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Why are some virtual mailbox providers so cheap?

Sara Yonker

August 2, 2021

Earth Class Mail tries to keep its services affordable for all its customers, which is why our entry level plans start at $19 a month. Some local storefront mail centers offer virtual mailbox options for $10 a month.

What’s the difference? Many inexpensive options that provide postal mail online limit services to only exterior envelope scans. You’ll pay more for a scan of mail contents. Service and security varies because operations aren’t centralized.

How virtual mailbox services work

When you use a virtual mailbox, someone else will receive, scan, and upload your incoming mail before you get to see it.

That’s true whether you’re an individual or a business and for most of the virtual mailbox  providers you can use. Virtual mailboxes can help you protect your personal information, such as your home address, and make sure that information contained in your postal mail gets securely shredded. 

While all options might provide an anonymous street address separate from your personal address, not every virtual mailbox service sets security requirements for its operations, personnel, and data management.

Storefront mail centers with virtual mailboxes

If you want an online mailbox, you can pick from centralized providers like Earth Class Mail or use one of thousands of storefront mail processing stores, copy shops, and business centers that offer virtual mailbox services. 

When you sign up with a virtual mailbox through a local mail center, your mail arrives at the store and employees at the center scan the envelopes. If you want to see the contents of your mail, you typically have to pay an additional fee per mail item.

These virtual mailbox providers often operate under a central brand - Anytime Mailbox, iPostal1, or Postscan Mail - but they don’t have centralized processing or systems.

If you use these providers, the employees opening and scanning your mail work for the mail center. They follow whatever safeguards those individual stores have. Service and security varies from sore to store. 

Benefits of centralized virtual mailbox providers

Virtual mailbox providers with centralized operations have more control over their employees and mail systems. Earth Class Mail ensures the physical and digital security of our customers with: 

Physical security of mail:  We process all of our mail at our center in Beaverton, Oregon. We monitor the building 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with video surveillance. All mail and packages relieve a unique bar code so that they’re tracked. You can access your mail online from anywhere. 

A team you can trust: All of our technicians comply with privacy laws and pass thorough background checks. We meet HIPAA requirements, so any sensitive information stays private. Customers can access our dedicated customer success team - we don’t outsource our customer service. We also meet strict security standards in all areas of our operations. 

Digital security: With all your paper mail a digitized document, managing your mail becomes paperless. But data-based mail can introduce data security concerns as well. Earth Class Mail uses encryption standards similar to what banks and other financial institutions use to protect sensitive data - a 256-bit encryption on all its data. 

The difference between Earth Class Mail and mail centers

Mail centers may offer virtual addresses and mail scanning, but their business model differs from us.  These mail center versions of virtual mailboxes, such as Anytime Mailbox and Post Scan Mail, rely on a network of mail centers to operate.

They don’t have a centralized center, so customer service and security varies from each location. If you need more than one address, you have to sign up for multiple accounts.  

Earth Class Mail only uses its own employees to process mail. You’ll always receive the same high quality standard of service, security, and privacy from Earth Class Mail that we provide to all of our customers no matter which plan or virtual address you choose.

Interested in learning more about which virtual mail plan fits your needs? Take our quiz here

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