No text messages, no social media, no email…none of that back in the day. How did we even survive back then? (my 15-year-old son asks.) And although most of the aforementioned means of written communication have taken up the lion share of what the USPS used to be responsible for, it still hasn’t completely wiped out this organization that employs so many millions of Americans. IRS notices, the occasional letter from grandma, the DMV (and the list goes on) are some of the reasons why everyone still needs to receive some kind of paper mail.
Of course the environmental toll we’re paying is humongous, considering that most paper mail is junk (marketing) mail. Other factors to consider (outlined in the paragraphs below) may lead someone to start thinking of alternative options to traditional paper mail. Something faster, easier to use & more secure. A virtual mailbox.
What Is A Virtual Mailbox?
It is a secure mailbox you can access online, in which all your paper mail is scanned & stored in a digital format. On top of that, you’re able to gain a whole lot more control over the mail experience – sending and receiving mail – when you move to a virtual mailbox service than you would have been able to otherwise. Similar in a lot of ways to a traditional PO Box, but differing significantly when it comes to how technology, digital scanning, and a host of accessory services included with virtual mailboxes are concerned, there are a lot of individuals and a lot of businesses moving away from PO boxes and towards virtual mailboxes for a couple of reasons.
We dig a little deeper into those reasons below, but you’ll be happy to know that signing up for the right virtual mail service is pretty easy. Obviously, you’ll want to find the right company to do business with – a trusted partner like US Global Mail – but after that you can really hit the ground running without a lot of headache and without a lot of hassle.
The process is very simple:
- First you will receive a virtual address.
- Then all your mail arrives to that address.
- Items you receive are scanned (exterior envelopes) and you can view them in your Virtual Mailbox
- And finally you pick which items you wish to have opened and scanned. We scan and upload the document into your Virtual Mailbox.
Is Virtual Mail Safe?
Yes. Getting your mail virtually is very safe, as it is encrypted with the physical file being securely stored at the mail processing facility. Mail is uploaded into a virtual mailbox which functions just like any app or web portal.
Above and beyond the obvious benefit of not having to drive to the post office, being able to view everything online instantly and getting real-time notifications, the virtual mailbox gives you several options: you can scan a mail item, discard, shred or even select the option to have it mailed to you. (Sometimes you may need the actual physical mail, for example, your driver’s license.) Never again are you going to have to worry about losing mail that has piled up in your home or office, not being able to track down important packages or parcels that you know you picked up weeks or months ago, or generally just cluttering up your space with mail that you don’t know if you’ll ever need in the future – but know that you probably shouldn’t toss it out on the off chance that you might.
The control that you are able to exercise over your mail with a virtual mailbox is unparalleled. Sure, the USPS has a proven method in a PO Box that has been tried and true for generations. But virtual mailboxes don’t throw out PO Box approaches entirely so much as they incorporate what the USPS does well with those services with their own innovative twists, accessory services, and improvements. You really do get the best of all worlds when you choose to move forward with a virtual mailbox service compared to just grabbing a PO Box at your local post office.
Another huge convenience is the ability to go back and view mail that came in many months (or even years) ago. It serves as a terrific mail management system, with superb archive features. Which is why you need to ensure you are working with the best virtual mailbox service. And if you own a business, you realize the amount of paperwork and paper mess this archival system can help you avoid. You’ll have a completely searchable (easily searchable, at that) archive of every single mail piece, every single package, and every single parcel that comes through your virtual mailbox.
On top of that, we aren’t just talking about a couple of data points that you can get out of a spreadsheet with this searchable database, either. No, with the right virtual mailbox service you’re going to get actual digital photographs or scans of the envelopes and packages themselves. You’re also going to get information about the individual or organization that sent you those packages and parcels, as well as concrete dates and timestamps about when they arrived at your mailbox, when you received digital confirmation of those deliveries, and (with some services) when you last accessed that information and those digital documents. All of this is going to streamline your paperwork process significantly. You can forget forever about having to pile all kinds of mail into complicated physical filing systems, living your life with manila envelopes cluttering up the place, or hoping that you haven’t lost a key pieces of mail somewhere in the shuffle just because you have so much to navigate.
Something to consider if you have a business that you wish to display in a more “prestigious” fashion, is the fact that a real street address looks a lot better than a PO Box. It is true you can register your business using the Post Office and get a PO Box, but consider how that would look on your website or when doing a presentation to a client? A streamlined enterprise mail management solution could help with other business needs as well, such as a check deposit. Check deposits are offered both for individual customers and businesses alike and can come in handy in order to save time from going to the bank. Endorse your check digitally, and you’re good to go!
These check depositing services are just one of the accessory options that top virtual mailbox service providers include as part and parcel of your membership package. There isn’t anything like this available from the USPS at this point in time, and there may never be a streamlining of these kinds of services in the future. But the ability to not only have a check delivered directly to your mailbox, a digital document made of that check arriving, a digital copy of that check scanned into your records (available and accessible on any internet enabled device at any point in time), and the ability to have that check instantly deposited into your account is a game changer.
It’s not hard to see how a service like this can streamline so much of your operation, especially when you choose a partner that you know you can trust in the virtual mailbox industry.
Here is a list of the advantages you get, when using a Virtual Mailbox:
- Save time, money & stay organized. Long gone are the days when you needed to drive, sometimes in harsh weather, deal with the traffic and get stuck behind a turtle car. If you consider the amount of money you spend on gas going back and forth to the post office yearly, that’s some extra needless spending. And you know what they say about time being money right? So factor that in too! And what about archiving all your documents and going back months & years at a time, digging up some old IRS notice? It’s evident that a Virtual Mailbox, if nothing else, would provide you great convenience and would also be a money saver.
- Save up to 80% on shipping costs. Sometimes you need to access your physical mail and get the actual paper envelope. We understand that, which is why there is an on-demand shipping request made available to you. The advantage here is the fact that when using a mail forwarding service like US Global Mail, due to the volume of mail we ship & handle, we are able to provide bulk pricing. The irony is, that so do several mail forwarding companies, but many of them decide to even mark up the shipping service itself. If you do proper due diligence, you will find mail forwarding services that offer you shipping at a fraction of what the retail cost would be (up to 80% off.) US Global Mail is proud to be one of them.
- The environmental consequence. The tons of junk mail that end up in landfills or our oceans, is scary to even think about. Unfortunately, most residents tend to simply trash the junk mail (magazines, marketing mailers, etc) instead of recycling. Using a digital option, would help lessen our global footprint, considering that the sponsored mailers that we get – should you decide to do so – we shred and recycle.
- Security & privacy. Mail theft in this country is growing at a record pace. Identity theft is on the rise, and having your mail exposed in public, can create a series of headaches or even amount to personal losses with criminals using your identity for malicious activity. When you compare this to having all mail sent to a warehouse secured with 24/7 surveillance systems and security personnel, it is evident that you your mail will stay away from the hands of crooks. Additionally, all mail is encrypted and you have access to it all, whenever you choose.
Are Virtual Mailboxes Legal?
Yes. Virtual mailboxes are 100% legal and registered Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies (CMRA) with the USPS. These agencies are located in a real physical street addresses and receive mail on behalf of USPS customers. Mail that is sent to that address, gets scanned and uploaded into the virtual mailbox – a mailbox in the cloud.
In summary, e-mail in no way has been able to eliminate all physical mail. But obtaining a virtual mailbox will allow you to digitize even the extra pieces of mail that our 21st century digital age has not been able to disrupt.
Two things are certain: virtual mailboxes aren’t going anywhere and nor is snail mail. The trick is trying to find a way to marry these two completely different of communication in a system that doesn’t add more headache, more hassle, and more complexity to your already super busy life.
Nobody wants to have to worry about more issues and more anxiety with their mail, regardless of whether or not that’s personal mail or business mail. We are all looking for ways to increase efficiency, cut down on the amount of time we spend having to navigate this type of necessary busywork, and making our lives a little simpler and straightforward along the way. The good news is, streamlining your mail management and keeping everything online in one place, can help organize the busiest individuals and businesses.
The big challenge is always finding the right partner to move forward with, especially today when the market is becoming ever more crowded with new competitors getting into the industry. You’ll want to be sure that you research all of your options, really do your due diligence to find professionals that you know you can trust, and dig deep into the reputation of the companies you’re thinking about doing business with before you sign on the dotted line and have them handle something as important as your mailbox.
It’s critical that you work with trusted companies like US Global Mail, experts that have a long and established track record that can be independently verified by you, so that you know you are being well taken care of. Move forward with a fly-by-night operation that you can verify on your own and you’re only adding more complexity and more anxiety to something that could have been almost effortlessly taking care of with the right partner – a partner like US Global Mail.
What are your thoughts? Are you ready to make managing all of your mail – ALL of your mail – a whole lot easier than it ever was before, all while enjoying the best of the traditional mailbox and digital communication worlds? How can a Virtual Mailbox make your life easier? Let us know!