What Is the Difference Between USPS PO Boxes and gopost Lockers?

What Is the Difference Between USPS PO Boxes and gopost Lockers? The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers several options for those who prefer not to use their residential address for some or all of their mail. These options include PO Boxes and gopost lockers. What is the difference between the two and which one should you choose?

PO Box service is one of the oldest services provided by the USPS. A PO Box is a lockable box located in the lobby area of a Post Office, which may be available 24/7 regardless of the Post Office business hours. You can rent a PO box for a fee for 3, 6 or 12 months and use it to get some or all of your mail.

In contrast, gopost is one of the USPS’s newer services. gopost units are automated parcel lockers that can be used to receive or ship certain types of packages. They were conceived as an alternative to self-service kiosks, albeit with a more limited range of services provided.

The one thing that PO Boxes and gopost lockers have in common is that you can use both to receive mail. However, there are many differences between the two services, and you should take these differences into account when deciding whether it is better for you to rent a PO Box or sign up for gopost.


PO Boxes can be used only to receive letters and packages, whereas gopost lockers can be used to receive or ship packages.

Types of Mail You Can Receive

The most important thing you need to know is that private carriers sch as FedEx or UPS are not able to deliver packages to PO Boxes and gopost units, so you can use either of the services only to receive packages shipped via the USPS.

PO Boxes can be used to receive all USPS mail classes and services. If the item is too large to fit into your PO Box or requires a signature, a notice will be left in the PO Box instead, and you will have to retrieve your shipment from a USPS clerk at the Post Office.

gopost units can be used to receive all Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express mailpieces; other mail classes can be received as long as the package is at least ¾ inch thick. You can also receive international packages that do not require customs fees and have no extra services included.

Mailpieces that cannot be received via gopost include non-Priority Mail/Priority Mail Express letters and flat-sized envelopes that are less than ¾ inch thick, packages exceeding the maximum locker size, and packages shipped with certain extra services (Registered Mail, Certified Mail, Adult Signature, and some others). If the item is too large to fit into a gopost locker, it will be held at a nearby Post Office, and you will be notified about it.


PO Box service is a premium service offered for a fee, although there is an exception for those who are not eligible for home delivery. The fee varies depending on the PO Box size, ranging from $4.67 per month for size 1/XS to $23.67 per month for size 5/XL (as of July 2023). Using gopost for package pickup is absolutely free.

Location and Access

As we’ve already mentioned above, PO Boxes are usually located in Post Office lobby areas. When you rent a PO Box from the USPS, you are assigned a specific PO Box in a specific Post Office. You can choose from five PO Box sizes depending on the volume of mail you typically receive.

gopost units are placed in convenient locations such as transportation hubs, grocery stores, pharmacies, shopping malls, some (but not all) Post Offices, etc. Those who sign up for the service are not assigned specific lockers; their incoming packages can be placed in any available locker that may accommodate their size.

PO Boxes are usually accessed by lock and key (or combination lock in some of the older Post Offices). gopost units are accessed by scanning your gopost card and entering your PIN on the gopost unit screen. You will receive your PO Box key / gopost card and PIN upon signing up for the service of your choice.

Signing Up for the Service

To rent a PO Box from the USPS, you need to apply for the service online at the USPS website or in person at a Post Office. During the application process, you will need to choose your preferred PO Box size and Post Office location. If the size is not available, you may choose another location or request to be added to the wait list. Once you submit your application and pay the fee, you will need to show up to the Post Office and provide proof of identity in order to get the keys to your PO Box.

To sign up for gopost, you need to have a USPS.com account; if you don’t, you should sign up for USPS.com first. To create a gopost account, register at gopost.usps.com/go and then authenticate your account. There are two authentication options: at a gopost unit (requires you to scan your ID at a gopost unit self-service kiosk) and at a Post Office (requires you to wait until a gopost packet with your gopost card arrives in the mail, fill in the Authentication Sheet, take it to a Post Office and present it to a clerk along with your ID).