In today’s world, working abroad for months or years at a time is more common than ever. Moving overseas has never been easier, but it will never be ‘easy’ per se.
One of the many challenges faced by expats is what do they do with their mail? The answer is you use a reliable solution that can handle it.
Fortunately, many companies offer excellent mail services for expats, and we’re here to help you choose one that’s best for you. What we’re going to do here is take a look at some of these, then answer some commonly asked questions that should help you make up your mind.
Best 5 Mail Forwarding Service for Expats:
- US Global Mail
- Traveling Mailbox
- Anytime Mailbox
- Earth Class Mail
- Virtual Post Mail
US Global Mail
US Global Mail is considered by many to be the leader in Expat Mail Forwarding Service. This is a reliable, high-tech solution that is rather inexpensive but can still manage all your mail and packages when you are living abroad.
US Global mail will give you a unique physical address in the US and will receive all your mail. They will then log, scan, and e-mail you all your mail quickly and effortlessly. They offer instructions on the different ways you can manage your mail, and they provide the options of shredding, scanning letters, consolidating packages, and shipping the packages to you.
The shipping options include FedEx, DHL, and USPS. Their pricing plans and shipping costs are relatively low, especially when compared with their counterparts. For example, their family plan starts as low as $10/month.
The US Global Mail enjoys an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Similar to US Global Mail, Traveling Mailbox will also receive your mail. Then, they will scan the envelopes and upload them to your online mailbox and you are given the option of telling them whether to open it, scan it, and upload it as PDF, hold it for when you get back, shred it securely, or – if you don't want anyone looking into the contents of your mail for one reason or another – have them forward the mail to you. This last option is handy for people who don't want another person's eyes and hands-on especially sensitive pieces of mail.
The Traveling mailbox offers security, flexibility, and simplicity. They guarantee that no envelope will be opened until you tell them to, and no setup is required. They also have no hidden fees, and you will know upfront what you are going to pay and what you’re going to pay it for.
Their Basic plan starts at $15 per month, and you can change plans anytime you want. Free Mail Shredding is included in all plans as well as Junk Mail Filtering.
Anytime Mailbox is a mailbox solution designed to enable expats to receive, forward, and shred their postal phones with a few touches of their smartphones. Anytime Mailbox is a pioneer of the virtual mailbox solution and has recently started providing excellent virtual mailbox solution for expats.
It enables users to view and manage their postal mail via their desktop or mobile devices, to help them save not only their mail but also valuable time. It also gives users the advantage to efficiently respond to their time-sensitive mail and keep-up with the matters most important to them in real-time.
Anytime Mailbox doesn’t only give users the option of having a virtual mailbox, but it also offers them to help the planet by giving them the option of recycling their mail simply and efficiently.
Earth Class Mail offers a simple service: They will receive your mail, which will then be opened and scanned and emailed to you, and when you want something in hand, you can create a shipment in your account and order a package. You can forward your packages anywhere as long as FedEx or USPS service the location.
Earth Class Mail gives you full control over your shipments. You can combine shipments, add items to pending shipments, schedule or delay forwarding, choose the method and carrier of forwarding, open and consolidate multiple items, add insurance, and track shipments.
The solution is created with the goal of making handling mail an easy and a quick process for busy expats who don't have lots of time on their hands so they can handle all their mail from their phones with ease.
They offer three plans which start at $69/month, and all their plans include unlimited cloud storage, cloud service integration options, rule-based mail automation options, unlimited secure & onsite shredding, encrypted data protection during transfer and storage, and secure online account access.
Virtual Post Mail offers expats the ability to receive their mail without having to rely on family or friends. The solution gives its users a permanent mailing address which can be used for their bank accounts, checks, tax authorities, etc.
Similar to the other solutions, they will receive your mail, open it, scan the contents of your mail, and then email it to you so you can manage your mail online efficiently. Handling your mail through the virtual mailbox is much more comfortable, and you will be able to tell them to scan, ship, or discard your items with a few clicks. You will also be able to receive your mail and packages from all couriers no matter where you are thanks to their package forwarding solution.
They also run all scanned mail images through their character recognition system so that the PDFs you receive are searchable, this means you will be able to find any word you are looking for in the document in seconds.
VirtualPostMail is favored by many thanks to their affordable pricing, as their plans start at $15/month and their shipping fees seem reasonable as well (for example, shipping a letter to Europe from the US could cost you $6.75).
Now, let’s discuss how can you choose a service that suits you.
Choosing a Mail Forwarding Service that Suits You
Now, we are going to discuss a few of the points that will have an impact on your choice of service.
A Real Address or a PO Box?
One thing you should know is that FedEx and UPS do not ship to PO Boxes. They only ship to real addresses. If you are trying to use your address for residency purposes, a real address is much better for you as a PO Box can send up the wrong message. It’s better to use a service that gives you a real, physical address.
Who will open your mail?
This is a point worth considering. Some people don’t care who opens and scans their mail, but others care very much indeed. For those who do care, it’s important to figure out if the company is a virtual company, meaning they use third parties to handle their tasks, or if they do the opening and scanning themselves. The latter option provides more security and privacy.
What about Package Consolidation?
Some Mail Forwarding providers give the options to repackage multiple packages into one big package for forwarding. This is done not only for convenience but also to save money on shipping fees.
Handling Junk Mail
This one is often underestimated. You want a service that will automatically discard obvious junk mail while going through your mail. A service that scans everything means you will easily hit your limit of maximum scans per month and you will end up paying more for the service.
On the other hand, choosing a service that handles junk mail automatically involves the risk of discarding something that is not junk, but for the most part, it’s a risk worth taking.
A service that offers email notification for new arrivals means you will not need to check their website often. If a service doesn’t provide email notifications for new arrivals, you could easily forget to check their website and end up replying to critical, time-sensitive mail, late.
Space and Package Storage
Some solutions don’t have much space for packages, and so, they charge their users for storage space. This is important in case you want a package to be held for a while. Some solutions also have a maximum hold time, be sure to know what it is and how much you will be charged.
There are also a few solutions that don’t accept packages at all and only offer scanning mail.
Signature upon delivery
You know how some packages and mail require a signature upon delivery? So, having a physical person on that address that can do the sign part is essential if you often receive such type of mail.
More than one recipient
Maybe you’re lucky enough to be in a relationship and was able to take your partner abroad with you, this means you will get mail, and your partner as well. Make sure the service provider you choose allows for multiple recipients. Some allow it but charge extra for it, so also be aware of that.
Despite being well in the 21st century, some people and businesses still use physical checks. If you can’t get them to switch to an electronic payment method, consider a mail forwarding service that offers check deposit service.
How will you pay? How many forms do you have to fill? Do you need to check their website often? Is their package tracking accurately? Do they offer excellent customer service for when something goes wrong? How simple to understand are their instructions? Are there any hidden or unexpected fees users have reported being surprised or even shocked by?
So many small things can add up to good user experience, and the decision is always up to you. You need to make sure that the Mail Forwarding Service you choose will make your life easier, not more difficult.
I hope this article has been helpful. If you like what you read, why not share it with a friend or a colleague who might find something useful in here as well?
Before you go, you might also want to take a minute to learn what can be done If your Package Was Forwarded to the Wrong Address.
As usual, leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below, and we will get back to you.