Why you need an online fax service
It’s 2020 – why are we talking about faxes?
You’ll be surprised how many companies still use faxes for processing legal documents, medical records, loan documents, hiring paperwork, etc. While many enterprises and large corporations still use actual fax machines, most small businesses and startups prefer online fax services.
With an online fax service, you can send and receive faxes via email or any Internet-connected device. If you have a traditional fax machine, it’s time to ditch it. Online fax services work just as well as paper faxes and they’re still legally compliant.
In this guide, we’ll go over how online faxes work, how to choose an online fax (or e-fax) service, and share five of the best online fax services to pick from.
What are online fax services?
An online fax service allows sending and receiving faxes via email or any Internet-connected device. Once received, faxes can be managed, signed, or archived as needed.
How online faxes work
One of the biggest advantages of using an online fax service is the ease of use. All you need is an internet connection, an internet-connected device, and a fax phone number. There are dozens of online fax services available that let you try them out for free before committing to paid plans. For developer-friendly companies, there are even online fax APIs you can use to build your own internal faxing services.
Here’s how easy it is to send and receive online fax:
A fax is sent to your fax number
In order to send a fax, you need a phone number to send the fax to (aka a fax line). With your online fax service, the fax is sent to your “number” but the way you receive the fax isn’t through a fax machine.
The fax is delivered to your email or mobile device
Instead, incoming faxes are sent to your email address, smartphone, or tablet. Where the fax is sent is dependent on the online fax service you choose and your preferred method of receiving faxes. If you choose to use an online fax service’s mobile app, you’ll be able to store, sign, and manage your faxes in the app.
You decide what to do with the fax
Once you have the fax, you can decide what needs to be done with it. You can download a PDF of it for record-keeping, archive it, or even prepare it for signing if you use an e-signature platform like HelloSign or DocuSign.
How to get an online fax number
Getting a fax number is a simple and easy process. There are many online fax services that allow you to be up and running with online faxes in just a few minutes.
1. Pick an online fax service
There are dozens of online fax services you can choose from. If you work in heavily regulated industries like healthcare, make sure to choose an online fax service that is HIPAA compliant. To make the research process easier, we’ve listed out 5 of the top online fax services in the next section below.
2. Choose a service plan
Most online fax services charge based on the number of faxes you’ll be sending and receiving. If you’re sending a lot of faxes, then most services have corporate plans available to help keep costs manageable. When determining which pricing tier to use, keep in mind the number of faxes you expect to send and receive. You can reference your past faxing history to determine an accurate count of how many faxes are needed.
If you do qualify for Enterprise-level plans, then most of the online fax services can provide a quote to offer you a lower cost per fax sent and received. Some of the major online fax services are also HIPAA compliant, to ensure proper compliance with medical records.
3. Set up your fax number
Once you’ve chosen a plan, you’ll need a phone number for faxes to be sent to. This phone number will likely be a separate number than your business’s main phone line as most online fax services don’t integrate with traditional phone numbers.
4. Send or receive an online fax
Once the online fax number is up and running, you can begin receiving and sending faxes. If you’re on a web browser, you can upload files to be faxed. If you use a fax app, you can take a picture of the documents and send them via the app to the recipient’s fax number.
The 5 top online fax services
There are lots of online fax services built for businesses. Many of them are subscription products with different pricing tiers based on the number of faxes sent every month. Some online fax services offer highly secure platforms for industries like healthcare and law to protect and encrypt faxes to protect sensitive information.
The 5 options we’ve listed below are some of the best online fax services based on public reviews from G2, Capterra, the Apple App Store, and the Google Play Store.
HelloFax is a product available through HelloSign. It stands out from other fax services because HelloSign has a full suite of products focused on collecting digital signatures. By using HelloFax with HelloSign, you can send faxes and collect electronic signatures in one simple and easy to use workflow.
HelloFax starts at $0/month for 5 free faxes. Paid plans start at $9.99/month for 300 faxes/month.
Fax.Plus has a big focus on enterprise-level faxes. If you’re a high-volume fax user and sending thousands of faxes every month, Fax.Plus has a great set of features designed to help automate your fax workflows through their API.
Fax.Plus has a free tier that allows for 10 faxes/month, but doesn’t allow for receiving faxes. Paid plans start at $4.99/month.
eFax is one of the leading online faxing services. They stand out because they offer enterprise-level fax solutions that allow you to offer cloud-based collaboration and editing of faxes from one location. If you’re running a healthcare company, eFax has solutions around HIPAA compliance that ensure you don’t make legal mistakes that can cost your business heavy fines.
eFax offers no free plans. Pricing starts at $16.95/month with a $10 setup fee for 150 faxes/month.
MetroFax is one of the biggest and highest-rated online fax service providers around. As one of the most popular fax services, MetroFax also supports over 50 different file types. So your faxes are almost guaranteed to not run into issues.
MetroFax offers a 14-day free trial. Pricing for paid plans starts at $9.95/month.
Phaxio is a unique fax service that helps businesses send and receive faxes via an API. So instead of using a pre-built faxing solution, you can build your own online faxing capabilities. Phaxio is a great option for startups and small businesses that prefer to automate as many of their processes as possible. For example, if you want to build a fax solution that automatically uploads faxes to your cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox, Phaxio allows you to do that. Phaxio can also be HIPAA-compliant if you follow a few simple steps.
Phaxio’s pricing is simple: 7 cents a page with no monthly fees.
OpenPhone – the best virtual phone system for modern businesses
Now that you have an online fax service, you also need a business phone system that’s designed to work with your modern business. That’s where OpenPhone comes in.
OpenPhone is the business phone system for small businesses, startups, and remote companies.
OpenPhone comes with calling, messaging and a dedicated business address book to help you stay on top of your most important relationships. OpenPhone enhances the way you and your team communicate at work – even when the team is distributed.
OpenPhone comes with all the features you need in a business phone system including:
- Local and toll-free numbers in the US and Canada
- Calling and messaging (SMS & MMS)
- Mobile apps for iOS and Android; browser-based and desktop apps for computers
- Ability to share responsibility for a phone number, like an inbox
- Auto-attendant and call routing
- Call recording
- Best in class customer support
- Slack & email integrations (and a Zapier integration coming soon)
More importantly, we have thousands of happy customers (check out our 5-star reviews!).
Ready to try out OpenPhone? Get started with a free trial of OpenPhone.