expensive option of using a retirement calculator.

 

There are a lot of open parts and pieces of the puzzle you’ll have to put together when you want to retire overseas and abroad, but the most important thing – by far – is figuring out when you want to retire in the first place.

 

A lot of people are under the impression that they have to wait until they hit 65 to give up punching the clock and working 9 to 5, but again a lot of that has to do with our cultural idea of retirement here in the United States.

 

When you choose to retire abroad you can (oftentimes) retire much earlier than that – sometimes 20 or even 30 years earlier, depending on where you want to live, how much you have available to live off of, and what you want to do during your retirement, too.

 

But just as you wouldn’t head out on a road trip (or retire halfway across the world) without and ultimate destination in mind you cannot effectively plan for your retirement without first figuring out when want to walk away from the rat race and live life on your terms.

 

Budgeting

 

How much do you have in your personal savings? Do you receive a pension? Does your employer have a 401k plan? How much do you expect from Social Security? According to AARP, the average Social Security Benefit in 2019 was $1,461 which considerably less than the average wage of most Americans.

 

The best time to plan and budget for your retirement was the very first moment you started to make any money at all, but the second best time to start planning and budgeting for your retirement is right now – this very moment.

 

This is true even if you do not necessarily have a mountain of money on hand to begin retiring with right now. You’ll want to sock away anything and everything you can to start building up that nest egg – investing smartly there’s something we highlight in just a moment – so that you can get the ball rolling and figure out how long it’s going to take you to achieve your retirement goals.

 

The budget that you’ll need to comfortably retire is going to be influenced in a big part based on where you’re going to retire, whether or not you’re going to work part-time while you are retired, and whether or not your investments are income producing or strictly “nest egg only”.

 

For obvious reasons, those willing to pick up a part-time job, those with a side hustle small business that provides income on a regular basis, and those with income producing investments are going to be able to accelerate their retirement timeline quite a bit more than those that are strictly saving up until they have enough to pull the ripcord.

 

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all kind of budget when it comes to retiring, though, so really spend time thinking about how you want to live, where you want to live, and how much money you’ll need to live comfortably going forward.

 

Consider Investing Overseas

 

If you realize you may not have as a big of a budget as you planned consider investing overseas. Many choose to put all your eggs in one basket by investing only in the US. But with overseas investments you take on less risk because you’re gaining income in different currencies. And with more countries switching to free-market economies, their growth rates can be up to three times faster than developed market economies.

 

Global investment opportunities (particularly in channels like real estate, Forex, and other markets) open up a world of investments that wouldn’t have existed if you limited yourself exclusively to US-based investment vehicles.

 

It’s a good idea to dip your toe in the water a little bit as you get established, though, just so you can sort of feel things out. But there’s also a lot of potential to take advantage of in these relatively untapped markets that can dramatically accelerate your retirement timeline in ways you might not have ever thought possible before.

 

Diversity is a huge piece of the puzzle to successful investing with your retirement in mind. You certainly don’t want to pile up all of your savings into a singular investment, crossing your fingers that nothing bad happens, only to get wiped out because of a market correction or downturn that leaves you with a lot less than you started off with.

 

Make smart, savvy, and strategic decisions when it comes to investing through diversified opportunities and you’ll have a lot less to worry about choose one or two of those investments not pan out as well as you had hoped initially.

 

Choose which country is the best place to retire

 

There are many important factors to consider. What type of climate do you enjoy? Are you interested in learning about the native culture? Is there a thriving expat community? How do the country’s citizens generally treat foreigners? But the most important question is does the cost of living fit within your budget?

 

With a budget of $1,000-$1,500 per month consider:

 

lifeguard on a beach
  • Indonesia Indonesia boasts the 2nd largest tropical forest in the world, coral reefs to go snorkeling in, and volcanoes to hike on.
  • Bolivia Bolivia offers a temperature climate, indigenous folk music, and beautiful tours through its salt flats.
  • Armenia In Armenia, one can enjoy the view of Mt. Ararat, travelling via rope-way, and the medieval architecture.
  • Fiji retiring in Fiji means, romantic getaways in bungalows, fresh seafood, snorkeling and diving, and an abundance of local culture to take part in.
  • Grenada In Grenada, forests, mountains and tranquil beaches contribute to amazing scenery. It’s also known for it’s chocolate, friendly locals, and exquisite carnivals.
  • Laos Laos is mostly known for its many rivers and cave systems. And with 130 ethnic groups there’s a vast amount of culture to learn and absorb.
  • Montenegro Montenegro offers some of the best hiking in all of Europe, picturesque villages, and affordable yachting on the Adriatic sea.
  • Nepal In Nepal, one can hike the Annapurna Circuit, go on safaris, and visit the many Buddhist and Hindu temples.
  • Nicaragua known for its colonial architecture, wildlife, and lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua is a great place to dive and hike.
  • ZimbabweZimbabwe boasts quality safaris, national parks, waterfalls, and plenty of archaeological ruins to explore.

 

With a budget of $2,000-$2,500 per month consider:

 

colosseum with tourists

 

  • Panama With its primary currency being the US dollar, Panama is very familiar for US retirees. It’s also known for its canal, the biodiversity within its islands, and excellent coffee.
  • Costa Rica Costa Rica is known for its beaches, rivers, rain forest, exotic crops,and abundance of turtles.
  • Mexico Mexico boasts amazing food, live music, and art, along with beautiful beaches and plenty of colonial towns to explore.
  • Ecuador In Ecuador, you can soak in natural hot springs, ride the Devil’s Nose through the Andes, and sleep in an Amazon rainforest lodge.
  • Malaysia Malaysia home to a vast number of caves, beaches, and islands. It’s also known for it’s tea, hiking, and chinatowns.
  • Columbia Whale-watching, snorkeling, and journeying through the amazon are just a few of the many activities Columbia has to offer.
  • Portugal In Portugal, you can take gondola rides, visit castles, whale-watch, ride through the Rio Douro Valley , and much more.
  • Thailand Thailand boasts year-round sunshine, friendly people, and amazing food and culture.
  • Spain In Spain, you can visit beautiful churches, delectable wine, plenty of history and art, as well as great food.
  • Italy Italy is home to Vatican City, the Colosseum, amazing food, fashion, and extensive history.

 

With a budget of $2,500+:

 

puerto vallarta

You could live almost everywhere comfortably; Another option available for you would be to aim for a more luxurious lifestyle. Gated Communities in foreign countries not only have spectacular views and actives at lower prices, but also give you a chance to mingle with fellow expats. For example, Vista Encantada is a gated community consisting of lots, homes, and condos just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  You can get to know your neighbors at the common area pool, BBQ’s, or the botanical gardens; Take a hike or morning walk through the jungles that surround both sides and enjoy spectacular ocean views; or pay a visit  to Costa Canuva, the popular new tourist destination  only a few minutes away with 5 diamond restaurants, hotels, and a magnificent golf course.  At a place like Vista Encantada, you can retire in paradise.  To reach out to them, check out their official website or Facebook.

 

Apply for Residency

 

letters saying retired

 

If you’re planning to spend the rest of your retirement in one country you’ll need to apply for residency. Some countries are eager for overseas retirees and even offer benefits and special retiree visa programs. To qualify, they typically have you meet a minimum monthly income, a certain amount of money deposited in a local bank, or invest in a business.

 

Recognize and understand that any international locale that you have decided to retire in will have its own rules of its own regulations, and its own laws dictating how foreign citizens are able to retire within their borders – and make sure that you are strictly adhering to those rules, regulations, and laws.

 

Nobody wants to preplan an entire retirement only to discover that they fill out the proper paperwork and now they have to fight lengthy legal battles far from home, legal battles that are going to suck up a lot of the money that they set aside to retire on in the first place.

 

Most of this paperwork can be navigated all on your own without too much headache or hassle. At the same time, it may not be a bad idea to have a trusted attorney that specializes in this area (and the locale you are retiring in) to double check that everything is good to go and you haven’t overlooked any of the fine print.

 

Health Insurance

 

Medicare doesn’t apply overseas and it’s unlikely your private insurance will as well. You’ll need to explore either getting an insurance plan in your new country, buying an international health insurance policy, or paying out-of-pocket for every medical expense. Paying out-of-pocket can sound expensive but the cost of medical care is different in every country. Depending on where you go, routine care can be significantly cheaper.

 

There are entire communities worldwide that are set up specifically by ex-pats that are built on the back of international locales with amazing health insurance and great healthcare. Bangkok, in particular, has some of the best and most affordable healthcare you’re going to find in the international community – particularly if you are a nonresident/noncitizen retiree.

 

These are the kinds of things you want to consider before you choose your ultimate retirement destination. As you get older your medical needs are going to increase, and you’ll want to be sure that you can count on a high quality of care, a high standard of medicine in that area, and a level of affordability that isn’t going to wipe out your retirement budget.

 

Tax and Legal Obligations

filling taxes
Retiring abroad can mean additional reporting and filing.  And if you plan on working as a resident in another country, you should seek legal advice. If you’re planning on living in Portugal , Gil Figueira & Devillet Lima Advogados, or GFDL, is a Portuguese law firm that focuses on representing foreign clients in Portuguese speaking jurisdictions as well as Portuguese clients worldwide. With a skilled team and experience in real estate, private equity, Private client and asset protection, they’re easily able to advise you on your unique and challenging needs. To reach out to them check out their official website, Linkedin, or Facebook.

 

Mail

 

paper mail gets uploaded into a virtual mailbox

 

Lastly, there’s the question of how to receive your mail. Whether you’re planning to travel to many different countries or retiring abroad in one country, this is extremely important. Bank Statements, IRS, and Voter Registration all require a mailing address. The solution to this problem is to get a virtual mailbox. A virtual mailbox is a service that offers a permanent  US street address. With US Global Mail, the exterior of your mail is scanned and uploaded as soon as it arrives. Then, you decide whether to have it opened and scanned, shredded, or forwarded to a different address. You can have access to your mail within minutes no matter where you are.

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Should I Rent A PO Box?

In this article, we will be covering the topic of PO Boxes: Is it really an important part of life in the 21st century or are there any better alternatives? 

 

Here’s everything you need to know.

 

What Is A PO Box?

 

A Post Office, or PO box, is a mailbox located in one of the 31,000 Post offices across the United States. With over 21 million available, businesses and individuals are able to rent these boxes to receive their mail and packages. 

 

How Does a PO Box Work

 

The process for taking advantage of a PO Box is really simple and straightforward, and learning how PO boxes work isn’t going to take you very long at all.

 

To get things going, you’ll have to find a post office location that you want to set up your PO Box in to begin with.

 

Most people are going to find a post office that is located near their home or business (just for the sake of convenience), though you could certainly choose a PO Box pretty much anywhere and everywhere you’d like in the United States.

 

After choosing a postal office location, then you’ll need to go through the actual process of figuring out how PO boxes work and how to sign up for one.

 

You’ll need to choose the size of the PO Box that you are most interested in, figure out how much that PO Box is going to cost, and then you’re going to have to provide identifying information and documents that allow you to officially sign up mail at that specific location.

 

Another piece of the puzzle to figuring out how PO boxes work is determining the length of the rental agreement you are going to enter into with the post office.

 

Some people are only going to need a temporary place to get mail while they are traveling for work, away at school, etc. Short-term rental agreements – usually three months in total – are available, though you can also sign up for six month engagements, twelve month engagements, and even longer terms if you are going to be sticking around in that area (or are going to want the box for that amount of time, to).

 

After signing up, you’ll then need to go to the postal office location physically, use the key that has been provided to you to open up your box, and then take physical ownership of your mail. If you have too much mail for the box size – or if you have packages that have been sent to that PO Box address – you’ll usually find a secondary key inside the box to access a dedicated storage locker to receive the overflow or the bigger packages.

 

Be sure to return the key when you are done (usually at the front desk or in a dedicated dropbox) and you are good to go. Now you know exactly how PO boxes work!

 

How Much Are PO Boxes?

 

The price will vary based on the duration of the rent agreement as well as the mailbox size. A P.O box for 6 months will cost as little as $19 and up to $75 in certain locations. For more information on pricing, please visit the official USPS website.

 

Why Do You Need To Get a PO Box?

 

There are a couple of reasons behind why people get a PO Box to begin with, but the first one is that rural mail delivery isn’t always the most consistent thing in the world – especially in areas where homes and properties are spread out across a pretty wide geographical area.

 

There are a lot of towns and municipalities in the United States where home mail delivery just isn’t all that possible, at least not with any real efficiency. The USPS recommends that those kinds of homeowners take advantage of PO Box services to enjoy more consistent mail delivery, and almost always offer significantly discounted rates (if not totally free rates) depending on certain situations.

 

Other folks trying to figure out why get a PO Box are going to want to separate their physical address – the residential or business address – apart from their mailing address.

 

Business owners (especially those that do not a silly need to conduct business out of a physical location) are particularly most interested in leveraging the benefits of a PO Box when it comes to privacy and a little more anonymity.

 

There aren’t too terribly many business owners out there that want to give away their home address to customers and clients that always have become unhappy or disgruntled, for obvious reasons. This is especially true when you are running an online business and have to know face-to-face interaction with your clients.

 

Nobody wants a stranger to arrive on their doorstep, unhappy and potentially causing an unsafe situation, just because your residential address is doing double duty as your businesses mailing address.

 

Obviously, there are other benefits of a PO Box that you want to consider – having a secure location to receive mail at and one of them. There’s a reason why the USPS has millions of people taking advantage of PO Box services each and every year.

 

PO Box Sizes

 

Across all Post Office locations in the US, there are 5 standard PO Box sizes that you can pick from. Each box will come with a different pricing plan.

 

  1. X-Small (3″ x 5 1/2″ x 14 3/4″)
  2. Small (5″ x 5 1/2″ x 14 3/4″)
  3. Medium (11″ x 5 1/2” x 14 3/4″)
  4. Large (11″ x 11″ x 14 3/4″)
  5. X-Large (22 1/2″ x 12″ x 14 3/4″)

 

Wondering how they can benefit you?

 

Here are the Pros and Cons to getting a P.O. Box VS the alternative: a Virtual Mailbox

 

 

PROS

 

1. Permanent Address

 

Moving itself is already a hassle; you’re packing up your entire life. But now you have to change the mailing address for your bills and bank statements, not to mention the IRS and other government programs. And what happens if you’re already gone and your bank statement arrived at your old address? Then there’s a possibility of having your identity stolen and used to commit fraud and run up credit cards. With a PO Box there’s no need to update your mailing address every time you move, because it’s permanent.

 

2. Privacy

 

Your home is for your private life; the fewer strangers knowing where you live, the better. Having a PO Box allows you to give out a mailing address that doesn’t subject you to danger. For example, if you’re a business owner or providing services for someone and they’re far from satisfied, you don’t want that disgruntled customer knowing where you live.

 

po boxes at the post office

 

3. Professionalism

 

A PO Box is very useful for small business, but it’s not just for protection against angry customers. If you can’t afford an office space, P.O. Box helps you appear more professional in comparison to your home address. It also makes sorting mail easier when the mail for home and business aren’t lumped together

 

4. Delivery Time

 

Since PO boxes are located in the post office, it’s delivered much faster than it would be to a residential mailbox. A PO Box removes the wait time that a postman delivering mail to you. Your mail is ready for pickup as early as 11 am.

 

privacy and security

 

5. Security

 

A PO Box is a lot more secure than a mailbox on the street or in front of an apartment building. It’s under surveillance and locked inside a building. This leaves you less vulnerable to mail thieves who may use your mail to steal your identity. It’s also not exposed to the elements. When Grandma sends you candy, it’s not as fun to eat it when it’s melted from the summer heat or water logged from the rain. Mail delivered to a P.O. Box is only exposed to the light breeze wafting from the air conditioner.

 

CONS

 

A PO Box isn’t all rainbows and air conditioning though. To make an educated decision you need to understand the disadvantages that PO Boxes have as well.

 

pros & cons of scheduling a pickup

 

1. You Have to Pick it Up

 

Having a PO Box means that rather than a short walk to your mailbox, you have to drive all the way to the post office. For some that’s 10 minute drive, for others it’s longer, and it’s especially not fun after a long day of work. However, if you live in a rural area that mail is hard to deliver to, this won’t have a big effect.

 

2. No 24/7 Access

 

Many Post offices don’t offer the 24/7 that a residential mailbox does. The times available may not always be the time available for you, especially during the holidays

 

3. Not Professional

 

If you’re a small business owner, a PO Box can make you appear less professional. I know what you’re thinking. “You said the exact opposite earlier!” While a PO Box appears more professional than a home address, it’s still indicative that you don’t have an office space. If you want peak professionalism you’ll have to fork over more money for street address.

 

4. It Overflows

 

PO Boxes come in different sizes that correlate with their price. You may immediately want to go for the smallest size to save money, but if you do, you’ll need to make that drive to the post office more frequently. If you’re box constantly overflows you’ll be charged with caller service fees that can amount to 500$ over 6 months.

 

ups truck

 

5. No Mail From Other Carriers

 

It’s federal law that only a postal employee or box user can put anything into their box. As a result, major shipping companies, FedEX and UPS only deliver mail to actual street address. With a PO Box you can end up only being able to receive USPS mail.

 

6. No Additional Services

 

The USPS has tried to improve recently. You can now have informed delivery for residential PO Boxes, but it’s still lacking in comparison to the other option you have: a virtual mailbox.

 

PO Box Alternatives

 

Though there are a multitude of benefits of a PO Box (many of which we have highlighted above) there are also a couple of drawbacks – including the ones that we made mention of earlier.

 

Thankfully though, you are not limited to only having to choose between a physical address that you used to double as your mailing address and a PO Box available directly from the United States Postal Service.

 

You can also choose to take advantage of a whole host of PO Box alternatives, many of which combine the best things about a traditional PO Box (and operate similarly to a PO Box) with the best of the digital communication tools and technologies so many of us are used to using on a day-to-day basis.

 

The trick is in identifying the best virtual mailbox services to match your specific needs and your specific budget.

 

There are a lot of top-quality options out there for you to pick and choose from, but there are a handful of options that stand head and shoulders apart from the rest of the pack – like US Global Mail, for example.

 

You’ll want to choose PO Box alternatives that have great reputations in the industry, PO Box alternatives that offer a suite of services and solutions you’ll actually be able to take great advantage of, and PO Box alternatives that fit your budget perfectly.

 

A little bit of research and due diligence will help you uncover the ideal options for you if you’re looking to move away from a PO Box without having to use a physical mailing address only. Let’s dig a little deeper into the alternative approaches below.

 

The Alternative: Virtual Mailbox

 

A virtual mailbox is almost like a PO Box, only better. You get a permanent address, privacy, security, and professionalism. What sets it apart is that it has none of the cons of a PO Box. Once you receive mail at this address, its exterior is uploaded online and you can decide whether to have it opened and scanned, shredded, or forwarded to a different address.

 

Illustration of what a virtual mailbox looks like

 

No more driving the post office! See how they compare at a glance:

 

 

How to rent a virtual mailbox

 

Interested in getting more value for your money? Learn more here or follow these 3 easy steps to start renting your own:

 

po box

 

How to rent a PO Box

 

Still interested in signing up for a PO Box? That’s okay, sometimes change can be scary. We’re still here to help though so here’s a guide on how to rent a PO Box in 5 easy steps:

 

Hope this helps. Give us a buzz if we can help answer any questions for you.

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30 Day Money Back Guarantee. Try Risk Free.

Choose the plan that’s right for you.

No one beats our plans. Or pricing. Or customer service.
No contracts or surprise fees. Tons of Free features. Try risk-free.

BASIC

$9.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$14.99 billed monthly.

  • 1 name on the account
  • Free check deposit
  • 90 days Free mail storage

PLUS

$14.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$19.99 billed monthly.

  • Add multiple family members
  • Add multiple company names
  • Upto 80% off on shipping rates
  • Free check deposit
  • 180 days free physical mail storage

All our plans come with

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100% Guarantee

Don't love it? Cancel within 30 days for a full refund.

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Permanent Street Address

Get a PO box online while maintaining a real street address.

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Smart Mailbox

Read all your mail virtually. No paper mess and a greener planet.

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No limits

Get mail from all your homes and business(es) or both in the same app.

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Free Check Deposit

Deposit bank checks virtually... with the click of a button.

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Why Snail Mail Is Still Important

In this era of endless technology expansion, the world moves at a relentlessly fast pace. Actions that used to take days now take seconds. And someone somewhere is working around the clock to shave off the time it takes to write this article.

 

In regards to communication, this causes us to wonder why we need snail mail at all. After all, there’s email or text. Why do something slow when you can do it quickly?

 

It’s no secret that we are moving away from paper communications as a society to as much of a paperless as possible – and that we are doing so at a breakneck pace, often times without ever even considering whether or not our new digital replacements are true 1:1 replacements or are a little bit lacking.

 

It’s impossible to argue against the fact that digital communications have brought a lot of speed, a lot of innovation, and a lot of really impressive advantages into the mix that traditional paper communications – like snail mail – can’t even come close to replicating.

 

At the same time, though, the odds are pretty good that we won’t ever be able to replace snail mail for a variety of different reasons – including the ones that we highlight rest of this quick guide.

 

Sure, there are people out there that are 100% certain that snail mail is going to go the way of the dinosaur sooner rather than later.

 

However, this mindset isn’t universally adopted like one would think. That’s why we’re here to give you all the reasons why snail mail is still important.

 

Let’s jump right in!


IRS Notices

 

The IRS is the #1 reason snail mail is important. Unlike scammers would have you believe, the IRS does not send notices via email or social media.

 

They send their notices through mail. Al Capone, one of the most well known gangsters of all time, got away with many crimes but even he couldn’t escape the IRS. Whether it’s a fat tax return you don’t want to miss out on or a notice that something is wrong, you’re going to need a mailing address  to communicate with the IRS.

 

A lot of governmental agencies are comfortable sending important documents and transmissions over digital channels of communication, but when you’re talking about something as important and as sensitive as tax information – and when you want to be 100% sure that this information cannot and will not be scammed, counterfeit, or altered after the fact – it’s impossible to beat the built-in advantages that snail mail and physical mailings have to offer.

 

As long as we still have a postal system (any postal system) the odds are pretty good that the IRS is going to continue to leverage and lean on it as a delivery mechanism for important documents regarding our taxes.

 

Passport and Camera on top of world map

 

Passports

 

You may be able to tweet the Department of State (@StateDept) that you want a passport, but it’s unlikely that you’ll get a response. Passport applications have to be submitted by mail and as much as we wish it were quicker, we have to wait 6-8 weeks for them to mail our new passport to us. If you don’t have a mailing address, those plans of traveling in the world might never come to fruition.

 

The idea of replacing our physical passports with digital passports has been tossed around for a while now, but again this isn’t something that we are likely to see widespread adaptation of anytime soon.

 

For starters, the technology to implement widescale digital passports that are safe, secure, and “hacker proof” just do not exist right now – and may never exist in the future, to be frank.

 

Secondly, even if the United States was able to implement a completely digital passports solution that was 100% safe, 100% secure, and 100% hacker proof there’s a high likelihood that very few (if any) other nations would be able to adapt that the exact same technology – or would be able or willing to secure and lock it down the same way that the US might have.

 

A paper passport, a physical passport, and the overall passport system as it exists today is nearly universally accepted as the gold standard for international travel. The system is easy to understand, effortless to implement, and (relatively) safe and secure in ways that digital solutions aren’t.

 

If the government needs to get you a physical passport they are going to send it out via snail mail, maintaining the “chain of ownership” from the government to your hands.

 

Sure, you might be able to pop down to a local federal building and get a passport that way – but the odds are that it will have to have been sent from the State Department to that federal building, using snail mail along the way even if it wasn’t mailed to you directly.

 

Banking

 

If you plan to own a credit card you’re going to need a mailing address. Not only is it needed for you to receive your physical credit card, it’s needed for bank statements and the address verification system (AVS). Being hacked is one of the biggest fears people have while online shopping.

 

The Address Verification System compares the numeric portion of the billing address provided to the merchant to the one on file with your card network to reduce fraud.

 

While many of us are completely comfortable doing a decent amount of our banking online (with more moving to digital banking solutions every day than ever before) it’s easy to understand why so much of our personal, private, and sensitive information when it comes to our finances needs to be tied directly to a physical address.

 

Even if you choose to move forward with “electronic only” statements and banking tools you’ll still likely need to receive paper checks, regular statements and updates, and may even need to confirm different details through the mail with your bank.

 

If that’s the case, snail mail is the ideal option to take advantage of.

 

driver's license

 

Driver’s License

 

Gone are the days of going to the DMV, passing the tests, and walking home with your Driver’s License. Now, you’re issued a paper copy and receive your license in via snail mail within 2 weeks. Want to the freedom and convince that driving give you? You’ll need a mailing address.

 

Again, GETTING your driver’s license through the mail really goes hand-in-hand with all of the other physical documents – especially identifying documents – that the government sends out to citizens via snail mail.

 

This process actually streamlines things significantly, even if you do end up having to wait between seven and 14 days (business days, usually) to get your hands on your actual physical license. By splitting the process up into two different stages – printing a paper copy that can be used to you receive your physical copy of your license – you have all of your bases covered.

 

Until DMV location start to print out physical IDs that can be used just the way that our traditional IDs are, or until we moved to a 100% digital ID set up (which is unlikely to happen anytime soon) these kinds of identifying documents are going to be sent out through the USPS.

passport on voter registration papers

 

Voter Registration

 

Voting is a civic duty of every American citizen. Being able to choose who you want representing you at every level of government is a powerful tool.

 

However, voting isn’t as simple as answering a Facebook poll. To obtain your voter registration card you’ll need an address not only to verify that you’re a resident, but to receive your card in the mail. Don’t have a mailing address? I hope you like the representative you didn’t get to choose!

 

Jury Duty

 

Generally, getting summoned for Jury Duty isn’t the highlight of someone’s day. It isn’t very fun to spend hours at a courthouse waiting to be chosen or having a trial that goes on for weeks. Jury summons come by, you guessed it, snail mail! And although it’s some most people want to avoid, doing so could lead to a judge issuing a bench warrant. They won’t be breaking down your door anytime soon, but if you happen to get pulled over, you could be hauled away and fined.

 

Job Interviews

 

If you didn’t already know, a good tip for job interview is to send them a thank you note. According to an Accountemps survey, 80% of Human Resource managers say that receiving a thank you note is helpful . However, only 24% of applicants actually send one.

 

Now you could send them a quick email. You can copy-paste your script, change a couple words, and boom, you’ve sent your thank you. But is that good enough? With a handwritten letter, there is no copy-paste, you’re using your time to write every single word and your interviewer will know that. As people use snail mail, less and less, each time someone receives a letter, it stands out that much more.

 

This is maybe one of the easiest ways to separate yourself as an interviewee from the rest of the pack, something that is especially important in a business environment and a job environment that is as competitive as the one we are living in right now.

 

On top of that, sending a handwritten letter (with your resume attached) through the mail cuts through a lot of the traditional gatekeepers that would have potentially blocked your message from landing on the right desk to begin with – helping you to “jump the line”, so to speak without having to do anything untoward or unethical.

 

 

birthday card

 

It’s More Meaningful

 

Wishing you a happy birthday or congratulating you on a big achievement with a Facebook post and money transfer isn’t difficult. It takes about 5 minutes.

 

But a card through the mail?

 

It’s especially personal. It’s a card they choose just for you, their fingers touched the paper, It’s their handwriting, it’s their spit sealing the envelope, and you know that they took the time to write it, stamp it, and drive to their mailbox all to convey how proud they are of you.

 

Time is valuable and as a result, it’s a very powerful gift.

 

Need a good mailing address?

 

Snail Mail is still important. But what if you don’t have a safe place to get your mail?

 

There are mail thieves ravaging your neighborhood or your roommates like to snoop. Or maybe you’re moving out of the country and don’t even know where to start?

 

Get a US street mailing address with US Global Mail. US Global Mail allows you to manage your snail mail online, combining the best aspects of email and snail mail into one.

 

This virtual mailbox service provides a whole host of advantages and simply wouldn’t have been able to leverage with a traditional physical mailing address or a PO Box alone. US Global Mail has a variety of different services available for individuals and businesses large and small to leverage, helping clients get the best of all worlds – snail mail and digital communication – in a way that few other firms in the industry can make possible.

 

There’s a reason why US Global Mail is universally regarded mailbox alternative companies in the industry right now. They continue to innovate, improve, and iterate the services that they make available, relying on real customer feedback and information to make sure that they are providing only the best solutions for a world that is changing rapidly.

 

If you have any questions whatsoever about the solutions US Global Mail makes possible, please don’t hesitate to reach out at your earliest convenience. You can also learn more about how these services compare to a PO Box here.

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Why do People Get a Virtual Mailbox? In 2020…

Before we get into why you should get a virtual mailbox, you’ll need to know what a Virtual Mailbox is. A virtual mailbox is a service that offers a permanent street address.

 

Basically working the same as a traditional PO Box with some digital enhancements, you’ll be able to enjoy the best of all worlds when it comes to these two completely different forms of modern communication.

 

You’ll be able to receive snail mail new this virtual mailbox just the same as you would at a physical address or at a PO Box, but after that mail has been received (packages, parcels, and envelopes – everything goes) and then goes through a digitization process that makes these solutions so special.

 

Once you receive mail at this address, its exterior is scanned and uploaded and you can decide whether to have it opened and scanned, shredded, or forwarded to a different address.

 

The best thing about this entire approach – and the number one thing that makes virtual mailbox services so different and so beneficial – is that you are in complete control of your mail in a way that just isn’t possible with any other approach.

 

The amount of control that you are able to exert over your mail – how it is handled, whether or not it is opened and scanned, how it is destroyed, or how it is forwarded to an address of your choosing – but you firmly in the driver’s seat.

 

Instead of having to handle your mail on the terms of the USPS, picking it up at the post office during specific hours, having to physically go there to get your mail, and dealing with all that headache and hassle you become your own postmaster.

 

It’s a game changing paradigm shift and there are plenty of reasons why so many smart and strategic business owners and individuals are making the switch to virtual mailbox is today.

 

Here are 5 reasons why you should get one:

 

adding snail mail in a mailbox

 

It prevents Identity Theft

 

 

Mail theft is one of the most common ways for someone to steal your identity. By rifling through your mail, a thief can collect:

 

  • Your name and address
  • Social Security number
  • Telephone numbers
  • Email address(es)
  • Employment history 
  • Credit card and bank account information
  • Pre-approved credit card offers

 

This information could allow them to easily run up credit card bills and commit fraud in your name.

 

The security of your mail is more important than most people would think. Is it really safe for your mailbox to be on the street where not only your neighbors, but strangers can walk up to it and pick a lock?  If you have a virtual mailbox, only you can access your mail online. And the warehouse your company stores it in is protected by an alarm system, security cameras, and a key-card lock.

 

When you really think about it, our traditional mailing system is anything but secure and locked down.

 

Sure, it is a federal offense to tamper with someone’s mail – and a huge crime to even open up a piece of mail that hasn’t been addressed to you – but there aren’t a lot of safeguards put in place to protect your package or your parcel as it moves through the mailing process and then gets delivered to your doorstep or to your PO Box.

 

There are a lot of “weak links in the chain”, so to speak, that can become compromised without a lot of effort – but even worse, those weak links can become compromised without you knowing there has been a compromise or without the USPS becoming aware of the compromised, either.

 

That’s a huge problem.

 

By taking advantage of virtual mailbox services you patch a lot of those flaws in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible going the “traditional” route the way that millions of Americans do with their mail each and every single day.

 

 

burglarizing a home

 

 

It Prevents your house from being burglarized

 

More people are beginning to realize the dangers of advertising when they go on vacation. 75% of burglars use social media to find their targets and ⅔ of burglaries occur when people aren’t at home.

 

But have you ever thought of how your mailbox advertises your whereabouts? 

 

An overflowing mailbox is an obvious sign that you’re not at home and an open invitation for a nefarious passerby to swipe your belongings. 

 

With a virtual mailbox:

 

  • no one is aware of your absence
  • There is no overflow, you can receive an unlimited amount of mail
  • If you expect an important document to arrive while you’re away you can just check your mailbox online while still enjoying your vacation

 

We live in a world that is a lot less accepting of privacy than ever before, with people online constantly looking for ways to identify individuals that they disagree with – often times over the smallest things imaginable.

 

The last thing you want to do is make it even easier for these individuals to find out where you live, to potentially burglarized your home, or even to terrorize you and your loved ones. No one wants to worry about someone that may mean them harm finding out where they live just because your mailing address is attached to your physical address.

 

With the help of a virtual mailbox service you’re able to eliminate those issues entirely, but you’re also able to eliminate the issues we highlighted above of overflowing mailboxes making your home look like an easy target.

 

The mail is kept safe and secure, you are still immediately notify about any packages or parcels that come into your mailbox – as they come in, in real time – and you have a whole lot more control over what happens to your mail moving forward.

 

It’s Great  For Small Businesses

 

Operating a business out of you home has many advantages. You choose your hours and there’s no commute. However, when it comes to receiving mail, you may have to use your home address which has many disadvantages:

 

  • Strangers now know where you and your family reside, any disgruntled customer or vendor could show up at your home 
  • If you are ever sued, the summons will be served at your home alerting the neighbors to your situation
  • You may appear less professional  
  • And as business is picking up, you’re also going to have to spend an enormous amount of time checking the mailbox

 

Being able to separate your residential address – or even just your business address from your mailing address – provides an extra layer of safety, security, and (some) on anonymity that business owners deserve these days.

 

As we highlighted above, nobody should have to worry about complete and total strangers – especially potentially disgruntled or unhappy customers or clients – showing up at your doorstep unannounced and unwelcome just because your mailing address was the same as your home address.

 

By adding this extra buffer layer you’re able to add a bit more protection and security for yourself, your loved ones, and your property.

 

The other benefits that you’ll enjoy – appearing more professional and more credible, enjoying more control over how your business mail is handled, etc. – go hand-in-hand with the security and safety benefits that you get out of a virtual mailbox account.

 

This is one of those “must-have” business investments you’ll want to make that pays out significant returns on its overall cost, and does so almost straightaway. It really doesn’t get much better than that!

 

virtual mailbox on a computer and mobile device

 

With a virtual mailbox:

 

 

For example:

Heather’s Flowers

1321 Upland Drive #XXXX

Houston, TX 77043

  • Your family’s privacy isn’t comprised
  • You can sort through company mail from your laptop
  • You can retain limited liability for business activity or debts

 

priority mail express

 

It helps you sort through your mail

 

When you order from a magazine, or give out your address to a store or business for that enticing coupon, marketers descend on your mailbox like a pack of wolves. No one wants to check their mail for an important letter only to go home with piles upon piles of junk mail that they’re now responsible for discarding

With a virtual mailbox you can:

 

  • discard junk mail before it ever approaches your doorstep
  • Scan or forward the important documents you’ve been waiting for

 

Some people even use their Virtual Mailbox address solely for sign up purposes, so their mailbox at home is reserved for more personal letters like grandma’s birthday packages.

 

Sifting through your mailbox can take a lot of time, especially if you are running a small business or are particularly active on mailing lists.

 

With a virtual mailbox you’re able to separate out your business mail from your personal mail, you’re able to have junk mail discarded before it even hits your hands, and you’re able to keep track of all the mail that you are receiving with digital records of that piece of mail, the information regarding who sent that mail, and important timestamp information that you may need moving forward.

 

Combine all of that with the digital archival data that you can easily search and scan (as necessary) and it isn’t hard to see how this modern mailing system is so much more advanced than the one we all have been using for hundreds of years.

 

Imagine being able to not only quickly sift through all of the mail that you have received, but also easily being able to search all of the mail that you have digitally – going back years, even – just the same way you would search for something online through Google.

 

That’s not the kind of feature you’ll likely ever get to take advantage of directly from the folks at the USPS.


You can access your mail from anywhere in the world

 

Some people may opt to have a P.O. box instead of a virtual mailbox, but this last reason will reveal while the latter is the smarter choice. What happens when you move? Maybe your spouse gets a promotion in another state or even another country? Maybe you’re retiring and want a life of nonstop travel? How are you going to get your mail? 

With a PO BOX:

 

  • You don’t have the option of going to pick it up in person anymore. 
  • Some will not forward your mail to you
  • Even if they do forward mail, they won’t sort through it, so you’ll have to pay for those extra pounds of junk mail

 

With a virtual mailbox you can:

 

  • have a permanent address you can maintain for anywhere in the world.
  • forward only the important mail at discounted rates
  • have your mail scanned and available online
  • Shop in the US and have your purchase shipped to you for less

 

Ready to get your own virtual mailbox?

 

At the end of the day, all of the benefits that we highlighted above only begin to scratch the surface of the advantages you’ll be able to leverage when you choose to move forward with your own virtual mailbox.

 

On top of that, there are very few negatives to moving forward with these kinds of services – and none of those drawbacks would be considered deal breakers by any stretch of the imagination.

 

When you choose to move forward with a trustworthy virtual mailbox company, a company that has a real reputation in the industry as being a legitimate operator, as constantly innovating and improving their services, and a company that is committed to offering great solutions at affordable prices, there’s next to nothing to worry about.

 

Obviously, you’ll need to do your research and due diligence. This is, after all, decision that is going to hugely impacted the way that you interact with your mail from here on out.

 

This is not the kind of decision you want to make on a whim.

 

At the same time, while you’re conducting your research and due diligence you shouldn’t at all be surprised to discover glowingly positive reviews of all that US Global Mail services bring to the table.

 

There’s a reason why these services are considered to be some of the best in the business, a reason why the customer service is so well-regarded, and a reason why US Global Mail is so frequently recommended by people that have actively switched to a virtual mailbox and are loving the results.

 

Sign up with US Global Mail and get a physical street address in the US and get notified of its arrival through your virtual mailbox!

 

How to rent a virtual mailbox

Exceptional service, at the right price.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee. Try Risk Free.

Choose the plan that’s right for you.

No one beats our plans. Or pricing. Or customer service.
No contracts or surprise fees. Tons of Free features. Try risk-free.

BASIC

$9.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$14.99 billed monthly.

  • 1 name on the account
  • Free check deposit
  • 90 days Free mail storage

PLUS

$14.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$19.99 billed monthly.

  • Add multiple family members
  • Add multiple company names
  • Upto 80% off on shipping rates
  • Free check deposit
  • 180 days free physical mail storage

All our plans come with

guarantee
100% Guarantee

Don't love it? Cancel within 30 days for a full refund.

location on the map
Permanent Street Address

Get a PO box online while maintaining a real street address.

computer devices
Smart Mailbox

Read all your mail virtually. No paper mess and a greener planet.

no-limits
No limits

Get mail from all your homes and business(es) or both in the same app.

security symbol
Free Check Deposit

Deposit bank checks virtually... with the click of a button.

flexible plans
Flexible Plans

Upgrade, downgrade, cancel anytime.

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We want to leave a greener Earth for our children

We plant a tree for every new member sign up

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Moving/Traveling? Get your USPS mail online, in minutes!

When you’re traveling or living abroad, the preparation can come with a lot of headaches. Do you have all of the essentials? What are you allowed to bring?  And once you actually arrive the list gets longer!

 

We are, after all, talking about moving and living abroad. It isn’t like moving down the road, crosstown, or even across the country. There are a lot of moving parts that are going on behind the scenes with this decision, and there’s going to be the inevitable headache and hassle of moving house in general combined with having to handle moving to another country completely.

 

The last thing you want to do is add any extra “mental baggage” to your plate when you already have so much to juggle. You’ll want to take care of as much as you can while you are still in the states, recognizing that there are probably going to be a couple of things that fall through the cracks that you want to navigate after you are situated in your new home abroad.

 

Figuring out how to get your mail should be the least of your problems, but the solution isn’t always so obvious.

 

This is not something that you can afford to juggle around later down the line. You’re probably getting some pretty important documents in the mail right now (bills, tax information, identifying documents, etc.) and not only will you continue to need to get those pieces of mail moving forward – but you’re also going to need to make sure that those sensitive pieces of mail do not end up in the wrong hands, too.

 

Thankfully though, there are a couple of things you can do to make getting your mail when you are abroad a whole lot easier than it ever used to be – all while taking advantage of the best mail scanning services available.

 

In the rest of this detailed guide we cover all of the fundamentals you’ll need to know about getting the most out of these kinds of services, digging deep into the benefits that services offer while at the same time highlighting the important considerations you’ll need to focus on before you sign on the dotted line and have anyone open and scan your mail for you.

 

Ready to dive right in?

 

Let’s get right to it!

 

How do I get my mail when not at home?

 

One option you have is asking family or friends to check your mail. While that may seem simple enough, it’s actually not. Do you really want your friends or family reading through your bank statements and IRS notices? If you don’t want them to open it, how will they know which one’s important and which one is junk mail? They may not have the time to run to the post office as often as you need them to and you can end up overextending your wallet to pay for mail you don’t need. That’s where mail scanning comes in.

 

Plenty of people operate under the impression that they’ll be able to have their friends, family members, or even some of their trusted neighbors handle their mail – but as we highlighted above, who wants to pass all that responsibility off on to someone else that’s likely already juggling plenty of responsibilities on their own?

 

This is something that you’re going to want to hire the right professionals to help you with, and thanks to services like those provided by US Global Mail for example the process is pretty simple and straightforward.

 

You’ll be able to rely on the expertise of seasoned professionals in the mail scanning and mail forwarding industry that can keep your personal and private correspondence exactly that – personal and private – while still providing you with unlimited digital access to all of your important mail pieces almost instantly.

 

It’s tough to beat those kinds of benefits!

 

Smart phone & computer user interface of a virtual mailbox

 

How does mail scanning work?

 

After signing up for a mail forwarding service, any mail that’s addressed to your home will be redirected to a new address at a facility. As soon as it arrives, the outside of the envelope is scanned and uploaded to a virtual mailbox. Then, you have a few choices: 

 

  • See who the sender is and decide if you want the mail to be opened and scanned for you to read it asap
  • Ship to where you are
  • Securely shred it if it is junk mail like an unwanted catalog

 

As we highlighted a moment ago, all of this critical information regarding your mail is going to be forwarded to you directly along with a digital scan of the envelope or the outside of the package/parcel as well.

 

You’ll have the opportunity to have that piece of mail opened up and scanned digitally (securely and without compromising your privacy), with those digital files sent to you directly immediately upon scanning for your use and convenience.

 

On top of all that, you’ll also be able to have all of your digitally scanned mail pieces saved directly in a database that is 100% searchable and easy to cross reference. This is a huge benefit for those that want to be able to archive their physical mail similarly to the way that they archive their email.

 

Finally, the ability to send and forward that mail to your physical location (domestically or overseas) quickly as well as the ability to have those documents shredded and destroyed securely rounds out the big benefits you’ll be able to enjoy when you move forward with an organization like US Global Mail.

 

US Global Mail mail scanning process

 

Is Mail Scanning Quick and Reliable?

 

It depends; some services, like US Global Mail scan mail contents within 2-4 hours after your request but others can take up to 24 hours or more.

 

Services that have lots of addresses and usually have mail shipped from those locations to their central location before it is scanned can take several days for scans.

 

As a general rule, though, you can expect to have your mail scanned (mail that you choose to have scanned, that is) up and ready to rock and roll on your digital US Global Mail dashboard in just a few hours.

 

The scanning process is quick and super accurate, guaranteeing a 1:1 digital replica made of the actual mail pieces that you want to have added to your digital dashboard. You’ll be able to read that document in stunning high definition resolution, can then print that document at your physical location if you need a hard copy, and also have the ability to have the actual physical piece of mail sent to you directly (something that should take a couple of days to a week or more, depending entirely on your final destination).

 

privacy and security

 

Is Mail scanning secure?

 

Again, this depends on which company you choose. Some companies are vague about their security measures and do not list them clearly on their site.

 

It is of the utmost importance that you double verify that the mail scanning and mail forwarding service you choose to move forward with is trustworthy and reputable.

 

While there are a lot of great companies in this industry offering fantastic services, like industry leaders US Global Mail, there are also a lot of fly-by-night operations out there that promise the moon and the stars but may not be quite as reliable or as secure as you are expecting.

 

It wouldn’t be fair to say that these fly-by-night or smaller time operations are acting maliciously (the overwhelming majority of them are not). It’s just that they do not have the experience, the infrastructure, or the protocols to guarantee the safety and security of your mail and sensitive information contained within the way that companies like US Global Mail can.

 

This is why research and due diligence is such a huge piece of the puzzle. You can afford to have someone handling your mail that you haven’t fully vetted and verified ahead of time.


To do your homework:

 

Here are 5 questions to ask to check if mail scanning is secure:

  1. What is the scan process?
  2. Is the scan encrypted during upload? Where is it stored- local machines or cloud?
  3. Are employees require to have background checks?
  4. Do they track every touch to your mail piece and record that info?
  5. Do they shred discarded mail?

 

If the service you’re looking at can answer yes to all those questions, your mail is actually a lot safer than it would be in actual mailbox!

 

Is Mail Scanning affordable?

 

Yes. Especially since you can read the contents of your mail ASAP and not have to ship it to yourself, wherever you are!

You certainly won’t have to spend a small fortune on mail forwarding and mail scanning services from companies like US Global Mail, and won’t have to spend anywhere near as much money as you might have renting an oversized PO Box through the USPS to hold and capture all of your physical mail for months (if not longer) on end.

 

Combine that with the fact that the USPS simply isn’t going to offer the same mail scanning or digitizing services that you get from a reliable company like US Global Mail – not to mention all of the other benefits that an organization like this offers (including check cashing, for example) – and it becomes a no-brainer the specialty services rather than go in a different direction.

 

It’s not a bad idea to research your options to find the best deal in the market, but expect leaders in the industry to offer the most competitive prices without cutting corners as far as safety, security, or privacy protections are concerned.

 

The odds are pretty good that you’ll be able to find a mail scanning and forwarding service that fits your needs and your budget perfectly if only you’ll do a little bit of due diligence to double verify that things are good to go!

 

Which services offer mail scanning?

 

We have complied a list of the popular mail forwarding services that include mail scanning here. Pick one that works best for you.

 

Of course, we would like to recommend ourselves- US Global Mail– as the very best one out there!

 

US Global Mail has a sterling silver reputation in the mail scanning and mail forwarding industry, a reputation built on the back of thousands of clients in the United States and worldwide taking advantage of these services on a day to day basis for a number of years.

 

Best of all, this sterling silver reputation isn’t something that US Global Mail speaks about exclusively.

 

You’ll be able to independently verify the services with just a little bit of research online, and the odds are good that you’ll come across an overwhelming flood of glowingly positive reviews that support this fantastic reputation, too.

 

Combine all of that with very affordable pricing, a whole host of ancillary services that help to separate this company from the rest of the pack, and an overall approach to your security and privacy you just won’t find elsewhere and it’s not difficult to see why so many people choose US Global Mail over competitors time and time again.

 

informed delivery notification

 

Does USPS offer mail scanning?

 

Via Informed Delivery you can an email from the USPS with an image of the outside of your mail. You can digitally preview your mail and packages scheduled to arrive that day.

 

Informed Delivery allows you to view greyscale images of the exterior, address side of letter-sized mailpieces. Images are only provided for letter-sized mailpieces that are processed through USPS’ automated equipment.

 

So while that is convenient, you cannot read the contents of your mail. That can only be done with a mail scanning service. If you’re only looking for a scan of the envelope itself (which can sometimes be a little bit hit or miss) this may be something that you’re interested in for sure.

 

Informed Delivery is definitely a fantastic service to take advantage of if you are going to be staying in the United States. But the moment that you start to consider moving abroad – or even traveling extensively overseas – you’ll want to look at more purpose built mail scanning and mail forwarding services like US Global Mail.

 

The USPS is somewhat limited in their abilities to innovate and to improve their services the way that a more flexible organization like this one can, through no fault of their own aside from the fact that the federal government is calling all the shots.

 

If you’re looking for a more complete and comprehensive solution that gives you total control over your mail it’s really tough to beat the suite of services and solutions provided by US Global Mail – services and solutions that are being expanded on and approved upon day after day!

Exceptional service, at the right price.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee. Try Risk Free.

Choose the plan that’s right for you.

No one beats our plans. Or pricing. Or customer service.
No contracts or surprise fees. Tons of Free features. Try risk-free.

BASIC

$9.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$14.99 billed monthly.

  • 1 name on the account
  • Free check deposit
  • 90 days Free mail storage

PLUS

$14.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$19.99 billed monthly.

  • Add multiple family members
  • Add multiple company names
  • Upto 80% off on shipping rates
  • Free check deposit
  • 180 days free physical mail storage

All our plans come with

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100% Guarantee

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Permanent Street Address

Get a PO box online while maintaining a real street address.

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Smart Mailbox

Read all your mail virtually. No paper mess and a greener planet.

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No limits

Get mail from all your homes and business(es) or both in the same app.

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Free Check Deposit

Deposit bank checks virtually... with the click of a button.

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Expat Resources Compare Mail Forwarding Services

Expat Mail Forwarding (the why, how and what in 2020)

 
 
Moving abroad- whether for work, retirement or other reasons- can be equally exhilarating and nerve wrecking. There are mixed emotions of sadness at leaving behind family and friends and the thrill of starting a new adventure.
 

One question that expats often miss in the hustle bustle of moving, is what will happen to the paper mail that they get at home. Even if you have moved your banking online and get most bills via email, there are still many pieces of mail for example from the IRS, tax notices, new credit cards, renewed Drivers License, and other paperwork that comes only via mail.

 

USPS will forward mail internationally for a steep cost. You can enroll in the USPS forwarding service, which costs $21.10 retail or $19.35 if you enroll online. There’s an additional cost of $21.10 for each week of service. So about $84.40/month and Priority Mail items are are sent at an additional cost. Ouch!

airplane flying in the sky

 

Depending on what country you move to, getting mail can be difficult.  And keeping a US address even when you are overseas is important if you bank in the US or expect to deposit any checks in the US. Many companies, not to mention government services, require one, even if it is not your official residence.
Which begs the question:

 

How do I forward my mail to another address overseas?

 

You can do that via the USPS by getting a PO Box, and the USPS will forward your mail to your international destination. Other options include:


(1) Ask a family member or a reliable friend to pick up your mail daily

(2) Forward your mail to a family member’s or friend’s home address

(3) Use a professional mail forwarding service

 

Let’s start by looking at how you go about getting a PO Box, and then we will move on to the other options we just mentioned.

 

How to Get a PO Box with The United States Postal Service

 

To make this as easy as possible to understand, we are going to go through each step in detail, so you can decide whether this is the right option for you. Just make sure you don’t make any set-in-stone choices yet since we still have to tell you about the best way to go about your expat mail forwarding.

 

Step One: Choose a PO Box Size

 

The United States Postal Service offers 5 different PO box sizes. Namely extra small, small, medium, large, and extra large. Thankfully, they also tell you what each of these can hold! We will have a closer look at them now:

 

  • Extra small (3 inches x 5.5 inches) — this one can hold around 10 to 15 letters or 2 magazines (rolled up). The depth is around 14.75 inches which is a universal size throughout all PO boxes.
  • Small (5 inches x 5.5 inches) — this option can hold around 10 to 15 letters or 5 magazines (rolled up).
  • Medium (5.5 inches x 11 inches) — this one can hold large envelopes and magazines that are stacked flat.
  • Large (11 inches x 11 inches) — if you receive larger packages, you will want to go with this one. It can hold around 2 shoeboxes and 10 to 15 letters at the same time.
  • Extra large (12 inches x 22.5 inches) — this one can hold a number of flat rate boxes and parcels, along with letters too of course.

 

Step Two: Reserve Your PO Box

 

Once you know which size will suit you best, you need to search for the post office that is nearest to your home. Then, just click “reserve a new PO box”.

 

Step Three: Pick Your Payment Period

 

There are multiple payment periods that you can select. It is up to you and your financial needs as to which one will fit you best.

 

Step Four: Enter Your Contact and Billing Information

 

You will be asked to supply the obvious information like your first name, last name, address, card number, security code, expiry date, and a few other bits. After you have hit “submit”, you are able to move onto the final step.

 

Step Five: Validate Your ID and Pick Up Your PO Box Keys

 

By law, you have to validate your identity in person. So, you need to go down to your PO box location with two forms of government-approved ID. The primary form needs to be a federal, state, or tribal photo card. You can choose from the following:

 

  • State driver’s license
  • Non-driver’s ID card
  • US Armed Forces card
  • Uniformed Service ID card
  • US passport
  • US passport card
  • US university identification
  • Corporate identification
  • Any card issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • US naturalization certificate
  • US citizenship certificate
  • Tribal identification card

 

The secondary form can be one of these:

 

  • Lease agreement
  • Deed of trust
  • Mortgage agreement
  • Voter registration card
  • Vehicle registration card
  • Home insurance policy
  • Form I-94
  • Vehicle insurance policy
  • Utility bill

 

After they have been approved by the person at the post office desk, your keys will be handed over to you. Then you can do a little celebration dance because the PO box is yours!

 

Ask someone to pick up your mail daily

 

Works short-term. Long term though… not really. If your close friend or brother asks you to pick their mail for a week, that’s fine. You can help out! But picking up their mail daily for a month or a year sounds crazy. Plus, are you comfortable when your friend or sibling looks through your bank statements or W4 form?

 

adding an envelope in a mailbox

 

Forward your mail to a friend’s home

 

Are you comfortable with your friend or sibling looking at your tax documents or W4’s? Even if you can compromise your mail privacy and confidentiality, you still have the issue of getting it to yourself. Are they going to go to the Post office and mail your stuff every week?

 

Use a mail forwarding service

 

A mail forwarding company receives your mail, gives you near real time access to it so you can view it, read the contents and have it bundled and forwarded to your new home or office or any place in the world.

 

Can USPS forward mail internationally?

 

As we mentioned briefly earlier, you can ask the USPS to forward your mail overseas. But it is ridiculously expensive. It would almost be more worthwhile to fly back to pick up your packages, parcels, and letters up yourself!


The best way to get your mail securely, in near real time so you can act on it as soon as needed, is to use a professional mail forwarding company.

 

fedex packages being scanned

 

How do mail forwarding services work?

 

Mail forwarding services give you a US address which you use to redirect your mail to. You fill out a change of address form with the USPS and tell USPS to start sending your mail to the new address.  When your mail arrives at this address, the mail forwarding company will usually
 
 
– upload it to a Virtual mailbox, which you can access via a secure login
– you can see images of your envelopes and boxes along with other info like sender, weight, dimensions of boxes etc.
– you can take actions on your mail to have it opened and scanned to read contents
– you can store your mail for some time and then have it bundled and shipped together to your new home
 
At US Global Mail, we have helped over 80,000+ expats with our mail forwarding service.
 
 

Top Reasons Expats Need Mail Forwarding

 

Shop Any US Website. Whenever you are overseas, that can make getting items from your favorite US companies in the mail, a problem or a difficult attempt. Many companies do not ship overseas or if they do ship, then you can expect to pay some very high shipping fees. With a US address, you are able to receive all those items at your US location, and from there we can ship them to you at up to 80% off the typical cost you would.

 

Direct Access To Mail. When getting a virtual mailbox, you are able to stay on top of mail 24/7, with your own login credentials. It’s a bit similar to e-mail, only for mail & packages. Log into your account, request a mail scan or have some item shipped; all with the click of a button.

 

Cloud Storage. When you get mail, all items are scanned and uploaded into your virtual mailbox. You can receive an unlimited number of mail items to your address with unlimited storage. You can also store your items up until 180 days, free of charge. And eve if you do need to store items for a longer period of time, it only costs a few additional cents for your item. Saving files online, makes accessing files more reliable and a cheaper option for your mail.

 

Privacy. When you have mail clerks are the company you work at, handle your mail and ship to you, then you probably have a series of people that get to your mail before you do. With a virtual mailbox, you are the first one to access all important documents from your phone or computer, without a bunch of intermediaries. Communication with customer service can be done within the app as well; so any request you need, can be completed within just a few clicks.

 

It’s More Reliable. The alternative to having a professional company handling your mail, is having some relative or friend picking up mail on your behalf, heading over to the post office and shipping them out. As you can realize, over the course of several weeks and months, this can turn into a part time job for your friend. And even if you did have someone so committed to just deal with your mail, they probably would have to work it into their schedule to get it shipped to you in time (making up for several delays, or mistakes in forwarding on your items.) When you have a professional mail forwarding company handling this on your behalf (and especially a company like US Global Mail that has been around for 20+ years,) you are assured to get your mail on time.

 

How much does mail forwarding cost?

 

US Global Mail plans start from $10/month. You can view our plans and pick one that works best for you. USPS mail forwarding is $84.40/month. Here’s a comparison cost chart of some of the common services.

 

Is a Smart Mailbox Going to be Your New Best Friend?

 

The likely answer is, yes! Virtual mailboxes are a fantastic way to make sure all your important documents reach you, no matter where you are in the world (which expats benefit greatly from, of course). But to give you a better idea, let’s go through all the advantages you will gain by opening a smart mailbox.

 

Trustpilot reviews

 

1. Mail Security and Privacy

 

Identity and package theft is a growing concern throughout most countries these days (sadly). It just isn’t safe to have your parcels and letters left in a previous neighbors’ box or outside their door anymore, especially if you have moved overseas.

 

With a virtual mailbox, this won’t be a concern anymore.

 

You get access to your mail online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not to mention that your delivery is guaranteed. There won’t be any missed or stolen packages anymore. You can cross that off your “things to stress about” list!

 

By now, you are probably wondering how all of that is possible. Don’t worry, we will tell you how it works.

 

Firstly, the apps use industry-leading security that will always work. Yep, we’re talking bank-grade encryption here — your mail security is not a joke to us! Any information that travels through our warehouses and servers is protected against hackers and thieves.

 

Secondly, all the staff members are aware of the privacy policies, compliances, and controls they must abide by in order to give you the best service imaginable. So, no matter where you are in the world, your US mail will be kept safe from your old neighbors, nosy family members, and the government. Basically, privacy is our middle name.

 

Thirdly, 2-step verification is enabled on all accounts to ensure it is really you trying to look at your incoming mail. It isn’t just your username and password you need, but also a secondary bit of information to ensure complete security, all the time.

 

Finally, you can always change how you handle your mail data. Whether you want to back it up, download it, or delete it entirely, it’s up to you.

 

2. Check Your Mail Any Time

 

Since you are an expat, you probably aren’t going to be in your old home country all that often, right? Not to worry, with a virtual mailbox you can access all your mail, no matter where you are in the world.

 

Missing important bills or documents is a thing of the past!

 

3. Never Have to Enlist People’s Help with Your Mail Again

 

Asking a previous neighbor or your old colleagues to take care of your mail until the next time you fly over to sort it can be incredibly stressful. You are likely to receive important documents such as tax notices, IRS letters, passport renewals, credit cards, insurance paperwork, bills, and checks that you won’t want people snooping through. Makes sense!

 

In this case, a smart mailbox is definitely the right way to go. You can have your super-important letters scanned immediately so you can sort them out on the day they’re delivered. And, you can make sure everything is bundled up and shipped to your new overseas address insanely quickly.

 

4. You Can Still Shop In the USA

 

Depending on where you live now, they might not support the importation of American goods. As an expat, you are bound to be fairly frustrated by this — hence another reason to set up a virtual mailbox. You can shop online in the United States of America, have it shipped to that address, and then tell the expert mail handlers that you want it sent to your current address. It’s as easy as a, b, c!

 

5. You Will Be Saving the Planet

 

You know as much as we do how annoying spam mail is — supermarket coupons, pizza deliveries, gym brochures — and you won’t even be in the US to be able to use them, so why bother getting them forwarded by the USPS?

 

With a smart mailbox, the professional handlers will discard anything that is clearly spam before they upload your mail every day. You won’t even have to see the annoying stuff. The best part is, these pizza deliveries advertisements won’t just be going to the landfill. Instead, they are recycled to ensure we do our bit to save the trees.

 

6. You Can Have the Same Mailing Address for the Rest of Your Life

 

Yup, you read that right; we thought we would leave the best till last!

 

We are going to assume that you’ve moved a lot in your life. Correct? We thought so. And with each move comes all the boring paperwork — including changing your address with the USPS, your driver’s license, passport, and everything else. It’s hard work.

 

But that all changes with a virtual mailbox. Regardless of where you move, your mailing address can stay the same. Perfect, isn’t it?

 

The Bottom Line

 

Here at US Global Mail, we have helped over 80,000 expats find freedom with their mail thanks to our awesome smart mailbox. We can’t help to start making your snail mail dreams come true! If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to get in touch. We are always happy to help.

Exceptional service, at the right price.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee. Try Risk Free.

Choose the plan that’s right for you.

No one beats our plans. Or pricing. Or customer service.
No contracts or surprise fees. Tons of Free features. Try risk-free.

BASIC

$9.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$14.99 billed monthly.

  • 1 name on the account
  • Free check deposit
  • 90 days Free mail storage

PLUS

$14.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$19.99 billed monthly.

  • Add multiple family members
  • Add multiple company names
  • Upto 80% off on shipping rates
  • Free check deposit
  • 180 days free physical mail storage

All our plans come with

guarantee
100% Guarantee

Don't love it? Cancel within 30 days for a full refund.

location on the map
Permanent Street Address

Get a PO box online while maintaining a real street address.

computer devices
Smart Mailbox

Read all your mail virtually. No paper mess and a greener planet.

no-limits
No limits

Get mail from all your homes and business(es) or both in the same app.

security symbol
Free Check Deposit

Deposit bank checks virtually... with the click of a button.

flexible plans
Flexible Plans

Upgrade, downgrade, cancel anytime.

Tree on the top of the world globe

We want to leave a greener Earth for our children

We plant a tree for every new member sign up

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Categories
Expat Resources Compare Mail Forwarding Services

10 Things To Consider Before Choosing a Mail Forwarding Service

In this article, we are going to talk about mail forwarding.
Are you going to be a full-time RVer, moving to another country or embarking on an extended vacation? If that’s the case, getting your mail at your destination is important as you get your taxes, IRS notices, W2’s etc in the mail.
 
Choosing a professional mail forwarding company to handle your mail is a smart idea. Because it will help you get your mail on time and give you peace of mind. But given the many options out there, how do you choose a company that’s right for you?

There’s a lot that goes into making this kind of decision.

 

After all, the mail forwarding service you choose to take advantage of is going to be responsible for handling all of your mail from here on out. Important bills, important packages and parcels, sensitive documents and information – all of the things that the USPS would have handled for you are now going to be going through a separate organization.

 

This isn’t a decision you can make willy-nilly or on-the-fly.

 

But that’s why we have put together this in-depth guide.

 

Below we breakdown a couple of very important things to consider before choosing a mail forwarding service. You’re going to be inundated with options, all of them promising the moon and the stars when it comes to services, results, and benefits.

 

The only way to effectively break down those choices and find the one perfect for you is to think about the 10 elements highlighted in-depth below.

 

Ready to get right in to it?

 
Here’s a list of 10 questions we encourage everyone to ask when making that decision:

How to choose a mail forwarding company

1. How much does mail forwarding cost?

 

While the cost of a mail forwarding service should never be the primary reason you choose it over another, it is going to be a hugely influential part of your decision.

 

After all, taking advantage of the USPS services may not cost you anything (upfront, anyway). Plenty of folks have nothing more than the mailbox at the end of their driveway or attached to their front door, and are still able to send and receive mail without headache or hassle.

 

Making a jump from that “free” service provided by the USPS to one that charges a premium fee – sometimes as high as a few hundred dollars a month – can be jarring. Especially if that service you’re now taking advantage of doesn’t provide all the benefits and options you were expecting.

 

Definitely look into the price of mail forwarding options to better compare your choices, too.

 

Look into at least five different services and see how their monthly fees stack up against one another. See which services provide more value for the monthly charge, see which services come up woefully short, and compare these options in as much of an “apples to apples” kind of way as you can.

 

      • How much are you willing to spend for this service? Figure out your budget for the month.
      • Be aware of hidden fees or extra charges from different services.
      • Be realistic. Research the costs for these services: Membership fees, shipping costs, customers charges, fuel surcharges …  Depending on your needs and services, your budget can vary from $20/month to $100+/month.
      • Mail forwarding services can make it challenging for a precise price comparison. But here’s the price comparison table for your reference.

 

2. Can I forward my mail for free? Does it cost money to forward my mail?

 

There may even be mail forwarding solutions that offer free services you can take advantage of.

 

Before you jump on board, though, you’ll want to dig beneath the surface of these freebie offers.

 

You’ll need to make sure that these services are legitimate, these services are trustworthy, and that these services aren’t just an effort to sell you on premium options later down the line.

 

      • Is low cost the most important factor? Or are you willing to pay a little bit more for a faster turnaround and reliability?
      • Do you just want your mail automatically shipped on a regular basis? Would you prefer to hold the mail until you want to ship?  Would you prefer to have your individual letters scanned to read so you don’t have to pay for shipping?
      • Take time to think about the MANY services forwarding companies offer and figure out what applies to you.

 

3. Is the company reliable?

 

Company reputation is everything in this industry.

 

We highlighted this a moment ago, but you are going to be trusting your new mail forwarding service with some pretty sensitive information. Everything sent through the mail is personal and private and you have to be 100% certain that your new mail forwarding operation respects that across the board.

 

Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of operations in this space are reputable and reliable. Even still, you want to do your research and due diligence to confirm this to be the case before you sign on the dotted line.

 

Looking to the reputation that these companies have with other customers and clients but also look into the reputation they have throughout the industry. A little bit of research online goes a long way.

 

      • Believe me. You don’t want to miss your next tax notice or check. That’s why when it comes to mail forwarding, most people seek the best bang for their buck, rather than the cheapest service. Reliability matters.
      • Read up on the various companies. Google their name as many ways as you can think of. Examples of what you would search include: Company customer reviews, company customer service reviews, company security, company complaints, company hidden fees, company facebook etc. Research is your best friend when making decisions like these.
      • Here are some trusted review platforms in the industry: TrustPilot, Google, and BBB. Be sure to read the company’s responses to reviews as well.

Green check mark

 

4. What can and cannot be sent internationally?

 

Paying for special mail forwarding services won’t be worth that much if you’re not able to send or receive packages and parcels to destinations all over the world the way you might have with the USPS, UPS, FedEx, or a similar service.

 

All mail forwarding organizations will have different rules and regulations governing what they are able or willing to send to their clients internationally. It’s not a bad idea to have a look at this list before you sign up.

 

Nobody wants to find out that their new premium mail forwarding service isn’t able to accommodate their needs when they are overseas. This is especially important for those expatriates or international travelers that want to get their mail while hopping from one global destination to another.

 

      • Moving to another country? Then find out what can’t be shipped internationally. It’s so easy to go ahead and purchase products that you were used to, back home. However, what is deemed “normal” where you’re from, may not even be allowed to the new country you call home. It would be a pity to pay for shipping and declarations only to have to abandon the package or pay again to have it returned!
      • Different countries can have different regulations. Read about your country here.

 

5. What is the exchange rate?

 

Whenever possible you want to make the most of the US dollar, the “universal standard” of currency pretty much everywhere on the planet.

 

If possible, you want to find global destinations that help you stretch your buying power just by capitalizing on the exchange rate in that particular part of the world.

 

There are mobile applications and plenty of websites out there to help you keep on top of this critical information. You might even be able to plan your international itinerary around maximizing your money, saving a pile of cash while enjoying life in the lap of luxury at the same time!

 

      • If you are moving internationally, you may find that your dollar goes a lot further where you are now, freeing up some room in your budget. That means, you will have more options for the company you want to work with.

 

counting dollars

 

6. What will you be forwarding?

 

The packages, parcels, envelopes, and boxes you expect to be forwarding on a regular basis will inform your decision to choose one mail forwarding service over another.

 

If all you need to do are periodic “mail drops” of cards, letters, and envelopes of a more personal nature every now and again security and handling of sensitive information may not be paramount. It’ll always be important, but it might not be the number one factor you have to consider.

 

If, on the other hand, you expect to run your business internationally with the help of this mail forwarding service the exact opposite is true. You’ll need to pick a company that is secure, safe, and speedy – not to mention reliable – to get you your mail when you need it.

 

      • Does the thought of sending sensitive tax documents overseas make you a bit uneasy? Understandable. Do you receive checks through the mail? What about credit cards?
      • Back to the research; how successful is the company’s delivery rate? Are they trustworthy? Do they have any hidden fees that will pop up at time of shipping? Could you trust the company to NOT tamper with items of that nature? These are all important questions to ask yourself.

 

7. Will the service allow you to use their address for billing?

 

Some of the best mail forwarding services provide access to “street addresses” you can use as a billing address domestically as well as overseas.

 

The ability to avoid using a PO Box address while still enjoying the anonymity and security that these kinds of street addresses provide is a big reason people moved to these kinds of services to begin with.

 

If your company does offer a street address you can use be sure that you are taking advantage of it.

 

      • Though you may be moving, your bills still need to be sent to a US address. Does the forwarding company provide PO boxes or real street addresses? It’s important to understand, that you can only have your bills sent to a street address, not a PO box. Is receiving bills via mail important to you?

 

8. How is their customer service?

 

No mail forwarding service is perfect in the odds are you’ll probably have to contact customer service at some point in time.

 

Make sure that those conversations will be smooth and easy to navigate by choosing a mail forwarding company that as a top-tier customer service department you know you can trust!

 

      • If an issue arises, will it be resolved immediately, in a timely manner, or at the company’s leisure? If you send an email, will it be answered? If you need immediate assistance, do they offer live chat, and is it with a person or a robot?
      • Research! Check the company’s website, test out their email and chat services. See how quickly you get a response.

 

9. What does the service require from me?

 

      • Find out what documents you need to submit. Then ask yourself; what is the purpose of the requirements? Why isn’t a simple change of address through USPS enough? If you need all of this information from me, how do I know my identity is private and secured in your system?
      • Ask as many questions as you can think of. All the why’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, what if’s, and maybe’s! Ultimately this is a very important decision to be made, don’t make it in haste!

 

10. Why is a 1583 form necessary for a mail forwarding company?

 

      • Essentially the 1583 form is for your protection. Because, legally, a mail forwarding company cannot release your mail without the form. Therefore, USPS will NOT allow them to if they don’t have your “permission”.
      • The form must be notarized as well. That is another security measure that protects your identity. Think about it; your mail could be sent anywhere!!! However, not just ANYBODY can pick it up. Which means, it’s one less potential headache being avoided.

Sample of a 1583 form

When researching a mail forwarding company, don’t hesitate to voice your questions and concerns. What works for one person might not work for you. What one company offers as part of their package pricing may not apply to you. There are so many options out there for mail forwarding services. Choosing which one is the right one for you won’t be an easy task. Compare and contrast the companies and figure out which one suits you best!

 

Our top recommended service that our readers absolutely love, can help you in choosing the best plan for you!

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Choose the plan that’s right for you.

No one beats our plans. Or pricing. Or customer service.
No contracts or surprise fees. Tons of Free features. Try risk-free.

BASIC

$9.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$14.99 billed monthly.

  • 1 name on the account
  • Free check deposit
  • 90 days Free mail storage

PLUS

$14.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$19.99 billed monthly.

  • Add multiple family members
  • Add multiple company names
  • Upto 80% off on shipping rates
  • Free check deposit
  • 180 days free physical mail storage

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Permanent Street Address

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Expat Resources Compare Mail Forwarding Services Compare Package Forwarding Services

NY, CA, TX, FL – what state should your mail forwarding address be in 2020? The answer will surprise you!

So, when you are ready to sign up for a mail forwarding service after you do all the due diligence (rates, plans, shipping prices, trustworthiness etc,) do you look for a service that lets you reserve an address in the same state you are moving out of?

 

Don’t. Your mail forwarding address should be state-agnostic. Really, its a virtual address, in the cloud. So the state does not matter one bit. There are far more important criteria that you should consider, when choosing this important service. Click here for a list of important factors to consider & associated pricing.

 

One of the biggest advantages of moving forward with a virtual address is that it does not have to be tangibly associated with your actual physical location – wherever that might be on the planet today.

 

There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever you could be sitting on a beach in Miami while using a virtual address based out of New York City – using that same address when you decide to spend a month in Thailand, a week in Moscow, or a weekend in Paris.

 

In fact, some would argue that the biggest leverage you get out of a virtual address is the fact that it isn’t ever tied to your physical location. Why waste that big benefit when you don’t have to?

 

Let’s dig a little bit deeper into where you should set up your virtual address moving forward!

 

pin on a map

 

Does the state of my address matter? Will I become a resident & pay taxes in the state in which I have my mail forwarding address?

 

Once you fill out a change of address form with the USPS, it will forward your mail to that address, irrespective of where in the US it is. And US laws don’t make you liable for taxes in any state without living there. Just having an address in the state does not mean you become a resident of that state.

 

Just to be perfectly clear, this means that you can have a mailing address set up through your forwarding service based out of Reno, Nevada while your business, your job, and your entire life is headquartered in Saginaw, Michigan.

 

There’s no rules, no regulations, and no laws restricting you from having this kind of setup. On top of that, there’s absolutely zero penalty whatsoever to having your mailing address physically separate from your physical address.

 

As long as you still pay your state and federal taxes based on the rules, regulations, and laws dictating that based upon your physical location and where you have earned your income you have no worries at all.

 

On the flip side of things, it’s important to understand that you are not going to be able to use this mailing address from a company like US Global Mail as proof of residency somewhere else.

 

Florida citizens do not have to pay state income taxes, but that doesn’t mean that a US Global Mail based out of Tampa, Florida while you are living and working in New York City gives you those same tax benefits.

 

That’s just not the way the system works and it’s critically important that you understand that going forward.

 

How does it work?

 

You can simply forward your mail from your existing address to the address of the mail forwarding company, and no one will be wiser! That is no one will know what your new address is – they will keep sending you mail at the old address and USPS will redirect it to your  new address. The redirect request with the USPS will work for 6 months at a time and will have to be renewed. This option is also great when you don’t want to move your address permanently and expect to cancel the mail forwarding service at some time in the future.

 

There are a whole host of other benefits you get to take advantage of when you move forward with a mail forwarding service like US Global Mail, too.

 

We are talking about benefits like:

 

  • Extra anonymity and privacy with these kinds of mailing addresses
  • The ability to eliminate junk mail from your life forever
  • An opportunity to know EXACTLY what has been sent to you before you check your mailbox
  • An opportunity to digitize your entire mail reception history for your own personal records
  • The chance to search that digital record quickly, easily, and effectively
  • Check-cashing services that have all checks redirected to your bank directly to be deposited ASAP

 

… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

 

It’s not hard to see why so many people choose to take advantage of mail forwarding services today.

 

highrise buildings miami

 

Fancy/Premium addresses:  Mail forwarding companies or commercial mail receiving agencies (CMRA’s) sometimes will offer a choice of several states and addresses to you. Your personal mailbox number could potentially be in New York, Florida, Texas, California, the possibilities are endless! However, these fancy or “premium” addresses can come at a steep price; often a discreet +$14.99 is hidden somewhere! Watch out. And don’t pay for something you absolutely will get no additional value out of. Instead choose the service that works best for your needs.

 

Truth be told, those “premium addresses” are almost never worth the extra price tag.

 

Sure, the vanity address can be cool – for little while – but who is really paying attention to your address (your mailing address, anyway) enough for that to matter?

 

The odds are pretty good that they shine out those premium, fancy vanity addresses will wear off pretty quickly. Well before the price tag comes down, anyway.

 

All the money you would have spent on those vanity addresses can be redirected to get a couple of months – or even a year – of quality mail forwarding and mail scanning services from an organization like US Global Mail, without missing out of any of the benefits those addresses would have brought to the table.

 

When is having an address in a particular state important?

 

If you have a business and you are based in Florida and you need to bill your customers, it makes total sense to have a billing address in the city or at least the state you operate from. From a customer standpoint, it looks less suspicious. They won’t have to question the authenticity of who they are sending their money to. Certain health care providers will also require you to reside in the state you are covered in to maintain your insurance rates. The rates for insurance coverage can vary state-to-state. If you like the plan you currently have, it would be very important to maintain an address in your current residency state. If you are trying to be discreet about moving or traveling abroad, then you do have the anonymity of maintaining your residency state address. Other than those few areas though, there’s no issue in having an address in a different state; rather it’s just a preference. In that case, those options are certainly available to you!

 

The real big benefit in moving forward with a mail forwarding service that lets you pick where your new mailing address is located is the freedom you are afforded with that choice.

 

If you want your customers to feel like you are more of a local business than you are, by all means pick and address near where most of them live – even while you run that business from across the country or across the world.

 

If you want your customers to feel like you are more of a “global business”, don’t be shy about picking a mailing address in any of the major financial hub cities in the country – cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.

 

If you just want an extra layer of security and protection when you give up your mailing address, pick and address that sits squarely in middle America. Something in Ohio, something in Iowa, and something in Wisconsin works just as well as anything else!

 

The freedom for you to pick and choose where you are new mailing address is located is a huge advantage you don’t want to overlook.

 

highrise building

 

Vanity Addresses: are they really worth it?

 

So, you’ve researched a few mail forwarding companies; one company offers a real street address in Nevada. Another company offers 3 street addresses (one in Wisconsin, one in Texas, and one in New York etc.) In this example, let’s say the Wisconsin address is their standard address. The Texas and NY addresses are premium (meaning they cost more.) Standard mailbox prices are usually “free”, or, included in the price of membership. The prices for a premium address can range anywhere from an extra $4.95 per month and all the way up to $12.95 per month.

 

So the real question is: what is the value in these “premium” addresses? Is it just the address itself? The location? Convenience? Why would you want to pay extra for a mailing address? Here you will find, transparent pricing with no hidden fees nor unnecessary addresses that beef up your bill.

 

It all comes down to your expectations, your budget, and the kinds of services that come included with that new “premium” address.

 

If you are paying a mountain of money for nothing more than a vanity address, is it really worth the extra expense, headache, and hassle to move forward?

 

Or would you rather spend that money on a full-service, top to bottom mail scanning and mail forwarding organization that offers a whole host of other benefits on top of a new, discrete mailing address?

 

The choice is yours and yours alone. Only you will be able to know what your best fit the be.

 

Payment Example

 

You want a personal mailing address to give out to your friends and family and you want a separate address for your bills and taxes, all on the same account of course:

 

  • Standard mailing address on an individual plan, $25/mo
  • Premium mailing address on an individual plan $25 + $4.95/mo
  • Separate 1583 forms for the addresses which need to be notarized
  • One forwarding request (you can only have one open at a time via USPS), then reach out to everyone who needs your change of address

 

A lot of the premium address locations are UPS storefronts. Not a private office or warehouse that deals specifically with commercial mail and package forwarding, a UPS store. Which is why these addresses are not equipped to handle all incoming mail and packages. They literally are not built for it. On top of that, each location will handle mail differently, since the UPS stores are not owned or managed by the CMRA, the possibility of errors occurring increases dramatically.

 

Delayed access to mail

Another issue with using vanity addresses is that often times the mail from those addresses is sent to the company central warehouse for processing. This means a delay for 3-5 business days on your mail. Using the company central warehouse address gets you access to your mail much quicker.

 

For example, at US Global Mail, we enter all mail received within 12 – 24 hours in customer virtual mailboxes.

 

Access to digital mail through the virtual mailbox

Final thoughts:

 

In a nutshell, if you absolutely cannot live without an address in a particular state, use the mail redirect option with the USPS and keep forwarding your mail. That lets you keep your address intact.

 

Otherwise, simply do a permanent change of address with the USPS and rest easy. You will get your mail via a Virtual Mailbox anyway!

 

At the end of the day, it really does come down to your goals, your expectations, and your budget.

 

There are a lot of options out there to pick and choose from – including moving forward with the USPS. But services like US Global Mail provide a lot of benefits that the USPS simply cannot provide right now and may never be able to offer in the future, too.

 

Look at how you hope to take advantage of these mail forwarding services today and in the future and choose a service that’s going to best align with those goals. Find a service that is affordable, reputable, and reliable and you won’t have any headache or hassle moving forward.

 

Best of luck!

Exceptional service, at the right price.

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BASIC

$9.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$14.99 billed monthly.

  • 1 name on the account
  • Free check deposit
  • 90 days Free mail storage

PLUS

$14.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$19.99 billed monthly.

  • Add multiple family members
  • Add multiple company names
  • Upto 80% off on shipping rates
  • Free check deposit
  • 180 days free physical mail storage

All our plans come with

guarantee
100% Guarantee

Don't love it? Cancel within 30 days for a full refund.

location on the map
Permanent Street Address

Get a PO box online while maintaining a real street address.

computer devices
Smart Mailbox

Read all your mail virtually. No paper mess and a greener planet.

no-limits
No limits

Get mail from all your homes and business(es) or both in the same app.

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Free Check Deposit

Deposit bank checks virtually... with the click of a button.

flexible plans
Flexible Plans

Upgrade, downgrade, cancel anytime.

Tree on the top of the world globe

We want to leave a greener Earth for our children

We plant a tree for every new member sign up

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US Shopping! Free Shipping! No Minimum Purchase Necessary!

It is a well known fact that the cost of shipping can be outrageous. And if you know that, you also know that free shipping usually comes with a price…like spending $50 or more. A $100 gift card can easily be broken down to $70 for clothing and $30 for shipping, how annoying!

Exceptional service, at the right price.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee. Try Risk Free.

Choose the plan that’s right for you.

No one beats our plans. Or pricing. Or customer service.
No contracts or surprise fees. Tons of Free features. Try risk-free.

BASIC

$9.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$14.99 billed monthly.

  • 1 name on the account
  • Free check deposit
  • 90 days Free mail storage

PLUS

$14.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$19.99 billed monthly.

  • Add multiple family members
  • Add multiple company names
  • Upto 80% off on shipping rates
  • Free check deposit
  • 180 days free physical mail storage

All our plans come with

guarantee
100% Guarantee

Don't love it? Cancel within 30 days for a full refund.

location on the map
Permanent Street Address

Get a PO box online while maintaining a real street address.

computer devices
Smart Mailbox

Read all your mail virtually. No paper mess and a greener planet.

no-limits
No limits

Get mail from all your homes and business(es) or both in the same app.

security symbol
Free Check Deposit

Deposit bank checks virtually... with the click of a button.

flexible plans
Flexible Plans

Upgrade, downgrade, cancel anytime.

Tree on the top of the world globe

We want to leave a greener Earth for our children

We plant a tree for every new member sign up

Recent blog posts

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Why Does FedEx Take So Long?

Why is FedEx shipping taking so long? Read more below.

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Why Is Shutterfly Shipping So Expensive

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Prohibited Export Items Internationally (2020)

When purchasing something online from the US, do you ever wonder “Can I ship this?” If so…keep reading.

 

Believe it or not, not everything that you can easily – and completely – legally purchase overseas can be shipped back into the United States. A lot of travelers abroad operate under the impression that if it’s okay to purchase elsewhere it’s probably okay enough to send back to the US, but that’s not really how things work.

 

Thankfully though, with just a little bit of information and insight (like the details we highlight the rest of this quick guide) you won’t have to worry about understanding whether or not something can be sent from the United States to an address abroad.

 

Due to US export regulations and carrier restrictions, there are certain items international shoppers are prohibited from exporting into their country.

 

It’s critically important that you understand exactly what you are getting into when you decide to send things to yourself through the USPS from overseas – and especially when you want to send something to others back home in the United States.

 

The last thing you want to do is find yourself on the wrong side of the law just because of a completely innocent mistake that could have been avoided altogether, often times with you still being able to send the item or items back to yourself in the US as long as you go through the appropriate channels.

 

At the same time, you want to make sure that you are legally able to send things from the United States to overseas locations as well. With a little bit of research you can avoid unnecessary delays, seizures, or the destruction of items were having sent from the US to an international address.

 

There’s an entire list of things that the USPS (and partner shipping companies) simply will not handle domestically or internationally. The beauty of these shipping companies is that they regularly publish information related to prohibited items that you have a tough time sending, but it is still something that you’ll have to square away on your end.

 

Telling US postal service inspectors or U.S. Customs agents that you simply didn’t know you are legally able to send something through the mail usually isn’t going to fly. It’s critically important that you do as much research and due diligence as possible to know exactly what you are getting into when you send potentially prohibited export items internationally – something that is just as important (if not even more so) as understanding whether or not you can legally import things to the US, too.

 

Whether you are shipping to Germany, Canada, India or anywhere else overseas, it is best to make sure the United States doesn’t have restrictions on your item. Some items are classified as hazardous, some items are flammable, some items don’t have an FDA approval or aren’t approved by another agency. Other items are just illegal to ship, such as various drugs or narcotics. Whatever the rhyme or reason, this is a rough list of items that are prohibited from international shipping. Know before you shop!

 

There are plenty of items that exist in the “gray space” between the perfectly acceptable side of things and the obviously unacceptable side of the spectrum, too. Again, this really isn’t something that you want to sort of fly by the seat of your pants with.

 

on a computer

 

Shipping from the US to your country (what you cannot ship from the US):

 

The list below is a pretty exhaustive breakdown of all the things you’re going to want to avoid shipping from the United States to other nations around the world, regardless of the specific rules, regulations, and municipal restrictions that may be in place.

 

While this list is very comprehensive it should not be used as a “be-all, end-all” kind of checklist that you use exclusively to determine whether or not something is a prohibited export item or not.

 

Though the information below is a great set of guidelines to work off of it is still always a good idea to either contact someone at U.S. Customs to determine whether or not you can send something overseas or contact someone at a consulate for the nation you are sending something to – just to get things cleared up a bit.

 

This very specific information is going to help your whole lot more than generalities, though the ballpark details below will help you understand the framework of things that are likely to be prohibited straight out of the gate.

 

Let’s dig right in!

 

Medicines, Prescriptions, Various

 

  • Prescription medications
    • Including dental
    • Including veterinary
  • Prescription medical devices
  • Medical devices if not FDA-approved
  • Pro hormones, Human Growth Hormones, stem cell treatments, steroids or synthetic versions
  • The following items that are not labeled in English, or without FDA-approved labeling requirements:
    • Non-prescription medications
    • Dietary supplements
    • Cosmetics
    • Food
  • Any food, supplement, drug or cosmetic that has been issued a Consumer Safety Advisory Warning
  • Perishable products of any kind
  • Lab reagents, biologics, cultures, medical specimens
  • Poisonous substances
  • Toxic substances
    • Including inhalation hazards
  • Infectious substances
  • Explosives, fireworks, gun powder, flares or matches
  • Gasoline, diesel or other fuels
  • Lighters containing fuel
  • Meals Ready to Eat (MRE)
  • Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides
  • Radioactive elements or products
  • Self-balancing boards (hover boards)

 

Weaponry and Components

 

  • Oxidizing agents
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Firearms, guns & accessories
    • Including replicas
  • BB/pellet/air soft/paintball guns, parts and projectiles
  • Ammunition, magazines & bayonets
  • Stun guns & tasers
  • Tear gas, mace & pepper spray
  • Gas masks & gas mask filters
  • Law enforcement striking weapons, including saps, batons & billy clubs
  • Handcuffs of any material, including plastic zip tie restraints & straitjackets
  • Body armor, helmets or personal protection articles with kevlar or ballistic ratings
  • Military/tactical/police shields
  • Government, police or military uniforms, IDs and Badges
    • real or replica
  • Military training equipment
  • Military and/or dual-use flight helmets and flight jumpsuits
  • Military and law enforcement equipment
  • Thermal imaging, Infrared or other night vision devices
  • Rifle-scopes, laser pointing & aiming devices for firearms
  • Defense articles controlled under the US Munitions List as defined under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations

 

Various

 

  • Self-propelled vehicles
  • Damaged batteries
  • Any dual-use or commercial article controlled under the Commerce Control List (CCL) as defined under the Export Administration Regulations, where the control status requires a Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) approved export license
  • Counterfeit products
  • Contraband or illegal substances
  • Lottery tickets
  • Gambling devices & accessories
  • Lock picking devices
  • Rough diamonds
  • Live or dead animals or insects
  • Human remains
  • Coral
  • Brazilian rosewood
  • Skin or leather of snakes, alligators, crocodiles, stingrays, and other reptiles or amphibians
  • Skin, fur or leather of wolves, bears, elephants, rhinos and certain deer and foxes
  • Sturgeon or Beluga caviar
  • Agricultural products, including certain seeds, live or dead plants, unfinished or untreated wood & soil
  • Items containing animal products controlled under the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, or requiring a permit under CITES
  • Any unidentifiable material, substance or chemical

 

List of prohibited items for shipping

 

These are the most common prohibited items worldwide, some countries may have even more restricted or prohibited items. These are items that may not leave the US at all.

 

As we highlighted earlier, though, this list is not totally complete or entirely comprehensive.

 

On top of that, the US government has the full right and authority to change their mind about prohibited items at any point in time – and without any advance notification – which means it’s up to you to verify that you are good to go.

 

Don’t be afraid to contact officials at U.S. Customs that can help point you in the right direction to further resources about what you can and cannot ship internationally. They may also be able to answer your questions directly, too.

 

Commonly asked questions:

 

Can I ship liquids?

 

Yes! If it is things like perfume, lotion, and shampoo, you can ship internationally. However, some exceptions include:

 

  • perishables
  • toxic substances
  • gasoline

 

A lot of the most common liquid restrictions when it comes to shipping have to do with potentially hazardous materials, potentially dangerous toxins, and flammable liquids (like gasoline, for example) that are anything but safe or stable to ship outside of purpose built containers.

 

Some people conflate the rules and regulations that handle whether or not we are able to bring liquid substance on board airplanes with us with international shipping rules and regulations. It’s important to understand that these two things are completely different sets of protocols and one does not necessarily influence the other.

 

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to try and stay away from shipping liquids overseas just because of the headache, hassle, and expense that it inevitably brings to the table.

 

Anything that may be viewed unfavorably by shipping partners or by the customs agency at the country you are sending this mail through will likely be confiscated and destroyed. Nobody wants to deal with all that extra headache and hassle, either.

 

Can I ship alcohol or aerosols?

 

No, USGM does not allow shipment of alcohol or aerosols.

 

You will have an impossible time shipping alcohol or aerosols with an organization like US Global Mail.

 

A lot of this has to do with the potential safety risks that shipping these substances inevitably include, but another big part of why you won’t be able to ship these things internationally has to do with local rules, regulations, and restrictions that may be in place in countries around the world.

 

If you do end up wanting to ship alcohol products or aerosol products through the mail from the United States to international destinations, it’s not a bad idea to speak to local liquor stores or alcohol distributors to ask about how they might go about helping you facilitate this kind delivery.

 

They may be able to help you (and then again they may not), but at the very least you’ll be speaking to experts that know a little bit about shipping alcohol and that know how to navigate the myriad of laws, rules, and restrictions in place about doing exactly this.

 

Can I ship electronics?

 

Yes, with some exceptions. Those exceptions include:

 

  • Integrated circuits
  • Processors
  • Microprocessor chips,
  • Micro controllers
  • Satellite Phones
  • Ruggedized Computers
  • High Powered / Commercial Grade Networking Devices (Servers & Routers)
  • Military Grade Electronics of any kind
  • High-End Devices: Encryption Devices, GPS, Radar, Sonar Devices, Communications Devices / Radios

 

Almost all consumer electronics are going to be “good to go” when you want to ship something internationally. These aren’t the kinds of products you will run into a lot of trouble with when you are exporting something overseas, especially in small or individual quantities.

 

Sending larger amounts of electronic and computer components, especially over longer stretches of time, are going to have your shipping activities more closely scrutinized by the experts and federal officials at U.S. Customs, at the USPS, and with any of the shipping partners that you have chosen to take advantage of.

 

There are ways to safely and completely legally send larger quantities of these kinds of items overseas. But you do have to make specific sets of information clear to U.S. Customs officials if you’re going to go down that road. You won’t be able to just simply box things up, slap a shipping label on them, and hope that you are going to clear customs with no trouble at all.

 

Be sure to reach out to these companies and the shipping partners with all of your questions regarding the legality and safety of sending any items you may have questions about.

 

These companies handle millions and millions of packages and parcels every month and are going to be clued into the most recent rules and regulations that dictate what can and cannot be sent out of the country to addresses overseas and abroad without any issue.

 

It’s a good idea to consult these breakdowns regardless of whether or not you are nervous about your items getting the green light from the same shipping partners.

 

It’s never a bad idea just to double check the legality of what you are up to, confirming that you are in the clear and that you aren’t going to be slapped with any surprise issues – fees, penalties, or even potential legal problems – just because you didn’t check with these shipping partners first.

 

Other Related Helpful Links:

 

 

Still not sure about an item? Contact us!

 

Here at US Global Mail we have built up a reputation as one of the best mail forwarding, mail scanning, and nontraditional mail servicing solutions in the industry today.

 

With thousands of clients all over the world (including individuals, small and midsize businesses, entrepreneurs, and more) taking advantage of our mail services we have a lot of experience helping people determine whether or not the items they want to mail internationally can be done so safely and legally.

 

A breakdown of all the services we offer can be found on our main web page, but you can also reach out to us at any point in time – at your earliest convenience – with specific answers about solutions we here at US Global Mail provide.

 

We hope that you will reach out as soon as you get a chance!

 

To get redirected to the Home Page, click here.

Exceptional service, at the right price.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee. Try Risk Free.

Choose the plan that’s right for you.

No one beats our plans. Or pricing. Or customer service.
No contracts or surprise fees. Tons of Free features. Try risk-free.

BASIC

$9.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$14.99 billed monthly.

  • 1 name on the account
  • Free check deposit
  • 90 days Free mail storage

PLUS

$14.95

Per month, billed biennially.
$19.99 billed monthly.

  • Add multiple family members
  • Add multiple company names
  • Upto 80% off on shipping rates
  • Free check deposit
  • 180 days free physical mail storage

All our plans come with

guarantee
100% Guarantee

Don't love it? Cancel within 30 days for a full refund.

location on the map
Permanent Street Address

Get a PO box online while maintaining a real street address.

computer devices
Smart Mailbox

Read all your mail virtually. No paper mess and a greener planet.

no-limits
No limits

Get mail from all your homes and business(es) or both in the same app.

security symbol
Free Check Deposit

Deposit bank checks virtually... with the click of a button.

flexible plans
Flexible Plans

Upgrade, downgrade, cancel anytime.

Tree on the top of the world globe

We want to leave a greener Earth for our children

We plant a tree for every new member sign up

Recent blog posts

fedex driver getting into a fedex truck

Why Does FedEx Take So Long?

Why is FedEx shipping taking so long? Read more below.

Read more
shutterfly book

Why Is Shutterfly Shipping So Expensive

Ever wondered why Shutterfly shipping is so expensive? We breakdown the top reasons here. Read more below.

Read more
USPS Delivery Time Calculator 14

USPS Delivery Time Calculator

How long does USPS take to deliver mail to each address? Read more below.

Read more