Over the past several months I’ve been using, experimenting and testing out Mailbox Forwarding as a virtual mail reception service. As Vanessa and I move around the country, we’ve moved as much of our mail needs online as humanly possible, but there are still times when we need to report a physical address for banks, businesses, etc. So far I’m happy to report I’m very pleased with their service and how convenient it’s made receiving physical mail as virtual mail.
How does it work?
When I first signed up for the service I had to do two things. One was fill out a change of address form with the USPS so that all future mail would be sent to Mailbox Forwarding, and the second was to fill out the rather draconian USPS Form 1583. This form basically authorizes the company to scan and forward mail on your behalf. This requires you to notarize the form and send it on to the company.
After that the company sets you up with your very own real life street address. It might be a bit long – their default addresses are in Grandville, MI and each address has your unique five digit code tacked on the end. If Grandville, MI isn’t your kind of place you can also pay an additional monthly fee for an address in Los Angeles or Florida.
Pretty quick you’ll start receiving mail at your new address. By default Mailbox Forwarding scans the outside of the envelope they receive and post it online for your review. You have the option to tell them to open that item and scan the interior, shred the item (destroy it) or forward it on to another address where you might be staying at the time. At first I found myself forwarding a lot of mail I felt I should keep, only to realize when I received it I would probably never need these papers again. Now that I’ve trained myself better I really only forward pieces of mail that truly can’t be replaced.
When it comes to your personal mail, security is definitely up there at the top of my list of concerns. Mailbox Forwarding knows this and has a whole list of security procedures they follow to ensure your information is secure. You can see what they do to protect your information here. I can’t vouch for the efficacy of these protocols, but I can say I haven’t had any problems in this department.
Who Is This For?
A lot of different groups of people. Urban Nomads, like us for sure. I think the biggest opportunity lies with those people who live outside the US but still want to be able to receive mail here. That could be expats, retirees, permanent travelers, etc. etc.