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The Best Online Fax Services of 2019

By
Andrew Martins
,
business.com writer
|
Jul 08, 2019
Home
> Technology
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For many businesses, the need to send faxes is still very much alive in 2019. Even though it feels like ancient technology (email has given us instant communication around the globe), faxing is still the preferred method for transmitting documents within some industries – particularly those that handle sensitive data and require an added layer of security with their communications due to federal regulations.

Online fax services provide a modern solution for sending and receiving faxes. Most providers offer a digital inbox – much like those of any email service provider – allowing users to easily send, receive and store faxes in one central location. Most companies employ a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and give users several service options they can choose from. Infrequent fax users can pay per fax, while a business that sends and receives faxes more frequently can sign up for a monthly subscription.

Read on to learn more about what online faxing services have to offer and the qualities you should look for in a service provider. Below are the business faxing services we recommend followed by reviews of several well-known services.

Best Picks

Reviews

Here are all of our reviews of online fax services and fax software that can digitize your faxing needs and eliminate the need for a physical office fax machine.

Pricing

Most online fax services charge a monthly subscription fee for a specified number of sent and/or received faxes, as well as an overage fee for each page that exceeds the monthly limit specified in your plan. Some online fax providers charge setup fees. These are rare, but they exist and can cost upwards of $10.

In our research, we found monthly fees that ranged from $3 to $50 per month, depending on the volume of faxes you expect to send and receive. Some online fax services charge separately for sent and received faxes. Some vendors offer corporate packages for businesses that send a high volume of faxes. Within each of our reviews, we've listed pricing for the service. We also recommend that you ask the fax service provider(s) you're considering about its cost, including any additional fees that may apply.

Our Methodology

We researched several online faxing vendors, including their plans and features. We began by compiling a list of vendors. In addition to the service providers we were already familiar with, we added vendors we found in our research, those that regularly appeared on other reputable online lists and reviews, and companies that reached out to us asking to be considered for review.

Next, we went to each vendor's website, noting their features and pricing structures. When available, we took advantage of trial periods, watched product demos and tutorials, and sent sample faxes to gain firsthand experience of the service. We eliminated companies whose plans contained lots of hidden fees and/or that charged exorbitant over-limit fees.

For the next phase of our research, we reached out to our finalists, posing as a potential customer. We posed a series of questions to customer service reps from each company, noting the quality of service we received.

To arrive at our final determination, we considered which companies offered the best balance of affordability, robust features and ease of use. Here are the criteria we used to evaluate each online fax software provider:

  • Pricing structure. We looked for faxing services that offered a variety of plans, making them accessible to businesses with a range of faxing needs and budgets.
  • Fax limits and overage fees. In nearly every instance, vendors offer multiple plans with different limits regarding the numbers of pages a user can send or receive. The higher the service tier, the more frequently faxes can be transmitted. Along with the page limit, nearly every company charges an overage fee if more faxes are sent or received than the number allotted in the plan.
  • Features. We specifically looked for features that make it easier to send and receive faxes, such as scheduled delivery, electronic signature, the ability to edit documents, the option of sending faxes to multiple recipients simultaneously and integration with modern software suites.
  • International and toll-free faxing. Around the world, faxes are still used. Some fax services will sell you a fax number in a foreign country; most services, though, let you send international faxes for a small fee. Many services offer toll-free faxing, which is an added bonus for your clients and customers if you frequently fax documents back and forth.
  • Mobile access. Most business people never go anywhere without their cellphones. We sought out services that either offer their own mobile app or allow users to send and receive faxes through a web browser.
  • Ease of use. In addition to convenient features and fair pricing, we prized services that had an simple, intuitive interface. We relied on product demos and trial versions to determine how easy it was to send and receive a fax.

One major trend in the online faxing industry is consolidation. J2 Global has acquired more than a dozen online fax brands. During our research, we came across numerous consumer complaints about unfair billing practices, poor customer service and almost scam-like practices, which have led to J2 Global and its holdings receiving an F rating from the Better Business Bureau. Customers report similar problems on Consumer Affairs and the Complaints Board.

While some of these subsidiary companies are listed below on our vendor's list, in each case, we have noted their parent company and eliminated them from consideration as a best pick.

If you're considering using one of these services, carefully research whether or not the company is the best option for your business.

State of the Industry

Faxing may seem like a relic of past office technology, but the online fax industry shows considerable signs of growth. Offering a more efficient way of sending and receiving documents than its analog counterpart, online digital faxing is cheaper, more convenient and better for the environment.

According to a report from Arizton, the global online fax market is estimated to grow to over $2.4 billion by 2022. The report pointed to "the advancement in technology and flexibility provided by online fax vendors [to] enable organizations to automate their fax solutions" as a "major driver for the growth of the market." That value is driven by the obvious factors that drive most digitization: increased efficiency, reduced expenditures, scalability through a SaaS model and superior service.

Adoption will continue to be focused primarily in the North American and European markets, where data privacy regulations and continued innovation are high priorities. The largest contributor to the industry's growth is expected to be the healthcare industry, which thanks to federal regulations like HIPAA, are required to transmit patient records via fax for security reasons.

Since fax service providers bolster security through encryption, provide speedy transmissions, digitally store files, reduce an organization's paper use, and decrease maintenance costs, more small businesses are likely to continue switching to digital faxing solutions.

Consolidation has already begun and is poised to continue in what remains a crowded and competitive industry. As leaders emerge, it is likely the industry will continue to consolidate, driving the growth of a few prominent companies.

Faxing Regulations

Along with the aforementioned HIPAA laws, the U.S. government has imposed other regulations on faxing. Since 2005, the Junk Fax Prevention Act was signed into law to end the proliferation of unsolicited "junk faxes."

Signed into law by President George W. Bush, the legislation sets strict fines and other penalties from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). These penalties start at $500 for each page sent without following strict guidelines.

There are some cases, however, when sending "junk faxes" is acceptable:

  • You receive the number as part of a contract or application.
  • You find the contact information on an advertisement or directory, assuming it does not state that the contact won't accept unsolicited faxes.
  • You have ensured that the person you're faxing agreed to have their information listed on the directory or advertisement.

If the above criteria are met, you can send unsolicited faxes without penalty. However, you must give recipients a way to opt out of receiving future faxes. The notice must include your contact information on the first page of any documents you send, and you must reply within 30 days of receiving a request to opt-out. Fax laws vary by location. Understand the laws in your area before you start sending faxes.