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!
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.
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).
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:
- What is the scan process?
- Is the scan encrypted during upload? Where is it stored- local machines or cloud?
- Are employees require to have background checks?
- Do they track every touch to your mail piece and record that info?
- 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.
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!