5 Alternatives to Keeping a Fax Machine

This week, I landed a big client. Emails flew back and forth and, finally, they sent me the final version of our contract. I digitally signed the PDF and emailed it back. No good — the contracts department for this particular company required that I send a fax in order to be able to verify the signature. I actually do have a fax machine (combined with a scanner and a printer) sitting on my desk, but I no longer keep a landline to hook it up to. This is the first time in months that I’ve even had a request for a fax.

Luckily, though, there are plenty of online options for sending faxes, so getting the contract to my client through their preferred method of communication wasn’t impossible. It was still time-consuming — I had to print off, sign and scan back in the contract to meet their standards — but I got it done. Here are a few of the more useful virtual fax options available.

  1. GreenFax: With a send-only service, GreenFax can be an especially cheap option for faxing. While it has a variety of other plans, the send-only option is a pay-as-you-go service, charging 7 cents for the first page of any fax and 5 cents for additional pages. The site also offers international faxing, which can come in handy.
  2. Drop.io: While it’s far more than just a simple faxing service, Drop.io offers the ability to both fax in and out documents you have in your account. The ability to receive faxes is available on both premium and free accounts, while sending is only available for premium accounts. If you only need to receive faxes, Drop.io is a good option, because you can do so for free.
  3. MyFax: If you need to have a standing fax number and you send or receive a fair number of faxes each month, MyFax offers a good deal. For $10 a month, you get a fax number and the ability to send 100 pages and receive 200 pages. You can even send and receive faxes in your email.
  4. Popfax: One of the better prices on international faxing is available from Popfax. If you send a lot of faxes overseas, you might consider the site’s services. It offers both a per-page rate and plans for sending and receiving faxes.
  5. RingCentral: In addition to its phone services (see Charlie’s review here), RingCentral can send and receive faxes. If you send and receive a lot of faxes (we’re talking thousands of faxes per month), the site offers some good deals, as well as a free trial. At this level, it may be cheaper to keep the landline and fax machine, but there are several features that go along with a RingCentral account that can make it worth using the virtual service, like integrating the ability to send faxes with your computer applications.

It’s worth noting that plenty of virtual phone systems include faxing in their packages. If you’re using such a system to handle your calls already, it’s worthwhile checking whether you’ve got capabilities for faxing built in.

Do you still have a fax machine?

Image by Flickr user Sapphireblue