A post office box is a numbered box inside a post office building where you can opt to receive your mail. When you apply for a PO box, you are required to fill out an application, show identification, and pay a small fee (usually charged monthly or semi-annually). You are then given a set of keys so only you can retrieve the mail delivered to that PO box address. You can then start giving out your post office box number as your address.
Let’s talk about some of the reasons why you would want to use a PO box address:
Security – In today’s world we always have to be on the lookout for shady characters who want to steal our identity. Identity thieves are known to rummage through mailboxes looking for sensitive and confidential information. But if you use a PO box address, your mail is delivered directly to a post office and it sits behind lock and key until you retrieve it.
Privacy – Have you ever had your neighbor’s mail delivered to your home by mistake? What if some confidential item you were waiting for went to their house in error? Using a USPS box will alleviate that concern. You’ll also appreciate their mailbox services if you have roommates or nosy neighbors who can’t mind their own business.
Speedy Delivery – Since your mail only has to make it to the post office itself instead of being delivered to your door by a letter carrier, you’ll find that you receive it a lot faster. At the least it should be available for pickup first thing in the morning, and sometimes a full day earlier than if it were being delivered.
Separate Business Mail from Personal Mail – If you have your own home-based business you should consider opening a PO box address for your business related mail. Separating business from personal mail can avoid potential mix ups and confusion. It will also give your business a more professional look than a residential street address would.
Permanent Address – You don’t need to live in the same town as your post office box (though I would suggest you choose a location that doesn’t involve a 2 and a half hour drive!) so your options are really limitless. If you’re thinking of moving in the near future you won’t have to worry about changing your address because you can just continue having it delivered to your PO box address.