Online Fax Service Reviews and Comparisons of 2014

Business software expert Stacy Bennett and the Reviews.com research team assembled a list of 38 online fax services and chose 9 of the best products to review based on 93 online fax features.

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What Online Fax Service Features Matter and Why?

Fax Design

Very Important
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Fax Design encompasses the features associated with preparing a fax for transmission. Including a customized cover letter and attaching multiple files for transmission are design necessities. Another important design feature is the ability to digitally sign faxes. For those who work in industries that often require signing documents, having the ability to digitally sign faxes can be a big time saver.

  • Add Cover Letter - You can add a cover letter to faxes.
  • Customize Cover Letter - You can customize the cover letter with a personalized message.
  • Digitized Signature - You can sign faxes with an image of your signature.
  • International Characters - You can send and receive faxes with international characters.
  • Multiple Attachments - You can attach multiple files per fax.
  • Preview - You can preview the entire fax before you send it.
  • Rotate Documents - You can rotate the orientation of faxes in the online account fax viewer.

Fax Management

Very Important
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Fax Management is a relatively broad category that consists of all the features associated with managing received and sent faxes. Basic functionality like viewing, downloading, forwarding, and printing faxes are covered in this category, as well as fundamental storage features like a fax log and archive. The best online fax services will include powerful search capabilities, providing the ability to easily find and access previous fax transmissions.

  • Digital Signature Authentication - Digital certificates are used to provide document authentication.
  • Download - You can download faxes from the online account to your local machine.
  • Encryption - SSL encryption is utilized during the transmission process.
  • Fax Logs - All incoming and outgoing faxes are recorded in a fax log.
  • Forward - You can manually forward faxes to additional email addresses from your online account.
  • Junk Fax Screening - The software will automatically identify and screen junk faxes.
  • Online Fax Archive - Faxes are archived and made accessible online.
  • Print - You can print faxes from your email or online account.
  • Schedule - You can schedule faxes for automatic delivery at a specified time.
  • Search - The software has a tool to conduct searches.
  • Tag Faxes - You can add keywords to faxes to make them easier to locate in searches.
  • View Faxes - You can view faxes from within your online account (no download required).

Fax Receiving

Very Important
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Fax Receiving includes all the features associated with receiving a fax. Similar to Fax Sending, faxes can typically be received and accessed through a specified email account or through an online account. Having incoming faxes automatically routed to multiple recipient email addresses can ensure the right people have constant access to faxes, even if they are using smartphones and other mobile devices.

  • Multiple Recipient Delivery - Incoming faxes can be sent directly into multiple email inboxes.
  • Online Account Access - You can access incoming faxes through your online account.
  • Receive via Email - You can receive faxes directly into your email account.
  • Simultaneous Faxes - You can receive multiple faxes at the same time without getting a busy signal.
  • SMS Alert - You can get an SMS message sent to your mobile device alerting you of a new fax.

Fax Sending

Very Important
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Fax Sending refers to all of the features associated with sending a fax. Online fax services generally includes the ability to send a fax from an online account or through an email address, automatic resubmission following a failed transmission, and confirmation that the fax was successfully received. Confirmation can be received through the online account or specified email addresses. Mail merging capability is less common, but for those with bulk faxing needs, it can be a very useful feature.

  • Automatic Resubmission - The software automatically resends the fax following a failed transmission.
  • Bulk Sending - You can send or broadcast faxes to multiple recipients at the same time.
  • Confirmation - You receive a confirmation notice to your email and/or online account that the fax was delivered successfully.
  • International Faxes - You can send faxes to international fax numbers.
  • Mail Merge - The software personalizes a templated fax and allows you to send the fax to a list of recipients.
  • Manual Resubmission - The software allows you to manually resend failed transmissions without having to go through the entire preparation process again.
  • Multiple Email Addresses - Multiple email addresses can send faxes from one user account.
  • Progress Tracker - The software allows you to view the status of outgoing faxes in transition.
  • Send from Email - You can send faxes directly from your existing email account.
  • Send from Online Account - You can send faxes directly from your online account.
  • Time-Delayed Resubmission - You can determine the length of time between a failed fax and a resubmission attempt.

File Attachment Type

Very Important
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File Attachment Type encompasses the types of files that can be attached to a fax for transmission. Most services allow multiple files to be attached and sent in the same fax. The most common file type used in fax sending and receiving is probably PDF, but most online services also include the ability to attach a wide variety of image, text, and markup language files.

  • Excel/CSV Files - Faxes can be attached, sent, and received as an Excel and/or CSV file.
  • Image Files - Faxes can be attached, sent, and received in PNG, TIFF, JPEG, or other image file types.
  • Markup Language Files - Faxes can be attached, sent, and received in markup files like HTML, RTF, etc.
  • MS Word - Faxes can be attached, sent, and received as a DOC or DOCX file.
  • PDF - Faxes can be attached, sent, and received as a PDF document.
  • TXT - Faxes can be attached, sent, and received as a TXT file.

Contact Management

Fairly Important
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Contact Management references the features associated with managing contacts. Contact Management functionality can vary fairly significantly from software to software. Some online fax services include the ability to create and edit lists, and import contact lists from CSV or Excel files. Less functional services requires all contacts to be entered manually, and have limited editing and list building capabilities. Strong Contact Management capabilities will be very important for those with large contact lists, who need grouping and list building features.

  • Add Contacts Manually - You can manually add new contacts to your lists.
  • Create New Contact Lists - You can create a new contact list within the software.
  • Edit Contacts - You can edit contact information.
  • Edit Lists - You can edit lists after they are created.
  • Export Contact Lists - You can export your contact list.
  • Import Contact Lists - You can import your email contacts into the online account.

Number Setup

Fairly Important
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Number Setup simply refers to the types of fax numbers that are available for new accounts. These options generally include selecting from available toll-free or local numbers. A few products will even allow you to select a vanity number. For those with well-established or widely published fax numbers who might be reluctant to change, many online services can port existing fax numbers over to the new online account, preventing the need for a new number.

  • Local Number - You can choose an available local number for your fax account.
  • Number Transfer - You can transfer your existing fax number to the new online fax account.
  • Toll-Free Number - You can choose an available toll-free number for your fax account.
  • Vanity Number - You can choose a vanity number for your fax account.

Enterprise

Less Important
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Enterprise refers to the types of features most likely to be used by larger corporations. These features include having the ability to create multiple accounts with unique login credentials, assign an administrator, and allocate billing based upon usage. Enterprise features will not be important to individuals or small businesses, but for larger organizations with more diverse needs, these features can make a big impact.

  • Administrator Designation - You can designate an administrator for the account.
  • Billing Allocation - You can allocate bills based upon the number of faxes sent by a particular user.
  • Data Export - You can export faxing data for analysis.
  • Individual Logins - You can add multiple users with unique login credentials.

Integration

Less Important
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Integration identifies whether the fax service provides an application programming interface (API), and what types of integrations are already built into the software. Integration with Microsoft products like Word and PowerPoint is the most common. However, the most forward-thinking services will be integrated with cloud storage sites like Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

  • API - A fax application programming interface (API) is available.
  • Box.com - You can send a fax from your box.com account.
  • Dropbox.com - You can send a fax from your dropbox.com account.
  • Google Drive - You can send a fax from your Google Drive.
  • Microsoft Office - You can send a fax from Microsoft Office applications.

Learning Materials

Less Important
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Learning Materials includes the resources intended to help understand online fax services, troubleshoot common problems, and minimize the learning curve, independent of a support representative. The best online services will include user guides and a thorough FAQ section, as well as video tutorials and a knowledge base. Comprehensive learning materials are important for those who prefer to resolve problems independently.

  • FAQ - The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Forum - The company provides an interactive forum where users can post questions and answers.
  • Knowledge Base - The company provides a knowledge base of detailed help articles.
  • Live Webinars - The company provides live webinars about the product.
  • User Guide - The company provides a user guide or training manual for the product.
  • Video Tutorials - The company provides video tutorials.

Mobile

Less Important
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The Mobile category addresses whether the online fax service provides a mobile application, and the types of tasks that can be performed on a mobile device. Mobile applications can add a layer of security, but they are not always necessary as most services includes the ability to send and receive faxes through email, which can be accomplished on any smartphone. Mobile functionality is particularly important for those who spend a lot of time outside of the office but still need access to faxing capabilities.

  • Android Application - You can download a native Android application of the software.
  • Apple Application - You can download a native Apple application of the software for use on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Mobile Digital Signature - You can sign faxes with a digital signature on your mobile device.
  • Photo Upload - You can take a photo of a document and fax it with your mobile phone .
  • Receive Fax - You can receive a fax on your mobile device.
  • Send Fax - You can send a fax from your mobile device.

Support

Less Important
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Support refers to the types of resources the online fax company provides to answer questions and resolve problems. Receiving support through an email/ticket system or on the phone are the most common options. Live chat is also becoming more prevalent. Fax services are generally not overly complex, but if problems do arise, knowing a support representative can be reached is important.

  • Email/Ticket - The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
  • Live Chat - You can contact the company via live chat to get support.
  • Phone - You can contact the company by phone to get support.
  • Social Media - You can contact the company with questions through social media websites.

Choosing the Best Online Fax Service

When selecting the best online fax software, each organization or person will be drawn to different faxing capabilities. All of the online fax services we reviewed provide access to a full-service software, but depending on the size of the business, one product may stand out above the rest. The lists below help identify the most affordable online fax services on the market, as well as those best suited for organizations of varying sizes.

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