Virtual Fax Services

Recently someone asked me about virtual fax services. I have written before about virtual faxes and why I would not go back to a regular fax machine. However, I have not talked about the different options available. In spending just a little time poking around the Internet today, I found several different services that are available. Below, I discuss the ones that I discovered. If anyone else has experience with any other services, I would be interested in hearing about them. As a point of reference, I think that it is essential that you can receive your faxes as PDFs rather than some proprietary fax format. All of the services listed below allow you to receive your faxes as PDFs.

  • Venali. This is the service I use. Overall I have been pleased with the service. Although I would like to see better integration with MS Office 2007. Also, I have found that their tech support people often do not understand or cannot answer my questions on the first try. It looks like for $9.95 a month you can get 100 inbound pages and 100 outbound pages. For $19.95, you can get 300 inbound pages and 200 outbound pages. Additional pages are $0.05 per page inbound and $0.08 per page outbound (the per page rate is one cent lower on the $19.95 a month plan).
  • MaxEmail. I have not used MaxEmail, but I have heard good things about it from others. The cheapest plan that allows you to have a local number is $9.95 a month (discounts are available for quarterly or yearly payments). This plan includes 250 inbound pages and 100 outbound pages. Additional inbound pages are $0.05 a page. Additional outbound pages are $0.05 per 30 seconds of transmission time.
  • MyFax. I don’t know anyone who has used MyFax. However, looking at the list of available features, this is a service I might be tempted to check out if I were signing up for a new service. With the $10 a month plan, you recieve 200 pages and send 100. For $20 a month, you can receive 200 pages and send 200 pages. Additional pages are $0.10 a page.
  • GreenFax. I had never heard of this service before today. However, it seems like a reasonable service. For $12.95 per month, you get 250 inbound pages and 100 outbound pages. Additional inbound pages are $0.03 per page. Additional outbound pages are $0.07 for the first page of a fax and $0.05 for each additional page. GreenFax also has a send-only pay-as-you-go plan that has no monthly service fee and charges $0.07 for the first page of a fax and $0.05 for each additional page of any fax you send.
  • Packetel. Packetel has a great deal, especially if you will be receiving a large number of faxes. For $3.95 per month, you can recieve an unlimited number of faxes. Local numbers are available for many, but not all areas.
  • Faxaway. This is another economical solution. You can set up an account to receive faxes for $1 per month. Sending faxes is $0.10 per minute of transmission. The thing I don’t like about this service is that you are limited to a Seattle area code.
  • eFax. eFax has been around for a long time and claims to be the world’s #1 internet fax service. I have never liked eFax because their faxes are sent in a propriety format rather than as a PDF. The service now allows you to convert them to PDF, however I don’t think you should have to go through an additional step to do this. Additionally, their pricing seems less competitive than the other services. For $16.95 a month you get 130 inbound pages and 30 outbound pages. Additional pages are $0.15 per page inbound and $0.10 per page outbound. For $19.95 a month, you get 200 inbound pages and no outbound pages. Additional inbound pages and all outbound pages are $0.10 per page. Update: As indicated in the comment below, eFax does allow you to receive your faxes in PDF format.

If you are looking for a full-featured single fax solution, I think any of the solutions offered by Venali, MaxEmail, MyFax, or GreenFax would be just fine. If cost is a big concern, or if you receive a lot of faxes and don’t send many, you might consider a mixed solution in which you receive your faxes through Packetel and then send your faxes through GreenFax’s pay-as-you-go plan.

Given the low cost of Packetel’s plan, and the limitations of Faxaway’s, I would likely avoid Faxaway. Simiarly, I would be inclined to avoid eFax because of their reliance on their proprietary software as well as the fact that the other services are more attractively priced.

3 thoughts on “Virtual Fax Services

  1. Bryan,

    I work at eFax. I just wanted to correct your comment above. eFax allows you to receive faxes as PDF, TIF, or EFX files. It’s a user setting.

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