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If you're one of the millions of Americans who travel frequently for work or pleasure, living as an expat in far-flung locations, or just needing a virtual mailing address for other purposes, you'll need a service that can handle a variety of tasks.
Today there are a wide range of companies offering to relieve you of the burdensome task of having your mail chase you around the country - or the world - by providing not only a physical address where your bills, letters, and other important paperwork can be delivered, but also the processing that lets you know when you've got mail. The best mail scanning services not only scan the outer envelope but also its contents - though some providers include it as part of your monthly fee, while others require you to pay as you go.
Friday, May 27th
US Global Mail is best Mail Scanning service on the market today. With more than 80,000 expats having gotten their mail and packages through this company since 1999 - not to mention all of the domestic customers who've benefited from their mail forwarding and related services as well - it's easy to see why US Global Mail is our top choice for Mail Scanning.
US Global Mail has a stellar reputation, as demonstrated by an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau. You can also check out some of their customer comments at the bottom of the site: at the time of this review, there were nearly 700 independently-verified reviews, and US Global Mail had a fantastic 4.6/5 average rating.
One of the things we love about US Global Mail is their transparency in pricing. They offer a crystal-clear pricing chart, complete with comparisons against many of their top competitors (including several you'll find in our reviews!). While not all of their services are the cheapest (mail scanning being one of them), you'll know exactly what to expect from their service when you sign up, without having to dig through too much fine print.
3 mail scanning plans
So, what does this service charge for mail forwarding and related services like scanning? Here's what you'll pay for their three plans:
All of the plans offered by US Global Mail have a long list of included benefits, while their competitors charge steep a la carte prices for them. Here's what this company gives you for free with any membership:
There are also services available for an extra fee, such as opening and inspecting packages ($5/per package) and a $15/month wind-down service after you close your account but may still have mail coming in while you're changing to your new address. Mail scanning is one of these extra services: you'll pay a flat fee of $3 for every letter you ask US Global Mail to scan for you, plus an additional $0.50 for each page in the letter. That's a little steep if you expect to have a lot of incoming mail that you want scanned, but at least you know exactly how much you'll have to spend.
Reasonable refund policy
One small detail that has tripped up some customers: you can get a refund if you sign up for an annual or 2-year plan and need to close your account before your time is up. However, your refund will be prorated at the original month-to-month plan cost, not the lower monthly fees offered with the pay-in-advance plans. So, if you paid $360 for a 2-year family plan but cancel after a year, don't expect to get half of that back ($180). At the month-to-month rate, you would have spent $240 for that first year, so your refund wouldn't be more than $120. That's to prevent people from signing up for the discounted plans and then canceling after just a few months. That's reasonable.
Quick customer service
The site gave us a pop-up chat box as soon as we visited the site - but at the same time it told us that chat wasn't available because it was outside of their business hours. Their posted operating hours were 8A-6P Central time, and the pop-up happened at 3PM. However, that initial visit was on a federal holiday, and we had no trouble reaching someone the following day. Customers say that, on most days, they are able to get any questions resolved in just a matter of minutes, which is helpful when you've got an urgent issue needing attention.
Although US Global Mail isn't the least expensive Mail Scanning provider we evaluated, their fantastic reputation and extremely comprehensive suite of included services puts them light years ahead of the competition. US Global Mail sets the bar very high when it comes to Mail Scanning, and they earn our highest rating.
Physical Address isn't going to jump out at you with a slick, bleeding-edge website to capture your business. But don't let first impressions stop you from looking at what the company has to offer you when it comes to Mail Scanning services. Why?
Simply put: their reputation is extraordinarily good. Yes, they have an "A+" rating and accreditation from the BBB, which is great. But the real clincher? We found so many glowing, 5-star customer reviews in other places that it absolutely caught our attention. And, it made us laugh to see that many of them had the same first impression: "How good can this service be if the website is this...underwhelming?" But, as one person put it, sometimes a less-than-awesome site means that the company is too busy doing a fantastic job to worry about it! We found that to be the case with this service, with more than 20,000 clients in 50 countries and counting at the time of our review.
That does mean that you have to wade through the site a bit, and you might not find every answer you're looking for right away. Here's what you can expect from their packages.
Choose your city
First, you'll need to decide in which city you'd like to have an address: Las Vegas, Dallas, Orlando, Laguna Beach, or New York. Depending on which one you choose, your base price will be anywhere from $1.99 to $13.99 per month. An important feature of Physical Address' service is that all of their addresses belong to them. In other words, they don't outsource your Mail Scanning to another company (like UPS Store or some other mail receiving entity).
Choose your plan
Next, you'll have to enter your account and contact information, in order to select the mail plan you anticipate needing. Each plan includes envelope scans and content scans (with the number of included scans based on the package selected, which we'll get to later), 7-days-a-week support, free check depositing, unlimited secure shredding, and long-term non-parcel storage.
5 virtual mail plans
Physical Address offers 5 Virtualized Mail Plans:
With any plan, you'll get additional scans at a low fee of $0.20.
30 day money back guarantee
If you want to save money, you can get a 20% discount by paying for an annual plan - but there's no contract or commitment required otherwise. Every plan is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, if for any reason you're unhappy with the Physical Address service.
So, while Physical Address doesn't make the best first impression, their prices and sterling reputation for extraordinary customer service do. We highly recommend that you consider their Mail Scanning services as one of our preferred providers in the industry.
Post Scan Mail is one of the newer Mail Scanning services in our review, getting its start in California in 2013. They've expanded their services into a nationwide network of mail processing centers offering open & scan, shredding & recycling, and much more.
Getting started with Post Scan Mail is easy. First, you'll have to choose your plan and a mailing address (more on that below). Yes, you still have to fill out the required USPS form that allows them to receive mail in your name. When your virtual mailbox starts getting envelopes and packages, your scanned images can be viewed through the PSM app (available on Google Play and the Apple app store). Once you've viewed your mail, you can request to have it opened and scanned, forwarded, or shredded and recycled. Pretty easy!
3 mail scanning plans
The service consists of 3 main plans:
Each package will cost more if you choose to have a Preferred or Prestigious mailing address associated with your account.
When we considered the Pricing page, all plans were described as coming with a free trial - but there was nothing in the sign-up process that explained what to expect or for how long. When we clicked on the Help chat bubble, not only was there no one available during Pacific business hours, there was no answer to the question in their FAQ/answer database. We had a similar experience when trying to determine the difference between Basic, Preferred and Prestigious address designations. Eventually, as we looked at the Locations map, we could see that some addresses in our state were labeled as Basic and others as Preferred (there were no Prestigious ones, by the way) - but there was still nothing to indicate which made one address "better" than the other, or worth the extra monthly expense.
Affordable extra services
Going back to Pricing: on that same page, you may want to consider services that will incur additional fees. If you need more Mail Scanning in a particular month, expect to pay $1 per envelope (up to 10 pages included) and then $1 for every additional 10 pages in the envelope. That's a pretty bargain rate compared with many of Post Scan Mail's competitors. If you need your mail physically forwarded to you, that will cost $0.85 for each item, along with any postage fees. And, if you have more than one person getting mail at your plan's mailbox - spouse, kids - you're on the hook for $5 more per month, per person.
So, how does Post Scan Mail hold up when considering customer experience with the service? The answer is "pretty well". Checking out their listing on the BBB, we found that while their accreditation was fairly recent, the company has indeed been in operation for more than 10 years, and was rated as an "A+" business. That's a great start.
Positive customer comments
Then, considering actual customer comments, we found overwhelmingly positive comments: accurate forwarding, quick mail scanning, and very prompt, courteous service from PSM's customer reps. We were happy to hear that, given that we weren't able to connect via live chat during regular business hours.
The Mail Scanning offered by Post Scan Mail is affordable and reliable. If you need a plan for just one person, this service may be the very lowest on the market today (though their pricing is fairly reasonable for couples and families as well).
Serving thousands of customers throughout the United States - and nearly 50 other countries! - since 2011, Traveling Mailbox offers Mail Scanning and Forwarding services that won't break the bank. In the last 8+ years, the company has scanned nearly 3 million envelopes, nearly 5 million documents, and shredded more than 25 tons of mail.
3 mail scanning plans
Traveling Mailbox has three main plans, plus several enterprise-level packages. Since most customers will be looking for the services offered in the primary tiers of service, we'll focus on those:
Extra scan pricing
On all three plans, you can opt to pay for extra scans if needed, at a rate of $0.50 per page. And, if you get more mail than your plan covers, you'll pay $0.25 for each additional envelope.
While all plans are month-to-month with no contracts, Traveling Mailbox does offer a 2-months-free discount if you pay for a full year in advance.
If you need to have your physical mail forwarded to you, expect a flat fee of $2 per shipment, plus any applicable postage. You can have it sent to you on demand, or schedule it at the intervals you prefer.
As with most Mail Scanning services, you'll need to provide a USPS Form 1583 to authorize Traveling Mailbox to receive your mail. Your account can't be activated until they've received this notarized form from you.
One of the bigger drawbacks we found with using Traveling Mailbox is that all mail is routed from the physical address you select to their processing center in North Carolina, then scanned and/or forwarded to you. That adds extra time to the procedure, and some customers have said that the wait is much longer than they'd expect.
3rd party forwarding
You should also know that the physical address you choose may go to a third party for forwarding company. For example, looking at the list of possible choices on the Addresses page at the time of our review, we found that one of them was for a private residence and another was for a UPS Store - and yes, some customer reviews mentioned that connection and wondered if Traveling Mailbox just rents out space from places around the US.
On the other hand, this company has a strong reputation with the BBB, both accredited and with an "A+" rating. There are also positive reviews from social media posts and other sources on both the BBB site and on Traveling Mailbox's page, which is a good sign. One perk of using this service is that you can reach a customer service rep via phone, live chat and email 7 days a week - while many of their competitors make it much more challenging to get help if you need it.
Ultimately, you'll have to decide for yourself if Traveling Mailbox's services are a good fit for your situation: how much do you care about having your mail rerouted before getting scanned to your dashboard, compared with the savings you'll get compared with other companies who might make you sign a long-term contract? Traveling Mailbox has a reasonably good track record for customer service, making them a good option for most Mail Scanning needs.
If you're looking for a Mail Scanning service with a long history in the industry, you may be considering Earth Class Mail. Since their start in 2008, the company has processed more than 10 million pieces of mail! Their reputation is solid, with an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau and very few complaints from customers on the BBB site. However, our research led us to believe that the company may have gone through a bankruptcy and ownership change over the last few years, so let's take a look at what your experience with ECM might be now.
In your face
First, be prepared to get a LOT of pop-ups when browsing the Earth Class Mail site. While we're generally big fans of live chat help, and we're happy to help a company understand our shopping decisions, the three pop-ups we got in the first three minutes of our most recent visit were a little much. But, at least you know that Earth Class Mail stands at the ready if you have even the smallest question, and they definitely want to know what it takes to earn your business.
Mail scanning services
No matter which plan you choose, here are the services you can expect from Earth Class Mail:
Both small and large customers
If you have zero clue about what some of those are, don't worry! This company also services large businesses who want help in managing their mail, so some of the features mentioned above would primarily apply to those companies. As an individual consumer, you don't need to be concerned with HIPAA compliance or industry-specific regulations (law firms, medical offices, and so on).
You should also be aware that Earth Class Mail has a $50 cancellation fee on every plan. That might seem stingy until you consider that the company will still have to handle physical mail and paper during your cancellation period - which could take up to 6 months to complete.
Focus on business
As for plans for individual customers, Earth Class Mail still offers plans for Mail Scanning - but you'll notice on the site that the focus is definitely on business customers. In fact, when we tried to find pricing for individuals, we quickly got lost. We found three tiers of pricing, but they were so much more expensive than our last review that we weren't sure we even had the right information:
So, we took advantage of that handy chat feature we mentioned earlier, to find out what services were available for people, not just businesses. The very friendly agent who responded agreed that the pricing details on the site were confusing, and that if we could set an appointment with an account specialist to see if Earth Class Mail could come up with a customized plan to meet our needs - and our budget.
Why so expensive?
When we connected with the rep from ECM, he explained that yes, we would need to sign up for the $69/month plan. It included 10 pieces of scanned mail content each month and unlimited shredding of junk mail, and an 8% discount was available if we signed a year-long contract. The rep also acknowledged that their services are more expensive than their competitors', saying it was due to the extra security protocols (like HIPAA compliance and all employees doing the scanning being under non-disclosure agreements). He also said that ECM's technology is a big plus, with all scans being fully text-searchable, and their platform having full integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on.
However, while we were waiting for a response from the account rep, we took a look at what people were saying about Earth Class Mail on other sites. What we found was disappointing to say the least: numerous people said that it was literally the worst customer service experience they'd ever had, with lost mail (including checks!), drastic price increases despite being promised a fixed lifetime rate, and many other complaints.
Unfortunately, all of this combines to drop Earth Class Mail much lower in our rankings than they were in our earlier review. If you're looking for affordable, reliable Mail Scanning services, you'll probably need to choose another provider.
Typically, mail scanning services give you an online dashboard and/or mobile app, so that you can review the PDF images of your incoming mail and then quickly and easily determine what should be done with each piece: recycle, save, or forward to your current location.
In order to authorize the Mail Scanning Service, you select to receive your mail, you will probably have to fill out USPS Form 1583. Keep in mind that it will need to be notarized - and your preferred service may even offer an easy way to do that remotely! Once that form has been taken care of, your service will begin.
However, with so many services out there that all want your business, especially with something that tends to be a long-term need, how can you decide which one is the best for your needs? Because it can be a hassle to set up your initial service, and even more so to change to a new Mail Scanning Service if you don't like the first one, here are several criteria to keep in mind - so that your first choice is your best choice:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Mail Scanning services available today. We hope this information helps you determine which provider will give you the best value for your money, as well as save you considerable time and hassle by taking care of your mail!
Select any 2 Mail Scanning Services to compare them head to head
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