Best package forwarding services

pf-mapEver wished you could buy online from another country only to find out that the store does not ship internationally?

Package forwarding companies provide you with a virtual address in the US and, optionally, in Europe, Japan, or other countries. This allows you to shop in those countries and have your packages delivered to a local virtual address. The package forwarding company will then forward the package to your home address in your country. Advantages? You shop where prices are the lowest, where choice is the greatest, you benefit from cheap or free local delivery and you benefit from optimised international shipping rates.

The main price you pay to the package forwarding company is the cost for shipping each package. This price depends on the volumetric weight of the package and on how fast and reliable you want the shipping to be. Shipping options vary from the slow and non-trackable airmail to express delivery from Fedex and others. This said, for the same package to the same country with the same type of shipping, prices vary widely. You’ll find comparison charts in this guide to help you on this.

Some companies also charge a membership fee, some charge monthly fees and some charge a per-package fee. Membership fees and monthly fees are often associated with specific plans for customers who use the service on a regular basis. These plans are generally worthwhile if you plan to forward several packages per month to yourself.

There are optional services, of course. The major ones are package consolidation and repacking. Consolidation allows you to group several packages received at your virtual address at around the same time. The company will consolidate them all into one compact package, therefore reducing the cost of shipping. Repacking is taking a package and making it compact. Remember shipping costs depend on volumetric weight, not on raw weight.

Also, most package forwarders can buy for you. This service goes by several names, such as Personal shopper or Concierge service. What for? In particular if the store you want to buy from will not accept your foreign credit card. They’ll order for you from the US with a US credit card. In most cases, however, this does not come cheap and other finding a prepaid US credit card might be a better option.

Finally, companies also offer to insure the package (the first $100 are often included), to pre-pay for customs to some countries, to remove invoices (that’s for when you’ll be the one paying for customs), to send you a photo before shipping and quite a few other creative services.

Now let’s get specific. The table below lists major package forwarding companies, their fees and their service.

Company Plans Membership Usage fees Services Locations Target Rating
Bongo US Standard Free $5 per package received. Free consolidation. Personal Shopper for 10% on total order. USA FL (6%) and CA (7.5%).
Belgium.
Worldwide Not BBB accredited.
Borderlinx Standard Free Free Free consolidation (without repackaging). Concierge service for 5% on total order. USA OH (5.75%)
UK
Worldwide (select countries) BBB accredited, no rating.
ComGateway Standard Free Free Repack and consolidation (fee not clear). BuyForMe for 10% on total order. USA OR (0%) Worldwide BBB A+ Rating.
MyUS Standard and Premium. Premium has better shipping costs and free consolidation. $10 for the standard plan, $20 for premium Free for standard, $7 a month or $60 a year. Free repack. Consolidation available in Premium, for free. Package pictures for $2. USA FL (6%). Worldwide BBB A+ Rating.
Opas Package only (PO) or Package + mail forwarding (P+M). $25 Free for PO and $15 per month for P+M Consolidation $10 with PO, free with P+M. Personal shopper 15% for PO or 10% for P+M. USA OR (0%)
Japan
Worldwide (select countries) Not BBB accredited
PuntoMio Standard Free Free Takes care of customs. Free returns. Personal shopper (price unknown). USA FL with tax-free address. Latin America BBB A Rating.
ReShip Standard $5 $5 per package received. Consolidation $7. Personal shopper 8% + $8. Invoice removal $3. USA OR (0%) Worldwide (select countries) Not BBB accredited
Shipito Individual packages (IP) or virtual mailbox (VM) Free $10 a month or $50 a year for VM. $1 per package received. Consolidation $2 with VM. Multiple Piece Shipment with VM. USA NV (6.85%), CA (7.5%), OR (0%). Shipping cheaper from CA.
Austria.
Worldwide Not BBB accredited
Shop and Ship Standard $45 Free Dubai
Germany
Hong Kong
Turkey
South Africa
UK
India
USA NY (4%)
China
Mostly MEA Not BBB accredited
Stackry Standard Free Free Consolidation $2 per incoming package. USA NH (0%) Worldwide (select countries) BBB A+ Rating.
Transexpress Standard Free Free Pickup service. USA FL (6%). Latin America BBB F Rating.
USA2ME Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum (not all plans to all countries). SGP have better rates and GP include free shipments. $23 for Bronze, $15 for the other plans. Free for Bronze, $10 for Silver, $33 for Gold and $44 for Platinum. Repacking (50% of the savings). Document scanning. USA TX (6.25%) Worldwide BBB A- Rating.
USAbox Fast track or Platinum. Better rates with Platinum. FT only allows one week free storage. Free Free for FT, $10 per month for Platinum. Repacking: $5 per box or 50% of savings. Consolidation $5 per box.
Personal Shopper $10 or 10%.
USA FL (6%). Worldwide BBB A+ Rating.
US Global Mail Individual plan or Family plan. Free $10 to $15 per month for IP and $15 to $20 per month for FP. Repacking and consolidation: $5 per outgoing box. Package inspection $5.
Personal Shopper $10 or 10%.
USA TX (6.25%) Worldwide BBB A+ Rating.
Viabox Standard Free Free Repacking and consolidation: free.
Personal Shopper: free.
USA IN (7%). Worldwide BBB F Rating.
WannitUS Standard Free $8.50 per package. Consolidation $7.50
Personal Shopper $8.50 or 8.5%
USA NJ (7%) Worldwide.
Based in New Zealand.
Not BBB accredited

What about shipping costs? The charts below compare these for a few random countries scattered around the world.

Here’s how this works: when a company offers both the often-slow US Postal Service and a reasonably-fast regular logistics company (Fedex, DHL, TNT, UPS…), the graph shows both. If not, you can assume that only regular Fedex-like shipping companies are used.

Next, how is the monthly average cost determined? It matches the needs of a low-volume user. This user receives one flat parcel one month and one medium box the next month, and so on. The flat parcel weighs 500g (1.1 lbs) and is of a standard USPS size (32cm x 24cm x 2cm – 12.5in x 9.5in x 0.8in). The medium box weighs 2kg (4.4 lbs) and is also of a standard USPS size (29cm x 22cm x 15cm – 11.25in x 8.75in x 6in). These are pretty generic formats.

If a company charges a monthly fee, I took it into account. If it offers a discounted yearly fee, I took it into account instead. If it charges per package, I added that to the cost. If a declared value was requested in the price simulator, I used $1 USD. If there was an option for insurance, I didn’t use it. If I needed to create an account to get an accurate quotation, I did so.

If a premium-like plan ended up with a more interesting average cost, I used it. In general, however, one parcel a month keeps you in the amateur league and these packages aren’t generally worth the monthly fee.

What isn’t included is what the companies generally say is not included. Fuel surcharges. Customs. Also, I might have missed hidden costs, so if you suspect I got something wrong, let me know and I’ll look into it. Also, the setup fee is not included.

What stands out? Some companies appear not to be adapted to France as a destination country. I’d narrow it down to the ones in the $30′s and compare their service, reputation and first-time fee. The Airmail option stands out price-wise as the cheapest option available. That’s the regular post, with no tracking and no idea when the package will arrive. Also, some companies simply don’t seem to ship to France, often regional specialists.

The differences here are striking. Clearly, and not suprisingly, Morocco is just not a market for most package forwarding companies. It’s like they’ve left the country in the list just in case a guy comes over with $100 to spend on shipping. What stands out? Bongo US is a reasonable option, while Shop and Ship is the cheapest express solution and Shipito with airmail is the cheapest overall solution if you’re in no hurry and if the contents is “loosable”. Reship is reasonable but why choose USPS shipping when there are other options available? The rest, in my scenario, are too expensive, so unless they really have an option that’s interesting for you, I’d choose from the ones I’ve just listed.

Latin America, on the other side, is definitively a market for package forwarders, even to a great but modest country like Bolivia. The game here appears to be in the hands of Latin America specialists. Punto mio is one and Transexpress is another one. Still, Bongo US remains competitive and others offer reasonable prices too. Here, I’d look at the specialists and compare their service and reputation.

To Indonesia, prices begin getting rational. I actually suspect it would be even more so if I tested with Singapore or Hong-Kong as a destination country. In this Indonesian context, however, I’d take all the companies around the $40’s (Bongo US, Borderlinx, ComGateway, MyUS, ReShip, Shipito, Stackry, USA2ME, USAbox and Viabox) and compare them based on service and reputation. I’d also test the cheap airmail option on a cheap test delivery, considering the price difference as an insurance in itself (my personal logic…).

Is this information useful to you? Let me know and tell us about your personal experience is in the comments!


31 comments on “Best package forwarding services
  1. james says:

    MyUS also has free repack and consolidation with standard membership

    • philippe says:

      I checked with MyUS, apparently things have changed. Repackaging is free in standard, but consolidation is not included. “Consolidation is offered with our Premium and Premium+Mail membership” is their answer. Check here too.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Bongous is not accredited with the BBB

  3. Eban says:

    Hi Philippe !

    You can add BoxHop.com which is a company by Borderfree (that is well known for working with brands in the US to export their products such as Gap, Pottery Barn, J.Crew, Macy’s, Sears, Sephora etc….).
    BoxHop has a really good service, super fast, friendly. BUT, they only ship with DHL, which isn’t always a good thing for European citizens since DHL charge for VAT every packages they handle even if the package hasn’t been checked by customs…
    I’ve used Shipito that seems to be a really reliable company.

    Hope that will help!

    -Eban

    • philippe says:

      Thanks Eban, I’ll check out BoxHop in my next update, together with a few other ones I came accross. I’m currently testing Shipito’s cheap Airmail service, good to know you’re happy with their service.

  4. Carine says:

    Impressive research! Very clear and instructive!

  5. Pedro says:

    I think you need to indicate the courier and transit times for shipping costs. Of course some may be cheaper but the transit times are 1-2 weeks.

    • philippe says:

      Hi Pedro, thanks for the feedback and true, transit times vary greatly. It was not a focus for this guide, and I’ll consider this for the next version.

  6. Rajesh Singh says:

    First of all thankyou very much for such detailed research which can be very helpful to take a right decision.I would like to share my bad experience with BOXHOP which compelled to look for another alternate on google and accidently I found your link.I signed up for BOXHOP service almost 3 months ago,I had countless bad experiences that I am fed up of writing to them and get the solution which is off course at snail speed 2-3 days that too only on 5 working days they respond.Thus it is sincere advise of mine please dont ever think of BOXHOP if you really looking for peace of mind and dont want to get pocket ripped off indirectly.To know more just log in their facebook page you will find hell lot of complaints which they least bothered.
    Coming to the point from your experience can you please suggest me Cheap and reliable service for UAE Dubai and shipping time is not a issue for me.

  7. Warmer David says:

    Thanks for sharing this kind information .you aware a people use right services provider .How many companies charge hidden cost. And they are not providing good services & not send parcels on time.

  8. Essam says:

    has anybody tried personal shopper of Borderlinx ? 1 month now i try just to pay for my order and tried several credit cards, but their site always reject the payment, and their IT support team confirm they try to find out / fix this issue with no result ? anybody faced the same or not?
    or any better recommendation for this service ??

  9. Peter says:

    Hi Philippe,

    This is a great introduction to parcel forwarding services. A bad experience with one particular parcel forwarding service inspired me to create a comparison table of the site and shipping costs. I started with London, Sydney and Hong Kong as a three popular locations…you expected more rational pricing – you are in for a surprise. Do you have any plans to revisit this work?

    http://usaparcel-forwarding.com/index.php/parcel-forwarding-services-comparison/

    Thanks,

    Peter

    • philippe says:

      Hi Peter, thanks for your comment and interesting site you’ve created. UK, AU and HK seem good starting points! I do plan to revisit this guide, actually including the UK, Australia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and probably Brazil. Any other popular location you have in mind?

  10. abidemi says:

    Im from nigeria kindly recommed an effective parcel forwarding service to me apart from myus.com

  11. Irina says:

    What a great article! Thank you so much for covering this subject, Philippe. Recently I found another way of shopping internationally at https://www.parcl.com/. It is human-powered network designed for shoppers who need forwarding assistance, and for shippers who can help with delivery for extra money. Forwarders there are both individuals and companies. Sounds like a nice idea..What do you think?

  12. Venkat says:

    For India, you should check out https://www.manyship.us/. Any product you can find on Amazon, you can find here and ship to India. All costs are prepaid – product price + shipping + customs duty.

  13. Reese says:

    Hi Philippe!
    Thank you so much for posting your research!! I moved from Brooklyn, NYC to Tokyo Japan last month, so I was doing research to see which reship company is reliable and affordable. I sighed up to Stackry based on your data and my research, hopefully, they’ll be good! Whenever your update is available, I’d love to see it.:)

    Thank you so much!

  14. Per-Marten Nilsson says:

    Hi,
    I miss an important factor in the comparison, maybe the most important one.
    Some forwarders allow you to edit the declared value to better reflect a price that you think is fair. Wholesale, market price or whatever you like. You can easily deduct 70%.
    This adds up to hundreds of dollars when you ship to a high tax country since the custom and VAT will be much lower.
    A correct custom declaration is a responsibility of you NOT the package forwarder. However the forwarder makes usually more money if your shipment has a high value (insurance cost).

    Don´t you think it is a HUGE advantage to use a forwarder that allow you as a customer to set the value of your shipment?

  15. slamdunka says:

    You should take Viabox out of the article. They are purely a scam set up to either completely rip you off on shipping or to steal and sell your items. Was quoted $65 to reship 2 t shirts and a pair of cotton pants. They wouldn’t ship to another reshipper. After I argued with them for a few months they sold my items with no warning, no email nothing. There are many reviews talking about the same thing online.

  16. krana says:

    If i lived in Indonesia, would it be faster and cheaper if i send it to Sydney or Singapore where a friend could just pick it up?

  17. Jenny says:

    Find the comparison useful thanks. I found this post when i was looking for the best and cheapest Uk package forwarder. I wanted to share two that I used before in the past https://www.forwardvia.com and http://skypax.com .

    Skypax is long establish and charge £10 for using their service or you could subscribe to their annual membership. Took 12 days to get my package to Singapore from the time they receive the package and shipping is costly. Good customer service.

    Forwardvia is fairly new I believe, charges £5 for 3 packages. Was offered few shipping options and settle with tracked and signed service which took around a week to get the package. Reasonable shipping cost, slightly cheaper compare to skypax. Very helpful customer service.

  18. Tamar says:

    I’m currently using MyVipBox ( http://bit.ly/MyVipBox_USA ) for redirection boxes and has worked very well.

  19. Adding one more service to your list. HelpShip forwarding service, provides domestic and international shipping services.

  20. Alain says:

    I recently tried VIABOX and I lost my package due to a terrible mistake from them. They requested that the package was destroyed. Now there’s no one there to answer my emails.
    Bad service and bad support. Amateurs!

  21. justtheguy says:

    PlanetExpress has the best shipping rates, check it yourself on their website

  22. monkey says:

    I would love to see an update of this list using all the comments above. Isn’t this list 4 years old now?

    • philippe says:

      Hi monkey, I guess you’re right! Thanks for pointing this out. An update is due and I should get to work 🙂

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