PO Box addresses have been around for as long as most of us can remember, but it’s only in the last decade that they’ve become cheaper and more accessible than ever.
In this post we look at the top 9 reasons for getting a PO Box address in the UK and how people from all walks of life and all over the world are embracing them.
What is a PO Box Address?
A PO Box-(or to give it its full title a Post Office Box - is a secure, private and lockable box for letters to be sent to. Usually found in Royal Mail sorting offices or on occasion post offices, a PO Box lets the user receive post at an address other than their main residence or place of business.
Why are PO Boxes now cheaper and more accessible?
In the past 10 years, fuelled by the growth of the internet, a new type of post office has developed, the Online Post Office. Utilising global communications, Online Post Offices are able to take what were old and outdated postal methods and transform them, making them more streamlined and ultimately accessible to everyone.
The top 9 reasons to use a PO Box Address:
1. PO Box for big businesses
Large companies have been using PO Boxes for years to maintain privacy at their places of work - think call centres, insurers, banks, internet providers, mobile phone companies to name but a few. Many of these large businesses have branches scattered across the UK and simply don’t want people turning up to any one of their many locations without prior notice. They’re not hiding, they'd just prefer that if people were to come to their offices it’s to ones that they’ve decided to make publicly known. PO Boxes also help these businesses manage and direct inbound post. Rather than everything arriving at their head office for sorting, they set up multiple PO Boxes and have each of them redirected to the correct part of their UK operations.
2. PO Box for small business
Small businesses use PO Boxes too. With the upsurge in home based businesses in the past decade there’s also been a drive for privacy at home. Just because you run your business out of your home shouldn’t mean that where your family lives should become public. A PO Box also allows these small businesses to portray a professional image, so working from home shouldn’t affect your ability to win a deal.
3. Overseas businesses and organisations
Overseas businesses often need a presence in the UK to be able to trade, and many of them opt for a PO Box. A PO Box lets these organisations have a postal address in the UK without needing to hire premises and staff. With services such as our own, these businesses can access their post online, from wherever they are in the world.
4. PO Box for UK Expats
Over 300,000 people emigrate from the UK each year, but what happens to their post when they leave? They need somewhere for it to be sent to, so a PO Box with online management is just the ticket. Being able to read post from anywhere in the world is hugely beneficial to those who decide to move abroad, as they don’t need to rely on international postal systems and suffer the costs and delays that come with them. A PO Box with the ability to read post online lets these people stay in touch with the UK regardless of where they are.
5. PO Box for frequent travellers
People who travel a lot will know that coming home can be a mixed blessing. Seeing family and friends and being back in your own home with your own creature comforts are the obvious upsides, but returning to piles of unopened letters, some of which you’ve missed the deadlines or due dates for, is not so easy to face. Frequent travellers use PO Boxes with online management so they can keep up to date with their post while they’re away. They treat their post just as they do email, making sure that anything urgent is dealt with on time and coming back to a doormat that’s not covered in paper.
6. PO Box for Bloggers and e-marketers
Blogging and e-marketing has become a massive industry, an industry of individuals sharing their experience and knowledge in everything from fashion to food. Tens of thousands of people all over the UK decide to either ditch the day job and work from home or start a blog in their spare time each year. People reading blogs and their associated emails often know the blogger far better than the blogger knows them. With potentially tens of thousands of people following these bloggers, it’s no wonder that they’d like some privacy at home. Bloggers and e-marketers are turning to PO Boxes to protect their privacy; they might like sharing but that doesn’t mean they should have to tell everyone where they live. Recently the UK government has brought the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing) Act into law, and a key part of this is that anyone sending out mass emails must include a physical postal address on all of them. For bloggers this presents a problem - they don’t want to break the law but equally they don’t want their privacy compromised - that’s where a PO Box comes in. They can sign up for a free PO Box and only ever pay for the mail they receive; it might be that they don’t receive anything and never pay a penny. Privacy protection for free!
7. PO Box for renters
In the UK there’s a growing number of people who unfortunately can’t afford to buy a home and instead have to rent their properties. With that often comes the need to move on a more frequent basis, ultimately leading to post going astray in the process. A PO Box gives renters a fixed address, one that follows them wherever they go, removing the need to set up redirections and/or contact numerous companies to update their address every time they move. Don't forget to check our how to rent guide for more rental tips!
8. PO Box and returns address for online sellers
A huge number of people now sell products online, whether it’s things they’ve crafted themselves and sold on Etsy or new or refurbished goods on Ebay and Amazon. Understandably these people don’t want their home address flying around on the internet for every man and his dog to know, so many opt for a PO Box to protect their privacy. In addition they often will use a “virtual” returns address for faulty or defective goods to be sent back to, simplifying the returns process whilst keeping control over their privacy.
9. PO Box for vulnerable people and victims of crime
The most vulnerable in our society need protection, and a PO Box can at the very least shield their address. We work with people in all sorts of circumstances and our UK based team are always happy to speak in confidence to those who are looking for help.
Other uses for a PO Box
There will be other ways and reasons that you use a PO Box and we’d love to hear about how you currently use or plan to use yours!
About our PO Box Service
We don’t charge for our PO Boxes, they’re completely free. You can sign up and not pay a penny until you receive your first letter. With all of our addresses, including PO Boxes, you get access to our advanced mail management apps (desktop, tablet and mobile). You can read your post online from anywhere in the world, manage it with the click of a button and physically forward it whenever you need to. We want to give you as many ways to manage your post as possible - it is yours after all. As the first (and in our opinion the best) Online Post Office in the UK we’re committed to continually improving our service - it’s what’s led to our outstanding reputation on Trustpilot and over 10,000 individuals and businesses using our services.
Alternatives to a PO Box
As we’ve explained, PO Boxes can be used for many different purposes but they aren’t always the perfect choice. Here we’ve outlined the other types of postal addresses you can get and briefly why you might need them.
London Street Address
Sometimes only the best will do. If you want to present a prestigious image then getting a London Street Address is the way to go. Yes they’re more expensive than a PO Box but you’ll get an actual address in the heart of the UK’s capital. Choose from W1, N13 and SW19 locations. Find out more by visiting our London Street Address page.
Parcel Forwarding Address
Of course, PO Boxes aren’t great for parcels as they tend not to fit! All of our customers, regardless of the plan or address they get, also receive a free Courier Point Address for their parcels. Whilst you can’t read parcels online you can manage them. Get your shopping shipped to us and we can either forward it unopened or consolidate multiple purchases into a single consignment. Just because you’re not in the UK shouldn’t mean you can’t buy the products you love.Visit our Parcel Forwarding page to learn more.
Registered Office Address
PO Box Addresses can’t be used as a company’s Registered Office Address - but don’t fret, we have addresses specifically for that purpose. Companies from all over the world (including small businesses in the UK) use our Registered Office Address facility to start up or continue trading in the UK. There are plenty of reasons you might get one of these for your business (we’ll cover them in another post), for now if you’d like to learn more please visit our Registered Office Address page.
Director’s Service Address
Directors’ Service Addresses are on the public record, meaning if you use your actual home address it becomes public to the world. Many business owners prefer to keep their family address private, and for those we offer a specific address just for that. Just go to the Director’s Service Address page to find out more.
Virtual Office Address
Virtual Office Addresses and services come in all shapes and sizes. You can simply get an address for your business in the location of your choosing, or you can add on supplements like a virtual phone service, call answering and even get access to shared working space in London. For more information please visit our Virtual Office page or get in touch.
Our Most Flexible Address
Our BH16 (Poole, Dorset) address is definitely our most flexible. You can use it as a Parcel Forwarding Address; Registered Office Address; Directors Service Address; and as a Street Address. It's a popular option with many of our clients who don't need the prestige of a London address, what's more it's the cheapest of the bunch.
About UK Postbox
As the UK’s first Online Post Office, UK Postbox brings post management into the 21st century. With a market leading mail management platform and supporting apps, UK Postbox is the obvious choice for anyone looking to manage their post online.