Traditional fax machines was once a staple in most offices. In 2023, with the world set to become digitally more advanced, this way of sending faxes is fast becoming obsolete.
However, the need for faxing important documents still exists, leaving many wondering what the alternative should be.
The answer is simple, online fax services.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of using an online fax service and how it can simplify the process of sending and receiving faxes. With online fax solutions, the need for a fax machine and a dedicated phone line become unnecessary as the whole process moves to digital format.
What do you Need to Send a Fax without a Fax Machine?
Digital fax transmission does not require you to buy specialized hardware. If you already have a computer, tablet or mobile phone, you can sign up for fax services quickly and easily.
Here is a checklist of the requirements to send a fax online:
- An internet connection (Wi fi or Mobile Data)
- A web application allowing you to send and receive faxes. This can also take the form of a mobile fax app
- A document storage site such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This will allow you to store and retrieve your faxes easily.
- Software that allows you to draw up and format documents such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word
- An email account such as Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo
Most people already have these applications or have a way to access them easily via the internet. Getting set up with an online fax service is quick, easy and stress-free. Keep reading as we explain the whole process.
Online Fax Services Available - A quick comparison
$19.99 per user
$17.99 per user
Upgrade for advanced faxing features
$5.99 per user
Fax 10 pages for free
$9.99 per user
All these fax services have a website that offers you information about their full range of products as well as how to sign up for their services. They allow the user to try their services for free, which makes it a low-risk exercise to choose the right one for you.
Below is a simple step-by-step process for setting up an online fax service:
Setting up an online faxing service
1. Do your Research according to a List of Needs
Start by making a list of needs. This will eliminate confusion around what services are best suited for your business, and you can easily filter out those that do not offer what you need.
Here are some points for your to consider:
What budget do you have for these services monthly?
Bear in mind costs can vary from $9.99 to $37.99 and are dependent on the features that you want and how many users you will have
How many users do you want to make use of the services?
One user in a small business, as opposed to 500 users in a larger organization, is going to make a huge difference in cost. What initially appears to be a good choice can end up costing more as users increase.
How many pages will be sent monthly?
Services include several pages in their subscription fees and charge per page once that limit has been reached.
Does your industry call for the encryption of messages, digital signatures and cover page features?
The worst feeling is when you’ve signed up for a service only to discover they don’t offer something important that you need. The service provider websites have comprehensive features lists that you should take note of
Will you upgrade services at some point to include advanced fax features, offline communication inbox, and VoIP conferencing?
If this is your intention, then you should choose a provider that allows you to upgrade to a higher plan without fuss and being locked into contracts.
2. Choosing the right service
Once you’ve made your list, it is helpful to look at reviews for the companies you are considering. Reviews arm you with powerful information based on the actual experiences that users have with the platforms and will quickly let you know if there are concerns from another user that you want to avoid.
3. Signing up for the service
To start, visit the website of the preferred provider, such as Thatch, eFax, eFax Plus or Hello Fax. They will have a signup page on their website that will lead you to their pricing plans and secure payment options.
You are required to choose a fax number. This fax number will be used to fax and receive messages. The next steps will be:
- Account Setup
- Billing Information
- Order Confirmation
This process takes very little time, and in 3-5 minutes, you can be ready to start.
Sending a Fax
1. Uploading the document
Compose your message using an email platform such as Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo. Documents from your computer, Google Drive or Dropbox can then be attached to the email.
You can add a customized cover page by uploading one from the web application of the service provider. Alternatively, you can simply type a cover page in the body of the email.
2. Entering the recipient’s fax number
In the ‘To’ field of your email message, you will enter the recipient’s fax number. It is a good idea to double-check this fax number as an error is often related to incorrect numbers.
3. Sending the fax
Once you have checked your message and ensured you have the correct fax number and attachment, click on ‘Send Message’. You will receive an email confirmation that your document has been successfully sent.
4. Using a mobile device to send a document
- Firstly, check that your provider does have mobile integration.
- Download the mobile app on your phone.
- Open the app and click on ‘Faxes’
- Select a recipient from your contact list, and then attach a document from your Google Drive or Dropbox.
- With the mobile app, you can take a picture of the document and upload it to your phone
- Add a digital signature to your document
- Click ‘Send’ You will be emailed a confirmation that your document has been transmitted successfully.
Receiving a Fax
Fax notifications are received via our email or mobile app. Click on the message and open any attachments like a normal email message. All messages can be searched using the search bar.
The Benefits of using an Online Fax Service
This topic is important for people who still need faxing but don’t want to have a fax machine. Here are some benefits for business owners and entrepreneurs looking for more efficient ways of communication but also need crucial documents to be faxed securely:
- Encryption - When you send faxes online, they are encrypted in transit to protect any sensitive information in the documents. Advanced end-to-end encryption ensures that information leaving the device; is not decrypted until it reaches its intended destination.
- Always available - Information can be sent and received at any time, from anywhere in the world, ensuring you receive important communication on time
- Easy storage and retrieval - Faxes can be easily stored and organized on the same devices that you use to send them and also synced across multiple devices.
- E-signatures for verification - Additional features such as e-signature serve to verify the message and are recognized as legally valid. E-signatures cannot be forged in the same way as handwritten signatures.
- Cover Page - Allows you direct messages to intended recipients and provide additional information about the nature of the fax.
Further reading: Is Faxing more Secure than Email: What you need to know
In summary, fax services are an efficient and convenient way to transform how you send and receive faxes. Electronic faxing is changing the way business communication is conducted and is a necessary advancement in this digital age.
The process is simple and only takes a few minutes, providing that you have a device, an internet connection and access to the web platforms.
All the steps you need to get started have been carefully laid out in this article, and in addition, we have discussed the security benefits of using digital faxes.
Let’s recap to show you how simple it is:
1. Choose the right provider
2. Sign up for the services, choosing a pricing plan and payment method
3. Set up the web platform on your computer and the mobile app on your mobile device
4. Start sending and receiving faxes following the prompts
5. Access your fax messages using the search function,
6. Store new messages on the platform
7. Take a moment to realize that not all change is stressful
In 2023, you do not need to be left behind as the world uses more powerful technology to advance and grow. In a few minutes, you can be set up with electronic fax services and have the peace of mind that your business documents are safe, secure and legally acceptable.