What is Online Fax?
Online fax, also known as email fax, is a way of sending documents electronically from a computer to a standard fax machine, or another online fax number. A scanner or digital camera is used to convert a printed document into a digital file, which can then be transmitted via email. This eliminates the need for dedicated fax equipment.
Online fax services are compatible with a number of different digital file formats, but the most commonly used are Word, PDF and JPEG. This allows for better image quality than standard fax machines usually provide.
Why use an online fax service?
Unlike standard faxing, online fax does not require a dedicated phone line and specialized equipment. Many online fax services offer a limited number of free faxes and fax numbers for low-level users, usually around 20 outgoing faxes per week. And since you only print the faxes you need, you also save on paper and toner. This can be useful if you regularly receive large amounts of unwanted telesales faxes.
Most online fax services allow you to receive multiple electronic faxes at once, so clients will no longer need to wait. This also makes it easier to send faxes to other online fax numbers.
Standard fax technology is prone to reliability issues such as paper jams, low toner supply, and faxing queues. With online fax, these issues are a thing of the past. You’ve got a fast, reliable, and easy-to-use faxing service that is available 24/7.
Toner and paper add up to lots of waste in the office, especially if you print everything you receive. By switching to an online fax service, you only print what you need and limit your use of resources.
Once the fax comes through on a standard machine, it will just lie in plain view until you pick it up. Online faxes are delivered to your inbox, which only you can log into. Most online fax services also provide encryption features to ensure that messages are sent securely.
What to look for in an online fax service
There are several leading online fax services currently available, all offering slightly different services. Make sure you shop around for a service that meets your needs. Cheaper isn’t necessarily better. For one thing, providers offering free fax or cheaper rates may impose limits on how many faxes you can send or receive. Here are a few things to look out for when choosing an online fax service:
• Free Trial – this is normally offered at 30 days, and will give you a chance to assess the services before you subscribe.
• Send and Receive – check you can both send and receive with the service you are looking at
• No start-up Fees – start-up fees are just a way for services to claw back money on any offers they are advertising
• Monthly Charges – for around $9-$12, you can get a good quality service allowing at least 100 outgoing faxes and 200 incoming ones every month
• Page limitations – look out for any limitations on the number of pages you can send in one fax, especially if you need to regularly send large documents
• Customer Support – look for providers that offer toll-free telephone customer support and 24/7 email customer service options
• Premium Numbers – some services advertise free fax numbers, but they may actually be overcharging the sender to compensate—and this could turn away potential business
• Pages or minutes – some companies charge on a “per minute” basis, but this can be impractical as it’s hard to tell how long each message will take. A “per page” charge is much easier to budget for.