Price & Value
Sending & Receiving Faxes
Online Fax Services Review
Why Use Online Fax Services?
Faxing important information might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of communicating, especially since online document sharing is so easy nowadays. Still, faxing is used in many industries, such as the medical and legal industries, when companies need to send sensitive information and keep it secure.
Fortunately, slow, bulky fax machines are no longer necessary. Online fax services let you send documents securely and efficiently from a desktop, tablet or smartphone.
In regards to the number of features they offer, the length of the service contracts and overall ease of use, we found that RingCentral Fax, MetroFax and eFax are the best online fax services. These might not be best for your company, however, depending on your needs. All 10 of the fax services we've reviewed are high-quality services, but below, we spotlight specific services that would be best for particular business situations, including the best for mobile and desktop faxing, staying on budget, and remaining HIPAA compliant.
While you can send faxes from your mobile devices with all of the services we reviewed, only half of our lineup offer dedicated mobile apps for their fax software. Our testers used all of the mobile applications in hands-on tests to find the best for you. eFax's mobile app was the most intuitive and the easiest to use. Additionally, this app took the least amount of time to actually send faxes.
TrustFax is a good choice if you're planning to send most, if not all, of your faxes from a desktop computer. This online fax service's interface is easy to use and intuitive to navigate. It also spent the least amount of time sending our test faxes from a desktop. Keep in mind, though, that TrustFax is missing some of the features we looked for in our review of fax services.
If your company works with medical documents in any way, it's vital that you conform to HIPAA regulations and laws when you send information. Sfax specializes in HIPAA compliance for every faxing plan it offers, making it the clear choice if you work with sensitive medical data.
If you think an online faxing service would be useful for your company but are concerned about your budget, we recommend MetroFax. MetroFax has the lowest month-to-month and overage rates in our review, and it doesn't charge a setup fee.
What We Evaluated, What We Found
In Top Ten Reviews' evaluation of online fax services, we looked for programs with functions like advanced scheduled delivery, international faxing and integration with Microsoft Outlook. We selected services that allow you to sign documents electronically and send faxes to more than one recipient at a time. We found that the best fax services offer toll-free fax numbers, unlimited fax storage and quality customer support to their subscribers.
Our testers performed hands-on evaluations of each service by signing up for free trials and using the fax services the way we would have as a customer. We developed test faxes that we sent through the online desktop programs and mobile apps, where available. We tracked the amount of time it took for our faxes to send and scored each platform on its intuitiveness and ease of use. The services that allow you to create cover pages in the software, have fax templates and offer fax confirmations received additional points.
What Does a Fax Service Cost?
When you sign up for an online fax service, you can choose a month-to-month or annual plan. Month-to-month plans cost more overall, but you can break up the total cost each month rather than pay for a year's subscription up front. Because of the flexibility month-to-month plans provide, we've taken those charges into consideration. The fees for the services in our review range from $7.95 to $29 a month. Your monthly subscription includes a certain allotment of pages you can receive and send via fax each month. Most fax services just allot a total number of pages, regardless of how many of those you send or receive, though a couple divide your total and allow only a certain number of received faxes and of sent faxes, which can be too restrictive.
If your company sends or receives more pages than your plan allows, you will be charged an overage fee per page. In our review, that fee ranges from 3 cents to 12 cents. The industry average is about 10 cents per page.
You should also be aware that some, though not most, online fax services charge a one-time setup fee. Only two companies in our review charge this expense.
Laws About Faxes
The FCC has laws that regulate faxing, just as it has laws for other forms of communication like emails, phone calls and texts. Breaking these laws can result in lawsuits from the people you've contacted and in financial penalties from the FCC. These penalties start at $500 per page that you sent that was not in line with the regulations.
The most important rule is to not send unsolicited – sometimes known as junk – faxes. There are some cases, however, when this 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 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. When you send these faxes, however, you must include an obvious and cost-free way for the recipients to opt out of your faxes. This notice must include your contact information on the first page of documents you send. If you receive an opt-out request, you must reply within 30 days of receipt.
Fax laws may vary depending on location. Be sure you know and understand the laws in your area before you start sending faxes.
If you want to be done with your old fax machine but still need a secure, easy way to send sensitive information, online fax services are worth investigating. The best fax services are RingCentral Fax, OnlineFaxes.com and MetroFax, though the service best suited to your company may vary.