Nowadays, it seems like everything we do is online- work, socializing, playing, and shopping are just a few of the activities that are possible in today’s mobile society. But even with all of the digital options available, physical addresses remain vital for receiving certain documents.
However, accessing your mailed documents is made possible through virtual mailboxes. Therefore, you may wonder- does USPS offer a virtual mailbox? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!
Does USPS Offer Virtual Mailboxes In 2024?
USPS does not offer virtual mailboxes directly, but collaborates with companies that do in 2024. Service starts at $6.99 per month. Virtual mailboxes are operated by companies that receive and scan mail into a password-protected cloud storage platform. Customers log in to view their mail, and can choose to have it opened, shredded, or forwarded.
You likely have lots of questions about how virtual mailboxes work, why they’re useful and how much they cost, so keep reading to learn more useful facts!
What Is a Virtual Mailbox at USPS?
A virtual mailbox is a real street address that includes access to an online version of your mailbox.
All of your mail gets uploaded into your account, allowing you to access it from a computer or mobile device.
Virtual mailboxes save you the hassle of picking up mail from a PO Box, and help keep your home address private.
How Do Virtual Mailboxes Work?
Various companies offer virtual mailbox services. When you enroll in this service, you’re contracting out to one of these companies to receive mail on your behalf.
When one of these companies receives your mail, an associate will scan the exterior of envelopes and packages, then upload the images to a secure cloud storage location.
You’ll receive an email notification alerting you that you’ve received mail. From there, you’ll be
able to log into your account and view the scanned images of your mail.
At that point, you have a few options when it comes to how you want your mail handled.
If you’ve received something important, you can request a mail scan. Selecting this option tells the virtual mailbox company to open your mail and scan the contents into your account.
If you’ve received mail that you don’t need, delete the exterior image from your account. This tells the receiving company to shred and dispose of the mail.
For packages, you can add a shipping address that you’d like them shipped to. Some companies will even be able to ship packages internationally at discounted rates.
Some companies also offer check depositing services for bank and social security checks.
When it comes to junk mail, most companies will do an initial sort-through on your behalf. In other words, they’ll dispose of junk mail and only upload mail that’s important to you.
What Is the Point of Virtual Mailboxes?
If you’re used to receiving mail at a physical address, you may be wondering what the value of virtual mailboxes is. There are many, and we’ll go over a few in this section.
First and foremost, having a virtual mailbox can save you a lot of time and energy that you’d otherwise spend going to the post office.
With a virtual mailbox, you get real-time updates when you receive mail, meaning you can see what you’ve received that day from the comfort of your home.
What’s more, you can control what happens to your mail without ever leaving the couch.
For example, you can request a mail scan if you need something opened, you can have something shredded, or you can have mail forwarded to an address of your choice.
These kinds of services are particularly useful for those who travel frequently and/or who want a secure mail collection point.
Virtual mailboxes are also incredibly useful for businesses.
Rather than storing stacks of mail at your office, a virtual mailbox allows you to keep a digital record of everything you’ve received in the past months (or even years)!
This makes mail management a cinch, and means that you’ll have an easily searchable archive of all the mail you’ve received.
As if that weren’t enough, you’ll also have instant access to information about individuals and organizations that have sent you mail, including concrete dates and timestamps of when you received it.
Another way virtual mailboxes are good for business is that it provides your organization with a real street address, rather than a PO Box.
Having a “real” address may make your business seem more prestigious or well-established.
Finally, many companies offering virtual mailboxes will offer check deposit services.
With this service, you’ll be able to endorse checks digitally and have them deposited into your account without having to make a trip to the bank.
Does USPS Offer a Virtual Mailbox?
USPS does not currently offer virtual mailbox services.
That being said, USPS collaborates with virtual mailbox companies to ensure that your mail gets where it needs to go when you sign up for a virtual mailbox service.
Before you can have your mail sent to a virtual mailbox company, you’ll need to complete USPS form 1583 (otherwise known as Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent).
You’ll also need to submit a change of address form with USPS so that your mail will start getting forwarded to your new virtual mailbox address.
Are Virtual Mailboxes Legal?
Virtual mailboxes are legal in 2024.
These services are registered Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies (CMRAs) with USPS, authorizing the company to receive mail on behalf of its customers.
You can also rest assured if you want to get a virtual mailbox service for the purposes of setting up a business.
This is because you’ll receive a street address when signing up for a virtual mailbox, something you’ll be asked to provide when filing incorporation documents.
Are Virtual Mailboxes Safe?
There are several things that make virtual mailboxes safe.
First, your mail is only accessible online with a password-protected login.
What’s more, files are encrypted and stored securely at mail processing facilities.
These facilities comply with the latest security protocols, including 128-bit SSL encryption and full disk encryption for all customer data.
Finally, all virtual mailboxes in the United States must be registered as Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies (CMRA) with USPS.
This designation means that virtual mailbox companies must comply with strict USPS guidelines, or face severe penalties if they fail to keep users’ information safe.
How Much Does a Virtual Mailbox Cost?
Virtual mailboxes range in price, depending on the provider and on any add-on services you may require.
You should expect to pay at least $6.99 per month for a basic virtual mailbox. However, some companies charge up to $25.00 per month.
In addition to the monthly subscription price, you’ll pay a couple of dollars extra for scans of the inside of your mail, mail forwarding, secure shredding, and long-term package storage.
Whether you’re a long-term traveler, someone starting a business, or just someone who doesn’t want to deal with the daily hassle of getting mail, a virtual mailbox might be the right choice for you.
For a small monthly fee, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you won’t miss any important communication, regardless of where life takes you.