Shopping from the US with US Unlocked

I’ve just tried out an interesting shopping service which is pretty unique. You see, living in Europe does have its advantages. One of the problem, however, is that shopping on a U.S. based website can be tricky because many websites will not ship outside the America. Those which do tend to charge a premium for the service; a premium that negates any savings in shopping from them. There’s also a second problem; most credit card verification services require an address to verify that a credit card is legitimate. And if your credit card hasn’t been issues in the U.S., then the verification process is interrupted as the bank cannot verify the card.

However, sometimes you tend to find something unique; which you just need to purchase. And if the retailer doesn’t ship outside the U.S.; well, you’re stuck. Or are you? Enter US Unlocked, a company that provides a unique service allowing you to purchase from any retailer in the U.S. and get the item delivered directly to you home. They provide you with everything you, from a Discover credit card that works in the U.S. all the way to a delivery address. You shop normally from the retailer and use the details they give you. They, when they receive the item you ordered, they ship it directly to your home address.

So, a couple of week ago agreed to trial out their service, after an invitation from FuelMyBlog, a blogging network here in the UK. They put me in touch with Linda Hemerik, the CEO of US Unlocked, who after living in different parts of the world spotted a niche for the service that US Unlocked offers. I agreed to trial the service and off I went.

Creating an account on the system is simple. Just fill in a form and off you go. The next step is slightly more complex, but is only slightly harder and probably the only complicated part of the process. Here you need to supply information so that a credit card can be created for you. As part of this process you also need to provide some valid ID as a fraud-prevention measure if you plan to use your credit card to load up your card. The card is created by another service called NxPay, a payment gateway used by US Unlocked to generate a prepaid Discover card for you. Once this step is completed and you’ve loaded some cash into your card you’re good to go. Here’s what my card looks like (numbers hidden of course):


US Unlocked offers a shopping portal with a selection of the best sites in the U.S. to shop from, but you can also shop from other online retailers. After you’ve selected your goods and proceeded to the checkout process. Before you check out, US Unlocked will give you a quote how much shipping to your country will cost. The great thing is that this quote includes all the ancillary costs that might catch you off-guard; things like VAT and import duties. This means that before actually buying your items you know exactly what it’s going to cost you. If you agree with the quote, you can pay for delivery it up-front using PayPal (or credit card) and proceed to checkout using your prepaid Discover card and a shipping address that US Unlocked supplies. The shipping address is unique and helps US Unlocked identify who the shipment belongs to.

Once you’re done all you have to do is sit back and wait for your package to arrive. In my case, I ordered a couple of books off Amazon and got them just over a week later, which was pretty impressive if you consider how much travelling the packages had to go through. So now I have “Who Moved My Cheese” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to read; two books which have been on my reading list for quite some time.

A couple of words of caution. First of all; if you buy electronics from the U.S., always bear in mind that appliances use a different voltage there; so they might not work here in the UK. So always check before purchasing. The other thing you need to be aware of is the cost of this service. There’s a $15 card creation charge and a $4.50 monthly maintenance charge (if there’s a balance on the card). There’s also a loading charge which varies depending on if you’re loading your card from a bank account or another credit card. This is besides the shipping cost that US Unlocked charge (which according to their FAQ is usually cheaper than the shipping charges retailers charge). Keep in mind, however, that this is a unique service and if there’s something that you can only find in the U.S., then this is the perfect service to lay your hands on it.


  1. That sounds like a great service, and much needed. There have been occasions where online friends over in Europe wanted something that they couldn’t get there, and I’d buy it here and ship it to them myself. But then again, not everybody has friends in the U.S.

    Another thing Europeans need to be concerned about…DVD formats. Even our President didn’t know about this. There was a story on the news a couple of weeks ago, where President Obama bought a gift for the U.K. Prime Minister, a DVD box set of classic films. But when PM Brown went to play one of them, and error message on his TV screen said that the disc was the wrong format. Oops!

  2. Hi Owen, I am very happy to learn that your experience with US Unlocked was so positive. I thank you for the time you have taken to write this review!

    @Christine You are a great friend shopping and shipping for your friends in Europe! It is quite possible it turns out cheaper for them if they go through US Unlocked.

  3. @sherrilynne: Thanks for the offer. I wanted them for my library though, so was looking for a permanent copy.

  4. Hi, you can also try Rates are cheaper and you can use your own credit card. gives you a US postal address that you can use and then ships items via DHL or FedEx. You can shop at any US merchant. If they don’t accept a non-US credit card, you can use’s Personal Shopper Service where they will buy the item for you.

  5. Hi,

    Membership with US Unlocked is absolutely free, rates are better than anywhere else that can be paid by creditcard or Paypal. US Unlocked has carefully selected their logistic partners and ships from A to Z directly, saving the customer money and guaranteeing a fast and successful delivery, while reducing the carbon footprint of each shipment with 30%.

    US Unlocked’s new personal shopping service is an added value to the unique solution of having your own US credit card with them. All these excellent services and shopping on all US websites are now available to the online shopper around the globe at no monthly fee, membership is free.

  6. Hi Owen, I thought I’d update you on the latest developments of US Unlocked.
    We have started to ship world wide, introduced personal shopping service and have hugely simplified the US Unlocked Card process.

    Hope all is well.


  7. Allo there,

    I would like to purchase an apple computer. How confident are you that you are able to send this to me into UK?

    And would the parcel be insured and/or would I need to pay extra based on the cost price?

    Can I also have a parcel picked by you and sent across? or do I need to send the shipment to be collected to your postbox, which then gets redirected to me?


  8. is very unreliable…..I wish I had remembered to do a Google check on the company before I foolishly went ahead and ordered a few vitamin supplements. 3 bottles of supplements and they somehow could not ship them to me in one package even though they assured me that they all arrived together to them! Also, they went ahead and charged my credit card for the shipping charges without letting me know how much it was going to cost!!! It did arrive very fast, but now will they expect me to pay another $60 for one little bottle of pills that they, just somehow, forgot to send me in the first shipment? That’s ok, MyUs…you keep ’em

  9. Linda,

    Considering your website freight calculation tool, how precise is that given freight cost?

    I’m intending to buy one Strokke stroller to be sent to Singapore, but if that calculation is not so precise, then this whole purchase may become not worthy.

    Thank you.

  10. Hi there Linda,i’m Steven and just knocking off these couple of lines to ask yo to wise me up as to how i can shop ancient Mediterranean cultures books in USA and have them delivered at my present address in Athens , Greece; much obliged if you give me some lowdown

  11. Hi, why wouldn’t Old Navy/Gap accept the usunlocked phone number assigned to my account? I have tried different combinations, with & without country code, area code, etc. Even rang it but there was a recorded message saying mails full????

  12. My experience with US unlocked has been frustrating, grueling, and tiring. Also all the additional charges to upload credit into the card, use the service etc etc cost three times as much as the item I was purchasing! Their customer service attitude and responsiveness was also very unsatisfactory and unhelpful. In the end I didn’t end up doing the purchase I wanted (which is the whole reason I signed up for US unlocked) plus now it is taking forever to close my account (of course with all the extra charges that come with that).

  13. I’ve given this some serious thought – but what puts me off signing up with US Unlocked is the fact that I have to upload documents as proof of identity. I mean, isn’t my personal info such as DOB and National Insurance number enough?

  14. One month after the Prepaid US Unlocked Card expires, a monthly maintenance fee of $4.95 will be assess to your US Unlocked Card.
    So i pay $4.95/month, or only when the Card expires?
    The Card lasts for 1 year?

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