You've Got Mail (photo credit)

You’ve Got Mail (photo credit)

Nearly 45 years ago the first email was sent. Around the same time, banks began transferring money electronically.

So it makes perfect sense that in the year Two Thousand and Sixteen we still chop down trees, process them into paper, print words on them, load them on to trucks and airplanes, move them around the world, and then pay people to carry them to our door through rain, sleet, & snow… where we drop them into the trash.

I’ve done my best to avoid this whole mess by opting out of all paper mail, and exclusively using email and online tools. Still, the USPS only cares about their main revenue source (bulk mailers), the IRS and other government agencies like licking stamps, and credit cards are physical (for now.) And some companies (even pure online businesses) are in love with paper checks, even though they cost more than ACH transfers.

So for the last few months we’ve been processing all of our mail with Traveling Mailbox.

Traveling Mailbox is an online postal mailbox. They scan all of the non-junk mail and make it available for viewing 24/7. All of the USPS revenue “mail” gets dumped in the trash without me ever seeing it. (As a fun aside, check out the lengths this guy went through to torment bulk mailers.)

Online Postal Mailbox

This is what my online postal mailbox looks like right now.

traveling mailbox inboxAnything that looks interesting, I have it Opened and Scanned. For example this letter from Geico, informing us that they owe us $59.62 from 3 years ago. Why didn’t they just send email?

geico letterOnce I’ve finished reading anything of use, I hit the Shred button. It is conveniently disposed of in a secure fashion, without my risking a paper cut.

Paper Checks

Once I call Geico, I know they are going to insist on mailing a paper check. Can you post a credit to my credit card? No.
Direct deposit? Uh-uh.
Paypal? Nope.

Alas, I have to pretend it is 1972 all over again. Or in this case, Traveling Mailbox will forward checks to a bank for deposit (for a fee.)

I haven’t tested this feature, because instead I uploaded check images to my Capital One 360 account for free. (Free $20 with new account.)

Capital One 360 Check Upload

Capital One 360 Check Upload

Mail Forwarding

For a few items, I need the actual physical mail. For example for credit cards and my absentee ballot for Washington State.

For the cost of shipping plus a small handling fee (a few bucks) Traveling Mailbox will forward any number of pieces of mail anywhere on the globe.

For example, I forwarded some mail to my brother in Minnesota, which I’ll pick up when we visit in August.

I’ve also forwarded two new credit cards to our hotel room in Madrid. The free hotel nights we get by using the new cards more than covers the cost of mail forwarding.

(Traveling Mailbox will also process and forward packages, although I haven’t tested this feature…)

Customer Service

Traveling Mailbox’s customer service is top notch. Prior to signing up, I asked questions about credit card and check processing via their online chat. They even walking me through the process of getting a notary signature online. (If you decide to switch to an online mail processing company, do it before you leave the US.)

I asked a few questions just to test their resolve, as part of the vetting process. It was really the customer service that made me choose Traveling Mailbox over other options.

Over the past months, their online chat has been helpful with forwarding mail, changing my billing credit card, and addressing a few minor questions.

Considering the poor state of customer service for the majority of big companies these days, I found the Traveling Mailbox support refreshing.

Cost

Unsure about what to expect, I signed up for the month-to-month billing option at $20/month. Plans exist starting at $15 if you are OK with a North Carolina mailing address, but I paid an extra $5/month for a Seattle location.

I’m now completely sold on doing all of our mail online. At the end of this billing cycle, my subscription is going to annual billing which provides 2 months free ($40 savings per year.)

Nomadic Living

For nomads, Traveling Mailbox is a great option to handle all of that mail back home without placing the burden on friends or family.

Were we to decide to settle down in the US at some point in the future, I would keep Traveling Mailbox as our mail solution. It really is that good.

If you are looking for an online mail solution, consider Traveling Mailbox. I think you’ll love it.

(Links to Traveling Mailbox are affiliate links, and if you sign up for their service we will receive a small commission. If you use and love another solution, please share in the comments.)

Have you eliminated Spam from Uncle Sam? Would you use an online mail service?

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