Did you know the original fax machine was patented in 1843? However, this device may soon be obsolete with today's ability to share information instantaneously from the Web or the cloud onto computers, phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
While we may not yet be ready to ditch our fax machine completely, there are many programs and apps which allow you to save money on phone lines and paper costs. This article by Dave Smith of Inc. lists some alternatives for faxing without paper:
- Subscription services: These range from $5-$20 per month and are a good option if you regularly need to send faxes. HelloFax is one of the cheapest and most comprehensive services available now, starting at $5 per month and negating the need for a fax machine, fax software, printer, or scanner.
- Pay-per-fax services: If you send fewer than five or ten faxes a month, pay-per-fax solutions might be best. No registration is required: PayPerFax charges 75 cents for the first fax, and 40 cents for each additional page; FaxFresh charges less—25 cents per page—but requires a $2.00 minimum for faxing.
- Smartphone fax apps: iFax Pro and Qipit are two free solutions for sending and receiving documents over an iPhone. After taking a picture of the document with a phone or camera, Qipit converts the photo into a PDF and renders it into a digital copy for "faxing".
- Electronic signature apps: With apps like EasySign, Zosh, and Sign My Pad, there's no need to print out faxes to sign them—just sign directly into the mobile device with your finger. Returning the finished documents is simple too, as both Zosh and Sign My Pad will send a PDF back to the original sender.
- File Sharing Options: It might be easiest to skip the fax and exchange the files directly. File-sharing services like Dropbox, YouSendIt, and zShare make it easy to upload and download files, and most of these services can be accessed by both computer and smartphone.
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