It’s 2013, and you know that faxing is an antiquated technology. At the same time, you realize that some people still use it, and it’s unprofessional not to have a fax number if someone requests it.
An online fax service is a technology that bridges old world faxing with new(er) world email. These services provide you with a dedicated fax number with which you can send and receive faxes without the use of a fax machine or a phone line using only email and an Internet connection.
There are a number of companies that provide these services like eFax, RingCentral and Nextiva, and they are all cheaper than the cost of a traditional fax line, but these services have subtle yet important differences that could mean the difference between your satisfaction and unending frustration.
Here are the key criteria to consider when choosing among the myriad of online fax services:
- Monthly cost: This is obvious but important. Most of the services charge a monthly fee for a pre-set number of pages that you can send and receive per month. Services either combine the number of pages or designate a certain number of “send” pages and “receive” pages. Most importantly, if you’re not getting 500 pages for $10/ month or less, you’re likely over-paying.
- Number of people you want to receive faxes: Most companies will let you designate multiple email addresses to receive your incoming faxes; however, that number varies from two to unlimited depending on the company.
- E-signing: A great feature offered by a few fax services is the ability to e-sign documents. Instead of having to print, sign, scan then send back a document, you can simply e-sign the document and fax it back to the sender without ever printing or scanning a thing.
- HIPAA compliance: If you are in the medical field, many of the online fax companies have designed their security with HIPAA compliance in mind.
- Number portability: If you have a fax number that you would like to keep, make sure to select a provider that allows you to port that number into their service (preferably for free). You may also want to select a fax provider whose policies allow you to port your number out, if you decide to leave their service. Online fax services are currently not required to allow you to keep your number.
- Current technology: Many of the fax services integrate with Outlook and offer apps for iPhones, iPads, Android, etc. Select a service that integrates with the tools you currently use.
- Toll free: Most of the services allow you to choose a toll free number instead of a local number, but some charge extra, while others do not. A few companies even offer 800 numbers for no additional fee.
About The Guest Author: Leo Welder is an expert in cloud-based communication and business tools including online fax services and has been testing and reviewing these services for the past six years. Leo owns FindAFax.com, the only interactive online fax comparison website.
Modern Fax Photo via Shutterstock