creating confidence through comparisons

Get the RIGHT Cloud Fax Service

02/26/2014
Cloud fax services (aka: online fax services) have been around since the late 1980's, and over the years, the services have gotten cheaper and more useful. Simultaneously, the competition has made it harder for buyers to compare the products and make a smart buying decision. All the services are very inexpensive when compared to their landline-based ancestors, but the least expensive cloud fax plans are one third of the price of the most expenisive plans, and it's hard for the average consumer to understand why. Is the extra $5 to $10 per month worth it, or is it just wasted money? The answer depends on the buyer, so this article and subsequent questionnaire will hopefully make that question easy to answer.

    The first step is to answer the following questions:
  • Do you have already have a fax number you want to keep, or do you want a new number?
  • How many people (email addresses) do you want to receive incoming faxes?
  • Do you need the ability to send faxes to non-US phone numbers?
  • Do you need your fax service to be HIPAA compliant (this specifically applies to people in the medical field, but, for those concerned about security, this may be a comforting certification)?
  • Do you want the ability to sign and return faxes electronically (no printing or scanning required)?

By answering these questions, you can narrow your options to only those that meet these core needs. For example, if you want to keep your existing fax number, need for 3 people to receive faxes, and said yes to the remaining questions, eFax Plus and Pro are the only mainstream options available. However, if you don't need HIPAA compliance or the ability to send faxes internationally, you can choose between 8 different plan options from 3 companies.

If you just need a fax service for yourself and your answer is "no" to all of the other questions, you will ll have a lot more options, so you will have to make your decision based on other criteria. If you are a smartphone user, you should narrow your search to services that offer apps that work with your phone. Many of these apps allow you to use your phone's camera as a document scanner, so you can fax a new document directly from your phone.

    Here are some other features you might use to narrow your selections:
  • Toll-free number availability
  • Free trial offered by the company
  • Faxes stored online for at least 6 months
  • No service outages in the last 6 months
  • Ability to store contacts online
  • Ability to preview faxes before they are sent
  • Microsoft integration
  • Integration with a virtual phone system available

Once you've narrowed down your choices, you should find the best priced service for the amount of faxing you need. Most of the companies offer a basic service level, which includes more pages per month than the average user would need. That said, if the price is the same, more is better. SmartFax, SRFax, FaxAge and MetroFax all offer service plans that cost less than $8.00 per month. If you're willing to pay for annually rather than monthly, Nextiva offers a plan with an effective monthly rate of $4.95 that includes 500 pages of faxing per month.

If you want help narrowing down your choices, complete the "7 Questions" box below and click the "Find A Fax" button. You will then be presented with a list of service plans from the top cloud fax companies that meet your criteria. On that page, you will be able to futher filter your results as well as select up to four plans at a time for comparison. You may also click on any of the "more info" buttons to get more information about a service plan.

7 Questions to Find the Cloud Fax Service for You