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How can I identify whether or not an address is a P.O. box?

Knowing what kind of address you’re mailing to can be important and often will influence the amount you pay for postage and shipping. Shipping to residential addresses, for example, tends to be more expensive than shipping to commercial ones. There are residential and commercial addresses, mixed addresses, as well as post office boxes. Post office boxes (P.O. Box) are traditionally used by individuals to receive mail in areas where mail may not be delivered directly to their homes. People also use P.O. boxes for security, privacy, the need for quicker delivery, and to maintain a permanent mailing address. A P.O. box address typically will have "P.O. Box ###" as the full address line, after the street address, or in the second address field. Sometimes it may appear without the letters, like "#324" or shortened to "POB 373".

Sometimes merchants or Ecommerce vendors will not ship to P.O boxes. If you use a courier service, like UPS or FedEx, these companies don't guarantee shipments to P.O. boxes the same way they will with standard mail to a home or business address. If you promise customers that their shipments will arrive within certain time frames, P.O. boxes can cause problems for your service guarantees. Also, if you need to know where your customers actually live, these addresses will get in your way. Our address validation services provide indicators to notify you if your address records are P.O. boxes, giving you the information you need to keep your business operating efficiently.

There are also addresses that are provided by private companies, such as UPS and FedEx that are similar to P.O. boxes, providing mailbox rental services to people and companies. These address services are called Commercial Mailing Receiving Agents (CMRA). Our products also provide notifications with our address validation results as to whether or not your addresses are CMRA's, allowing you to instantly tell whether you’re shipping to a residence or a private company mailbox.

Understanding your address data can save you money while helping you avoid dealing with returned packages and the associated shipping costs. In addition to saving money, you can avoid unsatisfied customers and more unnecessary work for your team by ensuring that your direct mail or packages are delivered in a timely fashion. Our address verification solutions will provide you with the information you need about the type of address you’re shipping to. This will help you keep your costs down, your customers satisfied, and your brand strong.

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