Although many of us primarily communicate over the internet, physical mail still brings critical information into our lives. Paper bank and brokerage statements, medical bills, insurance records — postal workers bring all these and more to our doorsteps every week, if not every day.
If you aren’t comfortable with potentially important documents with personal information sitting in your mailbox for anyone to pick up, a P.O. Box offers a secure way to receive mail. Instead of receiving mail at your home address, you know it will be secure at the local post office until you can swing by.
Before you decide to get a post office box, you’ll want to understand how much a P.O. box costs. And luckily, those answers are easy enough to find..
How Much Does a Post Office Box Cost?
Estimated P.O. Box Cost
|$4.33 – $28.67 per month
|$5.50 – $38.33 per month
|$8.17 – $67 per month
|$12.33 – $76.67 per month
|$21.50 – $115 per month
The table above outlines price ranges for USPS P.O. boxes. But the cost of a P.O. box will vary based on the size and location you choose.
Factors That Affect P.O. Box Cost
The exact cost varies based on the P.O. box size and the post office location. Additionally, the amount of time you plan to rent it affects your P.O. box prices. Let’s take a closer look at how this rental fee could eat into your personal budget.
Length of Rental Period
The U.S. Postal Service rents out boxes for three, six, or 12 months at a time. If you know ahead of time that you’ll need the box for a longer length of time, it’s cheaper to opt for the longer rental term. You’ll be automatically charged for renewals if you link a credit card for automatic payments.
The size of the box impacts how much you pay too.
You’ll pay more for a larger box. So, the cheapest option is an extra small box and the most expensive is an extra-large box. Here’s a breakdown of the box sizes offered by the United States Postal Service.
|What Can It Hold?
|3″ x 5.5″
|10 – 15 letters and 3 rolled magazines
|5″ x 5.5″
|15+ letters, 5 rolled magazines, or 1 small U.S. Priority Mail Flat Rate box
|5.5″ x 11″
|Letters, large envelopes, stacked magazines, or 2 small U.S. Priority Mail Flat Rate box
|11″ X 11″
|Letters, stacked magazines, and small and medium U.S. Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes
|12″ X 22.5″
|Letters, stacked magazines, multiple small and medium U.S. Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes
If you receive a package that doesn’t fit in your box, you’ll get a slip to take to the counter for pickup. It’s easy enough to wait in line for counter service, but you can avoid the hassle by getting a box big enough for your regular package deliveries.
The location of a P.O. box impacts the price. Typically, the prices are higher where the United States Postal Service is market dominant. But if other companies like FedEx or UPS offer a similar service in the area, the competition can keep the costs down.
With that in mind, you’ll generally pay more for a USPS box in a more isolated location without FedEx or UPS retail locations. But in big cities with extensive mail service options, you’ll likely find USPS boxes at a lower price point thanks to the competition.
Typical P.O. Box Costs
The cost for a USPS PO box varies based on the factors we’ve discussed. But here’s a general range you can expect:
- Extra Small: $4.33 to $28.67 per month
- Small: $5.50 to $38.33 per month
- Medium: $8.17 to $67 per month
- Large: $12.33 to $76.67 per month
- Extra Large: $21.50 to $115 per month
If you are seriously considering a P.O. box, then check out the price list to find out what you will pay in your area. And scope out USPS.com for more information on the sizes and benefits of P.O. boxes.
If you lose your key or need a key duplicated, you’ll pay $9. If you need a lock replacement, it’s a $25 fee. And finally, you’ll pay a $25 fee if you renew your box late.
It’s not all bad on the fee front. USPS offers Premium P.O. Box services available to every P.O. box customer at no extra charge. A few of the perks include:
- Real Street Address: A real street address to allow packages from any sender, including online retailers. With that, you don’t have to put your P.O. box number out there. Instead, you’ll have an address that corresponds to a piece of real estate for a professional look that maintains your privacy.
- Easy Access: Some locations offer expanded lobby access, which might even include 24-hour access
- Signature on File: The post office will keep your signature on file, which means you can skip going to the counter to sign for certain mail items.
- No Key Deposit: You’ll get two free keys. If you need more, you’ll have to put down a $5 deposit per key.
Keep these features in mind when deciding whether or not to get a P.O. box rental.
How to Apply for a P.O. Box
Ready to move forward with a P.O. box? Here’s how to apply for this useful mail delivery tool.
At the Post Office
The first option is to apply in person. You’ll need to fill out a physical application called the PS Form 1093. It will ask for some personal details, like your email address and phone number.
With this completed form in hand, you can head to the post office with two forms of acceptable identification. Common accepted documents include a state-issued driver’s license, a U.S. passport, or a U.S. Armed Forces card. You can find the full list of accepted identification materials here.
If approved, you’ll finish up by paying and receiving your key.
You can also apply for your P.O. Box online.
Start by entering your zip code to find a nearby location. Next, fill out the application form online, reserve the box, and make your payment. Finally, head to the post office at your convenience because USPS will still require two forms of ID to finalize your application.
Don’t be surprised if your preferred post office doesn’t have boxes available when you apply. You can choose a different location or ask to be put on a waiting list. If a spot opens up, the post office will call to inform you.
A P.O. box can come in handy for a variety of reasons. Whether you want to conceal your physical street address or are a full-time traveler without a regular address, this USPS service offers a secure way to receive mail.
Depending on your location, you might have plentiful P.O. boxes to choose from. But in other areas, you might get stuck on a waiting list for a P.O. box that fits your size and location preferences. If you aren’t satisfied with what USPS has to offer, consider checking out other companies that offer mail services in your area, such as FedEx or UPS.