From opening a business bank account to launching an Amazon store, having valid proof of address is a necessity for many major business milestones.
Planning to use Shopify Payments as your official payment gateway? Be prepared to provide proof of your address during the process. Thinking about establishing a merchant account or applying for a DUNS number? You guessed it – you’ll need it for those, too!
If you’re looking to learn more about proof of address, you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll gain insight on what proof of address is, which documents you can use to verify your address, and most importantly, how to acquire valid proof of address for your business.
What is proof of address
In the simplest of terms, proof of address is a document that verifies your physical address. It’s an important component of confirming your identity, and typically involves submitting a recent document that has your current address listed on it. The document is then reviewed to ensure authenticity, and your address cross-checked as the final step of verification.
Common examples of documents that can serve as proof of address include:
- Utility bills – This can be a gas, water, electricity, or telephone bill.
- Lease or rental agreements
- Mortgage statements
- Insurance policies – Homeowner’s, renter’s, or life insurance policies will all suffice.
- Official government documents – Voter registration cards, drivers licenses, and tax assessment notices are all accepted.
- Bank statements
While your name does not necessarily have to be on your proof of address (for example: A utility bill can be in the lessor’s name as long as your physical addresses match up), you will need to have the same physical address listed on all documents.
As mentioned above, proof of address is required for a variety of scenarios. Verifying your address is particularly important when opening a business bank account because they are required to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering regulations. Think of it like your bank doing a mini background check on you. You wouldn’t want to do business with someone you know nothing about, would you?
Despite any inconvenience it may cause you, the proof of address requirement is essential when it comes to helping financial institutions prevent fraud and other types of financial crimes.
How to get proof of address
Let’s set the scene. You’re living and working overseas, enjoying all the benefits of life across the pond. You roll out of bed at 9 AM, grab your laptop, and head to your favorite coffee shop. As you begin your workday, the smell of fresh croissants hits your nose. You look out the window, and in the distance, you catch a glimmer of what may just be the most iconic landmark in all of Europe: the Eiffel Tower.
Your clothing company has grown immensely in the last year. At this point, you’re ready to transform your passion project into a full-fledged business. You decide to form an LLC and open a business bank account so that you can accept payments from customers in the U.S.
There’s just one problem. You can’t open a business bank account without proof of address. You left that behind for your new life abroad, and although you recently signed up for a virtual mailbox, you know that this address will not work in this scenario. As you’re scrambling to find a solution, you realize that you lack any of the necessary documents needed to verify your business’s address.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways for you to obtain valid proof of address, even if you lack any of the accepted documents. Below, you’ll find a list of companies that offer proof of address services. Take the time to read through the benefits and pricing for each, as not all are the same.
VPM’s TruLease package offers a comprehensive proof of address solution for business owners looking to open a business bank account or Amazon store. All plans, regardless of location, include a U.S. based physical address, access to virtual mailbox services, a 1-year lease agreement, and the option to include a utility bill.
The best part? Your VPM Trulease address is not attached to a mailbox address, virtual office, coworking center, or registered agent office. It is a true physical business address located within a commercial office building. If you’re looking to open a business bank account, a physical business address is the type of address you should strive to get (more on that later).
How it works
VPM is able to provide you with this type of address through partnerships with building owners who have office space available to rent. This eases the process of leasing an office by removing some of the traditional leasing requirements.
Once you have fully executed the lease agreement and secured your TruLease address, you can request to have a utility bill added, if needed. In most cases, you’ll receive the utility bill on the same day or the following business day. Your utility bill is guaranteed to be effective for 3 months from the date you are billed.
Here's the cherry on top: In the event that your lease agreement is not accepted as a valid proof of address within the initial 30-day period of creating your account, you will receive a full refund and your lease agreement will be canceled without penalty.
Cost: $100/ month + one time $300 utility bill fee
|• Obtain a physical address that is not a mailbox, coworking space, or virtual office||• Utility bill add-on costs an extra $300 (a one-time fee)|
|• Get a lease agreement|
|• Optional utility bill|
|• Optional joint tenant|
|• Three locations to choose from: California, Delaware, and Florida|
|• Gain access to a virtual mailbox and its services, including remote mail access, mail scanning, check deposit, and package forwarding|
|• Quick set-up time (1-2 business days)|
|• 30 day money-back guarantee|
2. Starthub Centers
Starthub Centers offers two different options for proof of address. To get started, you’ll choose from one of the available address plans: either a coworking space or a virtual office. Each plan comes bundled with a business address, a lease agreement, and the option to include a utility bill. If you decide to take the virtual office route, you’ll also get a U.S. based phone number and live answering services for your business, which can be useful if you need those.
Both packages include access to virtual mailbox services, as well as the ability to manage your mail and packages through their user-friendly online portal.
Though it’s not quite as flexible as VPM’s, Starthub Centers offers a 14-day money-back guarantee in the event that your proof of address is declined.
Not a great long-term solution with coworking and virtual offices
If you don't anticipate needing all the bells and whistles of a virtual office, you might want to skip on those extras to save costs. In addition, some banks will not accept virtual office or coworking addresses for proof of address purposes. For these reasons, this may not be a great long-term address solution for your business.
Cost: $389/month for a coworking desk + one-time $100 utility bill fee or $1100/month for a virtual office + one-time $100 utility bill fee
|• Obtain a business address||• You may be paying for amenities you don’t use|
|• Get a lease agreement||• Your bank might not accept the address type of a virtual office or coworking space for proof of address|
|• Optional utility bill||• 14-day money-back guarantee|
|• Two locations to choose from: Florida and Texas|
|• Gain access to a virtual mailbox and its services, including remote mail access, mail scanning and package forwarding|
|• Quick set-up time (3-5 business days)|
3. DBI Global Filings
DBI Global Filings is another company that offers proof of address services. With their virtual office package, you’ll get a business address, a 1-year lease agreement, a U.S. based phone number, and the option to include a utility bill. Those who desire a little extra convenience can sign up for weekly mail forwarding services for an additional fee.
While DBI offers a decent selection of states to choose from, it's worth noting that their plans do lean towards the higher end of the price spectrum. You'll be looking at a semi-annual (twice a year) service fee ranging from $650 to $1500. Each state’s service fee differs, so you’ll need to check their website for full pricing transparency.
One more thing to consider: All sales with DBI Global Filings are final. This means that if your virtual office address doesn't gain approval from your bank, unfortunately, there won't be an option for a refund.
Virtual office addresses are not ideal
It’s important to keep in mind that virtual office addresses are not always accepted as physical addresses for banking purposes. They are occasionally flagged as being CMRA, or commercial mail receiving addresses. It’s really up to the individual financial institution as to whether it will work or not. It’s best to call your bank and check before signing up for these services.
Cost: One-time fee of $199 plus a semi-annual (every 6 months) fee ranging from $650 to $1500, depending on your location + $247/year for a utility bill plus $69/month for utility services
|• Get a virtual office address in multiple states||• All sales are final, no refunds|
|• Get a U.S. phone number with a utility bill for proof of address||• No virtual mailbox features such as mail scanning, archiving, document organization, online access to manage mail, recycling, or shredding|
|• Enjoy weekly mail forwarding for an additional fee|
Choosing the right proof of address
Now that you’ve learned more about what proof of address is and how to obtain it, it’s time to make a decision.
Starthub Centers provides proof of address in the form of a virtual office or coworking space. However, not every bank accepts these types of addresses, and you may not need all the amenities offered with these packages. Plus, their money-back guarantee only lasts for 14 days, which doesn’t leave you with much time to get your ducks in a row.
DBI Global Filings offers virtual offices as well. The major downside to this option is that they do not provide customers with a money-back guarantee; all sales are final. Coupled with the fact that some states can be pricey (depending on the service fee), this may not be an ideal option.
Boasting a 30-day money-back guarantee, VPM offers the most flexible option, by far. You’ll also get a true physical business address, eliminating much of the stress involved with opening business bank accounts or Amazon stores.
Get started on your address verification journey
VPM’s TruLease service provides you with a U.S. business address, a lease agreement, and a utility bill so you can continue growing your business and expanding to new customers.
If you’re ready for a long-term solution, get started with VPM today.