5 Reasons to Get a P.O. Box

Speed, security, and convenience. These are the three main benefits that we expect from a USPS product. And the P.O. Box checks all three boxes. If you’ve been wondering how to conveniently and securely receive your mail and packages, consider signing up for a P.O. Box service. It’s one of the most reliable and oldest products you can get from your Post Office. Post Office boxes can offer you many benefits, whether for business or personal reasons.

What Is a P.O. Box?

  • A P.O. Box, or a Post Office Box, is a locked box with a unique address.
  • Each P.O. Box address typically starts with a P.O. Box number. A P.O. Box is usually inside a postal office, in its lobby, or along its walls. Most post office boxes are accessible 24/7.
  • Items that can be delivered to P.O. Boxes are mail and packages that are sent via the USPS.
  • Since these P.O. Boxes don’t have real street addresses, they’re generally not qualified for mail and package deliveries from private couriers like FedEx or DHL.

How Does a P.O. Box Work?

  • A P.O. Box is straightforward. It’s very much like the mailbox in your yard or apartment building, except the box is in a Post Office, and you rent it.
  • If you rent a P.O. Box from the Post Office, your mail and package deliveries will be made to your locked box.
  • And when you have time, you drive to the postal office where your box is and retrieve your mail.

How Do I Get a P.O. Box?

  • Aside from the simplicity of use, getting a P.O. Box is also easy. You can get a P.O. Box online or in person at the nearest Post Office.
  • When you apply to rent a P.O. Box, you choose the size and the contract length. P.O. Boxes come in five different sizes and have different rates.
  • You can rent them in 3, 6, or 12-month terms.
  • The first step in getting a P.O. Box is finding out which Post Offices near you offer this service.
  • The best way to go about this is to check out the P.O. Box page of the USPS website.
  • Use the search bar to find a P.O. Box near you by typing in an address, city or state, or Zip Code. Choose a Post Office and proceed with the rest of the application process.
  • You can complete the application process online or at your local post office. Take note that, aside from the P.O. Box application form, you will also need to provide two (2) acceptable valid IDs.
  • Once the Post Office verifies your identity and approves your application, you will be given P.O. Box keys. You use them to access your mail or packages inside the box.

How Much is a P.O. Box?

  • The price of a Post Office Box depends on the size and how long you are renting it for.
  • The Post Office location also affects how much you’ll end up paying.
  • For details on how much a P.O. Box costs, check out this pricing table provided by USPS.

Reasons to Get A P.O. Box

Still not convinced that a P.O. Box is for you? Continue reading below to learn more reasons why you’ll want to consider looking into Post Office box services.

A P.O. Box is A Secure Way to Get Your Mail

  • Your mail and packages are delivered and kept safe on the Post Office premises. They’ll not be delivered to your mailbox in the yard or porch, where they may likely be stolen.
  • The Post Office is a secure government facility and you can be sure that somebody will keep your postal mail and packages safe inside your postal box.
  • Your postal mail and packages are never 100% safe outside in your mailbox in the yard. Porch piracy and mail theft remain rampant, even in the age of smart doorbell cameras.
  • With a P.O. Box, you’re assured that your confidential documents, checks, and important online purchases remain safe and secure.

Better Home Privacy with a P.O. Box

  • By using a P.O. Box address, you’ll be able to protect your home address, which is vital since it’s increasingly easy for people with ill intent to steal personal information from your postal mail.
  • Leaving mail and packages outside in your mailbox is a big no-no and makes you vulnerable to porch pirates and identity thieves.
  • With a P.O. Box, however, you can be sure that your personal information will stay safe in a locked box, inside a secure facility, hence lowering the danger of becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.

A P.O. Box is A Permanent Mailing Address

Do you travel often? Do you change mailing addresses frequently? If you do, you’ll find that a P.O. Box is one efficient and convenient postal service.

  • With a P.O. Box, you remove the need to always update your mailing address when you’re gone for months at a time, or if you move from one office, house, or apartment to another.
  • Your postal mail and packages will be delivered to one permanent and safe box while you continue to enjoy the freedom of location independence.

Receive Mail and Packages Faster

When you have a P.O. Box, the journey that your postal makes from the sender to you is shorter.

  • Once your local Post Office receives your mail, they can just go ahead and drop it into your box after sorting.
  • There’s no need to transfer your postal mail to a carrier service or a different Post Office location before it’s delivered to your house, which offers you increased speed and convenience. 

A P.O. Box is an Affordable Mail Management Service

Unlike private mailboxes, a P.O. Box is generally easier on the wallet.

  • You can get a postal box that will fit your budget easily and the Post Office will also not always charge you for additional services. Typically, you’ll only pay extra if you need to have more keys made. 

What Are The Disadvantages of Using a P.O. Box?

Of course, just like any other product or service, there are cons to consider as well. To help you make an informed decision, take a look at the disadvantages of a P.O. Box below.

It’s Not a Real Street Mailing Address

  • A P.O. Box address looks something like this:

Jane Watson

P.O. BOX 525020

West Chester, PA 18630

  • As you can see, the 2nd line of the P.O. Box address isn’t a real street address. As such, you cannot use it as a business address.
  • When you register your business, the state will require that you use a real street address. A P.O. Box address will not be acceptable.
  • Financial institutions and other governing bodies prefer that businesses also use real street addresses.
  • Additionally, a street address is necessary for your reputation as a business. Imagine how shady it looks having a business mailing address that starts with a P.O. Box number. Your customers or clients may not deem your business professional or trustworthy. 

A Postal Box Gets Full

A Post Office box has physical limitations.

  • If you receive lots of mail or package deliveries and you have only a small P.O. Box, it may overflow sooner than you realize.
  • With no more space in your box, some of your mail may be returned to the sender.
  • To avoid P.O. Box overflow, a bigger box is always an option, but this will be pricier. Of course, you can also visit the Post Office more often to empty your box, but this takes significant time, energy, and resources. 

There May Be a Post Office Box Waitlist

In some cases, a P.O. Box size or the location you want may not be readily available when you apply, so you’ll be put on a waitlist.

  • If you need a P.O. Box in the immediate future, whether for travel, better security, or any other reason, being put on a waitlist isn’t an ideal situation.

You Receive Mail Only From USPS

  • Private carriers like DHL or FedEx don’t deliver packages to P.O. Box addresses that contain only the box number. They deliver packages only to addresses that have a physical real street address.

Virtual Mailbox as a Post Office Box Alternative

A virtual mailbox, such as Anytime Mailbox, is a great alternative to a P.O. Box. If the list of P.O. Box disadvantages stated above convinced you that at P.O. box may not be the right postal mail system for you, a virtual mailbox is your best choice.

You’ll Have A Real Physical Street Address

A virtual mailbox comes with a real street or physical address.

  • You can use it as a residential or business address to receive mail. This real street address lends your venture credibility and a more professional image.
  • You can publish the credible street address on your website, business cards, and other marketing collateral.
  • And because a virtual mailbox comes with a real street address, you’ll also be able to receive mail or packages from private carriers like DHL or FedEx, since Mail delivery to a virtual mailbox is not limited to USPS-only items.

Access Your Mail Anytime & Anywhere

A virtual P.O. Box offers mail management convenience and security, but with the addition of remote access via an app.

  • Just like the USPS P.O. Box, a virtual mailbox allows you to receive mail and packages at a secure location.
  • You don’t have to drive to your box location in order to know what mail you received.
  • You’ll receive a notification of a photo of the address side of your mail or package. You can then make a request to open and scan, discard, or forward your mail.
  • A virtual mailbox represents the future, and peak postal mail management convenience.