What is a virtual mailbox, and how does it work?

October 4, 2023
John Eletto

In today’s hyperconnected world, your physical location shouldn’t limit your ability to receive mail and packages. Virtual mailboxes make accessing, reading, and managing your mail from anywhere as easy as checking your email.

These digital platforms redefine the traditional mail concept and seamlessly integrate with our increasingly mobile and global lifestyles. How they work is simple: During signup, you can choose an address from the location of your choice.

You will then receive a mailbox number at a real physical street address, and your service provider will receive, process, and upload your mail to view online. It really is that simple, but let’s dig deeper into how virtual boxes actually work. 

What is a virtual mailbox?

A virtual mailbox is a service that gives you an online mailbox where you can view your physical mail. You can use it to incorporate your business, file business documents, open bank accounts, and do anything else that requires a physical street address.

It’s a game-changer for sure, but it gets even better than that. Because your business address is typically public information, using a virtual mailbox gives you privacy. Your information is also more secure, as no one can access your mail without an authorized user’s login credentials.

What’s more, virtual mailboxes allow you to manage your physical mailbox from anywhere in the world. You can easily view your mail, including scans of letter-sized mail, from any device and then choose to shred, forward, or store it for later.

It’s perfect for companies of all sizes (startups, small businesses, freelancers, and larger companies with high mail volumes). This means even when traveling or wherever your company/employees may be based, you can stay on top of your mail through your smartphone or computer and ensure nothing important slips through the cracks.

A virtual mailbox comes in handy for anyone who wants to reduce their paper mail but still needs a physical mailing address for business and legal purposes, including:

  • Large companies that want to streamline high-volume mail operations
  • Remote businesses that need virtual mail management
  • Freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to control their postal mail remotely
  • Small businesses with limited office space or no permanent address

What are the benefits of a virtual mailbox?

Traditional physical addresses can often be inconvenient and limiting, especially for digital nomads, businesses, and individuals needing more flexibility and greater adaptability. 

Physical mail requires a fixed P.O. Box or street address, creating challenges for those who frequently travel or work remotely. For businesses, managing a large volume of mail can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and prone to errors. Transitioning to a virtual mailbox system comes with a host of benefits, including:

Remote mailing address access

With a virtual mailbox, the world becomes your office. This level of mobility and freedom is revolutionary, particularly for professionals who constantly travel or live abroad. Accessing and managing your mail from any location breaks down traditional limitations, granting unparalleled flexibility and control.

Here are a few real-life examples that underscore the convenience of a virtual mailbox:

  • Business travelers: Even abroad, business travelers can view a scanned image of an urgent document (like a contract), digitally sign it, and forward it to respective parties — all from their hotel rooms.
  • Small businesses needing an address: Small business owners running home-based businesses may prefer to keep their home addresses private and separate from their business use. Opting for a virtual address can protect privacy, give a more professional appearance, and ensure that no business correspondence slips through the cracks.
  • Larger company with remote employees: Large businesses with distributed teams can benefit from a centralized system for mail management, as it ensures everyone can access the mail they need to — no matter where they’re located.
  • Nonprofits with limited space: Virtual mailboxes are the perfect solution for non-profits with limited physical space to manage donations, track membership activities and payments, or store important organizational records. No need for extra office space or equipment.

Centralized management

A virtual mailbox is a centralized hub for all mail and package deliveries, simplifying mail management for businesses and individuals with multiple residences. For business owners with remote or distributed teams, a virtual mailbox allows for easy collaboration, quicker decision-making, and smoother business operations. Consider these examples:

  • Business network expansion: With virtual mailboxes, you don’t need a new address whenever you open another location. You can use the same address for all your offices while ensuring that mail sent to each office is properly sorted and routed.
  • Team collaboration: You can invite your team members to view and collaborate on mail items. This makes it easy to stay on top of all the communication between your team and customers, allowing for faster response times and better customer service.
  • Streamlined operations: You can access an easy-to-use dashboard that lets you quickly view, sort, and manage all your mail items with a few clicks. Plus, it reduces the need for manual data entry and tedious filing systems, allowing you to focus on more important tasks.

With Stable, you can:

  • Automatically open and scan mail, forward packages, and even deposit checks.
  • Invite team members to view and handle business-critical mail.
  • Get alerts when mail is received, scanned, forwarded, and more.
  • Build powerful workflows on top of your tech stack with Stable integrations.


Unlike traditional physical mailboxes (which can be susceptible to theft or tampering), virtual mailboxes offer enhanced security measures to protect your sensitive documents.

Secure facilities will receive and store your digital mail under constant surveillance, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. You also get a password-protected online account with your virtual mailbox, adding an extra layer of security. You can safely access your mail from any device, anytime, without worrying about security breaches.

Such stringent security measures instill confidence, particularly when dealing with sensitive documents like financial statements, legal correspondence, or personal information.

Stable’s commitment to privacy and security is unwavering, as evidenced by our selection of features designed to protect your identity:

  • Physical storage: We store mail securely for 30 days and packages for 15 days.
  • Shred: We safely shred your mail and packages after the 15- or 30-day timelines, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Unlimited digital storage: You can view all your digitized documents from the Stable dashboard.

Better business address options

Your business address is more than just a location — it signals stability, credibility, and status. A virtual mailbox allows businesses to establish an official business address in a prestigious location, even if their operations are elsewhere. 

This can significantly enhance your professional image and convey a sense of credibility and legitimacy, which can positively impact customer perception and trust, ultimately leading to increased sales.

Digital mailbox services 

Virtual mailbox services offer many features that revolutionize how individuals and businesses manage mail. Here are some key services that accompany a virtual mailbox:

  • Automatic sorting: Virtual mailboxes automatically sort incoming mail, streamlining the process of identifying and organizing your business mail items. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that receive a substantial volume of mail daily.
  • Mail forwarding to different addresses: If you’re on the move, a virtual mailbox service can forward your physical mail to other addresses. This provides incredible flexibility, allowing you to receive your mail wherever you may be.
  • Mail digitization: At your request, service providers can open, scan, and upload your mail to your online account. This frees you from paper clutter and allows for easy mail access and storage.
  • Integration with other services: Some virtual mail services integrate with other software and services, such as cloud storage providers, enhancing the fluidity of your operations.
  • Mail storage and package forwarding: Many service providers offer storage and mail forwarding services that allow you to store or forward mail and packages, eliminating the hassle of trips to the post office.

Stable lets you:

  • Receive mail: We automatically digitize the envelope and extract key information like sender and recipient.
  • Receive packages: We accept shipments from any carrier (USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL) and handle them like regular mail.
  • Open and scan: Request high-quality scans of internal contents of any piece of mail — for free.
  • Forward mail and packages: Ship to anywhere in the world to retain physical copies.
  • Save on shipping costs: We negotiate discounted rates with carriers and pass on the savings to you.
  • Bulk forward mail: Combine mail and packages going to the same address to reduce shipping costs.

These features save you time and reduce clutter, allowing you to focus on your core activities and ultimately grow your business. You can keep accurate digital records, streamline your operations, and have the confidence that comes with secure mail management. 

How does a virtual mailbox work? 

If you use a virtual mailbox, it might seem like magic when your physical mail appears in your email inbox, but many processes are happening behind the scenes. Here’s what happens when you sign up for a digital mail service.

Step 1: Choose an address

During signup, you select the state where you want to receive mail. One of the unique benefits of virtual mailboxes is that you can receive mail at a real street address in multiple states.

Step 2: Complete US Postal Form 1853

US Postal Form 1583, known as the “Application for Delivery of Mail Through Agent,” is a mandatory requirement for using a virtual mailbox. This official form grants the virtual mailbox service provider permission to receive and handle mail on your behalf.

It is a vital step in setting up a virtual mailbox because the United States Postal Service (USPS) requires this form. You can access this form online through the USPS website. After filling it out, don’t forget to sign it and hire a notary to notarize it and make it official.

Step 3: Send some mail

After setting up an account, you can send mail to your virtual mailing address, and it will arrive at a secure facility where we’ll handle it professionally and securely. 

We digitize your mail and upload it to your dashboard so you can view or respond to it. Then, we sort and store your mail after digitizing it so you can choose to forward, store it, or securely shred it.

Step 4: Mail arrives in your inbox

A virtual address provider, like Stable, offers an online dashboard where you can access your mail. You’ll get a notification when there is new mail for you to view and act on. 

Your dashboard allows you to view all your mail, filter mail, and take action on your mail. Additionally, depending on your virtual address provider, you can add multiple team members to your mailbox through the dashboard.

Step 5: Take action on your mail

After you receive mail, it’s time to decide what to do with it. You can shred it if you don’t need it, forward it to another address if you want a copy of the physical mail, or open and scan it to view its contents online. 

When you use a virtual address provider that supports check deposit services (like Stable does), you can also connect your bank account to have checks deposited.

How can I get a virtual mailbox service?

There are several virtual mailbox providers, but they don’t all offer the same level of quality, reliability, and service. At Stable, we provide a permanent address with an online dashboard, so you never have to worry about mail or changing addresses again. We’ll digitize all mail you receive here, and you can scan, forward, shred, and even deposit checks from anywhere in the world. 

Along with virtual mailbox services, Stable also offers additional services, such as a registered agent service for your business, check-deposit support, and more. 

Our platform offers powerful software features, such as automation, notifications, and tags, to help easily manage your mail. Plus, with the collaboration feature and intuitive mobile app, you can invite other team members to access your virtual mailbox, allowing for a streamlined workflow.

Get started with Stable if you're ready to get a virtual business address + mailbox in less than three minutes.

Choose Stable as your virtual mailbox provider today

A virtual mailbox allows you to manage your physical mail digitally — all in one place. Plus, you can get a professional business address that reflects the credibility and professionalism of your organization.

With Stable, you get more than just a virtual mailbox address. You get a team of professionals that handle your mail securely and efficiently and powerful software features to help you easily manage it.

Make the switch to a virtual mailbox today and start enjoying all of the benefits that come with it. Let us help you save time, increase efficiency, and stay organized with a virtual mailbox from Stable.

Get 50% off your first year with Stable

Get a special discount on our virtual address + mailroom sent to your inbox
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
A virtual address + mailroom for businesses
Learn More

Get 50% off our Grow plan

Get a special discount on our virtual address + mailroom sent to your inbox
Thank you! We'll email you soon with the referral code.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.