Fax usage remains a necessity for many businesses in the U.S., and even more in other parts of the world. In fact, recent estimates put annual fax rates in a range from 17 to 100 billion faxes sent per year.
This does not mean that old-style fax machines remain popular. While Japan uses the largest number of machines per capita, the compound annual growth rate of online fax services across the globe appears to be growing at a rate of about 15.2 percent per year.
Business owners should examine their faxing needs and learn their online options when choosing from a number of alternative services.
Reasons Why the Need for Faxing Continues
U.S. businesses may not be the heaviest fax users in the world, but there remain many reasons why it continues to be a necessity. Here are just a few reasons.
- Information security: Used properly, faxes are more secure than traditional email. This is why health care providers often continue to fax patient data, although some are beginning to use other secure methods for data transmission.
- Sharing incompatible data: Even though health care providers and other businesses maintain data with impressive electronic systems, that information may not be compatible with the systems that other businesses use.
- Transmission of signed documents: To ensure that a valid signature on contracts or some financial documents is preserved, some businesses prefer to have a printed copy in their files.
- Government requirements: Some parts of the U.S. government have modernized their data communication requirements, but many still require fax transmissions.
Naturally, faxing is used for more than official purposes. Some businesses use them to send discount coupons and advertising to customers. Others use it to get information for their causes noticed by their political representatives. If you’re creative, then the sky’s the limit.
Online Faxing Can Better Meet These Needs While Reducing Costs
If you’re trying to move toward a paperless office, then traditional fax machines are not the way to go. In fact, if you’re looking for high security, you won’t find it when fax pages fall to the office floor. These are just two reasons for moving to a secure online fax service.
There are also notable cost savings for avoiding the use of fax machines. While the machines are not unreasonably expensive, toner costs are astonishingly high. Add paper and potential repair costs to the mix, and your expenses mount quickly.
Keep in mind that not all faxes that you receive need to be printed. You’ll save on toner and paper (plus some trees) by only printing the pages you need. Plus, you’re likely to need less floor space for file cabinets, while probably noticing that you can find the faxes you need more quickly when they’re stored in a good digital filing system.
Choosing a Fax Service That Will Meet Your Needs and Budget
With quite a few available online faxing services, you need a way to quickly compare offerings between them. We did the work for you, and found that Nextiva offers services reviewed favorably based on the four factors that are important to most businesses:
- Price: While their plans require annual payment rather than allowing you to pay monthly, the price is significantly lower than the per-month prices of other services. If you decide to end use before a year has passed, refunds are prorated for unused months.
- Quantity: Most services allow a total of 500 monthly incoming and outgoing faxes before overage charges apply. As long as you use the above link to access the Nextiva site, this number is increased to 1,000 faxes per month.
- Ease of use: Naturally, you want a service that promises a low-effort, intuitive interface. A free-trial allows you to test it out.
- Ample fax storage time: In order to avoid printing and filing too many paper faxes, you need the ability to store them online for a reasonable time period. The industry standard is 30 days; Nextiva offers 60 days.
Of course, it is natural to have concerns about how safe your data is when it’s stored in the Cloud. Always review the service’s website to make sure that your faxes are well-protected. Nextiva provides double the industry standard in this regard.
Online Faxing is a Small Budgetary Consideration
Some businesses send and receive faxes on a daily basis. Even if your need is more sporadic, you may get some unpleasant surprises if you decide to do it via your local copy shop. Between per-job setup charges and a rate that could run near a dollar per page, however, the costs mount up quickly.
Even if you send just one 5-page fax per month, you’ll likely save money by using an online fax service — and, you won’t have to leave your workplace to get the job done. Even tight budgets can afford the low cost. So, the next time you need to fax, consider Nextiva and get started with a free trial.
ChooseWhat and FaxCompare are affiliate partners of Nextiva and receive commissions for signups. That said, the recommendations and reviews are our own.