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What to do when you need to send a fax


If I asked you the last time you actually had to fax something to someone, odds are you’d stare at me as if I was asking about the last time you hired a horse and buggy. But anyone who has dealt extensively with insurance or medical facilities or with certain legal organizations will know that faxing has not gone away.

So let’s say you suddenly find that you need to fax a copy of a document to a company — what do you do? You can find the nearest office supply store, many of which offer faxing services. Or you can create a PDF of your document — assuming it isn’t already a digital file — and send it via an online faxing service.

There are a number of sites out there that will help you send and / or receive faxes online — some quick, simple, and free for people who only need to send a very few faxes, and others for those who may have more extensive faxing needs. In this roundup, we’ve assumed that most of our readers fall into the former category, and so we’ve tried out a few of the free services. However, we also mention some that you could try if you’re going to be sending out more than a couple of faxes a month.

Free faxes

If you’re only sending (or receiving) a fax very occasionally, there are services that are completely free or that only charge a small amount, depending on how many pages are being transmitted.

GotFreeFax is a simple way to send quick faxes; if you need to send more than three pages, there is a fee.

First, an admission: I’ve been using GotFreeFax for the last couple of years to send faxes, and so I’m a bit prejudiced in its favor. That being said, here’s how it works: you go to the main page and start entering your info, including your email. (There are usually one or two ads on the top and / or bottom of the page.) The free service allows for up to three pages (not including the cover sheet, which is promised to be ad-free) and up to two faxes per day. You will then receive an email with a verification link; once you click that link, your fax will be sent, and you will receive another email once the fax is delivered.

If you have to send a longer fax, then the fee (paid via PayPal) depends on how many pages you need to fax, starting with $0.98, which will let you fax up to 10 pages, $1.98 for up to 20 pages, and $2.98 for up to 30 pages. You can upload up to 10 PDF files per fax. There are also a variety of prepaid business services.

FaxZero offers a quick, easy, and free (or inexpensive) way to send a fax.

Like GotFreeFax, FaxZero makes it very simple to send out a single fax — you just go to its main page and start typing: give your name, email address and phone number and the receiver’s name, company (optional), and fax number. (You also have to type in a confirmation code to prove that you’re human.) There is a window for you to write any cover letter you might want to include, and you can attach up to three files. You are limited to three pages (not including the cover page) and can send up to five faxes a day; if you need to send more than three pages, $2.09 will get you up to 25 pages.

You are then sent a confirmation email; once you’ve clicked on the link in the email, your fax will be sent. You also get a link to a confirmation page and will be sent an email once the fax is successfully delivered.

It only took a couple of minutes for my fax to be delivered; because it was a free fax, the cover page was decorated with a large FaxZero logo (the paid version gets rid of the logo). The page on which I had written the fax changed to tell me the fax had been sent successfully, gave me the time and date, allowed me to make a copy of the confirmation, and invited me to contribute to a tip jar.

FaxBetter allows you to receive faxes at a free, dedicated fax number. But watch for the ads on the page.

FaxBetter is unusual in that it does not offer free fax sending — it offers free fax receiving. When you sign up, you’re assigned your own dedicated toll-free fax number, which, according to FaxBetter, you get to keep as long as it’s used at least every seven days. If you miss that deadline, you don’t lose the copies of your faxes, but you do have to wait 24 hours after logging in to get a new fax number. You receive an email notification when a fax comes in, and FaxBetter supplies enough storage space for about 1,000 pages. You have a monthly limit of 50 pages.

Like many free services, there are ads — and some of the ads are somewhat sneaky, so you have to make sure you don’t accidentally install an unwanted app. That being said, FaxBetter offers an unusual and useful resource. I received a sent fax inside of about five minutes or so, which, for a free service, isn’t bad. And if you need to give somebody a number so they can fax you a document, this is a convenient way to arrange it.

FaxBetter Premium starts at $5.95 per month and adds the ability to send 500 faxed pages per month (additional pages at $0.02 each) with no seven-day deadline on your fax number.

Temporarily free faxing

If you only expect to send two or three faxes, period, you can also try Dropbox Fax or Fax.Plus. These offer, respectively, five and 10 free faxes before you have to actually sign up for a paid subscription.

Dropbox Fax can upload your document from several services.

If you’ve already got a Dropbox account, then you have a Dropbox Fax (formerly HelloFax) account (although you can also sign up separately). Once you sign in or sign up, you can send five free faxes; after that, you pay $0.99 per fax for faxes up to 10 pages and $0.20 for additional page.

As might be expected, Dropbox fax has a few more features than the completely free services. You can either upload a file to be faxed or pull them from Dropbox (obviously), Google Drive, Box, Evernote, or OneDrive (for any of these, you must first link your account). When you upload a PDF, you can fill in any fields and sign in online before you send it. And while your fax will be sent in the usual black-and-white format, you can also request a hi-res color version (your recipient will be sent a link that must be claimed within 72 hours).

If you decide that you like Dropbox Fax, prices start at $9.99 a month for up to 300 pages from up to five senders. This also provides you with the ability to receive faxes and send to multiple recipients.

Fax.Plus lets you attach a file or write out your fax message then and there.

Fax.Plus is a professional fax service that allows you to send up to 10 free faxes before you have to choose a paid account. After you sign up (which includes verification on your phone), you are presented with the main page (which lets you know immediately that you can’t send a fax because you’re not a paying customer).

That being said, Fax.Plus offers quite a few options, which should come in handy, especially if you think you may be sending multiple faxes in the future. For example, when you send a fax, you can attach one or more files (up to 30MB), including from Google Drive or Dropbox, or write a message out then and there. Your cover sheet (should you create one) is included in your page count. You can also send an image and choose which — the text or the image — should be optimized in terms of quality. You can send your recipients email copies of the fax.

After the first 10 free pages, Fax.Plus’ Basic plan starts at $8.99 a month / $89.99 a year and includes 200 pages a month and $0.10 per page over that; you also get a fax number, multiple recipients, and unlimited storage, among other features. The company asserts it provides high-security measures, including HIPAA compliance.

Paid faxing services

Speaking of which — there are a variety of other paid services out there, most catering to businesses that need to send out faxes for legal or other reasons. Several, such as mFax and SRFax, specialize in HIPAA compliance and other specialized fax services. Others, such as MetroFax, offer a variety of business features.

But for most of us — who are suddenly confronted with the need to use a technology that we thought had gone out of fashion years ago — one of the free or almost free services, such as FaxZero or GotFreeFax, will probably do nicely.


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