Have you ever found yourself needing to send a fax, but couldn’t do so because you don’t own a fax machine, don’t have a phone/modem line, or don’t want to pay the high fees associated with sending faxes through Kinko’s or subscription/fee-based fax services? There’s a great fax service available online — for free. It’s FaxZero.com, and it’ll let you send faxes for free via your web browser. FaxZero.com will even allow two free faxes per day. Each fax can be either a single page cover sheet with typed notes, or a PDF/Word attachment up to three pages long.
How can FaxZero.com manage to provide free faxing? Simple: advertising. FaxZero.com places a rather conspicuous ad on the cover sheet of every free fax they send out. They do not watermark your attachments – ads are only on cover sheets.
If you need more than two faxes in a single day, or if you really must send faxes without ads on the cover sheets, FaxZero.com offers a "premium" fax service sans advertising. For $1.99 per fax, you’ll get an ad-free cover sheet, upwards of 15 pages per fax, unlimited faxes per day (at $1.99 each, of course) and priority (near instant) delivery.
Fax.com has a nice fax service that costs $9.99 per month for upwards of 300 inbound or outbound fax pages per month. For fax-happy people, that’s fine. I’m quite certain I don’t want to pay $120 per year to send an occasional fax. I doubt I’ve sent 300 fax pages in the last ten years.
eFax offers a great "eFax Free" account — perfect for zero-cost inbound faxing — that routes faxes directly to your email account. eFax Free gives you your own dedicated fax number, but doesn’t let you send outbound faxes and very strictly limits you to 20 inbound fax pages per month. (If you hit 21 inbound fax pages in a single month’s cycle, eFax will kill your account, forcing you to get another free inbound fax number.)
Understandably, eFax often tries to get its free customers to upgrade to paid accounts. Their minimum monthly fee of $16.95 for outbound faxing via email is a bit unpleasant if you only send a few faxes per month or per year. Besides, with the most popular $16.95 eFax account, you’ll still end up paying an additional per-page tariff once you pass the 30 outbound pages limit in a single month. If you take eFax’s $16.95 monthly fee for 30 outbound pages (whether 30 single page faxes or one 30-page fax) and compare it to the $3.98 for 30 outbound pages with FaxZero.com (two 15-page faxes), eFax doesn’t look very economical for outbound activity.
FaxZero.com does not offer inbound faxing, so you’re best off using a combination of FaxZero.com for outbound faxes and the free eFax service for the occasional incoming fax.
There’s no sense in paying for services that competitive companies gladly offer for free. When it comes to the near archaic function of sending or receiving a fax, why constrict yourself with high-priced services or bulky machines?
And for folks who argue that you can’t easily fax a signature page online, you most certainly can. Sign, scan to PDF and fax online. You can even scan your signature for inclusion in future faxes.