Why Isn’t There a Pay-As-You-Go Internet Fax Service?

The title pretty much says it all, and frankly, how is this possible in 2007 is beyond me.  

I’ve had a trusted old eFax service for perhaps a decade, never gave it a lot of thought.  However, now that Fred Wilson is asking for advice, I thought I’d do a quick research.  Voila!  Here’s a comparison matrix of 10 Internet fax services by Top Ten Reviews:

What’s wrong here?  There’s not a single offer tailored for individual users.  I’m sure a busy VC like Fred has enough fax traffic to justify the $10 or so that most of these services charge: there are term sheets, legal documents..etc. (Although I certainly hope EchoSign would obliterate the fax machine soon.) 

As a consumer, the grand total of faxes I receive in a year is perhaps 1-2, and I don’t send more than 5 per year.   $10 is not a huge amount, but why would I pay a monthly subscription optimized for 1-200 pages monthly traffic? 

The free version of eFax (btw, how could the granddaddy of Internet fax services escape the comparison?) allows free inbound services, but no sending at all.   I don’t expect free sending, but why can’t I pay per use, only for the pages I send?  Sure, I would not bring a huge business volume, but there are tens of millions just like me: occasional users, sending a few faxes a year. Charge me triple price, but don’t force me into a subscription deal!  Then I could kiss goodbye to the modem and phone cable.


Update (313):  There is an interesting comment-exchange re. the economnics below.  And some good news: EchoSign will soon have doc-to-fax functionality.  Of course what I meant above by EchoSign obliterating fax machines was wider acceptance of electronically signed documents and eliminating the need for faxed copies at all.



  1. I suspect the reason none of them offer a “single use” model is that it’s too uneconomical to reach these users. eFax’s ARPU is about $16/mo, and if they keep their average customer for say 12 mos., that’s about $200 in revenue. It’s too hard to chase a customer with $1-$2 in fax revenue I think … they don’t even seem to emphasize eFax Free that much anymore, and that’s just an upsell customer acquisition vehicle anyway. Plus billing would kill you – credit card fees, etc. — even iTunes doesn’t bill you until you hit $10 … but I think the real issue is how do you cost effectively reach people only willing to spend $1-$2 … i think it’s close to impossible unless it’s truly viral.

    But, the good news — we’ll actually have this functionality in EchoSign in our next release (mid-April), though almost “accidentially” as part of automating generaly “send-to-a-fax-#” worfklow. In our next release, just put a fax # in the “To” line at EchoSign, and you can fax a document in to EchoSign and have it delivered to another fax #. You can already do fax-to-email for free on EchoSign btw.

  2. Anonymous says

    I thought about the economics – but with eFax I already have a phone number, so whatever fixed cost there is, they are already incurring it. Now, if I was able to send my 2-3 faxes through them, that would be incremental revenue.. little, I know, but million times a little goes a long way.

    But I certainly agree with you, I would not chase such customers – would simply list the option on the website and let them come tom me.

    Great news about Echosign – as usual 🙂

  3. Anonymous says

    There is one:

  4. Anonymous says
  5. Anonymous says
  6. Anonymous says

    I use, it’s only $24/year for service

  7. Anonymous says

    GreenFax has a send only service for 6 cents per minute, billed in 6 second increments with a one minute minimum. Credits are bought in $25 increments, but never expire.

    I think there is a limit to the total size and total number of attachments, but they are pretty reasonable (10 MB size).

  8. Thank you for the wonderful article. I have thought the same thing for awhile. I had MyFax, and I loved their services, but the most faxes that I ever sent was 24 in a two month period, and I only received two. I didn’t need to pay $10 for these, either.

    Thank you for other readers for posting to the pay-as-you-go faxing services. I can now use these to fax.

  9. Yea, thank you so much for the Free Fax info. This is exactly what me and my friend needed since the only time I send fax is when I need job (which I don’t need right now). Send2Fax used to be good with their prepaid plan, however they changed it without my knowing and started charging me $6.95/mo.

  10. Jennifer says

    I looked at everyone else’s recommendations and I am sticking with

  11. is not pay-as-you-go like they say they are… they charge you a service fee of $9.00 per month to receive fax!

  12. I think the montly payments is just so you can hold on to a fax number. But I think it should only be as little as a domain name. Anywho, faxing is a dead technology. Why do we still use it? We have email… Why not just make an email machine that you can feed paper into it if you really need to do it that way. Or maybe just add an option to a fax machine so that you can type in an email address into it. At least the trees would be happier… lol… People receiving the fax would then select what is good and what is junk before printing it out. I think we are creatures of habbit. And unfortunately the FAX machine came first before email did.

  13. wow! if they do what they say they do.. then they are the best!

  14. checking out they look as close to a pay-as-you-go service as I was able to find. $1 per month maintenance fee and 11 cents per minute usage fee. I’d like to hear from anyone who has used it about the quality of their fax service. For a $1 a month it’s worth taking a chance on I figure. Thanks.

  15. The site is rubish, took my email and sent me rubish – if you really want to be cheap on it – call them up.

  16. Found this on a forum —

    Looks like pay-per-use to me — i haven’t signed up yet so I don’t know if there are any hidden charges

  17. <– is good for what it is worth, but read the fine print. If you decide to opt for a local number and manage to get one, then its a great deal. But if you cant get a local number and have to choose a 800 number, then you will pay the service fee + $15 1-800# charge, and then you can you can enjoy the rates. Anyways, this is just my two cents.

  18. 101Fax is a good choice, boon. I’ve been with it for a couple of months now and it’s doing great. Yup, you can choose to have a local or a toll free number – and on either options, you can choose to sign up for their Pay-Per-Use program or the low monthly plans. Very affordable, and effective. The features are great and reliable.

  19. fax1 have many services including receiving, sending. If sending only, there is something like pay-as-you-go but you have to make a minimum payment of $10. they have other monthly plans. The credit doesnt expire and you can use it anytime. I like their service and it works fine. Rates are different depending on where (country) you fax to.

  20. Net2phone has a Net2fax service. you can pay only for the faxes that you send. The only problem is that it does not work with Windows Vista. (but then what works with Vista?)

  21. well, if you’re talking about pay-as-you-go online faxing then 101Fax is your best bet. No minimum requirements like that of Fax1. Works with your current os, (oh yes) there’s send and receive…just all about the good things you can think for an online fax! i do recommend!

  22. For any Australians reading this, UTBox ( seems to be a
    really good solution, prepaid minimum
    of $20 but no monthly fees and pretty
    cheap rates too.

  23. I use TrustFax and I have never had a complaint. They have several plans. I currently use the 9.95 per YEAR (not month plan.) They charge .10 per page on top of that, but over all, it really seems to be the best value.

  24. I started using It is a true pay per fax service. There are no sign up fees or commitments. I like the service.

    • looks great and they have a developer API(BONUS!!) It apears to be a prepaid fax service. Prepay $10 then when you use up your faxes Prepay more (outgoing)”no setup charges and no monthly subscription fees offer you the best value around.”


    This service is probably what you are looking for. Only 2.95 per month and then pay as you go.

  26. I’m in Australia and I use utbox for internet fax… the credit expires but for the equivalent of 5 bucks a month i can pay that just for having my own number. everyone else charges monthly fees anyway, this gives me all my credit to use

  27. I just pulled the plug on I remember signing up for a true pay as you go fax web site then in February I received an email saying they were billing me for the month. According to their website they now have a monthly fee. Why are all these Australians writing to this blog? Who cares about Australia?

  28. I’m don’t need the fax too often but when i need it i use They have 10-page packages, which can suit a person who rarely uses fax services. and i haven’t seen lower prices yet. And they also offer free inbound services.

  29. Onesuite Fax service is pay as you go. You pay $2.95 monthly for the fax number and unlimited incoming and then “pay as you go” for outgoing fax @ 2.5 cents per page.

  30. Zahir, I like the Spinning Girl test on your blog.

    Last time I saw it a few years (?) ago, I think it was spinning left, but now all I see is right. Perhaps it changes after my morning coffee 🙂

  31. Rizwan Mian says

    101fax does not work. I signed up. Got a number. could not receive faxes. I followed up customer services and support but no answer…I discontinuted their services.

  32. Tried all the links now in March 2009. EchoSign I’m not sure how it works, does the free package send fax for free to Europe without a cover page asking for signature? Not a single other fax service was truly pay as you except HOWEVER, this service costs more that first class postage…! If it was matching postage rates I would certainly use it, but more than double postage…

  33. I believe popfax does this now. But you have to buy in lots of 10 or so.

  34. There is a pay as you go site…found it after looking at this article.

    • It’s not really pay-as-you-go since you have to sign up and pay in $25 increments. Still too expensive for the 3 faxes I may send in a year.

      I’ve settled on Faxzero which has no minimum $ limit at all.

  35. Popfax requires that you send exactly 10 faxes per week for it to match regular postage. Zerofax demands USD2 per fax if sending outside US, which is also quite costly or you can send for free within the US if adding a cover page with commercials. Greenfax outbound appears not so bad for smaller faxes, it’s actually cheaper than postage. But some risk that before the 25 prepaid dollars is consumed, terms have changed so you may lose most of it if you’re an occasional user. is a good concept, but they say the payment provider fee is what kills the price – if they have to pay 20-40ct fee per payment, it can’t compete with postage.

  36. let user send free fax online to the US and Canada. User can either upload a PDF/Word file or enter text to your fax. Plus, it does not add Ads to the fax, which makes it more suitable for faxing formal documents. They also provide Pay-per-fax and prepaid options.

  37. Lizette Tuason says

    Caveat on using PayPerFax. When you use their cover page, they insert “PayPerFax, Inc.” as “Tel” right under your name. It’s annoying. It’s a paid service, not a free service. They shouldn’t be using people’s faxed documents as vehicles to advertise their name.

  38. The best way to get an internet fax service is to read online reviews. You can compare the pricing plans and the included features of different online fax service providers. This is to make sure that you'll be paying for what you really been utilizing.

  39. Online fax service is definitely the most cost effective faxing technique. Reason why it has gained huge patronages from big and small companies.

  40. I can also suggest you I personally use it.

  41. I started to check out some internet fax services and so far I am thinking of switching. But I would have to agree with the article for all those users who don't fax much 🙂

  42. John Gooch says

    It’s 2011 and I still can’t find a solution geared toward customers who receive the occasional fax and almost never send one.

    I’m a long time Send2Fax user who’s chewing at the bit to get away from their subscription model. So far every “free” fax solution is only free to send(within a set monthly limit) and never free to just receive.

    Many companies have wizened up and will send documents back and forth via email, but there are still way too many who use the fax method. What a shame.

    PS I went to eFax, Faxzero, PopFax, and a few other sites and most promoted “free fax!” but then roped you into a monthly subscription.


  43. I use It is a true pay as you go worldwide outgoing fax site. The site is very simple to use, and rates are very cheap. You don't need a subscription or any downloaded software. It's all run off the website.


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