Times may be changing, but now more than ever it is essential to find a way to share documents in a safe and effective way. That’s why there are still thousands of companies using fax technology.
Though it may be deemed as old, faxing is safer than other common fast ways of communications such as instant messaging or common email, and it ensures it has arrived to the correct hands, a very important detail in some industries.
But faxing has changed, the technology has shifted allowing us to fax digitally, using only our computers, tablets and smartphones, and replacing physical fax lines with virtual fax numbers. These numbers allow us to receive fax as PDF automatically at any time of the day, even when we are on the go.
How a Virtual Fax Number Works
A virtual fax number works alongside Fax Over Internet Protocol (FoIP) to transmit faxes digitally in just a matter of seconds.
When your digital fax number detects an incoming call, it automatically answers it and “grabs” the incoming fax data. Once the data is received, it is sent to super-fast fax servers which recognize the incoming fax image and convert it to a digital file, more specifically a PDF. Finally, the PDF is sent to your fax account, and a copy is sent to your email.
One of the biggest benefits of using an online fax service is that you automatically get a virtual number with your subscription. At the moment of signing up with the fax provider of your choice you can pick between different types of numbers. This is currently the best way to get a number, otherwise you’d need to install a fax server in your company, which is only affordable by companies big enough to afford an IT team.
Which Types of Fax Numbers Can You Choose?
When selecting a number, you’ll find that there are different alternatives before you. The one that’s best for you will be chosen depending on your needs or the needs of your company. We’ll take a look at your options so you can take the wisest decision.
There are three types of fax numbers you can pick:
- Local numbers
- Toll-free numbers
- Vanity numbers
Most services only offer local and toll-free dedicated numbers for free. Vanity numbers often require an extra fee and are subject to availability in your area. As an extra alternative, you can port your current fax number and move it to the Internet to be capable of faxing from Gmail or other email of your choice. This is an extra service known as “fax number porting” and is often offered for free when creating a new account.
Toll-Free Fax Numbers
These are numbers that are accessible with toll-free calls. You can easily recognize them by the number prefix. The most common one is 800, but they can also have the following prefixes: 888, 877, 866, 855 and 844.
This is a type of number that is preferred by businesses because it allows customers to reach them easily without having to spend any money on a call. You can learn more about toll-free numbers on this page. The article is a little bit technical, but if you are interested in learning more about this technology is an interesting read!
Local Fax Numbers
These are numbers that contain the area code of your location or your business location. If you own a local business you may want to select this type of number. It is not free for clients or providers but the area code gives you a trust signal for clients who prefer to deal with a local business.
You can also find local numbers in other countries. There are fax services which have presence in tens of countries around the World.
Vanity Fax Numbers
As the name implies, these are numbers that offer an aesthetic value to your business, and can be promoted easily to new customers. They work with the following 5 prefixes: 1-800, 1-888, 1-877 and 1-866.
With this option you can customize your phone to look the way you want to. So for example, if you own a web design firm, you can set it to 1-800-DESIGN1. Keep in mind that these numbers act as an extension of your brand, so pick a phrase that best represents you and is easy to recognize.
Vanity numbers are subject to availability in your area.
Now that you know the difference between each type of number, you can make a final decision about your fax number. Let’s summarize things up!
- Toll free numbers are great for businesses with a focus on clients and easy access.
- Local numbers are a best bet when you have a local business and want to add trust to your nearby clients.
- Vanity numbers are helpful when you want to promote your brand and be easily recognizable.