Traditional fax machines have been around for long decades and sometimes it looks like they became a thing of the past, especially when more and more businesses prefer to work in computerized and online environments.
After all, who needs paper jam horrors, expensive landline fees, piles of paper and failed document transmissions when customers have far better and more convenient alternatives?
Usually, as new promising technologies are being introduced to the market and gain popularity, we expect the old ones to be quickly replaced and simply vanish from our lives.
However, this is not the case with faxing.
Everyone needs to fax something to someone occasionally, and some industries actually rely on them (particularly the heavily-regulated ones).
Surprisingly, there are many market sectors where the use of this old technology is still necessary, especially in places that need documents properly signed and time stamped so they can become legally binding, such as with business contracts, purchase orders, legal correspondence, etc.
Additionally, you can see it broadly used by anyone who is dealing with sensitive private information, like healthcare providers, doctors, labs, banks and other financial institutions, real estate agencies, insurance companies, law firms, government agencies etc.
And here’s another reason why this ‘ancient’ technology is still very much alive: When a user faxes a document, he gets an immediate confirmation that it was successfully sent and received by the other party and this advantage is not easily available through other communication methods.
Online Fax: What Is It Exactly?
Online faxing is a simple and reliable modern method of sending and receiving fax documents in digital format, either through email or by using a web based interface.
It can easily be done from the user’s personal computer or even from the comfort of his preferred mobile device.
These services vary in price, technical features and how they work.
Some are free, but may add advertisements or watermarks to the customer’s faxes.
Many charge a weekly, monthly or yearly fee.
Some companies offer flexible pay-as-you-go plans that enable the user to pay per actual use, for each sent page, with no monthly fee based subscription.
Electronic faxing has replaced a lot of the traditional fax machines in homes and offices.
The cost is relatively low, no extra machinery or equipment needs to be bought or installed and it is usually very easy to use.
How Does An E-Fax Service Work?
First, customers must sign-up for an account, where they will receive a local or toll-free fax number. They will also get a web-based interface where they can view, send and receive their faxes and even store them online.
Faxes can be sent in popular formats such as MS-Word (doc), tiff, pdf, jpg, gif and others and the service provider acts as an intermediary between the parties.
This innovative technological concept allows the average customer to get rid of the conventional fax machine altogether and enjoy an advanced user experience.
There’s no need to scan in the files or even print them out when received.
The files are already in digital format on the user’s computer, so many programs can send the file as a fax without needing to convert it or to print it out first.
Some vendors allow to send a fax using the email client (the classic “fax to email” concept), while others use a web-based interface to transfer the documents.
Why Use It? Benefits of Using Internet Fax
Fast and Reliable
Online fax enables the customer to send faxes via email or their PC.
It’s a huge time saver and there is no need to wait in front of a machine until the document arrives in or worry about busy phone signals, as someone sends a client a contract that needs to be quickly signed.
A traditional fax will cost more for the landline charges, as it has to come through the regular phone company’s infrastructure.
However, by using this technology, it will be transferred through the World Wide Web, so no air time or long distance call charges will be applied.
Additionally, no fax machine or other type of special physical hardware is required.
There’s no need to spend money on ink cartridges, endless amounts of paper, maintenance or repairs, plus subscribers to this service will not need a dedicated faxing phone line.
This kind of service is completely paperless and will allow small businesses to go through all faxes they have made or received with the help of their computer (or any mobile device which is connected to the internet) and a standard web browser or a smartphone app.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Using the service enables to send and receive private and confidential fax documents without worrying about security.
Quality cloud fax providers protect their client’s documents with security and encryption measures.
This means that users can sit back and relax knowing that their messages will push through without delay and will be received by the intended party without being intercepted or fall on the wrong hands.
Large File Sending Support
Such online solutions enable the customer to send files that are normally too large to transfer through the conventional email software which is installed on his computer.
Subscribers don’t have to be glued to a physical fax machine in their office.
This online solution lets them send and receive faxes from anywhere: their home, office or even as they travel, through their desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone
A Greener Solution
Traditional faxing can take a substantial toll on planet earth, considering the enormous paper waste and all the empty ink cartridges that must be replaced every now and then.
Alternatively, internet faxing provides a more green natured solution to those who are more environmentally responsible.
Target Audience: Who Actually Needs It?
Mostly businesses that need cost-effective, flexible and convenient fax solution: from ‘work from home’ and freelance professionals, small businesses and startup entrepreneurs to employees of medium and even large sized corporations.
Additionally, it’s a great solution for all people that don’t work from a physical office, travel a lot, have an ‘on the go’ work lifestyle or are constantly mobile and need to receive or send faxes on the road on a regular basis through a ‘virtual office’ style solution.
Paying for Online Faxing With PayPal
Even though PayPal is one of the most popular payment methods on the internet, the vast majority of e-faxing companies are not offering it as one of their billing options.
A few players in this market do accept PayPal and hopefully, their number will increase with time.
Before Choosing: Features to Consider
In order to make sure that you receive optimal benefit from using this type of service, it is crucial to conduct proper research and verify that certain technical features that you need are actually being offered by the providers that you consider.
Doing so will help you decide which company is the best fit for your individual needs.
Such features may include:
- Payment via PayPal
- Digital signature
- HIPAA compliance
- Toll-free / local number availability
- International number support
- Advanced security and encryption
- Enterprise solutions
- Free trial period
- Existing number usage
- Unlimited incoming pages
- IPhone / Android smartphone app
- Easy file attachments
- Dedicated fax number
- Sent / received confirmations
- Group / Multiple number faxing
- Scheduled delivery
- Microsoft Office integration