Mail Forwarding is a service that allows you to get your mail (think paper statements, tax and federal notices, magazines, journals) to you, anywhere in the world.
Why do you need mail forwarding: for a multitude of reasons, for example, US govt. requires all citizens to file taxes, no matter where you live. You might have property in the forwhich you get tax notices (which come only in the mail) or you may have a bank account (banks require a local US address) etc. You might be getting social security or business checks (which would be best deposited locally instead of making a trip around the world to you), you might be an expat whose company requires you to keep a US address, or you might want to buy stuff from the US that you won’t find in your new home etc.
How does mail forwarding work?
You sign up with a mail forwarding company and get a US address. This address is your anchor while you move around the globe. Your mail forwarding sign up will also come with a Virtual Online Mailbox. The process is simple:
- You get a local US address (make sure it is a street address, not a PO box). State or place does not matter as long as it in the US.
- You go to the post office (or fill online) a form telling USPS you have a new address within the US and start using this address when you shop online.
- Your mail and items start arriving at the mail forwarding company. The mail forwarding company then uploads the items to your online virtual mailbox.
- You see those items online and decide what you want to do with them- for example: get mail scanned or shipped, get items packed together and shipped, discard any junk mail etc.
What to look for in a mail forwarding service?
There are many, many companies out there that offer mail forwarding services. Before I tell you about all my research, here is a word of caution: never sign up for one from Craigslist or such services. These might be scammers trying to get your mail! Having said that, here are 10 things you should look for in a mail forwarding service.
Which mail forwarding companies do we recommend?
We have done an extensive study on mail forwarding companies- hey, that’s why we made a whole new site for it! We looked at:
- Reputation: how long has the company been around, BBB rating, reviews, how secure is your mail with them
- Prices: how upfront and clear is their pricing, how competitive
- Plans: do they offer everything we may need- personal shopper, mail scans etc.
- Shipping Rates: shipping rates to different countries
- Customer service: do they have a way for us to talk to them, do they have a chat, phone support by live person, respond to emails within 2-4 hours?
Here are our results. Drum roll please….
- US Global Mail: by far the best of the lot. Excellent reputation, outstanding customer service (we called and a person knowledgeable about the company picked up; we sent an email and received a response within 30 minutes). Good plans and good shipping prices- not the best but the fact that they seemed to care about their customers, we thought made them the best pick.
- My US: though they focus more on the shopping population, they offer the best shipping rates, making them our second pick. However their customer service response to our email was 2 days and there was no live chat agent available even after a 10 minute wait.
We looked at a whole bunch of others like Earth Class Mail (too expensive), Mailbox Forwarding (hidden fees that we are not fans of), PostScan Mail (they have independent stores that accept and handle your mail which we feel is unsafe, especially given the rampant mail fraud).
Let us know in the comments which mail forwarding services you have used, and share your experience!