A virtual mailbox service (also known as a package forwarder) is the easiest way to receive mail from one country while you're living or traveling in another. Virtual mailboxes provide you with a unique address you can send any mail to, which they will then forward on to you anywhere in the world.
After researching more than a dozen companies, Planet Express is our top choice for the best virtual PO box. Due to their low fees and excellent customer service, I've personally used and been happy with Planet Express for years.
What Is The Best Virtual Mailbox?
Planet Express is a digital mailbox specifically and exclusively for packages. Planet Express makes shopping in the US very easy and cheap. With their service Shop For Me, you can shop in the US even if you don’t have a credit card that allows international transactions, Planet Express offers to place your orders for you. They also offer Package Consolidation; You can decide which packages you want to ship together. This can consequently save you a lot on shipping. They offer these services at very attractive rates, with their Free plan you won’t even have to pay a monthly fee.
- Warehouse Addresses: Los Angeles, Portland, United Kingdom.
- Free Photo Of Packages: Once the package is received at the warehouse they'll take a free picture of it and send it to you so you can see the condition of the package and also the sender's name and address. If you need to look at the contents of the package, you can also request for that.
- Shop in the US.
- Shop For Me.
- Package Consolidation.
- Physical Storage for packages: 10-45 days of free storage (depending on your plan).
- Free photos of packages.
- No hidden fees.
- eCommerce Fulfilment: If you have an online business Planet Express can help you distribute your product.
- Shopping in the US if you live somewhere else.
- The Shop For Me Service.
- You can check the contents of your packages before it reaches you and if there’s a problem you can send it back.
- 10-45 days of free storage.
Planet Express is only for packages, not letters/envelopes.
- Monthly fee: Pay-As-You-Go-$10/month
- No Setup fee
- Pictures: Automatic Picture is free, if you request a Package Contents Pictures then, $2 for 3 general pictures and $5 for 10 detailed pictures.
- Mail Forwarding: $2/package + Shipping Costs
- Storage: 10-45 days (depending on your plan) free then $.01 per lbs/day
Planet Express is a great service for people living outside and wanting to buy from US-based brands and for online business owners.
PostScan Mail operates a nationwide network of 400+ virtual addresses that you can use to receive your mail and package deliveries, you can actually walk into any of these locations and pick up your mail items which is very convenient. One of the things that sets PostScan Mail apart is their robust mobile app which is ideal for remote travelers and people on the go.
- Real U.S. street addresses.
- Unlimited cloud storage.
- Email notifications.
- Content scans.
- Local mail and package pickup.
- Mail item consolidation and package forwarding.
- Unlimited recycling.
- Mobile App for Android and iOS devices.
- Multiple recipients and user/department management, this is ideal for traveling families or remote companies.
- Free Open & Scans: 5-20 free open & scans, depending on which plan you go with.
- Mail Forwarding with real-time shipping rates.
- Free Mail Storage: First 30 days free.
- Free Package Storage: First 7 days free.
- Secured shredding & recycling.
- The option to add multiple users to your account.
- Mobile app available for free download.
Some locations are more expensive than others.
- Monthly fee: $15 – $30/month
- No setup fee
- Open & Scans: 5-20 free per month (depending on your plan), then $2.00 per envelope for up to 10 pages.
- Mail Forwarding: $0.85 per item + Shipping Cost
- Letter Storage: First 30 days free, then $0.05 per envelope/day.
- Package Storage: First 7 days free, then $0.10 per pound/day.
Individuals with low to moderate levels of incoming mail, traveling families, or remote companies.
Anytime Mailbox also offers street addresses from many different countries, they offer 600 international locations to choose from along with international mail forwarding, check deposit, and their own app.
- Open & Scan.
- International Mail Forwarding.
- Physical Addresses: 600 international locations to choose from.
- Check deposit.
- Access from any device: PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, Smartphone or Tablet.
- Secured shredding.
- International Mail Forwarding.
- Physical addresses in 12 major countries.
- Handy Mobile App: Available for both iPhone & Android.
- Check deposit.
- Secure Shredding.
Some locations are more expensive than others and there are locations that do not provide a check deposit.
Note: With Anytime Mailbox the fees are different for different locations. It also depends on which plan you’re going with. The following rates are just an example. If you go with Vancouver then you’ll be charged according to the following fee structure.
- Monthly fee: $9.99-$300/month
- No Setup fee
- Open & Scans: Bronze: C$o.50/page. Silver: 10 pages/month free then C$0.50/page. Gold: 20 pages/month free then C$0.50/page. Unlimited: Free Unlimited Open & Scans.
- Mail Forwarding: C$3.00 + Shipping
- Storage: Silver: Small Envelope: Free for 30 days then 10 cents/day. Large Envelope: Free for 30 days then 15 cents/day. Small Box: Free for 10 days then 25 cents/day. Large Box: Free for 7 days then 50 cents/day.
Best for small to large businesses.
With services like personal shopping & package consolidation, USA2ME makes it easy to shop in the US from pretty much anywhere in the world.
- Real Street Address in the US.
- Open & Scans
- Mail and Package Forwarding
- Personal Shopping: You can use your USA2ME street address from anywhere in the world to shop in the US. Once you place the order with the vendor, you can put your USA2ME address as your address, once the packages arrive at USA2ME, they will be forwarded to you and you can receive them at your doorstep anywhere in the world.
- Package Consolidation: USA2ME offers to combine a bunch of your packages into one big package, consequently helping you save a ton on shipping costs.
- Virtual Office Services: USA2ME also offers virtual office services like a US Business Address, US Remailing (distribute your products in the US), US phone number, and even an attorney or an accountant (with customized services).
- Mail Shredding: If you receive unwanted or spam mail, you can request to have it securely shred.
- Very Reliable: USA2ME has been in business since 2004 with over 20,000 customers.
- Your own US physical address.
- Open & Scans
- Mail Forwarding.
- Virtual Office Services.
- Personal Shopping.
- Package Consolidation
The User Interface (UI) of their virtual/digital mailbox is somewhat outdated and can be a bit tedious.
- Monthly Fee: Pay-As-You-Go up to $179/month
- Setup Fee: $23-$15 (depending on the plan)
- Scanning: $3 per scan/item up to 6 pages and $.50 for every additional page.
- Mail Forwarding: Cost depends on weight, dimensions, and where it’s headed.
- Storage: 30-90 days free (depending on your plan), then $1 per lb per month
They offer great plans for both individual and business needs.
Our Pick For The Best Virtual Mailbox: Planet Express
Planet Express makes shopping in the US very easy and cheap. With their service Shop For Me, you can shop in the US even if you don’t have a credit card that allows international transactions, Planet Express offers to place your orders for you. They also offer Package Consolidation; You can decide which packages you want to ship together. This can consequently save you a lot on shipping. They offer these services at very attractive rates, with their Free plan you won’t even have to pay a monthly fee.
What Is A Virtual Mailbox?
A virtual mailbox service gives you a physical mailing address where you can accept letters, documents and packages while you're traveling overseas. Every time your virtual mailbox receives a piece of your mail, they will accept it on your behalf, scan the envelope or package (without opening it), and email that scan to you.
From that point you have three different options of what to do:
- Have them open the mail and send you another scan of the contents inside.
- Forward the mail or package on to another physical address, such as a relative’s address or your address in a different country.
- Shred or destroy the mail or package if it’s something you don't need.
What Can A Virtual Mailbox Do?
Core Virtual Mailbox Services
There are a few core services that many virtual mailboxes provide:
- Online notification when you receive a piece of mail
- Online viewing of letters and packages
- Open and scan/photograph your letters and packages (at your request)
- Shred and destroy unwanted mail
- Forward letters and packages on to a domestic or international address of your choice
- Receive checks from clients
- Receive credit cards and bank statements
- Receive legal statements and personal & business bills
Advanced Virtual Mailbox Services
Then there are some more advanced services that only some virtual mailboxes offer, sometimes at a fee:
- Repack and consolidate multiple packages to save on shipping
- Long-term package storage
- Deposit checks for you and your business
- Sign for packages on your behalf upon delivery
- Personal shopping
- Real street address (not a PO box)
I personally find myself using virtual mailbox services most often when I'm overseas and need to order things from Amazon and other retailers that won't ship to my current address. In those cases, I just have the package shipped to my virtual mailbox, and have them forward it on to me a few days later.
Having a real street address can be a huge benefit, too, as many banks and government agencies don't accept PO boxes as legitimate addresses.
How Do Virtual Mailboxes Work?
A virtual mailbox is a unique address at a secure location that can receive physical mail and packages for you. When someone sends mail there, your virtual mailbox will notify you and you'll be given the option to scan, shred, discard, or forward the mail on to another address.
Getting started with a virtual mailbox is very simple:
- Open an account with one of the virtual mailbox services below. I've included details about each of the services, and I've also made some recommendations at the bottom of this post.
- The virtual mailbox you select will assign you a unique address, which you can start using as your mailing address for letters and packages.
- Start receiving email notifications every time a piece of mail arrives!
Benefits Of Virtual Mailboxes
There are a few major benefits of using a virtual mailbox:
- Mail & Package Forwarding: Have your mail or packages forwarded to almost anywhere in the world without even leaving the house.
- Travel: If you’re traveling abroad, or even just out of town for a while, you probably want to still be able to receive mail. A virtual mailbox will receive your mail in your absence, and they can even deposit checks on your behalf.
- Convenience: With a virtual mailbox, you’ll have control over all your mail-related matters right at your fingertips. You’ll see new mail arrive, be able to forward that mail to other locations, deposit checks, and send letters of your own. If the virtual mailbox service you choose also provides virtual office services, you can even get a dedicated phone number answered by a real receptionist, too.
- Business Address: A business address is useful if you have an online business. If you’re a startup, a physical presence is generally needed to register an LLC or corporation. Using your personal address is an option, but that can put your privacy at risk, since it will be publicly accessible.
- Registered Agent Services: Some virtual mailbox services also offer registered agent services, which can offer tremendous value if you’re considering a virtual mailbox for business use. For example, when a legal document requiring immediate attention is not taken care of in time, it can create a substantial headache for you. Some of the services in the list below will take care of this for you.
- Security: In most cases, your documents (legal, business, or personal) are kept under the highest security. Communications with end-users are generally encrypted with bank-level SSL encryption. Virtual mailboxes are protected with passwords and some even provide 2-factor authentication (2FA) for an extra layer of security. In the U.S., every virtual mailbox company has to follow strict USPS guidelines, and there are consequences when they fail to keep users’ information safe.
Virtual Mailbox Fees
Virtual mailbox fees vary tremendously depending on which service you choose. Generally, it depends on the amount of mail per month you receive. Some virtual mailing services offer a huge monthly quota of scanning, opening, forwarding, and check deposits. Once the quota is met there are some additional fees per item. But if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee there are options that will charge you per item (mail or parcel) like USA2ME, which I cover below.
Virtual mailing services with large monthly quotas are generally better for businesses, but they tend to be pricier. Similarly, virtual mailboxes with smaller quotas and lower monthly fees are usually better-suited for families or individuals. For example, the plans that USA2ME offers are better suited for families & individuals, while other services make for a better virtual business address.
In our side-by-side comparison of 10+ virtual mailboxes below, you’ll learn more about pricing and how to choose the best mailbox for you.
Whether you're traveling abroad, own a business, or are just tired of checking your mail, a virtual mailbox takes your mailbox and puts it on your phone. With services like international mail forwarding and check deposits, plus international addresses for shopping overseas, a virtual mailbox can save you both money and time.
There are many great virtual mailbox services out there, so the trick lies in finding the right one for you. We recommend Planet Express if you’re looking for the best overall virtual mailbox, and also if price is especially important to you.
Virtual Mailbox FAQs
Are Virtual Mailboxes Safe?
Yes, virtual mailboxes are safe because they're accessed exclusively online and are not available to the public. All of the virtual mailboxes mentioned above are in secure data centers that comply with the latest security protocols, including 128-bit SSL encryption and full disk encryption for all stored customer information. A virtual mailbox will never release your address to anyone outside of your virtual mailbox account unless you specifically instruct them to do so by creating a forwarding request.
What Is A Virtual Mailbox Used For?
A virtual mailbox is used for forwarding mail while you're travelling or living abroad, or just to keep you more organized. You can also use a virtual mailbox to create an online archive of your documents and important papers, or even as an address in launching a business.
What Is The Cheapest Virtual Mailbox?
The cheapest virtual mailbox is Planet Express, as you can see from the pricing table and shipping calculator above. Some specific items will be cheaper to ship with other package forwarders, of course, but on aggregate I've found that Planet Express has the lowest prices on most shipments.
Which Virtual Mailbox Is Best?
The best virtual mailbox is Planet Express, both for its low pricing and its excellent customer service. I've tested out more than a dozen different virtual mailbox services, and if you're looking to get your purchases shipped to you quickly and reliably, I recommend Planet Express.
Does USPS Offer A Virtual Mailbox?
Yes, USPS does offer a PO box virtual mail service. However, USPS PO boxes cannot receive shipments from any other shipping carrier, which is why it may be a good business move to get a virtual mailbox address as well.
Can You Pick Up Mail From A Virtual Mailbox?
You can pick up mail from some virtual mailboxes, but not all of them. You'll need to check with your virtual mailbox service's policies before receiving any packages so that you don't get charged for an extra pickup fee.
Can I Use A Virtual Mailbox For An LLC?
Yes, you can use a virtual mailbox for your LLC. It's easy to register your mailbox in your own name or under a business entity, since it's a real, physical address.