The ‘original’ virtual address from the UK to Ireland was deliverme.ie but Nightline’s Parcel Motel launched in 2012 was the first that became popular with the masses. Since its success there have been numerous other couriers jumping on the bandwagon – DPD launched Parcel Wizard, FastWay launched Parcel Connect and An Post recently launched Address Pal.
What is a UK Virtual Address?
Each of the services will provide you with a ‘virtual address’ in the UK. You can then get parcels delivered to this address and they will bring it down to Ireland and deliver it to you – either to your house or pick up point for a small fee. This allows you to purchase items from UK sites that may not deliver to or only offer expensive delivery options to Ireland. The service costs between €3.50 – €4.50 depending on the provider.
Parcel Motel operates on a locker based system. When signing up you select your nearest locker and you are provided with a PMID number and two addresses one in Northern Ireland and one in Dublin. You can use either address when shopping online but if you are looking to take advantage of free UK shipping you must use the address in Northern Ireland. When a parcel is delivered to Parcel Motel they will then deliver it to the locker of you choice normally within 24 hours and text/email you once its ready for collection. You then have 48 hours to collect the parcel from the locker. The lockers are accessible 24/7. Parcel Motel costs €3.95 per stay.
Parcel connect is offered by FastWay. They have over 1000 collection points in Ireland located in shops that offer PayZone services. They too provide an address in Northern Ireland allowing you to benefit from UK postage. The parcel is normally ready for collection within 48 hours of being delivered to their NI address. They charge €4.50 per stay.
Parcel Wizard is offered by DPD couriers and differs from the other providers as they deliver the parcel to your home or work address. They provide a Northern Irish address and then will aim to deliver to your home/work address in Ireland the next working day. They charge €3.85 per delivery
Launched in March this year, Address Pal is offered by An Post. The big benefit Address Pal offers is the address they provide is in Mainland UK. As some sellers will only post to the Mainland or charge a hefty surcharge to deliver to Northern Ireland this can be a big money saver. The items are then brought to your selected Post Office and you are notified when it is ready for collection. They charge €3.50 per delivery.
When using any of these services it is important to watch out for their maximum size and weight as they differ from service to service. An oversized parcel with Address Pal will cost you €25 to collect so it can be an expensive mistake to make. In the coming days I will write about my experiences with each of the services.