What is a Post Office Box?
Post office boxes, also known as PO or P.O. boxes, are mailboxes at central post offices where you can choose to receive all or the majority of your mail. Customers can choose to have their mail forwarded to the PO box or use the box number as their address.
In some countries, it is the only way to receive mail, as postal delivery may not reach all remote or rural areas.
While many individuals choose to rent post office boxes from government-run post offices, others may opt for private mailing centers. Individuals may rent private mailboxes from mailing or packaging companies. They may place restrictions on the items that can be sent to them.
For example, if you receive a package that is too large to fit in your mailbox, the company may refuse to accept it, requiring you to travel to the post office or delivery service office to retrieve it. In most cases, the post office will accept packages that are too large to fit in your mailbox, and you can simply wait in line and pick them up at the counter.
Who Need a Post Office Box?
There are numerous benefits associated with renting a post office box. If you operate a home-based business, you can use it to separate business and personal correspondence.
Alternately, it conceals your physical address from anyone who may send you mail if you have a substantial Internet presence but wish to maintain your anonymity while receiving mail. People who frequently travel may wish to rent a post office box to collect their mail, but they may also request that the post office hold their mail or have a neighbor retrieve it.
The post office box also allows individuals to receive secure mail, as mail carriers can only access it with your key and combination. If you live in an area where mail is frequently stolen, having a mailbox can help ensure that you receive all of your mail.
Additionally, if your place of employment is close to a local post office, it may be more convenient to pick up your mail there rather than at home.
Risk of a post office box
Sadly, some people use the post office box for fraudulent purposes. In an attempt to obtain identifying information, they may send fraudulent or fictitious credit card offers. Individuals may also send bogus offers and scams to a post office box with the intent of stealing money from strangers.
Before placing an order or responding to a credit card application, it is prudent to obtain the company’s phone number, confirm its legitimacy, and verify the response address.
In the United States, certain applications require a physical address, not a post office box. In many states, it is impossible to process applications for Social Security cards, passports, and driver’s licenses without a physical address.
How to Get a Post Office Box
Getting a post office box is incredibly simple. Here’s the process in just three quick steps:
Choose a Location
Location is one of the most essential considerations when acquiring a post office box. Even if your residence or business is in a different state, you can obtain a post office box at the majority of the United States Postal Service’s Post Office locations.
However, for optimal convenience, the majority of individuals prefer to have a mailbox close to their residence or place of business.
Choose a Size
After deciding on a location, you must determine the size of post office box that will best meet your needs. Depending on how much mail you anticipate receiving (or whether you anticipate receiving packages*), you will need to choose between the following sizes:
Extra-tiny – 3″ x 5.5″ – often accommodates 10 to 15 letters or two rolled magazines.
Small – 5″ x 5.5″ – Fits up to twenty-five letters or five rolled magazines.
Medium – 11″ x 5.5″ – Large enough to fit bigger envelopes or even numerous magazines flat-stacked.
Large – 11″ x 11″ – Can fit about two small boxes and letters.
Extra Large – 22.5″ x 12″ – Largest choice, will accommodate the majority of flat rate boxes and shipments of average size
The cost of a PO box will vary based on mailbox size and location.
Finalize Your Selection and Redirect Your Mail
After choosing the unit size and location, you must choose a six- or twelve-month lease term and complete Form 1583, a one-page form to verify your identification. One of the required forms of identification must be a photo ID. You may begin sharing your new address and redirecting mail as soon as you obtain the keys to your post office box.
How much does the average PO Box cost?
Post office location and postal box size determine the cost of leasing a USPS PO Box. Therefore, discussing the average price of PO Boxes is irrelevant.
A three-month rental of the smallest box at a cheap location can cost as little as $20, while the largest box at an expensive location can cost as much as $360. That’s a significant price difference! In the end, it is merely a standard PO Box with its inherent limitations. You must contact your local post office in order to learn the price of any available boxes.
When should I rent a PO Box?
In certain circumstances, it may make sense to rent a standard PO Box from the United States Postal Service in order to receive mail away from your home or place of business. USPS PO Boxes are beneficial when:
- You don’t mind visiting the post office daily to check and get your mail, as you receive a great deal of mail (but few parcels).
- Your address is not required for normal business purposes.
A post office box is a location where you can send items free of fees and taxes. The United States government leases a mailbox to any business. These boxes are also sold to businesses and individuals by the post office.
When you mail a letter to a post office box, the post office will deliver it to your residence or place of business. They will store your mail until you are ready to retrieve it.
The vast majority of businesses have a post office box. If you wish to receive mail at your home or office, you may use a post office box. However, a PO Box is required if you wish to receive mail at a specific location.
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