USPS PO Box Cost

How Much Does a PO Box Cost?

Last Updated on March 11, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Renting a post office (PO) box provides a secure and convenient way to receive mail and packages. But how much does it actually cost? PO box rental rates vary based on several key factors. This article breaks down the typical costs and considerations to help you make an informed decision.

A PO box essentially functions as a personalized mailing address located at your local post office. Instead of having mail delivered to your home or business address, it gets routed to your designated PO box.

You’ll need to regularly check your box and pick up your mail and packages. This provides privacy and security compared to an open mailbox.

PO boxes offer clear benefits for both personal and business needs. For individuals, it prevents missed deliveries if you aren’t home during the day. Businesses can establish a professional address that is separate from a home residence.

PO boxes also provide stability if you move frequently. And they help protect against mail theft and identity fraud.

How Much Does a PO Box Cost?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers PO boxes in four common sizes:

  • Small – Typically 3” x 5.5”. Fits envelopes and small packages.
  • Medium – Around 5” x 6”. Holds small boxes and bubble mailers.
  • Large – Approximately 8.5” x 11”. Accommodates most packages, boxes, and larger envelopes.
  • Extra Large – Measures 12” x 13”. For very large packages and high volumes of mail.

The cost of PO box rental for these sizes are between $30 and $500 per year, as follows:

  • Small – $30 to $60 per year
  • Medium – $50 to $140 per year
  • Large – $70 to $250 per year
  • Extra Large – $150 to $500 per year

The specific cost for a given box size can vary significantly based on the location and demand at your local post office. Expect higher prices in busy urban areas.

Here’s what other websites say about USPS PO box prices:

Size Block Advisors Money Crashers
Extra Small 3” x 5.5”, ~$4 to 28 per month $4.33 to $28.67 per month $4.33 to $28.67 per month
Small 5” x 5.5”, ~$5 to 38 per month $5.50 to $38.33 per month $5.50 to $38.33 per month
Medium 5.5” x 11”, ~$8 to 67 per month $8.17 to $67 per month $8.17 to $67 per month
Large 11” x 11”, ~$12 to 77 per month $12.33 to $76.67 per month $12.33 to $76.67 per month
Extra Large ~$21 to 115 per month $21.50 to $115 per month $21.50 to $115 per month
Additional Fees USPS deposit fee for the first two keys; additional fees for duplicate keys, lock replacement, and late payment USPS charges a $3 deposit for the first two keys, $6 fee for additional duplicate keys; lock replacement and late payment fees of $20 Cost varies based on size, location, and rental duration

Factors That Influence PO Box Pricing

Beyond just the box size, several other important factors affect how much your PO box will cost:


As mentioned above, location plays a major role in determining PO box rental rates. Expect to pay more at post offices in major cities or densely populated areas. Prices will generally be lower in smaller towns and rural areas.

Rental Duration

USPS offers PO box rentals for 3, 6, or 12-month periods. The longer the rental period, the lower the monthly cost. For example, renting an extra large PO box for 12 months may cost $40 per month. But the monthly rate for a 3-month rental could be $60.

Additional Services

Fees for additional services can add to the base rental rate. This includes options like:

  • Key deposit – $20 to $70 for PO box keys
  • Mail forwarding – $19 per month to forward mail to another address
  • Package intercept – $20 to reroute a package
  • Street addressing – $180 per year to use a street address instead of P.O. box number

Special Discounts

USPS offers discounted PO box rates for senior citizens over 62 and active duty military members. Qualifying individuals can rent boxes at 50% off the standard price.

Choosing the Right Size P.O. Box

Selecting the appropriate PO box size for your needs is crucial. Here are some tips:

  • Estimate your average weekly mail volume. Factor in bills, magazines, letters and any packages. Allow for growth too.
  • Small boxes work for 1-2 people with minimal packages. Medium fits a couple with moderate mail volume.
  • Large sizes accommodate families or businesses receiving 10-15 letters/packages per week.
  • Extra large is best for over 15 weekly mail items or extra bulky packages like pet supplies or art prints.
  • Try to avoid constantly needing to pick up packages separately because your box is overflowing. But don’t overpay for unused space either.

How to Rent a Post Office Box

Renting a post office box is a relatively straightforward process. Here are the typical steps:

Browse Available PO Boxes Online

USPS allows you to check availability and pricing details online for many locations. But calling your preferred post office is recommended to verify inventory.

You might also like our articles on the cost of a UPS PO Box, postage meter, or brick mailbox.

Visit the Post Office In-Person

Once you’ve chosen the right size box, visit the post office to fill out an application form and present two valid IDs. This also involves paying the box rental fee and key deposit.

Complete Paperwork

In addition to the application, you may need to sign a PO box responsibility agreement and privacy form. Provide contact details in case the post office needs to reach you.

Make Payment

Have payment ready for the annual or other rental period fee, plus any deposits. USPS accepts cash, money orders, checks, and debit/credit cards.

Receive PO Box Key

You’ll receive at least two keys for your assigned PO box. Store spare keys securely as replacements cost $10 each.

Manage Online (Optional)

Consider signing up for USPS Informed Delivery to digitally preview incoming mail and manage package delivery.

Other Potential Expenses to Factor In

Get a PO BoxWhen budgeting for a PO box, be aware of a few other potential fees:

  • Late payment fee if rent is not paid on time – typically $20.
  • Lock replacement fee for lost keys – around $40.
  • Returned mail fee if you fail to collect an item – up to $25 per piece.
  • Pickup agent fee if mail or packages don’t fit in your box – occasionally $5+ per package.
  • Customized services like Street Addressing and Premium Forwarding.

Comparing a PO Box to Alternative Mail Options

PO boxes offer clear benefits, but may not suit everyone’s needs or budget. Alternatives like virtual mailboxes provide more flexibility and lower costs for some:

Private mailbox services operate out of commercial buildings. They offer mail forwarding, package handling, custom addresses, and 24/7 access. No need to visit the post office for pickup. Pricing starts around $10/month based on services. And you can usually renew it monthly or yearly.

Virtual mailboxes provide just the address service. Mail scanning and forwarding to your real home address is included. Pricing is super low – less than $10 per month typically. No physical mailbox is provided for packages.

Home mailboxes are the most convenient option but lack privacy and security compared to PO boxes. Rural curbside boxes are prone to damage. Locked boxes and delivery to backdoors can help – installing one costs $50 to $500.

Ways to Reduce PO Box Costs

Here are a few tips for cutting costs when renting a post office box:

  • Opt for a smaller box and collect packages separately if you don’t receive too many large items.
  • Split the cost with roommates or family members. Add them as additional users.
  • Rent for longer terms to lower the monthly rate. But don’t overcommit.
  • Take advantage of senior and military discounts if eligible.
  • Avoid unnecessary fees like late payments, uncollected mail, and lost keys.
  • Compare pricing at different post office locations to find the best rate if you have flexibility.


Renting a PO box provides security and convenience for important mail and package deliveries. Pricing starts between $30 to $500+ per year depending on size, location, and extra services.

Paying attention to expected mail volume, rental duration discounts, and additional fees allows choosing the right PO box at the best value. With a little research, PO boxes can be affordable and fit into both personal and small business budgets.


What are the disadvantages of a PO Box?

Some potential disadvantages of using a PO Box include:

  • Inconvenience of having to regularly visit and stand in line at the post office to collect mail and packages. This can be time-consuming.
  • Limited ability to receive packages. PO boxes have size restrictions, so large or numerous packages may not fit. This can require inconvenient separate pickup.
  • No ability to customize or control physical mailbox location. PO boxes are only located at post office branches.
  • Potential for delayed mail forwarding if permanently closing a PO box. This can lead to missed mail.
  • Lack of street address can complicate tasks like signing up for utilities. Providers sometimes don’t accept PO box addresses.
  • Usually requires paying in advance for at least 3 months of rental. Virtual mailboxes offer more flexible month-to-month plans.
  • Prone to identity theft if the key is stolen. Replacing the lock is recommended.
  • Cannot provide signed-for or age-restricted mail requiring in-person signatures.

Are PO boxes worth it?

For many residential and business customers, PO boxes are worth the cost to provide privacy, security, and convenience. The value depends on your specific needs and mail usage:

  • PO boxes are very useful if you travel frequently or are not home during the day to receive deliveries. They provide a stable mailing address and prevent missed mail.
  • Businesses can establish professional addresses separate from home residences. PO boxes help project legitimacy.
  • Anyone concerned about mail theft or identity theft can benefit from a PO box’s security against potential driveway or doorstep theft.
  • If you receive packages frequently, a PO box ensures you’ll get them securely. Home mailboxes are less safe for deliveries.
  • PO boxes help avoid loss of mail if you move frequently or have an unstable residence. The box address stays the same.
  • For privacy reasons, some people prefer keeping their personal residence address unpublished. A PO box allows this.
  • Rural residents with unreliable or insecure curbside mailboxes benefit greatly from PO boxes.

PO boxes are generally worth the cost for many users, especially businesses, frequent movers, package recipients, and those wanting privacy, security, and convenience. But virtual mailboxes may provide a cheaper alternative for some simple needs.

Why are PO Boxes not accepted?

There are a few key reasons why some organizations do not accept PO box addresses:

  • Some government agencies require a physical street address for identification, tax purposes, or to determine jurisdictions.
  • Financial institutions may require a street address to verify identities and reduce fraud risks.
  • Utilities like power, cable, and internet companies often need to service a physical location.
  • To register to vote, street addresses help assign the right polling location.
  • Delivery-based businesses such as pizza cannot deliver to PO boxes, only physical addresses.
  • Age-restricted products like alcohol cannot be delivered to PO boxes.
  • Signatures confirming receipt are harder with PO boxes. Some mail requires in-person signatures.
  • Marketing firms aim to reach residents of specific areas, so PO box addresses provide no geographic value.

The lack of a verifiable physical location and restrictions on package delivery lead some organizations to not accept PO box addresses. Providing a street address is recommended when required.

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