For an online fax service, eFax is a formidable entry, claiming over 11 million users worldwide making them the “#1 online fax service.” While the days for those analog faxes may indeed be numbered (although pundits have been saying this for over a decade now), at least eFax’s approach to send and receive faxes via email brings a digital approach to faxing.
There are plenty of obvious benefits to not being physically present at the office fax machine to receive incoming messages, eco benefits to not requiring ink and paper to print all the faxes, higher reliability as you never run out of paper or have a pile of fax sheets on the floor, and the ability to fax a message while on a mobile device.
eFax offers three tiers of plans to suit a variety of business needs, with the main differentiator being the volume of faxes to send as receive, as all plans have the same feature set. The lowest tier is ‘eFax Plus’ that costs $16.95 (about £13) monthly, with a discount of two free months when paid on an annual basis. While it has a complete feature set, it requires a $10 (about £8) ‘Setup Fee’ when first establishing the account, and is also limited to to smaller business use with more modest faxing needs as it can only send and receive a paltry 150 fax pages per month.
The next higher plan is ‘eFax Pro,’ that costs $19.95 (about £15) per month, with the same discount of two free months when paid in advance for the year. This plan also requires the same $10 (about £8) ‘Setup Fee.’ The main advantage of this plan is that it offers a modestly higher number of pages per month, for sending and receiving at 200 of each category.
For any higher volume of faxes, the top plan is ‘eFax Corporate.’ This is a customized plan, designed for a larger business, and offers personalized support. Contact via an 800 number is required for a custom quote on this type of plan. It offers a scalable page volume and is HIPAA compliant for healthcare faxing needs.
A strongpoint of eFax is that all plans have the same robust feature set, rather than gimping the lower plans in hopes of pushing the user or business for an upgrade. This starts with the all important fax number, and eFax offers total choice in this area, from local, to toll free and a variety of international numbers; the number can also be easily ported from an already existing one as well. Can’t choose? Even this is also a fine option, as each eFax account will let you have up to 10 numbers, so the entire spectrum of fax number needs can be totally covered.
A big downside of traditional faxing is that it needs to be physically done from a machine, which totally tethers the worker to the office. This is pretty much the antithesis of today’s mobile workforce that labors from home, or often the local coffee shop. eFax includes mobile apps, for both the iOS and the Android platforms, to turn a tablet or smartphone into the faxing device, thereby allowing faxes to be sent virtually anywhere.
Furthermore, this capability goes beyond just the basics of just sending and receiving faxes, and allows the fax to be annotated with notes directly on the device.
The app also can use the mobile device’s camera to digitize an electronic signature, store it in the device, and then documents can be signed with this eSignature, thereby improving the drudgery of the traditional multistep workflow of printing, physically signing and then rescanning the document, while satisfying the all too common requirement of signing documents while on the go. In fact, documents can be conveniently signed with the swipe of a finger across the device, or even multiple signatures can be dragged and dropped into the document as needed.
While we were promised the ‘Paperless Office’ years ago, and computers have only generated more paperwork. In reality, this has meant that most of use create and print too much, and have too much paperwork piled onto our desks. With eFax, this Paperless Office can finally be brought to fruition with a number of features directed towards that end.
It starts with unlimited file storage that can “Securely store and easily access all inbound and outbound faxes online for the life of your account,” and they can even be tagged with keywords for later access. eFax also integrates into multiple popular cloud storage services, including Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive, so documents in the cloud can be faxed with ease.
There is also a ‘Large File Share’ feature that makes it simple to send as a fax, to up to twenty recipients, documents that are typically too large (up to 3 GB’s) for sharing via email as the attachment is too large. eFax also offers the option for ‘Enhanced Security,’ where rather than sending the faxes to your email account, the inbound faxes get encrypted, and are confidentially hosted via a separate, secure site.
eFax is a popular online faxing service that comes with a particularly robust feature set, such as e-signing of documents, mobile apps, and cloud storage of faxes.
However, it is unfortunately limited with a more modest volume of fax pages to send and receive on both of their lower tier plans, making this less attractive for anything but the smallest of businesses, while still being too expensive for the sole proprietor, or individual that just has the requirement to send the random fax.
This likely will push a good number of business users towards the eFax Corporate plan to handle the faxing volume their business requires.
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