PO Boxes Now Offer Real Street Addresses & Accept UPS and FedEx Packages

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For a few years, I had a UPS store private mailbox for my small business address instead of a Post Office box because of a couple of factors:

  • Private carriers like UPS and FedEx didn’t deliver to PO Boxes.
  • PO Boxes were not “real” street addresses, and thus I had to provide alternate addresses anyway with credit cards and other business accounts.

I recently discovered that both of these issues had been fixed some time in 2012 for many PO Boxes (but not all) with the introduction of “Street Addressing”. Taken directly from a USPS.gov webpage:

[…] with Street Addressing, a customer’s mailing address may be either the street address for the Post Office where their PO Box is located, followed by # and the box number, or PO Box followed by the box number. Some merchants do not allow shipping to a PO Box address. The Street Addressing option enables customers to receive packages and deliveries from private carriers who require a street address for delivery, such as UPS and FedEx.

Using their examples, instead of:

PO Box 3094
Collierville TN 38027

You can ask for mail to be sent to:

131 S Center St #3094
Collierville TN 38027

PO Box customers are supposed to opt-in to this (free) feature by completing this customer agreement form [pdf]. In particular, you must agree not to use “Suite” or “Apt.” before your box number. If addressed this way, the mail may be returned. Also, you may not use the street address option as your physical residence or place of business in legal documents.

This street-style addressing option isn’t available at all post offices, I’d visit the one you’d like to use and ask them directly. Supposedly, if you can find your post office’s address in this long text file (use Ctrl-F or Command-F to search), they are eligible.

PO Boxes are cheaper than UPS private mailboxes and may be located in more convenient locations, so I see this as a positive development for people who want an alternate address for themselves or a new small business venture. Many post offices offer 24 access and have lockers so you can pick up larger packages outside of business hours. I’m glad to see the post office trying to be competitive. (I didn’t see this special offer advertised, but during the PO Box sign-up process I was also offered 1 free month’s rental with a 12-month contract.)

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Comments

  1. That is convenient for consumers.

  2. That has been going on for years at least in NJ. Also you dont need the biggest box, all post offices will hold on to your bigger packages on the counter

  3. Quick side note. You have the USPS website listed as a .gov website. Because the USPS is only quasi-governmental, they have a .com website instead.

  4. @jose – I think it started in 2012.

    @Erik – The url that I linked to specifically has a USPS.gov domain, I think they use both domains for different purposes.

  5. Great post. Since 2012? I didn’t know this existed but I plan to use it.

  6. David McDevitt says:

    One question. On that form to be filled out to opt-in, it doesn’t say anything about where to send it. Am I supposed to bring it into the Post Office?

  7. Great article. I love tools like this that make my business run more smoothly. I also like the Real Mail notices: I get an email if there’s something new in my PO box, so I never make a trip to the post office only to find that my box is empty.

    I just ordered a new cell phone and I sure don’t want that sitting in the hallway outside my office! I used the street address for my PO box: we’ll see how it works.

  8. I’m thinking of using this to buy an Apple iphone 5S from applestore and deliver it to my PO Box, do you think it will work?

  9. Wilmer: I just did exactly that a couple weeks ago. It worked like a charm. The USPS clerk even asked for my ID before he gave me the package, which I really appreciated!

    This is one of my favorite features of a PO BOX, but another one is the Real Mail Notifications that tell me whether or not I actually have mail in the box. It saves me from wasting a trip to the post office to find it’s empty!

  10. My PO Box is in Norwalk, CA and it just offered this feature in Jan 2014.

  11. Can you use a pobox# with the address of the post office for social security and medicare information? If the person don’t have a permanent address at the moment?

  12. Is it possible for 3rd parties to offer small businesses the use of a physical address, if they require specific documentation from them?

  13. This service didn’t work for me. The post office refused two packages from UPS. This was after telling me they supported street addressing. They claimed that UPS needed to pay postage for them to deliver the package. That isn’t how the service is described. Be careful if you try this service since it appears that they are either omitting this aspect from their site or the people at my post office don’t know what they’re doing. I think it’s probably the latter since they didn’t have me fill out any forms.

  14. So sad. My post office has absolutely no clue about this. I showed the post office a letter that I received directly from the post office regarding this service and NO employees at my PO Box location knew anything about the service. They said that they have not been trained in it so that was the end of the discussion. I can’t use the service. It’s 2015 and they still haven’t heard of this service that they supposedly offer. Guess I’ll have to get a UPS box.

    • Contact either your local, regional or if necessary, the national Post Master and NICELY explain your issue. You don’t want to upset anyone who could ‘accidentally’ lose your mail.

  15. Can you rent a UPS box and receive fedex and USPS packages to it? Or only UPS packages?

  16. Suzanne Hawkins says:

    Thank you for this information. I am super excited that I don’t have to pay the ridiculous price at UPS.

  17. Thanks for this info! I am price shopping for a PO box right now and was close to going with UPS before I found this post. My local post office’s address does show on the long text file. Hopefully the postal employees are aware of this! Thanks bunches!!

  18. I just set up my street addressing option of PO Box today with USPS! I went to the first one by my house and they had no clue what I was talking about. I went to a second one nearby and they knew immediately and were very friendly and helpful. $80 for the year for a small box with street addressing AND signature on file (which means if something needs signature, they can take it)! This is compared to $300/year. No brainer if you can do it.

  19. When the USPS says a person cannot use the Street Addressing address as their place of business in legal documents, I figured that meant legal documents where a court is involved. Just to make sure what that meant, I spent a considerable amount of time contacting the USPS trying to ensure that a person who is a Sole Proprietor using a “doing business as” or an assumed name could in fact use a PO box with Street Addressing while also using the PO Box address when filing paperwork with their state. I was hoping they would allow someone to list their Street Addressing PO Box address when filing with their state as a Sole Proprietor.

    Here is what the USPS Consumer Affairs replied with after talking to their Legal team:

    “A customer may NOT use the Street Addressing for their post office box as their place of business for purposes of registering their business. You would not be operating your business at that address; you would merely be receiving business and/or personal mail at that address. The United States Postal Service (USPS) operates their business at that address.”

    Perhaps this caveat is clear to everyone else already, but for my purposes I won’t be able to use the USPS as I’d have to register my business elsewhere first. I only want one address.

    Perhaps others have gotten the green light from their local branches.

    • Hey RJ, what did you end up doing to register your business? Were you able to use a UPS mailbox address? Or did you get a virtual office address? Thank you!

      • My business (LLC) is in Maryland and I switched from a UPS box costing $300+ per year to a USPS box costing $80 per year. I had to go to a couple different post offices before finding the one that new what I was talking about regarding a street addressing format for my box (rather than PO Box address format).

        USPS (at least the one I use) even emails me every time I get mail, so no more going to the box to see if I even have mail. UPS didn’t do that and they cost a ton more money.

        • I’m glad you found a more economical option and kept at it regarding street addressing formats. Really, the USPS should be pushing this harder as they are missing out on easy profits.

    • Daughter Of The One True God says:

      RJ, Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for. I rented a PO box street addressing for my business because the very popular company I used to start my business said that I could but now it’s back to the drawing board. Any suggestions that WILL allow us to register them as place of business? I’m brand new on the scene and it would be silly of me to list my home address as place of business.

  20. Linda Nicholson says:

    You mean except not accept. Using the wrong word leaves a negative impression.

    • Nope, I mean accept. “The Street Addressing option enables customers to receive packages and deliveries from private carriers who require a street address for delivery, such as UPS and FedEx.”

      • Perhaps it’d make more sense for it to say “accepts” instead. Just add that s.

        • The subject is plural, so it is grammatically correct as written.

        • Lind
          If you are going to judge people on their grammar and then call them out publicly, you might wish to either retake 5th grade or at least check your facts. Inaccurately correcting the grammar of a stranger leaves a negative impression on me of you. For that, I might just deny you entry through my pearly gates, but might allow entry into my pearly whites…

  21. Please let me know How I can get and pay for a USPS when I’m an international user? Could you show me all steps in details?
    Many Thanks,

  22. This was a very helpful article! I was vaguely aware that USPS now had this service, but this post had those really helpful links and I’m grateful to you!

  23. Yes it works, at least at my PO in So Cal. Did not fill out a form or check a list. Just had mail sent there using the format in this post, address of the station with “Box #”. I’ve had rebates simultaneously sent to my PO Box address at the location and to the station address with my Box #. Done this 4 times, gotten all 8 rebates. If you are worried, just deliver yourself a piece of mail and see if your clerks deliver it to your box.

  24. This works in the small town of PA that I live in. The postal clerk on duty wasn’t familiar with it, even with the notice that was left in my box. She checked with the postmaster, who then said it isn’t a problem. Didn’t need to fill out any paperwork or anything. UPS did mis-deliver one of my packages, but that tends to happen with them on occasion. Everything else gets received there successfully both from UPS. Fedex, DHL, etc. The courier driver simply drops off the package which is scanned and a notice for pickup left in you box.

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this great information!

  26. O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

    The only big negative with this service is that there is a delay of at least one business day for delivery of FedEx and UPS and DHL packages to your PO Box once they give your Post Office the item.

    It would be nice if the Post Office would make delivery to your PO Box the items on the same day, especially if they get them by early afternoon.

    Private mail box centers, such as the UPS Store, do make your item available the same day they receive them.

    I can understand the USPS making you wait until the next business day to make the item available to you if they do not get delivery until late afternoon. But to make us wait till the next business day when they receive delivery in the morning or early to mid-afternoon is often a bummer. (I would even be willing to pay more money to the USPS to get same-day availability.)

  27. Confused USPS Customer says:

    I tried it for the first time last week. Tracking shows that the package arrived at the correct USPS branch, then was shipped out elsewhere to begin a glorious adventure. I heard it may eventually be returned to sender. I actually called the branch prior to shipment to confirm this program was valid, and was told that there was nothign to worry about, but as the wandering package shows, promises are only that.

    So even if you fill out the form, there is no certainty that people getting the package at the local USPS have even heard of this program, so your package may wander off into the sunset.

  28. Alfonso says:

    I used for the first time the real street address of my PO BOX by USPS for an eBay purchase and went to the Post Office 7 days after it got delivered (due to vacations time) and no notice in my PO BOX, I asked 3 different employees about my package and they all told me that it wasnt there and it shouldve already been processed if everything is ok but that it is NOT THEIR PROBLEM, that it must be an error from the other carrier (FedEx). I live in a fairly small town so after exiting the Post Office I oversaw a FedEx Truck nearby and went straight running to him, asked about my package and double checking the tracking number.
    ” Weird thing, I always deliver there without a problem, it must be there because it had signature confirmation” the FedEx employee said. So, I returned to the Post Office and approached a 4th employee which lastly asked another to help me, one that for my unfortune already ” tried” to help me. He did a second check and VOILA!!!! the package was there sitting on the floor. No sorry or explanation whatsoever from them, I gave them a mental F^ word as it was a package worth $1,000.

    Yesterday, I was expecting 3 packages delivered the same way but this time via UPS. The same thing just happened. Fuck my life, seriously USPS!?
    Oh, but this time, even though I made clear the precedent of the situation, the packages weren’t there :S so this time Im kinda fuc^ed and thats how I ended up in this post.

    Something is wrong with USPS Real Street Address at least in my town (Calexico, So-Cal) as I already triple checked my shipping address format.

    • O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

      Alfonso, that is certainly frustrating, to say the least.

      A letter addressed to your local postmaster will get your situation resolved for sure.

      Don’t give up. Keep the pressure on until all is working as it should. Good luck.

  29. Heinrich says:

    Street Addressing is for FedEx or UPS parcels exclusively. You cannot receive regular mail, like credit cards, this way. Unless your credit card comes in a large FedEx box.

  30. O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

    Heinrich, why do you say that? It’s not true. You can absolutely receive regular mail, like credit card bills, utilizing the street address of the post office. I do it all the time.

    Please try it. Send a letter or postcard to yourself. Make sure you address it the approved USPS way. For example, let’s pretend your PO Box number is 999 and the street address of the post office is 100 Main St.:

    John Heinrich
    100 Main St. Unit 999
    Anytown, NJ 08211

    Please try it and report back. You’ll see that it does work.

    • Heinrich says:

      It does not. I already said that. It will be sent back, and a not put into your PO Box that you are violating the rules by using Street Addressing for a non-parcel/USPS mail and not to do it again or be removed from Street Addressing. Yes, I have tried it before, and yes I got in trouble. This was last year. Unless they changed something recently in the rules?

      • O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

        Thanks for the reply, Heinrich. So sorry that is happening to you. I really hope the USPS does not have a policy where you cannot use the street addressing for regular mail because I am using it as the mailing address for all my stuff, including my drivers license, car registration, insurance, banking, etc. So far, I have never had any notice from my USPS that I am violating USPS policy. And so far, for as many years as the street addressing has been in existence, all street addressed regular mail has been delivered with no problem.

        I signed up for the USPS PO Box Street Addressing from Day One when it was first implemented.

        Perhaps you should write a note to your local postmaster and ask for absolute confirmation.

        Good luck!

        • O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

          Good news. I Googled the issue and pulled up multiple references to the fact regular mail can be street addressed, including the 2012 USPS Application Form which is available via Google Search as a PDF.

          While regular mail can be street addressed to a PO Box, there is a restriction regarding the sending of legal documents whereby one cannot claim their PO Box Street Address is their physical residence or physical place of business.

          So, Heinrich, if your PO Box is a personal box and not registered as a business box, you should be able to get regular mail PO Box Street Addressed delivered there…and if the local post office is telling you otherwise, I’d take it higher up. For my DMV situation, I provided the DMV my physical residence address and put down the PO Box Street Address as the Mailing Address, so I am not in violation of any USPS PO Box Street Addressing Rules.

          Again, Good Luck.

  31. Anything like this for Canadians?

  32. So, can I use this to apply for my credit card? I only have a PO box. So will this work and be ok to use as my address?

    • O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

      Hi Sean,

      You can only use the PO Box street addressing address of your PO Box as a Mailing Address with your credit card and bank accounts. If you try to put the PO Box street addressing address as your “Home Address” on your credit card or bank account application, their computer will flag it as a commercial mailbox address. You will then be required to provide an actual verifiable home address.

      Unfortunately, technology is such that every commercial mailbox address has now been coded in database systems and is easily marked as such by credit reporting agencies, etc.

    • Since when do credit cards come in FedEx boxes?

  33. My USPS returns packages to sender if I use street addressing on anything but UPS or Fedex packages, they said you cannot use street addressing for USPS packages/mail or it will be returned. Stupid. Anyone else with this issue?

    • O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

      lee, I have been a USPS PO Box Street Addressing signee for years now, having signed up immediate at the very start the service was introduced. My post office will deliver to my PO Box any and all street-addressed packages no matter the carrier, whether it be DHL, UPS, Ontrac, FedEx, etc. i have never had any street-addressed packages returned at all.

      So, either my post office is allowing the packages from any carrier by mistake, or your post office is mistaken about the fact they can only accept UPS & FedEx packages for street addressing.

      I suggest you try and contact your postmaster, or someone at USPS Headquarters in Washington to see if there is documentation that states packages can only be from UPS or FedEx. And of course report back your findings. Good luck.

      • O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

        Lee, just to clarify: Any and all packages sent to me via USPS that are addressed with the street-addressing address of my PO Box is absolutely delivered to my PO Box, and not ever returned to sender. I have received many, many packages over the years that had USPS as the carrier that were addressed to me at (using a generic address example) 123 Main St. Unit 505; Anytown, USA 00000. I strongly believe that your post office is misinformed, but of course I could be wrong, and maybe it is my post office that is making the mistakes.

  34. I just had 2 VERY expensive packages delivered to my Post Office with the correct street address. An employee admitted he accepted the packages. However, noone can find them but one person, a supervisor, which claimed he found them but but did not want to give them to me. He claims they were not what is called SUREPOST. This is something that the Post Office claims to need when a UPS package is delivered to a PO Box. It transfers the delivery from UPS over to USPS. So basically when USPS accepts the package from UPS, UPS can scan a bar code and it will show that they recived it from UPS but, that it is now at the post office waiting to be picked up, not DELIVERED, like mine says. This SUREPOST is ONLY FOR PO BOXES. When using the Street address as a PO Box SurePost cant work cause there is no bar code to scan for USPS when reciveing the package from UPS. HOWEVER. As complicated as this is, the Post Office has taken responsibility to accept packages, like mine that do NOT have the PO Box address, rather the street address and NOT putting the 3846 notification card in my PO Box letting me and others know a package is waiting for us. USPS becomes liable when they accept any package with there street address on it even if it is NOT there package! In fact, they could easily deny the package and “put return to sender” or put “No such person” if the USPS feels they can not deliver it to me. They did not do that. They accepted it and took it and the supervisor is playing a game with me and using this glitch that USPS has made, thinking im stupiud and will just open a insurance claim allowing him to keep my packages and Id never see any refund cause of the way all this is played out….Basically if you use the Street address, you are sending your packages into a black hole… Im telling you all now, do NOT trust the USPS. If you want to get anything expensive sent to you, go FEDEX. Or, just get it sent to you real house address.

  35. O-Qua Tangin Wann says:

    To Anon of September 12: I assure you that your post office is not doing the right thing by you, and are violating USPS’ Street Addressing policies. I advise you to contact the postmaster of your post office and report that the employees are not understanding and/or following the Street Addressing Delivery Rules.

    If you do Google searches, you should be able to find the USPS’ own policies regarding the Street Addressing Delivery. You will see that the local post offices are to accept any deliveries from companies like FedEx and UPS and DHL and then deliver them to the Box holders, as long as the labels are properly addressed and the box holder has signed up for the service.

    There is absolutely no requirement that UPS be using Surepost for packages to be delivered to the Box Holders.

    I have been a Street Addressing customer since the very first day it became available for sign-up (in 2012). No matter the carrier, whether it is USPS themselves, UPS, FedEx, DHL, OnTrac, etc., my post office accepts the package that is addressed to their street address + my Box Number in the form of either “Unit [number]” or the # sign + the number, and then delivers it to my Box, or places it in a locker if available, or they’ll put that yellow slip in my box.

    I am confident if you fight, armed with the USPS’ own documentation, you will get your local post office to first understand USPS’ Street Addressing Policy, and then give you your deliveries. Good luck.

    P.S. Your advice that people not trust the USPS Street Addressing is perhaps unfair if you consider I and many others have used it successfully for years. Perhaps the better advice is that if someone is unlucky to have a post office unfamiliar with the USPS’ policy, they should contact their postmaster.

    • “Your advice that people not trust the USPS Street Addressing is perhaps unfair if you consider I and many others have used it successfully for years” Look how many of us have major issues with this scenario of using the street address? I do not think its unfair to say that USPS should not be trusted especially when they took my very expensive packages. Youre fix for this is to just call the post master. Well, Its not that easy because 99% of all post offices do NOT put the post offices direct phone number on the websites or in google. You have to go through the main USPS website and then call the toll free number, which is basically useless. I should know, I tried this all day for 2 days and got nowhere. In fact I also got the direct numbers to the Post offices, 2 of them, in my area and not one person answered. One was sent straight to a answering machine where it said voice mail is full, leading me to believe that noone will ever and has never checked the voice mails. The other numbers just raing and rang and rang and one other number was for the state central USPS office. Rang and rang for ever. I got nowhere. It wasnt till I made a seen, demanded in person some results and had people stop and watch the ridiculous fiasco I had to play out, that someone took me seriously. And what do you know? They magocally found my packages and then made up some forms ( those 3849 pink forms) real quick for me to sign to make them all look like they were about to notify me but i just needed to wait a little longer till they got to my box! SMH yea right! Truth is, Them forms are basically meaningless. its just a notification, I dont need to sign it. There is no way for them to use my signature and put it on a website to show I got anything because the tracking numbers for UPS already showed ti was delivered and USPS cant go into UPS website and update it to show I accepted it, so basically it was all a show! The reality is, they saw what I bought, the boxes had big expensive things inside and somebody put them in a corner and hoped I made a claim and that then would immediately give the expensive items to the USPS and Id have to wait for upto several months if ever, to get any sort of money back! Them packages would then be taken and put in someones custody for there own pleasures as I am sure this was the plan. Usually lost items that are found, also broken items that are claimed on insurance are shipped to a warehouse and auctioned off. How many items you think get picked and kept by the upper management? Guess who did not come to tell me sorry? The supervisor that said he found my property but wouldnt give it to me cause he said they werent SurePost! And where you think they found these items? In a corner! Do I trust these people? No. I have other things getting delivered tomorrow. I sure hope this dude dont decide to pull this nonsense again cause this time Ill be recording the event This street adress thing may be legitimate but some of these employees are not. Especially the Supervisiors, where they are the ones that sneak the big items to there office and hide them, claiming they had to inspect them for some random check. ( rolls eyes) Good luck people… Its a gamble these days. Only delivery company I never had a issue with was Fedex…. And they have the fast and lowest prices…!

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