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The Definitive Guide to a Virtual Mailbox (2023)

A virtual mailbox is a digital solution that allows you to view, access, and manage your mail remotely online through a web portal or a mobile app.

When you sign up for a virtual mailbox, your physical mail is digitized and available to you on any device. 

A virtual mailbox helps you manage your postal mail without going to the PO Box, physical mailbox, or mailroom. With just a few clicks, you can request a variety of mail services, such as:

  • Open and Scan
  • Mail Forwarding
  • Recycle
  • Shred
  • Discard

Alongside the remote online access to mail, a virtual mailbox also comes with a real street address for receiving and forwarding your mail.

This address is usually a business registered as a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA). The locations are staffed with professionals who will receive, handle, and store your mail for you.

How Does a Virtual Mailbox Work?

Virtual mailbox providers usually partner with operators like mail business centers and coworking spaces.

These operators are the physical receivers of your mail and they manage the business listed under the real street address you chose. The staff are USPS-registered, Certified Mail Receiving Agents (CMRA) and are authorized to open and scan mail, forward mail, and dispose of it on your behalf.

Once you sign up, mail will arrive at your chosen location and you’ll be notified once the operator receives your mail items. From there, you can go on the app or portal to manage your mail by requesting the operator to do one of the following:

  • Open the mail item
  • Scan for digital safekeeping in a cloud drive
  • Forward mail items to a designated address
  • Shred the contents and packaging
  • Recycle or dispose of junk mail or mail you no longer need

What Can You Do with a Virtual Mailbox?

A virtual mailbox functions, in some ways, like a PO Box, but you don’t have to physically retrieve your mail. Your mail and packages are received at physical locations throughout the United States and beyond and can be managed remotely using any device.

Here are a few more helpful features of a virtual mailbox:

Comes With a Secure Mailing Address

Providing a secure physical address to receive postal mail is the most basic function of a virtual mailbox. A secure virtual mailing address is great for personal use if you want to keep your home address private.

Allows You To Manage Your Postal Mail Remotely Online

Manage your mail from any device without ever going to the mailbox. If you live in a rural area, don’t get regular mail service, or spend lots of time away from home, staying up to date with your mail is so much easier when it’s digitized.

Allows You To Forward Mail and Packages

You can view and access digitized mail on the app, but if you still need physical copies, you can have mail forwarded to a specific address without any hassle.

Provides You with a Real Street Address For Personal or Business Use

In most states, frequent travelers, digital nomads, van lifers, etc., can use a virtual mailbox address as a registered address for official documents, such as IDs, bank forms, and tax forms.

Small businesses can launch a virtual office by setting up a virtual mailbox. This separates work from home and gives you a professional business address for far less money than renting out office space.

How To Get the Best Virtual Mailbox Service?

Signing up should be easy if you keep these things in mind.

  1. Choose The Right Virtual Mailbox Provider
  • Consider pricing, time-saving features, and inclusions.
  • Determine your budget and the specific services you’ll need.
  • You’ll also want to check their security measures, as mail items can often contain sensitive information or important items like credit cards and expensive purchases that you don’t want to lose.
  1. Pick a Real Street Address
  • This is especially important if you use the address for your small business or virtual office. 
  • Choose an address in the appropriate state, county, and city where your business is incorporated.
  • For personal use, using the virtual address can help keep your residential address away from prying eyes. It’s a great way to keep your privacy.
  1. Pick the Most Appropriate Plan
  • Pricing for a virtual mailbox plan usually depends on mail volume, feature limitations, and available add-ons.
  • The best virtual mailbox for you will depend on your needs, so assess and ensure the selected plan suits you and/or allows for changes.
  • These services should be considered when selecting a virtual mailbox provider:
  • Number of addresses per account
  • Number of mail recipients per account
  • Mail receiving and mail scanning limits
  • Mail storage
  • Domestic or international mail forwarding
  • Mail shredding and disposal
  • Package receiving, storage, and forwarding
  • Unlimited online storage for scanned items
  • Electronic check deposits
  1. Complete USPS Form 1583
  • The USPS requires CMRAs, including virtual mailbox providers, to keep this form on file. This helps them verify the identities of renters.
  • Fill out, notarize, and submit U.S. Postal Form 1583, along with two forms of identification, to your intended virtual mailbox provider. Find detailed instructions on filling out USPS Form 1583 here.
  • Once these steps are done, and your virtual mailbox has been verified, your mail can now be sent to the virtual mailbox address..
  • To start managing your mail, simply log in to your new account on your computer or mobile device, where you can request mail scanning, forwarding, deleting, shredding, or storing mail.

Who Uses a Virtual Mailbox and Why?

A virtual mailbox service is beneficial to many kinds of people. In an increasingly hybrid and remote world, it’s especially a must-have for those who are living an untethered lifestyle. Some of the people who will benefit the most from virtual mailbox services are:

Digital Nomads & Vanlifers

Digital nomads and vanlifers are always on the move and usually lead a location-independent lifestyle.

  • A virtual mailbox service allows them to access and manage mail remotely, gives them a permanent street address for receiving important government, employment, financial, and legal documents, and provides physical and digital security for their mail.

Frequent Travelers

Virtual mailboxes enable frequent travelers to stay mobile without worrying about missing critical documents or mail piling up in their country of origin.

  • It allows them to access their mail in real time without traveling all the way back to their hometown.


Expats still need a permanent address in the U.S. to receive mail without the high risk of mail loss in international post—virtual mailboxes are perfect for that.

  • A virtual mailbox service provides them with a permanent address.
  • Regarding mail security, operators will receive and store mail securely until the expat picks it up or uses mail forwarding to send it to their location. This way, there’s less risk for their sensitive personal information and mail items ending up in the wrong hands.

Small Businesses & Startups

Small business owners, startups, and entrepreneurs will find a virtual address the most beneficial aspect of their virtual mailbox service.

  • It’s also a document solution that saves time and effort. Once you get your mail scanned, it’ll always be accessible on the app with unlimited cloud storage.
  • A virtual mailbox can also be used to access, manage, and store business mail on personal devices, making their venture a paperless one.

Remote Workers

Remote workers will find that the virtual address is the most useful aspect of their virtual mailbox service. 

  • They can work from anywhere and still have a permanent address for any of their employment and legal documents.
  • Remote workers can also use a virtual mailbox to manage their snail mail from their computer or mobile device wherever they’re working from.
  • Mail forwarding is another useful feature that allows them to forward their snail mail to a specific location. When they receive mail, they can also choose to store it with the operators until they come back to their home city and pick it up.

The above are just a small sample of people who can benefit from a virtual mailbox. In truth, there are many more who would benefit from various virtual mailbox services, like retirees, college students, single parents, snow birds, influencers, etc.

Advantages of a Virtual Mailbox

Virtual mailbox services are more than just mailing and virtual addresses. They also provide:

Permanent Street Address

  • With a virtual mailbox, you get a permanent street address, widely accepted by various entities compared to a PO Box. This saves you time and the inconvenience of visiting a physical mailbox, your apartment’s mailroom, or the post office regularly.
  • The address is valid for couriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS, as well as for official purposes like credit cards, driver’s licenses, and taxes.
  • And you won’t need to change your address if you move, as you can keep receiving paper mail and important packages at your chosen address.

Digital Mail Storage

  • Important documents like taxes, bills, fees, and licenses are securely archived on the cloud with unlimited online storage. This makes it convenient for tax and auditing purposes.
  • You also won’t have to worry about going through stacks of paper mail to find an important file, as the virtual mail copies are easily tagged and searchable.
  • Different plans offer varying physical mail storage limits, allowing you to accumulate mail items before picking them up, saving you from frequent post office visits for single mail pieces.

Streamlined Workflow and Administration

  • Your mail can be automatically opened and scanned, and then, using the mobile app, you can decide whether to shred, hold, or forward the items.
  • Digitized mail is securely stored in the cloud and easily searchable using keywords and titles.
  • This automation saves time and eliminates the need for manual management and scanning of paper mail. You can also get mail to whichever location you’d like with easy, one-click package forwarding.

Simplified Mail Processing

  • A virtual mailbox centralizes all your mail in one location, avoiding the hassle of mail being sent to multiple addresses or recipients.
  • This platform allows you to manage all crucial personal and business-related documents efficiently.

Drawbacks of a Virtual Mailbox

While it offers numerous benefits, there are certain drawbacks to consider.

Extra Shipping and Handling Fees

  • Forwarding mail and packages to another address sometimes incurs additional shipping costs, which can vary based on urgency, package size, and contents. This option can be more expensive compared to physically picking up mail from a brick-and-mortar mailbox location.
  • Some virtual mailbox services may also charge extra for multiple real street addresses, recipients, or additional scanning for multi-page documents.

Daily Login Process

  • Depending on the frequency of scans and the volume of incoming mail, you may want to log into your virtual mailbox account daily to manage your mail efficiently. This could be a minor inconvenience for some users.

FAQs About Virtual Mailboxes

  • Yes, it’s just as legal as a PO Box. Providers have to receive specific training in order to qualify as mail handlers. Once you complete USPS Form 1583, it’s perfectly legal for you to receive mail through a commercial mail receiving agent.

Does USPS Have a Virtual Mailbox?

  • No, they currently only offer PO Boxes. In some cases, you can rent a PO Box online. These are limited by the capacity of local post offices, though, so they sell out quickly in many locations.

How Much Does a Virtual Mailbox Cost?

  • Many plans start as low as $5.99 per month. However, most people expect to pay around $9.99 per month for a basic plan. Extra charges for additional mail scanning, forwarding, and storage may also occur.

Is it Safe?

  • A virtual mailbox is safer than a PO Box, mailbox, or mailroom because you’re the only one who can access the mail items that you receive.
  • You also have the help of the operators who take charge of the physical mail storage. Their practices are up to date with USPS standards, and they have their own protocols to verify identities and addresses.
  • It’s also much safer than leaving paper mail and physical packages on your porch. Identity thieves steal mail from your mailbox and porch pirates swipe packages from your front porch.
  • Incoming mail can be received by your provider on your behalf and your provider will manage your mail safely and securely.
  • Most digital mailbox providers are certified and licensed to act as postal mail handlers. Some can be a registered agent for you, as well.
  • In short, virtual mailboxes are safer than most mail solutions.

How can I personally collect my mail?

You can request for mail and packages to be forwarded to you at a specific address. If you use a virtual mailbox service, you typically won’t need to physically collect mail. Instead, the service provider will receive, scan, and upload your mail to a secure online platform. 

From there, you can access and manage your mail digitally, including deciding if you want certain items forwarded to you or discarded.

How do I receive physical mail or packages for my business if it’s virtual?

Virtual mailbox services provide a physical address where you can receive mail and packages. 

When a mail or package arrives, the service will notify you, and you can then choose how you want to handle it—whether to forward it to your location, have it stored for pickup, or scan the contents for a virtual review. 

This allows you to maintain a professional image with a physical address while still operating a virtual or remote business.

Ready For The Best Virtual Mailbox Experience?

An Anytime Mailbox empowers individuals to work, travel, and run their businesses remotely with unparalleled convenience. This digital mailbox service allows access to physical mail from anywhere in the world, using any device.

Beyond providing a permanent address for receiving personal and business documents, a virtual mailbox offers a wide range of services, all accessible through a single platform. You get a mail scanning service, mail forwarding, junk mail filtering, and free package storage among others.

By using this service, you gain real-time control over your mail and can automate tedious tasks, freeing up valuable time while staying fully connected.

Anytime Mailbox, the pioneer of virtual mailbox services, is a game-changer that enhances your life, making it the smartest and easiest way to handle mail and packages as you work and travel remotely. In fact, it’s highly likely you’ll find managing your postal mail online so effortless that you’ll never want to return to traditional methods again.

With access to a global network of locations, you can effortlessly manage your mail from your computer or phone whenever it suits you.

You’ll be promptly notified when new scans are uploaded to your log, and you’ll have the flexibility to forward your mail to any location at any time.

These numerous advantages are why thousands of individuals are opting for virtual mailboxes every single month. Experience the convenience and efficiency for yourself and embrace a new way of managing your mail effortlessly. 

Check out your options at Anytime Mailbox and join the thousands that are embracing the future of how we’ll handle our mail.

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