Like many of its competitors, MetroFax started out by providing its services in the 90s. Since its foundation in 1997 this company has gone through plenty of changes, the most notable being its acquisition by j2 Global in 2015. Being merged into a corporate giant normally means the product is unified with existing products by the new parent company and further innovation becomes non-existent, but MetroFax has maintained its strengths while benefiting from the scale of its new owner.
To answer the needs of a 21st century clientele MetroFax utilizes the ‘simple and straightforward approach’, which is best manifested by its convenient online manager that focuses only on the most important fax related features while adding in extras like faxing via email, organization of faxes into folders and a search bar. There’s even on-the-go functionality, too, thanks to MetroFax’s simplistic iOS/Android app and the advanced MetroFax Messenger desktop client. And to make things even better, MetroFax treats newcomers to cost-friendly prices alongside a more than generous 30-day risk-free trial.
While MetroFax is considered a secondary product when compared to j2’s own faxing solution, eFax, it still receives the same care from its parent company to such an extent that the two solutions could be mistaken as identical twins. In that regard, MetroFax – like eFax – focuses on the two most important things any faxing solution should: sending and receiving faxes in a simple and straightforward manner.
However, there are some features of convenience as well. First and foremost, all faxes can be organized into custom-made folders, moved to the trash or be left in the default Inbox folder. There’s no need to worry about filling up the account with excessive fax messages, since MetroFax provides unlimited, encrypted storage for all its customers for as long as their subscription holds.
And if you don’t fancy creating extra folders but still don’t want to lose track of certain fax messages either, then there is the option to add tags to certain faxes – helpfully turning them into searchable items for easy location. This is all handled via MetroFax’s search bar, which can find faxes based on the recipient, the fax number or anything in particular that could make a fax searchable.
There is the option to resend messages either via fax or email but, unfortunately, there is no way to upload documents to be sent to the receiver at a later date. This is the same reason why the MetroFax online manager doesn’t support electronic signatures either. To make use of this feature, it’s necessary to opt for the company’s downloadable software – MetroFax Messenger – in which this function can be found.
Sending and Receiving Faxes
To make faxing as hassle-free as possible, MetroFax provides plenty of convenient ways of sending and receiving faxes. Incoming faxes are sent to the account’s default email address, but there is the option to have those messages also sent to up to five different addresses at the same time. The opposite is true, too, with it being possible to determine which of the five email addresses will appear as the sender(s) on the recipient’s end. Additionally, there is the option to send faxes from your email client, but only if the sender’s email address is one of those five that are associated with the MetroFax account.
Although faxing via email is pretty convenient, the online account is better when it comes to composing fax messages since it allows you to add 50 recipients at the same time and attach up to 10 documents or 20MB of data in total.
The added benefit of MetroFax supporting various files types is a handy extra, but it also allows for the user to change the overall quality of the fax in order to either send it faster or keep the appearance of the faxed document as close to the original as possible.
Online Fax Management and Apps
The online account of MetroFax is the simplest a fax manager could be: sending, receiving and viewing faxes is ridiculously easy, while customizable folders and the option to tag and search faxes just further increases the overall usability. Additionally, MetroFax is capable of importing contacts from various different lists through .CSV files – albeit direct importing is possible through Gmail and Yahoo as well.
Importing contacts won’t be a problem on a phone, though, as the simple-to-use iOS and Android app uses the contact lists of both the device and the account, while keeping them both separated. But when it comes to anything else, the app serves as a miniaturized version of the online account with the added extras of allowing attachments via the device’s installed cloud storage apps and using push notifications to highlight incoming faxes.
Although both the online fax manager and the app are enough to perform any necessary faxing tasks, there is also the MetroFax Messenger, an advanced downloadable version of the browser client. The software’s interface may seem a bit outdated, but it’s the only way to directly import Outlook contacts, customize cover pages, add electronic signatures and scan documents directly into the account.
As should be the case for any cloud-based solution, the creation and setup of a MetroFax account is fast and simple. One of the benefits of this service, which is also true of eFax, is that the company doesn’t charge your credit card to allow for a free first month of use, though this only applies to those opting for the 30-day free trial. However you choose to start with MetroFax, there is no installation fee whatsoever.
Each account is associated with a fax number and a unique PIN that is used to access not only the online manager but the mobile app and the downloadable software as well. Thankfully, a new MetroFax account is ready to be used the moment it’s created. The only elements that need to be brought in manually are the contact list and any extra email addresses for sending and/or receiving faxes, but these take only a matter of seconds and so it’s hardly a frustration. Do note, however, that physical fax machines cannot be integrated into the system.
Compared to its big brother, eFax, the available selection of fax numbers with MetroFax is a bit limited, since only U.S. and Canadian numbers can be purchased. However, there are no limitations with anything else: MetroFax offers local, toll-free and even true-800 numbers to its U.S. clientele, while those willing to establish a virtual office in Canada can select local numbers of all provinces and major cities located on Canadian soil. The only thing that might be an issue is that the new number is associated to the new account without the option to select from a series of automatically generated fax numbers.
The situation becomes a bit more complicated when it comes number porting, although in this case there is no fee to be paid. The only way to have the old fax number ported is by calling the MetroFax staff and use a temporary fax number while the process is completed.
MetroFax has unbeatable prices, with the cheapest subscription plan, Essential, costing $7.95 per month. But by paying $35.95 per month for the top plan, Professional, you can send and receive up to 2,500 pages without paying a nickel. This annual subscription reduces the monthly costs by 17%, allowing customers to have a reliable faxing service for as low as $6.63 per month.
To make the deal even sweeter, MetroFax provides a 30-day free trial; however, unlike many competing services, the company only starts charging users from the second month, meaning there is no payment obligation for the first month of use. Simply put, this way MetroFax is able to provide a truly risk-free trial for the first 30 days, but only if the subscription is cancelled within this period of time. Regardless of whether you keep the account after the initial period or leave the service before the end of the trial, cancellations are only accepted via phone call.
There are some extra charges, though: beyond the allotted amount in the chosen package additional pages cost $0.03 per page, porting the number out of MetroFax is a one-time fee of $40, while sending faxes to international destinations have their own separate prices. And keep in mind that all costs and applicable fees must be paid via Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discord cards.
Although MetroFax is a separate service, it’s hard not to compare it to j2 Global’s other faxing solution, eFax, which provides certain extra features that MetroFax doesn’t offer. So the real question is this: is it worth dropping those extras for MetroFax’s significantly cheaper prices?
This can probably be answered with other questions: do you need electronic signatures? Are document uploads and large file sharing important to you? Because if the answer here is no, then MetroFax should be more than enough, since it not only includes the most important features that eFax also has, but it also outperforms its bigger brother in many aspects by providing more free fax pages, no activation fee, more subscription plan choices, and an actual free trial with no payment obligation.
Customer support is limited to email inquiries and a toll-free phone number, which is a bit disappointing. However, the quality of the support provided by MetroFax’s staff is outstanding: regardless of whether you ask for help via email or you call the customer service between the hours of 5am and 6pm, you’ll receive a thorough and prompt answer to your question. As an unexpected addition there is even the option to send suggestions to the company – albeit only from the online account – in order to help them further improve the service.
Other support can be found in the likes of generic online assistance, where it’s best to turn to the detailed FAQs or watch video tutorials on MetroFax’s YouTube channel to answer any questions. YouTube is the only useful social media presence that MetroFax has, however, since the company’s Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages are rarely updated.
Seeing as MetroFax is basically a simpler version of eFax, you may be wondering why it’s worth paying so much attention to this service, but the situation is not as black and white as it might first seem. Although eFax would seem like the better choice due the fact that it offers its customers extras such as electronic signatures, the uploading of documents and the option to share large files, MetroFax may be the better option for those after an affordable online faxing service that covers all the basics – especially if eFax’s extras are not of importance.
And since sending and receiving faxes with MetroFax – whether via the online account, the mobile app or the advanced downloadable software – is such a hassle-free process, it’s hard to see why those with basic needs for a faxing service will consider anything else. The service even provides further features of convenience, too, from customizable folders, faxing via email and adding tags to searchable messages and the easy importing of email contacts. Take into consideration the incredibly cost-friendly prices alongside the completely risk-free 30-day long free trial and MetroFax proves itself to be a high-standard for every online faxing service to strive for.