- Simple, straightforward online manager
- Faxing via email
- Large file sharing
- Unlimited lifetime storage
- eFax Messenger
- 30-day risk-free trial
- Unappealing design with eFax Messenger program
- No free installation
It’s hard to imagine that j2 Global has been in the market since 1995 with its high-quality cloud services like eVoice and FuseMail. Though j2 has since grown into a global enterprise, it never forgot its roots, the service that started it all: eFax. And seeing how well online faxing is handled via this service, it’s not surprising that eFax has managed to stay relevant in an age when faxing is considered obsolete.
A large reason for this is the service’s modern approach to faxing, which utilizes a basic yet effective online portal to make the process of sending a fax incredibly easy. The addition of an iOS or Android app, the advanced tools of the eFax Messenger desktop client or even the option to omit the installation of faxing machines completely all help to make the process much smoother. There is more that helps to modernize faxing, too, from cloud storage and organization features to the addition of electronic signatures or faxing via email. Simply put, eFax is a robust system, and one that empowers users – up to five different email addresses can be attached to the same account, in fact – to realize the benefits of fax.
Simplicity is the key word at eFax, which is best manifested by how easily a fax can be sent and received. Despite the fact that it is a basic faxing solution – and a service for sharing large files, too – eFax has some pretty innovative features up its sleeve.
One such feature is the option to organize faxes into custom-made folders, which is a good way to better distinguish incoming faxes from uploaded documents since both options are automatically added to the same inbox folder by default. The system allows users to upload and store as many documents as they want for the duration of their subscription, which is an important boon for any user. This feature comes with the added benefit of being able to electronically sign any uploaded document, the former of which can be cropped and saved for later use.
Having access to all these uploaded files and fax messages means they can easily be downloaded, emailed and faxed again if needed, and can even be found via the convenient search bar. This search bar is also capable of sorting faxes by tags, though it brings up results by providing other criteria such as the sender’s fax number, the contact’s name, key words, and so on.
In addition to all of the above, eFax also pays attention to the security of its service. Five users attached to the same account can send and receive faxes, but each of their faxes are encrypted in such a way to ensure that they are perfectly safe to be opened from links within emails, too.
Sending and Receiving Faxes
Faxing with eFax is ridiculously easy regardless of whether the online account, the downloadable software or the mobile app is used. The way that received emails are handled is especially simple-to-use, with the system automatically sending all incoming faxes to the default email address. However, it’s worth mentioning that aside from receiving faxes in email messages are available for viewing in eFax’s online faxing manager as well.
But on the other hand is the sending of faxes, which includes a number of options to complete the task. The best of them all is the ability to send faxes via email, which even allows up to five email addresses to be associated with an individual account and can each be added to any created fax messages. In fact, the online fax composer is the most foolproof way of faxing: not only does the program support various file types for attachments but it also allows the sending of either 10 documents or 20MB total per fax.
Each fax can be customized to a decent degree, too, thanks to the options to add up to 50 names to the recipient list, to create a cover page, and to select the quality of the attachments for quicker sending. Although there are not too many differences between the available quality options, the opportunity to see how the fax message will look at the receiver’s end is something to be appreciated.
Online Fax Management and Apps
All j2 Group’s services that we have tested we praised for their straightforwardness – and in that regard eFax didn’t disappoint at all. Despite an unimaginatively designed interface, the online account arranges everything in a clever way and enables ease of accessibility. In other words, all of its features – whether that’s creating and viewing faxes, organizing incoming messages, or modifying the account’s preferences – can be found and used quickly and easily.
The same ease-of-use applies to the iOS and Android app, too, albeit there are minor differences. The app’s interface is simplified even further, for example, but unlike the online account it highlights incoming faxes via push notifications and allows the adding of attachments from various cloud storage apps. However, since the app still provides all of the features that its ‘big brother’ does, it allows for full mobility of the service.
Additionally, there is eFax Messenger, a Windows and macOS desktop client that is basically an advanced version of the online account. Although the software’s interface is not very appealing, eFax Messenger brings with it some extras like cover page templates, various stamps, in-built scanning and printing options, and – most importantly – the ability to import the contact list of the computer’s default email client.
Whether you already possess a fax number or this is your first time using such a service, eFax makes sure that everything is set up in an instant. It’s good to know, however, that in order to activate the account it’s required to provide a valid credit card alongside the usual data, since the company reserves a setup fee and the amount of the first payment period – although both of which only have to be paid if you stay after the trial period.
Once everything is settled, a PIN number is provided that – alongside the fax number – serves as the login credentials for any of the means of using the service. The speed of this setup means the sending and receiving of faxes is available as soon as the account creation is complete.
Unfortunately, no physical fax machines can be hooked up to the system, while integration with other solutions is a bit limited. However, that doesn’t mean that there are absolutely no integration options at all: like we mentioned before the mobile app is compatible with the most popular cloud storage apps like Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive, while the desktop software is able to use the contact list of the native email client.
With eFax, when it comes to selecting the phone number associated to the new faxing account there really are no limits. By default the company offers local numbers that can be filtered according to area code, state or ZIP code, but there is also the option to opt for either toll-free or international numbers instead. Thankfully neither toll-free numbers nor international fax numbers require users to pay extra, since the creation of the new account is covered by the setup fee.
The setup fee also covers all the costs of porting an existing fax number; however, unlike when creating an account from scratch, ported numbers are associated to the new eFax account after the company officially receives it from the previous service provider. Fax numbers can be ported out from eFax as well, but in this case the company requires the payment of $40 per cancelled number.
eFax’s pricing plans are pretty self-explanatory: eFax Plus is the basic plan and costs $16.95 per month ($14.13 each month with an annual payment). This package provides 150 inbound and 150 outbound pages, unlimited lifetime storage, cloud storage app integration, and the option to choose a toll-free fax number.
The only other plan, eFax Pro, is basically the same, comes in at $19.95 per month (which is reduced to a value of $16.63 per month if paid annually) and it allows users to send 200 inbound and 200 outbound fax pages every month. For both plans users can send and receive more pages beyond their package limit, but in doing so an extra fee of $0.10 per each additional page has to be paid.
Thankfully, both subscriptions can be cancelled for free any time by phone – and since there is the added benefit of a 30-day risk-free trial, the first payment and setup fee are waived if terminated during this time. This trial is the only way to take eFax for a test ride and find out what the service is truly capable of, however, since the free account version of the service – eFax Free – is no longer available.
It’s also worth mentioning that the setup fee applies to everyone subscribing to eFax’s services, with the exception of those who are cancelling their subscription before the expiration of the 30-day trial. This activation fee costs $10 for eFax Plus and $19.95 for eFax Pro. Though Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards are accepted, you won’t be able to pay with any other method.
There are multiple options to get in touch with eFax’s customer service, all of which are available 24/7. If you need direct help, it’s best to call the company, leave a message via email inquiry or start a live chat. Regardless of which method is used, your questions will be answered in a prompt and courteous manner within a short period of time. In fact, when we tried out the live chat option we had our answers in mere minutes.
Aside from this live assistance, the best way to understand how eFax works or find a solution to a more common problem is to turn to the Help Center. On this page everything is organized in such a way that answers can easily be found within no time at all, with practically any potential question answered. Additionally, there is always the company’s regularly updated blog or its social media pages to turn to, although the Facebook and Twitter pages are mostly used for promotional purposes.
While the bad news is that eFax is admittedly a pretty basic online faxing service letdown by its unimaginative appearance and the lack of a free trial other than the 30-day money back guarantee, the good news is that these are really the only disadvantages to the service. Sending and receiving faxes is incredibly easy to do thanks to the simple and straightforward online account with its logically designed interface – attributes that are also true for the iOS and Android mobile apps and enhanced eFax Messenger desktop software.
The fact that users are able to send large files via eFax’s secure environment, create electronic signatures with ease and store an unlimited amount of fax documents in the cloud only helps make this a service to recommend. eFax even modernizes the concept of faxing with email-based faxing to ensure there are no limitations to its use. Since the available plans provide a relatively high number of free pages for an affordable price, if you have a need for faxing then eFax is a service worthy of your attention.