We just entered a new decade, and many industries in the 21st century have seen great disruption while other sectors have been more stable and resistant to change. The USPS started off traditionally with a mailman who would carry mail by foot or on a horse. And although the means of mail transportation has changed over the years, paper mail still remains paper mail.
Yes, the volume of mail people exchange has dropped dramatically, but there are certain pieces of mail that cannot be delivered in any other way in this digitally centered day and age.
Which raises the question: Do you really need a P.O Box in 2020? Are there are any better alternatives available?
Let’s start off with the first question on the importance of maintaining a P.O Box. To answer that, you need to consider first what is easily replaceable (and has been replaced) by e-mail, what could potentially be replaced using a Virtual Mailbox, and of course what still needs to come in the old fashioned way.
It goes without saying that the majority of business correspondence is done now via e-mail. When you also consider social media giants like LinkedIn & Facebook, the amount of letters people need to actually mail out has been reduced significantly. And it doesn’t stop there, text messages, phone apps (think What’s App, Slack, Telegram) have kept the majority of written communication digitized.
If that covers the lion share of mail, then what else are people using the Post Office for, other than packages & Pizza ads?
Think of all forms of ID and official documents; have you ever received those text alerts that you owe money to the IRS? That’s right…the IRS never sends notices via a text or a phone call. Rather it uses your good ol’ USPS. What about other important documents such as ID’s, Passports, Driver’s License, Social Security Cards etc? Yes, these also can only be delivered to you using the Postal Service.
So there are definitely a couple areas where e-mail or What’s App may not come in handy.
But does that really mean you still need a PO Box to receive those documents?
See, when you maintain a PO Box, that means that you are sharing that with pretty much anyone else that needs to send mail your way. That includes utility companies, relatives etc. So with every single item you get, you are adding an extra reason to go to the Post Office, deal with traffic & grumpy employees. And most of the time, the mail you get is probably spam anyway.
There’s a better way
What if those rare items that need to absolutely be sent via the USPS once every 5 years, are shipped to your address when they arrive?
In other words, what if you get the lion share of your mail (99%) virtually and only get official government documents (1%) delivered to you?
Think of the time you would save annually, driving back and forth from the post office, think of the gas you would be saving, and think of the convenience of checking all incoming mail from the comfort of your own couch & phone.
It gets better when you consider that all mail items you receive are scanned externally so you can actually see who the sender is and whether it’s worth it to have it scanned or just shredded. Additionally, all incoming mail items will be added into your Virtual Mailbox and from there, can be organized & labeled, the same way you use Gmail. As an example; let’s say that you want to look at your Tax Records or IRS Notices from the 3rd quarter of 2019, you can just filter your inbox based by date and easily recover it. Virtual Mailboxes are terrific tools for documentation purposes and keeping track of all files. No more paper mess; not in this decade!
And what about mobility? If you need to spend some days (or months and years) out of the country or even out of State, having a virtual mailbox means you can always access your paper mail on demand. No need to wait until you’re back, nor rely on relatives & friends in picking it up for you. Many times, people who take a couple weeks to go vacation overseas, will leave all mailing concerns with their friends back home; but do you really trust your friends that much as to pick up your social security check, or go through your financial data? It’s definitely not the most reliable alternative and in some cases, not the safest either.
Additional perks you would not get with a traditional PO Box, include the Check Deposit. Let’s say you get a check from the social security office – why would you want to drive to the post office, get the check, then head to the bank and deposit it if you could do all this with the click of a button? And speaking of easy to use apps and clicking on screens, any undesirable mail you can easily shred also from within the app.
Below is a full breakdown of all the benefits you get, when using a Virtual Mailbox.
So circling back to our original question on the importance of maintaining a PO Box in 2020, we think there are more perks with using a Virtual Mailbox as opposed to a physical mailbox (or PO Box,) and it’s even half the price (because it’s all stored in the cloud.) A good portion of people’s banking needs is done using an app or even online banking. Most (if not all) bills are also paid online. Why not also use your phone to get your Snail Mail?