Virtual Mailbox Services
Virtual mailbox services provide an address for you to send and receive mail. Learn more about the benefits of using a virtual mailbox service.
Virtual mailboxes are available to both individuals and businesses. With a virtual mailbox, you create a virtual address. Whenever anyone sends mail to this address, it goes to your virtual mail service provider instead. Your service provider scans the mail and uploads you daily images, allowing you to see who is sending you letters or packages. The virtual mail service does not open any of your mail without your permission. You can either choose to have the mail returned, recycled or forwarded to another address.
Virtual mailboxes are primarily used by small businesses. It is especially helpful if you run a small business out of your home, but do not want to disclose your physical address to your customers. If you frequently travel or live in another state, virtual mailbox services provide an easy way to manage your mail no matter where you are. As a resident, you must live in the United States to use virtual mailbox services, but businesses can open a virtual mailbox service even if they are overseas.
One of the biggest benefits for businesses is virtual mailbox providers use real street addresses and not PO boxes. PO boxes only receive mail from USPS, but with a real street address, you can receive mail from all couriers, including UPS and FedEx. It also looks more professional for a business to provide a physical address instead of a PO box. It typically takes longer to resolve issues with PO boxes as well.
Securing your Mail
Virtual mailbox services have excellent security for both your physical mail and uploaded files. If you frequently travel, any packages or mail you receive is vulnerable until you return. Even if you are not worried about thieves, your package may become damaged if you are gone for long periods. If you sign up for a virtual mailbox service, all your mail is picked up the day it is delivered.
Any mail you want to get rid of is immediately shredded without being opened. Additionally, all the uploads are encrypted with 256-bit encryption, ensuring information thieves are unable to access your mail. Virtual mailbox services are required to keep your information private and not share your data with any third parties.
There are other options to store your mail, but these services are much slower than virtual mailbox services. All mail is processed the same day it arrives. You can immediately check your mail and either request it to be shredded or sent to a new location. Unlike other services, there are no extra fees to get your mail shipped on the same day it is processed.
Another important feature, especially for businesses, is check depositing. Virtual mailbox services let you deposit any checks you receive in the mail. You can individually go through checks, or set your account so all checks are automatically deposited. You can also choose how frequently checks are deposited, such as weekly or monthly. All you need is your bank deposit information. There are no signup fees or long waits for applications to process. There are even options for international payments and global deposits, as long as you have a valid US bank account.
Planet Express deals exclusively with packages. In addition to sending you the name and address on the package, they also upload an image of the package so you can see the condition of the container. If requested, Planet Express will open the package to send additional images. When sending your mail, they allow you to batch your packages, so you receive your shipment in fewer boxes. The company will even place orders on your behalf, including orders overseas. Packages are stored between 10 and 45 days for free, based on your plan.
There are no setup fees, and you can opt for a pay-as-you-go model instead of a monthly fee, otherwise, it is $10 a month. Forwarding your packages has an additional $2. Additional storage option depends on the weight of your package, costing $.01 per pound.
Anytime Mailbox is primarily geared towards small businesses. All members gain access to physical storage for at least two weeks, with some locations holding mail for up to 30 days. Anytime is one of the largest virtual mailbox services, with over 1,000 locations to choose from. You can conveniently check your mail using the Anytime app, which is compatible with both Apple and Android devices. The prices vary by location, but the majority of the plans cost $5.99 a month.
Alliance Virtual Offices
Alliance is another virtual mailbox service that primarily works with small businesses. They provide greater security options, keeping your personal number and address limited to only necessary employees. The company also provides options to separate business and personal mail. Alliance has additional options to help your business grow. You can set up VOIP phone services, hire a remote receptionist and even use Alliance space for business meetings with clients. Because so many other services are included, Alliance is one of the pricier options, with a basic plan costing $49 a month.