While modern computers, printers and other pieces of technology are obviously vital in offices today, there’s no denying the role the humble fax machine has played in the business world over the decades.
When it comes to running a business, it’s essential to have systems in place to allow you to send important documents to colleagues and other organizations easily – especially if you routinely deal with multiple clients and departments. Typically, fax machines have been the ‘go to’ device for these needs.
Faxes offer a number of benefits. They can be an inexpensive way to send information and are usually easy-to-use, without the need for extensive training. The biggest benefit of all is the fact that you can send exact copies of handwritten documents or indeed images, such as an all-important signature to finalize a transaction.
That’s not to say fax machines are an ideal solution. The rise of mobile devices has changed everything, and these days you can easily send information via email or an instant messaging service. And this can be done while away from the office.
However, you’re not shackled to fax machines that only work over phone networks anymore – you can now get internet-based fax services which function online without the need for any hardware.
In this article, we’ve looked at popular online fax services, reviewing features and factoring in costs to pick out five of the best offerings.
MyFax is an online fax service that’s been designed for both businesses and individuals, allowing for the sending and receiving of faxes via email on a computer, or smartphone app.
Easy-to-use and affordable with an entry-level cost of $10 (£8) monthly, this is a web-based service meaning there’s no need for any software installation – setup is quick and painless. The platform lets you fax from up to five different email addresses, and there’s an archive feature which gives you the ability to access all sent and received faxes. The service also offers a choice of a local, international or toll-free fax number, too.
Built for use with both computers and mobile devices, eFax lets you send and receive faxes via email, a browser or an app. It only takes a few minutes to set up, which is always a bonus.
This platform boasts a smart interface for the web which is nice and user-friendly. It’s possible to send faxes to more than one person at a time, and just as with MyFax, there’s a mobile app (which again is nicely designed) and an archive so you can keep track of old faxes.
There is also a nifty Electronic Signature feature which allows you to digitally apply a signature to an electronic document, and fax it back, which saves the step of printing, and is also ideal while on the go.
You get a ‘risk-free’ 30-day free trial to test eFax out, which is handy because if you do sign up, this service is not the cheapest around, starting at $16.95 (£13) monthly.
HelloFax has been designed predominantly for companies that want a lightweight, easy way to send important documents and communication.
Sending faxes is simply a matter of creating an online account, and once done, incoming correspondence will appear in your email inbox. You also get the option to use your previous fax number, and have international coverage with the ability to fax to 70+ countries.
Documents are scanned and sent as PDFs, and you can also store faxes in the cloud. Faxes can be sent and received by multiple users if you subscribe to a paid account, with prices starting at $9.99 (£8) per month. There is also a free tier, although it is severely limited to just five pages per month.
The service is integrated with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and Evernote.
MetroFax is a small business-focused fax service that can send and receive faxes through any internet connection (for US and Canadian users only). The company has local and toll-free phone numbers, as well as iOS and Android smartphone apps. For a business that already has an established fax number, there is also the option to transfer that existing phone number to MetroFax.
The firm offers a 30-day free trial to test drive the service. There are three available tiers of subscriptions, with the entry-level Essential plan starting at an affordable $6.63(£5) monthly (when paid on an annual basis). MetroFax includes faxes to the US and Canada, but additional long distance charges apply for faxing to 170 other countries.
Note that MetroFax is actually eFax in the UK – both services are run by the same parent company (although they are separate entities in the US).
PamFax is an online service that allows businesses and individuals to send faxes across the globe, and at a low price starting at $0.11 (£0.09) per page, which is ideal for a low volume user, although it does not include a fax number to receive documents with. There are also affordable monthly options that start at $4.72 (£4) per month (with an annual contract) which provide a dedicated fax number.
As is the case with most online fax services, PamFax works via email. You simply sign up to the platform, upload a document online, enter a number and click send to dispatch a fax to the recipient’s email inbox. The platform works with a range of computing and mobile devices on numerous platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry.