What Is A Shipping Address? (Getting It Wrong Means No Package…)

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Whenever you order an item or fill out an online application you’ll be asked for a shipping address (as well as several other address types).

If you don’t get your shipping address right you can expect someone else to receive your package. So what is your shipping address?

A shipping address is a physical location to which an item you ordered will be delivered. For most people, this is their home address or PO Box. It may or may not be the same as your billing address which is the address connected to your payment method (credit or debit card).

Types Of Addresses Uses When Ordering An Item

As an eBay seller, I deal with shipping addresses on a daily basis. However, every time someone buys something from me I know that they put in multiple addresses.

So, what do businesses require and why?

Shipping Address

Your shipping address is required whenever you are going to be sent an item. The shipping address is used by the company to get a shipping quote before it is printed onto the shipping label.

While your shipping address does not have to be the physical address to a house, it does have to be an officially registered address as this is where your item will be left.

Some acceptable shipping addresses include:

  • Home Address (it doesn’t necessarily have to be your home address but you do have to have legal access to retrieve your package)
  • PO Box
  • Forwarding Services

Mailing Address

In addition to a shipping address, a company may ask for a mailing address. For the majority of people, this is the same. The only time it would be different is if you wish to receive a package at a place other than you receive mail.

For example, if you want to receive your order at your house but would rather any coupons or future correspondence be sent to your PO box, the PO box would be your mailing address.

Billing Address

Your billing address is whatever address is on file with your payment company. If you are paying with a check or via cash a billing address isn’t taken.

However, for card payments, it has to match (or at least, the zip code has to match) whatever you provided the bank.

Your billing address is not always the same as the place you live. If you have recently moved or wish to use a different address you’ll need to contact your financial institution and update your address.

If you provide a billing address that doesn’t match what your bank has on file, your payment will likely be declined and your item will not ship.

Can Your Shipping Address and Billing Address Be The Same

For many people, shipping and billing addresses are the same. If you receive all of your packages at home and have your home address listed with your financial institution then there is no reason to put in disparate addresses.

What If You Put In The Wrong Shipping Address?

I have people message me on eBay all the time after buying something from my store and ask me to update their shipping addresses. Typically they left an old address in and didn’t think to update it but there are also times when they simply mistype and don’t notice in time.

If the USPS tracking doesn’t update quickly on your package, it’s possible that you messed up your shipping address and may end up with a missent package that dies as unclaimed mail.

There are two options if you realize that your shipping address was wrong:

  • Contact the shipper. If your item has not yet been sent the business you purchased from can likely update your shipping address (although they may require some I.D. to do so)
  • Contact the shipping company. If you have FedEx Shipping Manager (or the equivalent from another shipping company) set up, you can see the packages headed to any address you’ve claimed and redirect them.

If neither of those things is an option, you’re left with visiting the address or wherever the package is delivered and asking for your item.

What If I Don’t Have A Shipping Address?

If you don’t have a shipping address you don’t have many options if you want to have something delivered. As most everything ordered online must be sent to a physical location, you have a couple of options but might have to get creative.

The easiest and most obvious solution is to use a friend or family member’s address as your shipping address (with their permission of course).

If that is not an option, you’re left with paying for the service in the form of a PO Box or other type of alternative address.

Some hotels and small businesses will also allow delivery for a fee.


Double-checking what your shipping address should be before hitting submit on an order should become second nature. As long as you keep your shipping and billing addresses straight (or the same if you’re so lucky) you’ll be in good shape!

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