A virtual PO Box is just like a PO Box, except you can manage your address and mail online from anywhere in the world. Learn more and how to get one in our blog.
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 traditional 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. When you purchase a PO Box, you’ll receive an address to use for your letter deliveries.
However, advancements in technology have led to a cheaper, more accessible solution - virtual PO Boxes.
Why are PO Boxes now cheaper and more accessible?
In the past 15 years, fuelled by the growth of digital services, virtual PO Boxes have become an option for individuals and families who need an address. They work wholly in the same way, except you don’t need to visit them in person to collect your mail - everything is accessed and managed online.
Using our online mail management platform, you can view your received envelopes, request letter scans, organise items, forward them elsewhere and much more. Dubbed as an online Post Office, this service gives you all of the services you’re used to accessing from anywhere in the world. This has transformed PO Boxes into a solution that’s much more streamlined and ultimately accessible to everyone.
The top 9 reasons to use a PO Box Address:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 their 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!
4. PO Box for renters
In the UK there’s a growing population of individuals who are having to, or are choosing to rent instead of purchasing their home. 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.
5. PO Box for landlords
Landlords with many properties may receive their personal mail at the addresses they’re renting out. This can lead to lost mail or personal letters being delivered to their tenants. Rather than setting up a redirection service for each address or updating their details regularly, PO Boxes can be used. After signing up, landlords can use their PO Box for all of the mail deliveries moving forward so that none of their new or past addresses are used for mail deliveries.
6. 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.
7. PO Box for influencers and online figures
Much like celebrities, online influencers such as YouTubers, streamings and TikTok stars are public facing individuals who interact with the masses. There will be scenarios when these individuals want or need to provide an address, such as for receiving fan mail, when running competitions, buying goods for their business and more.
It is unsafe to provide their public home address due to the risks of their followers or fans visiting them in person unannounced. PO Boxes offer complete address security and allow them to freely provide their address for some of the communication with followers we mentioned earlier.
8. PO Box for people living outside of the UK
People living outside of the UK may need a UK based address for several reasons. They may be moving to the UK in the future and want an address to use beforehand, or for services such as shop & ship where they buy UK goods and forward them overseas. PO Boxes offer a cost-effective way to get a UK presence from anywhere in the world for a variety of reasons an individual may need one.
9. PO Box for digital nomads
Digital nomads are individuals who move from location to location while utilising internet services to earn an income and manage their day to day lives. While there are many benefits to this lifestyle, extra thought is needed to handle things such as mail.
As nomads move around and frequently change their address, it wouldn’t be possible to continually update their address details and stay on top of post. In this scenario, PO Boxes offer the perfect solution. Nomads can continue to receive their mail and, using their laptop, phone or tablet, view and manage everything as they move around.
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.