HelloFax Review

HelloFax keeps things clean and simple. This online fax service's options are fairly basic compared with Nextiva and MetroFax, but it's also simpler to sign up for and use the service. User beware, though: The creators of HelloFax have built in plenty of gamification, too, which will be frustrating to professionals more interested in features and services that work now, and less interested in a rewards system based on sharing with friends or doing specific tasks.

Pricing

The service has a limited free offering for sending faxes. You get five pages, total, for free; after that, it costs $0.99 per fax for up to 10 pages, and $0.20 per page after those first 10 pages. The free version lacks a incoming fax number.

The mainstream options are the Home Office plan for $9.99 per month (good for 300 pages sent, for five team members; price is $99.99 billed annually), and the Professional plan for $19.99 per month (500 pages sent, for 10 team members; price is $199.99 billed annually). The team component is unique to HelloFax; this feature allows team members send and receive faxes from that account.

Free Trial: HelloFax's $9.99, $19.99 and $39.99 plans all feature 30-day free trials.

Setup

To set up an account, you can log in using an email address. When you sign up, you'll get a fax number in the area code of your choosing. You can transfer your current number, but to do so you need to contact the company. You can also add additional fax lines to your account, for $4.99 each.

User Interface

HelloFax's interface is very clean and friendly to use — mostly. It looks beautiful, but gets bogged down in confusing nomenclature. For example, a left navigation bar makes it easy to send faxes, but finding your archive requires you to select Documents. The left navigation pane also has options for signing documents using the eSignature HelloSign service, adjusting the service's settings and administering the Team settings. You can create a team and invite additional users, by email address, to the team. As the administrator, you control these settings, but those you designate for the team can then access and send faxes for that team's number, too. You can invite users with any email address domain, a boon compared to some team-based software; if an invitee doesn't already have a HelloFax account, an invitation to a team will create an account for that person.

As the name of the section implies, Documents simply shows a running list of all documents you've sent. The problem is that it only shows the file name, if it was a fax sent or received, and the date. This approach is not very organized, and will get very messy and unwieldy if you have a high volume of inbound and outbound faxes. Searching is limited to email address or document title, while the filters are of limited usefulness due to their lack of specificity (for example, you can sort on faxes sent or received, but not by date, too).

I found the lack of document tracking, tagging and organization especially surprising considering that HelloFax is the only service I tested that aims for teams and workgroups. Even the basic Home Office plan lets you invite up to four other users to access and use the same number.

Cloud and File Format Support

HelloFax is the only service I tested that integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and Evernote to store, access and receive files. Using the HelloFax add-on for Google Docs makes it simple to send a fax from within your document. HelloFax doesn't specify the number of file types it supports, but does say it handles "a wide range of files," and lists among them DOC, DOCX, PDF, PPSX, PPT, PPTX, TIF, JPG, PNG, XLS, XLSX, TXT, HTML and GIF.

Gamification

The gamification element is readily evident when you go into the Getting Started page. For example, if you add a password, you get five free pages. If you create a signature, you get another five free pages. Should you tweet or share on Facebook, or invite friends to join, you get even more pages. When you import contacts from Gmail or Yahoo, more free pages are your reward. If you're on the free plan where you pay as you go, perhaps these free pages will be meaningful. But if you're on a paid plan, the gamification feels gimmicky and unprofessional. 

E-Signature Support

HelloFax is one of two services I tested with electronic signature support (Sfax is the other). I found this feature incredibly compelling; however, it remains an extra-cost option beyond your first free documents.

The e-signature component remains a work-in-progress that's confusing to use, even though HelloSign broke out as a separate service two years ago. The create-a-signature portion in the Getting Started section makes it easy to add a signature to the HelloFax system, either by drawing on-screen using your mouse or finger (for touch screens), or adding a signature by typing it in, uploading an image file, or using a smartphone to take a photo of a signature and sending it to the system. The e-signature is legally binding, per U.S. and international law — the 2000 U.S. Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the European Directive (EC/1999/93).

While setting up a signature is surprisingly straightforward, using one is not.

While setting up a signature is surprisingly straightforward, using one isn't. You can add a signature during the editing of a fax. But if you tap on Sign Documents in the left navigation pane, it bounces you to HelloFax's HelloSign service. The login is not only the same, it's seamless — just the interface changes to reflect that you're now logged into HelloSign. But it's still confusing why you'd go to the HelloSign site to begin with. And to understand the difference, you'll have to nose around the HelloSign service to see that it's targeted at businesses who require workflow and want to circulate signed documents via email, not just fax.

Your first three documents signed are free, and that still gives you integration with Google Drive, and an audit trail to track all activity, and by whom, on a given document. To get unlimited documents, you'll have to pay for the Pro plan, which also gives wider support with Google apps and other cloud services.

Sending and Receiving Faxes

Sending faxes is as simple as it gets with HelloFax. It's broken into two steps. First, you'll first upload files. To do this, you can drag files, tap the upload button or select an upload from one of the cloud-storage options. After the file is uploaded, you can choose to edit and sign the document before faxing. I particularly liked that I could add initials or a checkmark to a specific spot on the fax, and choose to add a signature.

To complete the process, you then enter the fax number or email address to send to, and hit send now. Off the fax goes. I saw no noticeable lag or delay. You can also send a fax directly from email, by attaching a file to email and send to 10-digit fax number (no "1" required), followed by @hellofax.com. Oddly, you don't get a confirmation that your fax transmitted. Nor are you allowed custom cover pages (though this feature is under review by the company).

Inbound faxes are sent to you as a PDF, and can also be viewed in the Documents area. The settings let you control whether to get a notification when you send a document, and choose whether to include a PDF copy in both incoming faxes and outbound notifications.

Mobile Apps

HelloFax lacks a dedicated mobile app (though if you type in HelloFax to either Apple’s or Google’s app stores, you’ll get redirected to HelloSign). You can send a fax via an email attachment, but there’s no dedicated app for viewing or storing faxes on your mobile.

Bottom Line

I found a lot to like about HelloFax, both in its ease-of-use and its features. I lament the lack of organization and searchability I'd expect, as well as the lack of confirmations and custom cover pages. But HelloFax has a strong foundation, and both its cloud storage integration for inbound and outbound faxes and its electronic signature capabilities are compelling benefits that put it ahead of its competition.

However, the service's confusing integration with HelloSign and other interface oddities detract from its appeal, as does its lack of meaningful mobile apps and fax management. Plus, it's more expensive than the competition, delivering hundreds fewer pages for the monthly dollar than most of the competition. In these areas, our top pick, MetroFax, outpaces HelloFax in spades.

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  • dalewb
    A very quick Google search for "Metrofax review" reveals this site, http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-2109682/online-fax-services-2014.html , where users report abysmal service and impossibility to cancel accounts. Apparently *something* happened mid-2014 and the company suddenly began having serious issues not only with its faxing service but its customer service. I just tried to contact customer service through their online chat and waited for 15 minutes before giving up. I think you guys should revisit this article in light of the serious degradation in Metrofax's performance.
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  • terryddc
    People need to be VERY Leary of MyFax. They are not a BBB registered company because their customer support center is based in Canada. If you have a complaint like I did..Good luck getting it resolved. Here is my personal consumer review of the nonsense I had to deal with using MyFax:

    My family and I started MyFax service when we were in transition from one home to another. We were stuck in a Cable service issue because of something the previous owner of the house we purchased did. Until it was straightened out (90 days) we could not get cable services (TV, Phone, internet). We researched and My fax was not top choice but the affordable one. Their customer service STINKS! Their user policies are horrific. They are nothing but another greedy non-american based company (Canada is their call center). I tried several times to cancel my account over the past few months. Then two months would pass and charges would show up on the credit card statement again. I would call and speak to a rep who assure me the account was cancelled. Then a few months later there were the charges! I most recently tried to cancel this January only get charged AgaIn in the same month! Then I was charged AGAIN in Feb 8, 2015!!! I called to cancel the account AGAIN! The two reps I spoke to essentially blamed me for the issue. They indicated that since I could not provide case numbers and log numbers or the exact representatives names (btw no call center rep ever gives real name) they were not willing to refund any of the charges..but..would cancel the account. They said if I could provide the EVIDENCE of cancellation they might consider refunding one month. SERIOUSLY? As if I were trying to cheat them out of $10?! I said to the reps (again) I had been trying to cancel the account for several months. Once more they tried to blame me and said they had no record of my ever calling. However, during one prolonged debate one of the reps let it slip that they had indeed tried to contact me because 1/08/5 charges were declined..YES! Because I had cancelled the account! They sent me an email to an old email address asking me to give them a new card number. I ignored it because I figured I had closed the account once and for all. HOWEVER, their finance department submitted the charge again..and it went through 1/23/15..despite their asking for a different form of payment (to me proof that I had cancelled the account -when the charge was decline!). Unfortunately, my credit card company informed me that once a merchant has your credit card information it is difficult to block them unless you change your account number..So thanks you jerks at Myfax..TODAY TO AVOID These IDIOTS charging me in the future...I had to close my credit card account (one I had for 10 years!) and open a brand new account..Now I have to wait 5-7 business days for a new CC to be issued. The rep that told me about the charges being declined ..but them pushed through on 1/08 and 1/23 and 2/08..even said "that's odd you would be charged twice in one month" but then had a lame excuse that the 1/08/15 charge was declined and would show as a refund on my feb statement. WELL NOT SO! INSTEAD I WAS CHARGED AGAIN IN FEB FOR A SERVICE I SUPPOSEDLY CANCELLED. I tried to speak to a supervisor. She indicated that unless I had case numbers, contact names, and log numbers she would not submit my request for a refund. I even said "well i would be willing to accept a refund of the february charges..since I cannot provide ALL the exact details you are requesting..that is only$10" To which she stated "our finance department will not permit refunds based upon the consumer simply telling us they were erroneously charged. You need to provide us with proof." I told her they had proof right in front of them with the declined charge in January that demonstrated the account had been closed"..finally I gave up..after being on hold for 10 minutes to get a rep, a debate with one for 15 minutes, on hold again for 10 minutes, and then a argumentative arrogant supervisor for another 5 minutes...I just have had it and will chock this up to a lesson learned. DO NOT USE THIS SERVICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  • laruib
    Be VERY careful with metrofax. They DO NOT notify you when your account is due to renew. They just charge your card for another year even if you don't want to continue the service they won't do anything. I would never use metrofax again! Got many unwanted faxes trying to sell me stuff!
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  • SmiTTTen
    In the interest of full disclosure, I do business with Concord Fax. I will say that their service is what they say it is and their support is superb. Anyway, worth a look if you're interested.
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  • karen64
    I don't see it listed as an option but just in case, DO NOT use OnlineFaxes.com - I had them for a year and went to renew online only to find out that they had given my number "mistakenly" to another customer! I have been waiting for a week for them to contact the "new owner" and ask them if they can give it back to me??? What? I am the original owner. Shouldn't they be giving them a new number and giving me back the one I have on business cards, my website, registration forms, etc? Unbelievable. And the customer service is as bad as their business. No one seems to think this is a big deal. Online fax company. Business plan? 1) Sell fax numbers; 2) Don't sell the same number to more than one organization!
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  • California_1
    Metrofax used to be a good provider until another company, J2 Global, took over. Since then, my experience with them has never been the same, and not in a good way. They told me I had a trial period, which they emailed me for payment before it was up. My account online said I had a $0 balance, so what's up with that? Before I knew it, they decided to tag on a late fee because I failed to pay before my account was even due. Let's put it this way, I paid them to get away from them and to never hear from them again. They seemed like a bunch of thieves. I will NEVER EVER use Metrofax again.
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  • shipdog711
    I use free FaxZero. Very simple to use. S o far has never failed me. I am talking about someone who only faxes once a month.
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  • Comissha
    SRFax.com is an amazing service with AWESOME customer service.
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  • KC____
    I've been using Ringcentral Fax since 2006.Started well but over the years Ringcentral upgrades have continued to remove existing features that made their product useful.

    I have actually been using a version that is several years old since the newer versions remove those features and now I have been forced to upgrade. What have I lost? 1) Local copy of faxes received and sent (I had years of history, very helpful) 2) Easy ability to resubmit faxes locally 3) Ability to locally change the name of the sender (so I could send with the owner's name instead of mine or with our other company's name) 4) The ability to enter the recipient's company name and individual's name on the fax cover sheet.

    Now I can only enter the phone number.I can no longer recommend this product and I'm looking for a new alternative.
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  • mcbakewl
    I rarely send or receive faxes, but wanted to keep a reliable option available for those rare occasions. Did some research and just today signed up with FAXAGE. Chose their LITE package for $3.49/mo + $0.05/minute for in- or outbound faxes.

    Initial setup revealed an odd problem receiving from (but not sending to) eFax. (Dreadful company, eFax.) Within an hour FAXAGE tech support had identified and resolved the problem.

    No mobile app means only that way to send from an iPhone is Email to Fax, but that works fine too.

    Nice surprise was when the FAXAGE signup routine invited me to choose a phone number from a long list of options within my own area code.

    So, so far so good.
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  • mcbakewl
    Apologies for the typo:

    No mobile app means only way to send from an iPhone is Email to Fax, but that works fine too.
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  • Patrick_64
    Customer service with Metrofax is a complete fraud.
    Forget customer service with these guys. I am now at the end of month TWO trying to port a number with these guys. I have called EVERY DAY (Monday thru Friday) for three weeks, and gotten a different excuse as to what the problem is. This is the FOURTH time they have asked me to send the same information.

    I am a computer consultant for 30 years and this is the poorest customer service I have seen in my life. Do yourself a favor and read almost all of the other reviews here (almost all negative) and believe them. I have spent over 30 hours trying to resolve this, and now found out that they did the same mistake from the beginning. This has cost my customer OVER $400 dollars. Think I am exaggerating? Google “metrofax reviews” and see for yourself.
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  • Peter_162
    babyTEL gives you encrypted fax that you can access anywhere. The encryption is so strong that it's approved for health and financial records.
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  • livingandlearning
    Hi. I have used sFax for several years as a low fax volume small business owner. I find sFax to be difficult to use. For years sFax was upgrading to a new format. I had many problems sending a fax because the fax would sit in the outbox for hours while other higher priority faxes from other businesses would take up the fax times. I am now seeking a less expensive fax option. The one truth about sFax is that not one time in those years did I receive any unwanted faxes from marketing companies. The other parts of the review about sFax is true. sFax has come a long way from where it began. I am not discouraging its use, just letting the small low volume business owners know that you must really want to pay extra for the "security" features to choose sFax. I thought I was getting a better product, but I was paying yearly for a service that I rarely used. At most I faxed 5 times in a year. If you are a small business owner who rarely faxes, save the money or donate it to a worthy cause. Choose a different less expensive plan. Thank you for the review. I will try one of the options and see how it works for my small business.
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  • ajm_fencepost
    As of summer, 2016 Maxemail has been purchased by j2, the same company that has earned such a terrible reputation with eFax (and which in recent years has purchased and ruined the reputations of Metrofax and MyFax). Basically, j2/eFax now owns at least 4 online fax companies, 3 of which were well-reviewed here but which comments indicate have gone downhill.

    If you need send-only, at least two of the companies listed here have cheap send-only options that basically let you pre-pay for a pool of pages or minutes for sending. If you need low-volume receiving of faxes as well, you're probably going to be looking at Nextiva's vFax for $5/month (prepaid annually, it's $9/month paid monthly).
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  • Mtnmann
    For very occasional home use to receive faxes (fax to email,) I was paying $14.95 annually to Maxemail. Now with the purchase by J2/eFax, the new rate would be $85 annual when my subscription expires. I will cancel that. If you know of other services for inbound fax to email at or near my former Maxemail annual cost, please post here.
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  • Tom4palms
    We have used RapidFax since 2008 and the charges are getting too much and the terms are not clear. We need to keep our number. HOW??
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  • Francis Jacob
    I HATE a monthly fee to fax! Allow me to buy in bulk or pay as I go! I don't fax enough to warrant monthly faxing yet very few provide a la carte faxing. That's why FaxZero wins in my book. Your rating is way too low...
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  • Light_CC
    Nextiva service works well. Cannot cancel through online login. Cannot reach customer service to cancel. Need to go direct to my credit card company. Similar to description of inability to cancel service on Metrofax above - are they the same service, or several of these owned by the same place? Either unethical or incompetent or both.
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