Why on earth are people still using fax machines, and why are they growing in popularity? Some say it’s because they suit certain types of business rather well, businesses where employees have a hard time jumping on a computer every few minutes.
However, the biggest reason seems to revolve around security, which is odd, given that most fax services require computers to set them up.
There’s still a mistrust of e-signatures, and some people prefer the quicker method of faxing documents, signing them, and then faxing them back. Here are some of the best online fax services with plans that favor people working and living in the US and Canada.
One of the problems with FaxZero is inherent in the faxing industry. They’re offering free faxing services that include branding or watermarks. It isn’t a problem for some people, but other recipients worry that their information is being sold by the third-party service handling the fax sending and receiving. Nevertheless, FaxZero is one of the best online fax services available today.
- Paid faxes contain no branding logos or watermarks at all
- You can send up to 25 pages at a time depending upon destination
- Get free faxes to Canada and the US with their free plan
- The free plan is limited to five faxes per day
- Can cost up to $40 depending upon location
- There is a limit of 15 pages to some locations
The big selling-point of eFax is that they offer a free incoming fax service. This means you can set yourself up with this company, never use it, and receive free faxes. The problem is that the free service is limited to 10 faxes per month via email. If only they would add a few more to that number, and maybe tighten up and improve their GUI, then they’d probably be far more popular.
- There is a searchable facing function and large file sharing function
- The service is easy to use and easy to set up
- This company has customer support where somebody is online every day
- The price of faxes varies between desktop, email and mobiles
- You’re limited to four attachments per fax
- It gets expensive if you’re not using it very frequently
The MetroFax service is very popular because of its prices. It favors people in the US and Canada a great deal, to the point where it’s one of the cheapest professional fax systems for people located in these countries.
Even if you go over your plan’s fax limits, the prices per additional fax are far smaller than any other on this list, (with the possible exception of RingCentral). The only time this company becomes expensive is if you’re not located in the US or Canada, and/or if you wish to contact people in other countries.
- You don’t pay long-distance charges for faxes between the US and Canada
- There’s a payment plan that scales up its size with your business size
- You don’t have to worry about issues with dedicated fax lines
- It gets expensive if you have people overseas who you wish to contact
- None US and Canadian users have to pay much more
- You need to set up an auto-pay in order to maintain your account
MyFax have a customer support department with someone online all week, both night and day – which isn’t very common in this day and age. They also offer a free trial that’s full featured. One of the odd things about this company is that they don’t offer digitized signatures (e-signatures), which is something most other faxing services offer.
Is this MyFax’s way of saying they don’t trust the security of their faxes? Otherwise, why not offer this obviously beneficial service? However, this company doesn’t charge international coverage fees in 48 countries, which is pretty good when compared to the others in this article.
- There is a searchable fax function
- Setting up your account is easy and the system itself is easy-to-use
- You can attach multiple emails to a single fax
- You need to use it frequently to get your money’s worth
- Additional pages outside of your plan will be costly
- Fax prices vary between mobile, desktop and email
The HelloFax service is bitterly annoying. If only they would fix up the problems in this service, then they’d be one of the best in the world. They have problems such as peak-time lags, very high charges for faxes sent outside of your plan, and very limited free services. Yet, their interface, setup, and software operation are the best in the world. A child with boxing gloves on could operate this faxing system, and HelloFax’s tools are flexible and allow you to fax internationally to 70 countries.
- As odd as it sounds, the process is paperless despite using faxing technology
- Fax from your computer to another person’s computer
- You can keep the same number so you don’t need to inform your customers of any changes
- Prices for pages outside of your plans allowance are very expensive
- People using more than 1000 faxes per month will have to set up customized plans
- The porting process may include a one-time fee
Let’s cut to the chase and make it clear that this company is far too expensive. Are they still working on the theory that the best website domain name wins, because that’s how the internet bubble was built? For example, if you store a fax for longer than 30 days, it costs you on a per-fax basis.
You get charged stupidly high fees if you go outside your plan. This means you get charged high fees per incoming and per outgoing page if it goes over your agreed plan. And let’s not forget that some companies may go hundreds of pages over their allowances by accident. The Fax.com premium prices aren’t even that terrible, and there’s no startup fee, but their other fees are diabolical.
- Setting up with this company is very fast
- Send fax messages from the Internet or from your email account
- You get 30 days of free fax storage
- Additional fax pages outside of your plan are charged at a rather high rate
- They’re still rushing to catch up with mobile technology
- You’re limited to just 300 pages per month unless you want to pay additional pay-per-use fees
The fact they have no free options at all is a very big downside. One of the greatest things about faxing services is that they let you try the service for free. Allowing you to try the service for free allows you to see the quality of the service, and gives you a little time to train your staff before you commit. But SRFax only offers free trial periods that roll over into paid subscriptions.
Otherwise, their prices are okay, but not great. They sit in the vast wasteland where their prices are neither high enough to justify top-level services, or so low that they’re considered a discount service. If this company wants to compete, they need to lower their prices or add far more features and benefits.
- You’re able to schedule faces and store them too
- Send faxes from mobile devices or desktop devices
- Some of the trial subscriptions last as long as 60 days
- There are no free options at all
- Fixed plans will charge you extra fees if you run over your plan
- There is a nine-email address limit per phone number you add
If this article were ranked a little more fairly, then some could argue that RingCentral deserves a higher ranking. The fact is, it’s just as good as MetroFax, but RingCentral is more expensive in every area.
The MetroFax and RingCentral services are so similar that there’s no reason to ever use RingCentral. In reality, the only thing they can compete with MetroFax on is price, and MetroFax are winning, so why choose RingCentral? Perhaps if RingCentral ever drops its prices or changes something, then maybe more people will start to flock to them.
- It’s very easy to integrate the system with Windows
- The unlimited usage subscription is very reasonable and will suit heavy users
- Getting the system running and operating the system is as easy as setting up and using email
- The system will only save the last 200 faxes that appeared on your account
- Occasional users will not get a good deal from this fax service
- Upgrades are needed for business voice numbers and toll-free numbers
Best Online Fax Services Buying Guide
Start by looking online to find out if a company has hidden fees. The most common hidden fees are startup fees. With that in mind, find out what their startup fees are, and if there’s an extra fee dependent upon linked email addresses or phone lines. Some fees are hidden through the fact you wouldn’t expect the company to charge.
A common hidden fee is to charge a company for creating a “blocked number” list. Also, if the company wants to charge you for customer support, or technical support, then that’s a hidden fee too; plus, it gives the company an incentive to cause you problems and/or add bugs into their systems.
Find out what their monthly fee is, and see if there’s a lower fee for buying in bulk, such as buying annually. See if the company will take 800 numbers, and see if they take 866, 888, and 877 numbers. Find out if the company offers a free trial, and if it rolls over into a paid subscription. Free trials that run over to paid subscriptions are tricky because they ask you to call and cancel, but it takes ages waiting on hold to get through.
Find out about the paid services, and find out if you can scale things up. Sometimes, if you want to do so, then you need to use a different company. However, it’s often easier if you can scale up with the same company by buying the next premium upgrade.
Finding a Better Deal When Buying Faxing Services
Take the time to discover if the company has small-business, medium-business and corporate discounts and/or packages. See if the company also allows you to send faxes by email, and find out if the company charges extortionate overage charges.
A paid subscription often tells you how many pages you can send and receive per month. They call it overage, when you go over your monthly allowance. Some companies will charge 12 cents or more per overage, and that can add up to hundreds of dollars per month if you’re heavy fax user.
Beware of online articles that claim a faxing service doesn’t have any downsides. If their articles are full of “pros” and there are no “cons,” then treat the article with suspicion. The faxing industry is a den of poisonous snakes where even the kindest companies will wrap themselves around your budget and squeeze until it’s in the red. That’s not to say that the companies themselves are bad, but they’re mired in a very competitive industry because they have a limited pool of customers. If a faxing service seems perfect, then you’re not looking hard enough for their secrets and hidden flaws.
If a company offers free incoming faxes, then it’s worth adding that company to your short-list of the best online fax services. They may also offer a fair number of free outgoing pages too. The biggest element depends on whether this company suits your company.
Some of the services listed in this article are perfect for the heavy user, whereas the same services would cripple light/moderate fax users. There are some services where occasional users can use the service almost for free and then there are other services where if you’re not using frequently, then you’re not getting your money’s worth. Try your best to match the company and its services with your needs before you buy.