While fax machines were invented in the mid 1800’s to transmit images over a phone wire, it was not until 1964 that the modern fax machine debuted by the Xerox Corporation for what they termed Long Distance Xerography (LDX). MetroFax dates back to 1997, with the mission to provide a simple, flexible, and easy to use fax solution for business needs.
Of note, MetroFax started as an internet services company, launched as a provider of both wired, and wireless services. It gained a reputation for reliability, then offered fax services, and by 2005 the company had pivoted to solely provide fax services. Today, MetroFax boasts thousands of customers, and endeavors to offer a product that provides a reliable, comprehensive fax solution, with a high value proposition.
- Want to try MetroFax? Check out the website here
Plan selection starts with selecting a country, a state, and your area code, as there is some variability due to some location. The prices we obtained were in the US, in the state of NY, in the 516 area code, as an example. All plans are also available with a no risk, no obligation 30-day free trial. Plans can also be upgraded, or canceled at any time with no early termination fees.
The plans start at the ‘Essential’ tier, which offers 500 total pages monthly, at the affordable price of $7.95 (about £6) monthly. Also offered is a discount with the plan if paid annually, that comes in at $79.50 (about £60) for the year, which is a discount of two months.
Moving up a tier is the ‘Value’ plan, which for $12.95 (about £10) per month, doubles the number of pages on the monthly limit to 1000. It also offers a discount of two months free when paid on an annual basis, for a total of $129.50 (about £98) for the year.
MetroFax’s top tier plan is their ‘Professional’ one, that put the monthly page limit up to 2500, and costs $35.95 (about £27) monthly. It also is available on annual basis, with a discount of two months, with an annual payment of $359.50 (about £272).
MetroFax falls short, as there is no unlimited plan. Also, there is no Enterprise plan, which does not allow these plans to grow with the business if it goes beyond small, and raises the possibility that your business can easily outgrow this faxing plan.
MetroFax’s service is notable right away as each monthly plan provides for a total number of pages sent. While some competitors annoyingly divide up the plan’s pages into send and receive categories, MetroFax take the stance (that we wholeheartedly agree with) that “A fax page is a fax page,” and do not care how many are sent or received, but only the total sent.
We also appreciate its overage rate for fax pages that exceed the monthly limit. While we have seen overage rates from competitors that are over triple MetroFax’s rate, it charges a more reasonable, and less painful $0.03 (about £0.02) per page. This also avoids being upsold to a higher fax plan tier for a single month or two of heavier use of the service.
Available fax numbers include a local, or toll-free number. There is no indication for provision of a vanity number, but certainly an existing fax number can be ported. There are no additional charges for long distance faxing in either the US, or in Canada. Faxes can be sent internationally to more than 170 countries, but they all will incur a long distance charge at “Very competitive international rates.”
The process of sending a fax with this service is quite simple, as it proceeds via email. The subject, and whatever message typed becomes the cover page. The actual fax itself gets attached to the email as a file. The recipient’s fax number gets incorporated into the “To” box of the email, as in the example above, firstname.lastname@example.org. Then just send the email, and MetroFax takes care of the rest.
Unlike with a physical fax machine, when a coworker invariably sends a fax immediately after yours, there are automatic retries, and immediate confirmations of when the fax is completed. Up to 5 email addresses can be used on each account, which is fine for a smaller business, but again limits this service for a larger deployment.
Additional options are provided to send faxes via the Web, desktop applications, or via smartphones and tablets via the Android and iOS apps. The mobile apps are also designed to track the monthly fax page balance, and can also keep a contact list of frequently faxed recipients. There are also integrations with popular cloud storage providers Google Docs, and DropBox, although other popular ones, such as OneBox or Box, are not listed which is a limitation. Images, such as captured via a smartphone camera, can be faxed directly as well.
MetroFax is an online fax solution that focuses on the basics, such as ease of use and reliability, and does them at an affordable price that undercuts some other services. Highlights include the higher page limits than competing services, along with ease of use by faxing through email. Furthermore, more advanced features are incorporated as well, including mobile app support, lifetime archiving of faxes, along with an online web-based portal. This all comes together for an online fax service that is easy to recommend for a small business.
- We've also highlighted the best online fax services in this roundup