Looking for a UK virtual postbox for mail forwarding while you’re abroad?
We’ve got you covered.
Taking the plunge to move abroad can be a huge upheaval, and just one of the difficulties that expats settling in other countries face is working out how they can keep a UK address to receive important post from banks, insurance companies, the passport office, HMRC, the DVLA and other couriers that won’t deliver abroad or to a numbered PO box.
Fortunately there is one simple solution… virtual post boxes.
Let’s find out more.
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What are Virtual Postboxes?
No matter where you are in the world — whether you are travelling around or at a fixed address — a virtual mailing service gives you a physical address in the UK to which you can direct all your post.
Most virtual mailing companies offer the same basic service…
You pay a virtual mailing service to rent a post box at a physical UK address.
This is a proper bona fide address and not a PO box address, as many business and government services refuse to send mail to a PO box.
Once your post arrives at your new UK address, the virtual mailing service will alert you to its arrival by emailing you a scan of the envelope.
From this scanned image it is possible to ascertain whether it is something important.
In the case of important or urgent documents, you can request that the virtual mailing service open the letter, scan the contents, and upload them to your online postal account giving you instant access to your documents.
All you need to do is to login and receive your mail.
You can also request that your mail is forwarded to you at your current address, or if the letter is something of no interest to you, request that it be destroyed or recycled.
Likewise, packages can also be forwarded to you at your current address.
Fees will vary depending on the virtual mailing service you choose, as well as the range of additional services that may be on offer.
Virtual post boxes can be a real game changer for expats living abroad, and thanks to their growing popularity there are several reliable UK virtual mailing services to choose from.
Here are 5 of the best and most reliable…
The 5 Best UK Virtual Postboxes
At UK PostBox choose from free PO Box addresses in major UK cities, or prime London street addresses, combined with a virtual address which allows you to log in and view, read, and forward each item of mail sent to your chosen address or addresses individually.
Your virtual address automatically comes with UK PostBox’s mail and parcel forwarding service.
No matter where you are in the world, using the premium mail management app you can view received envelopes, ask for them to be opened and the contents scanned, have them delivered to anywhere in the world either as split or consolidate packages, or stored in the UK PostBox archive.
You can also get your UK Postbox address hooked up to your favourite online cloud storage, from where your received mail items will flow directly to your chosen app.
UK PO Boxes are free, with free setup, and free on-going rental.
Other services consist of two components — a mail plan and an address — and are priced according to the volume of mail that you receive.
There are 4 different price plans: Pay as you go, Lite, Standard, and Premier.
The flexible pay as you go plan has no recurring monthly fees, with the cost to receive mail priced at £0.60 per item, to scan mail £0.90 per item, and to receive a parcel costs £5.95 each time.
Prices for the Lite plan start at £41.85 for 3 months, and covers 10 to 35 letters per month, after which additional items are charged at £0.30 for each letter received, £0.50 for each letter scanned, and £4.50 for each parcel received.
The Standard plan starts at £80.85 for 3 months to receive between 35 and 100 items per month, with additional fees for any extra items, with the price to receive parcels set at £3.50 per item.
The Premier plan covers 100 to 350 letters a month for £209.85 for 3 months, and additional fees are incurred if you receive more than 350 letters, with the price to receive parcels set at £2.50 per item.
Mail forwarding is priced individually by item on top of the price plan that you choose.
Letter forwarding costs £0.89 per letter + postage costs, sending a letter costs £0.89 per letter + postage cost, and parcel forwarding costs £1.50 per parcel + postage cost.
If you wish to store letters and parcels, storage is priced by weight and is dependent on your chosen payment plan.
For example, on the pay as you go plan small letters weighing no more than 100g are charged at £0.10 per month for storage, or on the premier plan at £0.06.
Likewise, a medium parcel weighing no more than 20kg costs £1.25 per month to store on the pay as you go plan, and £0.75 per month on the premier plan.
There’s a wide range of services on offer at myUKmailbox, including your very own UK street address, parcel forwarding when you shop at online retailers who do not ship outside of the UK, a unique photo service that allows you to view images of your packages in full size as soon as they arrive, as well as additional photos of the contents of your packages if you request them, online mailbox management with photos of your parcels along with their actual weight and volumetric weight, and parcel consolidation and repacking for when you receive multiple packages that need to be combined into one shipment to save on shipping costs.
In addition, myUKmailbox offer a scan and email service for any documentation that arrives with your parcel, a ‘buy for me’ service whereby MyUKMailbox act as your own personal shopper, free parcel storage for a minimum of 20 days (or more depending on your payment plan type), supermarket shopping, insurance services, and fully tracked shipments.
Three pricing plans give you the flexibility to choose which suits you best.
With no setup fees and no monthly costs the starter plan is perfect for single packages, and gives you your own UK address, the possibility to see a photo of your package, 20 days free storage and a choice of courier. MyUKMailbox’s standard plan costs £4.99 a month, and includes a UK address, photos of your packages, 30 days free storage, a choice of courier, multiple package shipments, and parcel repacking service.
Those who chose the premium payment plan at £14.99 per month benefit from the same things as the standard plan but with the added bonus of 60 days free parcel storage, address book, the possibility to ship parcels to more than one address outside of the UK, and an additional shipping discount.
Certain services that come at an added cost.
Parcel consolidation and repackaging costs for Standard plan members are charged at a fixed price of £4.99 for unlimited parcels. Consolidations and repackaging for Premium members is free.
The BuyForMe personal shopping service costs 10% (standard members) or 8% (premium members) of the total value of goods, and is subject to a minimum fee of £15.00 per transaction.
PostCentral offers a pay as you go mail address service, providing customers with a genuine UK street address in central London.
Whichever payment package you choose, 2 mailing names can be linked to your account — if you require more than two mailing names on your account it is possible to purchase additional mailing names at £10 each per year.
PostCentral allow you to tailor their services to suit you, and will only act on your instructions (which are transmitted when you sign up to the service) in regard to how you wish your post to be handled, including opening, scanning and emailing documents, and holding post.
Letters and parcels can be forwarded to any address worldwide. either by standard post or recorded, and re-packaged if required.
Payment plans are priced in a straightforward manner, with the low user payment plan covering 30 pieces of mail and being priced at £30 per year, the medium user plan covering 100 pieces of mail and costing £60 per year, and the high user plan being for large volumes of up to 300 pieces of mail and costing £120 per year.
Each private or business virtual mailbox at ExPost has a UK street address, up to five users per account, and free mail forwarding.
All mail is delivered to the ExPost headquarters where it is sorted, stored, and registered in your virtual post box for you to decide how and when you would like ExPost to scan or physically forward your mail.
When receiving parcels rather than letters, items up to the Royal Mail’s ‘Medium Parcel’ format up to 20kg are included in your standard mailbox service, with a handling charge of £2.00 per parcel.
ExPost maintain they always try to find the cheapest courier option when forwarding parcels over 2kg in weight, including deconsolidating larger packages into smaller ones to keep costs to a minimum.
ExPost service fees are fixed, and when you create your ExPost virtual post box account it’s necessary to deposit £20 into ‘Postage Fund’, from which your forwarding postal costs and handling charges are drawn down as they become due. This can be topped up at any time.
A 3 month subscription to the service costs £90, 6 months is charged at £120, and 1 year at £200 — with the added perk of allowing you to use your address as the registered office for a company at no extra charge.
Handling charges also apply for each item of mail received, from £0.50 for a letter up to £2.00 for a parcel.
To use the mail scanning service costs £0.60 per A4 image.
BPM offers worldwide customers a virtual mailbox with 10 different reception addresses in 10 different countries, all linked to a UK postal address which enables them to receive and read mail 24/7, notifies them via email of new postal arrivals, and benefit from the scanning, storing and shredding of letters.
The BPM worldwide shopping service allows customers to shop online in 10 countries around the world that normally wouldn’t deliver abroad.
Purchases and shipments can be managed online, and letters and parcels forwarded to the preferred address.
If you’ve placed several orders, BPM will store the shipments free of charge for up to 30 days, after which time all your packages will be combined by the BPM team into one easy parcel for delivery, saving you shipping costs and protecting the environment.
To register for the BPM virtual post box service costs €5.00 per month, or an annual payment of €55.00. After this you will be charged on an on demand basis for services.
BPM use credit system, whereby you purchase credits in advance (each credit costs €1.00) and then these credits get used as and when necessary, and buying credits in bulk can save you up to 15%. Reception of letters costs 0.50 credits, and parcels 5.00 credits.
Home delivery of parcels is dependent on weight and can be worked out using the BPM shipping calculator, but anything over 20kg incurs a fee of €7.00.
Which UK virtual postbox are you most likely to use for mail forwarding?