What Is a PO Box
Have you ever heard the term PO box? It's a service that is especially common among celebrities and influencers who would like for the fans to have a way of sending them letters or small gifts when they don't feel comfortable sharing their home address. PO boxes offer the chance to keep privacy while still being able to receive mail from whoever wants to send it. After all, a PO box does have a physical street address, the only difference being that it is not a house or an apartment but a postal office.
However, you don't have to be a celebrity to have a PO box number - everyone can have one, whatever their reasons for it might be. Below, you will find some information regarding what is a PO box, how can you get a PO box address, and whether there are any items that you cannot send to a PO box. We will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
PO Box - What You Need to Know
A PO box, also known as a post office box or a postal box, is simply a uniquely addressable lockable box that is usually located somewhere at your local post office, most commonly in the lobby area. Although some people might think otherwise, you actually don't have to have a business to use a PO box, as they are available for both personal and commercial use.
If, for some reason, you don't feel comfortable with sharing your home or business address with the person you are expecting mail from, or you live in shared accommodation and therefore don't have a personal address, then this could be a perfect alternative.
Sending Parcels to PO Box Addresses - Prohibited Items
Probably the main restriction when it comes to PO box delivery is the size of the parcel, as it needs to fit in your box. PO boxes from different providers might have different dimensions, which is why you should always make sure that you have the right measurements.
As for the contents of your package, there aren't any specific items that specifically cannot be sent to PO boxes - the restrictions are the same as with sending regular mail - you can find a full list of what cannot be sent by mail on, for example, Royal Mail's website.
How to Get a PO Box Address
This depends on the postal service you are trying to get the PO box from. Nowadays, in most cases, you'll be able to apply for one online - there should be an application form available on their website, which will require you to complete information such as the desired location of the PO boxes (they might be available only at selected post offices), your contact information, your billing information, etc.
You might also be able to apply for a PO box directly at the post office - however, to make sure you can do that at the one you want, you should get in touch with them.
PO Boxes - Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need to pay for a postal box?
Truthfully, this depends on the country you are located in and your permanent address - for instance, if no courier service delivers to your location, you might be eligible for a free PO box. When it comes to the UK and the Royal Mail, however, PO boxes are a paid service. You have three options to choose from:
- PO Box Transfer: If you choose Royal Mail PO Box Transfer, all your mail, whether it was sent to your personal address or your PO box, will be held for you at the local delivery office so that you can collect it whenever you have a chance. This service costs £42.60 per month.
- PO Box Deliver: If you choose Royal Mail PO Box Deliver, the mail that you receive to your post office box will be delivered to the physical address you had provided when you filled out the application form for it. This service costs £36.60 per month.
- PO Box Collect: If you decide to go with PO Box Collect, you will be able to collect your parcels and other mail when it is convenient for you - the local post office will keep it for you. This service costs £35.10 per month.
All the services we mentioned above can be paid for in advance, either for 6 or 12 months, which will allow you to save quite a bit of money.
Do I need to pick up the mail during postal office business hours?
This depends on the location of your PO box - there are some post offices in which you can collect your mail only during specific hours. However, there are also places that offer a 24/7 service - the safest way to make that you will be able to get your mail from the post office station is to check online or to ask directly at the location.
Can I send a package to a PO box address with Packlink?
Unfortunately, despite the wide range of delivery services that we offer our customers, at the moment we are unable to offer parcel delivery to post office boxes - the main reason being that we are unable to get POD (proof of delivery).
When it comes to courier delivery services, in order for the delivery to be complete, the courier needs the recipient to sign a document that states the package is in their hands - at the post office, where no one controls such a thing, it is impossible to obtain signed proof of delivery. This is why the couriers that we collaborate with, such as DPD, DHL or Evri, do not offer delivery to PO box addresses.
Please keep in mind that if you decide to proceed with PO box delivery with Packlink, the parcel will be sent under your responsibility, as the parcel insurance does not cover it. Also, if the courier notices that the address on the parcel is that of a post office, the parcel will be deemed as undeliverable and therefore shipped back to the sender, who might be charged for storage and return.
Remember - you can always send the parcel to your family member or friend - not only will it be delivered faster, but you can also be sure that it has been delivered and is waiting for you due to POD.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a better understanding of what post boxes are and how they work. Are they a good choice? Well, it depends on how you look at it - sure, they're great for when you don't want to share your private mailing address - however, it is worth keeping in mind that in most cases, parcel insurance won't cover delivery to a PO box. So, just like most options, it has its ups and downs.
Although here at Packlink, we don't offer PO boxes deliveries, we have plenty of other services that might interest you, and that will guarantee that your package will get to you safe and sound. So, if you have a chance, it might be worth taking a look. Who knows? Maybe you'll find a service that suits your needs more than a post box.