Pros & Cons Of Using A Mail Scanning Service

Each hour in the United States, the postal service processes an astonishing 20.2 million pieces of mail. The majority of that mail is intended for business purposes, and it can become quite the hassle for some business owners!


Waiting for that mail often isn’t an option, and it can become very frustrating to have to wait. Organizing and sorting through it can also take hours.


This is one of the key reasons that so many businesses decide to invest in mail scanning. In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at what we mean by mail scanning before we explore its pros and cons.


If your business needs to take advantage of flexible, adaptable, and (maybe most importantly) controllable mail solutions, the odds are good that mail scanning is right for you.


At the same time, not every business is going to be ideally suited to mail scanning services – even the best options on the market today, like US Global Mail. We not only cover the benefits and advantages of using a service like this below, but we also dig a little deeper into the drawbacks of these kinds of services before you commit to any of them.


Let’s get right into it!


Mail notification popping up on a computer screen

What Is Mail Scanning?


Mail scanning is a service where a business opens and scans mail on behalf of a client. A trusted mail scanning provider will work with a number of businesses to efficiently and safely deliver mail digitally.


Instead of having your mail simply pile up at the post office or at a mailbox service you are taking advantage of, the mail will instead be picked up by a mail service (or sent to a mail scanning service) to be digitally photographed or scanned – with those documents then sent to you immediately via email (or provided through a customer accessible portable online).


These kinds of services have been available to individuals and business owners for years and years now, but with the internet and digital scanning/photography solutions better than ever before they are a lot more innovative, a lot more controllable, and a lot more accessible (not to mention more affordable) than ever before, too.


The Pros of Mail Scanning


Now that we understand what mail scanning is, let’s dive right into the key benefits of this type of service.


Woman on the phone checking her virtual mailbox

Stop Waiting for Forwarded Mail


A number of delivery services offer mail forwarding, but this can extend the length of time that you have to wait for your mail. A number of important documents are sent via the mail, and this could mean that you’re left in the dark when you should be making important decisions.


If you decide to work with a trusted mail scanner, you’ll be able to access your mail much faster. This can give you the additional time that you need to start making the right decisions for your business.


Because you are alerted the moment that a new piece of mail is received and scanned you’ll know – in just a few moments – every time new mail pieces and packages hit your mailing address, but you’ll also know exactly what those mail pieces, packages, and parcels are.


You can forget forever about having to drive down to the post office just to see if any mail has come in that day.


Instead, you’ll have a much better idea of exactly what is waiting for you at the post office thanks to these digitally scanned documents. That lets you better plan your day and your mailbox visits, helping you to avoid wasting time, energy and gasoline driving out to a mailbox only to find that it’s empty or filled to the brim with nothing but “junk mail”.


Man starring at a clock and waiting


Organize Your Mail Digitally


We live in a digital world, but the power and popularity of physical mail still persists. This can be very frustrating for those business professionals who rely primarily on digital technologies. From that perspective, physical mail is very inconvenient.


Mail scanning is a great solution to this issue. A reliable mail scanning service means that fast-moving professionals can stay on top of their physical email using digital platforms. This helps people to stay on top of their work in one single location.


Imagine how much easier life will be when you have digital records of every piece of mail, every parcel, and every package that you have sent to a personal or business address.


Not only will this help your own personal record keeping (allowing you to keep better track of when and what packages were delivered to you), but you’ll also have these records permanently to refer to for any different number of reasons you may have to in the future.


Perhaps a company sent you the wrong package and you need to verify with them that this happened, or maybe a customer or client said that they sent you an important package but you don’t have a record of it arriving.


These kinds of records aren’t available when you’re using a traditional mailbox or USPS PO Box solution.


With US Global Mail, though, these record-keeping capabilities are standard across the board.


A virtual mailbox showing up on a mobile & computer device

Are Virtual Mailboxes Safe?


Given that mail has the potential to be picked up by anybody at any time, it could pose a security risk. This is a big challenge that businesses need to manage appropriately – if not, those businesses might find themselves the victim of a data breach.


Mail scanning is a great solution to the problem of security, given that the mail is handled by a group of trained and trusted professionals. Those letters are then sent securely via a digital platform, making sure that they are seen only by the right eyes.


A number of mail scanning providers will also take care of the disposal of mail, too, adding an extra layer of security.


The most important thing you can do when signing up for a virtual mailbox service that provides mail scanning solutions is to really research the company you are considering from top to bottom.


Not only is it a good idea to contact their customer service line directly and ask them any questions you might have, but it’s also a good idea to really read all the reviews about that company online (good and bad) to get a more complete picture of their reputation in the industry.


It’s not a bad idea to ask a virtual mailbox and mail scanning service for a list of top clients that you can call yourself, either. This will give you the kind of inside information you never would have been able to access otherwise straight from real customers that are in your same or similar situation – individuals that will let you know how safe and secure they find services to be.


Pros & Cons Of Using A Mail Scanning Service 2

Access Direct Mail on Mobile


Business travel is more prevalent than ever before, meaning that there are a number of professionals who find themselves on the road on a regular basis. Direct mail is inconvenient for those people, who will often need to make key decisions in response to that mail.


Mail scanning services are great for those professionals who need to stay updated while they’re on the move. The best mail scanning providers are able to send messages incredibly quickly or upload mail to a platform. It’s very simple for business people to access those platforms on mobile while traveling.


So much of the way that we run our businesses is conducted online through our phones, and there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to do the exact same thing when it comes to managing your mail.


The fact that you can always keep an eye on your mailbox through your phone is like a superpower, giving you the ability to schedule mail pickups with your staff or team anywhere on the planet as long as you have an online connection and your phone handy.


Woman holding a smart phone in her hand

Free Online Storage


Direct mail can be quite frustrating because it takes up physical space. This can become a burden within office environments and it can distract team members – countless studies have demonstrated how clutter can be a big drain on productivity.


Storing and maintaining that mail can also become difficult – it’s often a complete job in itself! Mail scanning services are very convenient, given that they empower businesses to digitize their messages and store them in the cloud.


The best mail scanning providers will offer secure digital platforms, too, with ample amounts of storage. This platform means that businesses have immediate access to their mail exactly when they need it, without the headaches that come with physical direct mail.


If you’ve been in business for any amount of time you’ve likely heard horror stories about someone losing important mail documents, important packages, and important contracts just because of the physical nature of those items getting lost in the shuffle somewhere.


You have a digital document you not only have the opportunity to secure that safely on a variety of different platforms, but you also have the ability to create a near infinite amount of copies (as many as you like) without having to worry about cluttering up your home or your office at the same time.


Documents are stored in mailboxes in the cloud

The Cons of Mail Scanning


Now that we’ve taken a look at the benefits of mail scanning, let’s take a closer look at some of the perceived downsides.


It’s worth noting that these downsides will only apply in very particular cases – more often than not, mail scanning can help businesses to operate more efficiently than ever before.


These downsides are likely not going to be deal breakers for the overwhelming majority of individuals or business owners out there right now looking to take advantage of these kinds of services, but they are important to bring up all the same.


Pros & Cons Of Using A Mail Scanning Service 3

Concerns About Privacy


Some security-conscious businesses might be concerned about having a third party handle their mail. Particular industries will be more sensitive to this than others, and it could even breach compliance rules.


It’s worth noting, though, that the best mail scanning providers have proven track records. They are trusted by a large number of businesses throughout the United States and they deliver a consistent level of service. This is why it’s so important to do your homework before you choose a mail scanning service provider.


Again, you should never sign on the dotted line and agreed to move forward with any mail scanning service until you’ve done all your research and due diligence.


You really want to know exactly who you are working with, exactly who you are trusting with something as important as your mail, and whether or not you’re going to be protected as a client going forward as far as your privacy is concerned.

Hand holding a smart phone that is private & secure


An Additional Expense


Some businesses – particularly nascent ones – are often reluctant to assume new expenses. It can be intimidating to forge new contracts, and that’s why some of those businesses are reluctant to pay for a mail scanning service.


Taking a big picture view, though, mail scanning is often a worthwhile and profitable investment. It can save a great deal of time and ensure that businesses stay on top of important activity via direct mail.


A quick cost benefit analysis on these kinds of services (services that are almost always super affordable) will show most entrepreneurs that you actually make – or at the very least save – quite a bit of money by outsourcing these kinds of services in the first place.


A calculator on a expense chart with a pen next to it

Start Scanning Your Mail Today


We hope that this piece has given you a clearer idea about mail scanning and why it may or may not be right for you.


As with any other business decision, it’s critical that you carefully weigh the pros and cons to guarantee you make the right decision. You’ll also want to find the right provider: be sure to learn more about US Global Mail today and how we might be the right fit for your business.


US Global Mail as a top-tier reputation in the mail scanning industry these days, a reputation that you’ll be able to independently verify – and a reputation you can trust to give you top-tier services that protect your privacy and your security, too.

Uncategorized Expat Resources

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).


Woman holding a phone in her hand that shows virtual mail


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.


A smart phone that has the mailbox flag on it


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!