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Even though a day at the office seems to be an endless onslaught of email correspondence, faxing remains prominent in many industries – banks, government institutions and law offices, to name a few. So with the decrease in the popularity of fax machines for day-to-day use, should your office invest in a dedicated fax machine or fax option for your MFP? If you find that you are faxing once a week, once a month or even less frequently, you can turn your computer nto a fax machine without the investment in a device you rarely use.
FaxZero is the ideal application for the infrequent faxer — provided you are only sending faxes, not receiving them. FaxZero allows you to send a fax for free anywhere in the United States and Canada and charges additional rates for international transmissions.
Because it is a free service, FaxZero places an ad on your cover page and limits you to 3 pages and 2 transmissions a day. If the ad is too unprofessional for you or you need to send more pages, for $1.99 you can send up to 15 pages ad-free.
K7.net is almost like FaxZero’s cousin in that while FaxZero sends faxes for free, K7 is a completely free, ad-supported service for receiving faxes (and voicemail). K7 is based in Seattle, so when you sign up, you are given a Seattle-area number. From there, K7 turns all faxes and voicemails into email attachments and forwards them to you. So, if you are an infrequent user, you can combine the powers of K7 and FaxZero to send and receive the few faxes you need.
As we said, K7 provides you with a Seattle-based number, which if you aren’t located in Seattle is less than ideal. To allow your colleagues to send you fax documents without the long distance charge, you have to pay $2 per month for a toll-free number.
eFax does have a free service, but they don’t advertise it as much as their two paid tiers. The free service gives you a virtual fax number that allows you to receive up to 10 pages (not transmissions) a month. You can get a local number or a toll-free number, but the toll-free number comes at a premium.
The free service does not allow you to send out faxes. So, if you are working with a company that insists on faxing as a means of communication, you will have to use a pay service. The “Plus” service, at $12.49 per month, gives you up to 130 pages per month and send 30. If you go over, you will be paying overage fees of $0.15 per page and $0.10 per page, respectively.
MaxEmail provides paid services only, however the most basic service is a manageable $24 per year — much less expensive than purchasing a machine for only a few faxes. The ultra-light package includes 100 incoming fax pages per month and a unique fax number. It is also available as an iPhone or iPad app.
The basic package does not offer free outgoing transmissions; billing ranges at $0.05-0.10 per page. You can upgrade to a Plus account that allows you to choose your area code for your number, increases your incoming pages to 250 and allows 100 pages of free outgoing faxes. There is also a Corporate upgrade. At this point, you have to consider if you send and receive enough faxes for the account to be worthwhile.
If you want a feature-filled fax service, MyFax is for you. You can select from a local or toll-free number for your incoming faxes, your sent and received faxes can be archived for up to a year and you can send transmissions to 41 countries at no extra charge. You are able to fax via email or directly from Microsoft Office applications, have scheduled delivery, delivery confirmations and the application supposed 178 document times.
There is no free option, so you get all of these features — which might be overkill for an infrequent faxer —at a cost. Accounts start at $10 per month for 100 pages sent and 200 received and rise according to page volume.
The final catch
Of course, this all sounds great, but there is one final catch. None of this works if you can’t scan your documents. That’s where your MFP comes in. The best thing about your multifunctional printer is that it has a scanning feature that comes standard, as opposed to a fax feature that can cost more. But with the easy-to-use MFPs that are available, scanning a document and saving to your computer is easy, making your infrequent faxing a simple task.