differences between local toll-free and international fax numbers

Differences Between Local, Toll-Free, and International Fax Numbers

Faxing remains a preferred communication method in key legal, healthcare, and finance sectors. Email and other internet-based applications may have meteorically risen, but faxing has maintained its appeal for its reliability and security.

As such, types of fax numbers can be classified into three: local, toll-free, and international fax numbers. Each type serves a specific purpose that one or the other cannot fulfill or is bound by limitations.

In this blog, let’s discuss the key differences between local, toll-free, and international fax numbers.

Difference Between Local, Toll-Free, and International Fax

Depending on your company’s size, goals, and target market, opting for a fax number can prove to be deceptively simple. To help you make an informed decision, below is our guide about the differences between local, toll-free, and international faxes.

Local Fax Numbers

Local fax numbers are assigned with a specific area code for a certain region or city. They are intended to be used for faxing within the same geographical area. Let’s say you’re based in Los Angeles. You’d then use a local fax number with the area code 323 or 213 to send faxes within the city.

Toll-free Fax Numbers

On the other hand, toll-free fax numbers are those that can be dialed and called from anywhere in the US. The great thing about this is it does not incur any long-distance charges for the caller. They typically start with the 800, 888, 877, or 844 prefixes.

International Fax Numbers

These are fax numbers that can be used to send and receive faxes between different countries, hence the term. These numbers have a specific country code followed by a local phone number.

For example, a fax number in the United Kingdom might look like this: +44 20 7321 7654. Where “+44” is the United Kingdom’s country code, “20” is London’s area code, and “7321 7654” is the local phone number. To send faxes internationally, you need to ensure that the country and area codes are accurate.

Pros and Cons of Local Fax Numbers


Having a local fax number can positively impact customer perception and trust in several ways. Refer to its key benefits below.

  • Familiarity. Customers are often more comfortable with local phone numbers, as they’re associated with businesses located and operating in their area. This can help establish confidence and trust, with customers likely to patronize your services if they recognize the area code.
  • Accessibility. Using a local fax number can make contacting you easier for local consumers. They wouldn’t hesitate to dial a number with their area code or worry about potentially incurring extra charges. This accessibility can improve customer satisfaction and lead to more sales volume.
  • Cost Cutting. Utilizing local fax numbers can help customers save more money that could otherwise be spent on long-distance charges. This advantage can also pave the way for repeat customers and, by extension, establish customer loyalty.


Local fax numbers are best for businesses and industries operating in a particular region or state. But it has its own limitations and disadvantages, such as:

  • Limited geographical reach. A local fax number is confined to a specific location. If you want to send or receive faxes from other regions, it’d require you to invest in additional fax lines.
  • Potential for confusion. If you have multiple fax lines, it can be baffling for customers and clients to determine which number to dial. In consequence, it can lead to missed faxes and delays in communication.
  • Lack of flexibility. A local fax number cannot be easily moved or altered. If you relocate or change your business address, you’d be needing a new fax line and a new fax number.
  • Cost. Setting up a local fax line can be quite expensive, especially if you need multiple lines to service various locations.
  • Limited functionality. Oftentimes, local fax lines only allow for basic faxing capabilities. In other words, they do not offer advanced technology features such as eSignatures, end-to-end encryption, and other document management solutions.

Pros and Cons of Toll-Free Fax Numbers


Toll-free fax numbers can be the best fax number type for the following reasons:

  • Cost Savings. Toll-free fax numbers allow customers to contact your business without drawing any long-distance charges. This is a significant plus for your customers who constantly look for ways to save money.
  • Professional Image. Having a toll-free fax number can give your business the impression of being a trusted and reliable company. It shows that you are willing and capacitated to invest in the convenience of your customers.
  • Convenience. Toll-free fax numbers make it painless for customers to contact your business from anywhere in the country. With a toll-free number, you can reach more customers nationwide, and more customers can reach you as well.


The benefits of toll-free fax numbers notwithstanding, watch out for the following cons:

  • Costs. Toll-free fax numbers may be cost-effective for your customers, but they can be expensive to maintain for your business. Depending on your service provider, you may also incur extra charges for incoming or outgoing faxes.
  • Availability. Toll-free numbers are not readily available in all areas. It can be difficult if your company operates in a rural area where toll-free services are not available or offered.
  • Spam. Toll-free fax numbers can be more vulnerable to spam or unsolicited faxes. This can be a huge nuisance for businesses receiving a high volume of unsolicited communication by fax.

Pros and Cons of International Fax Numbers


Having an international fax number can be a valuable asset for businesses that are looking to expand globally. Here are some benefits of having an international fax number:

  • Increased Accessibility. With an international fax number, businesses can reach clients in different countries without any additional costs or barriers. It allows companies to expand their market reach and communicate with clients and partners worldwide.
  • Cost Efficiency. An international fax number can help save costs for businesses that regularly communicate with international clients. Rather than relying on expensive international calls or courier services, companies can send faxes more affordably through their international number.
  • Established Reputation. An international fax number can give a company an established reputation for simply having a way to service customers worldwide. It conveys the message that the business is successful enough to operate in different countries and serve clients internationally.
  • Enhanced Efficiency. An international fax number can facilitate faster communication and expedite business processes. Businesses can receive and send faxes from anywhere worldwide, allowing for more efficient transactions with global clients.
  • Greater Flexibility. Finally, international fax numbers allow businesses to operate irrespective of location. Hence, companies can expand their operations in different countries without needing to invest in physical office locations. It also means employees can work fully remotely.


International fax numbers are doubtless excellent for businesses aiming for a global market. However, it has its own cons that must also be taken into account. These are:

  • Cost. International fax numbers can be more expensive to set up and maintain than local fax numbers. Additional charges may also be incurred for international calls and faxes, both for businesses and their clients.
  • Technical issues. International faxing is undoubtedly more susceptible to technical problems. Poor line quality, slow transmissions, and compatibility issues with different fax machines are more commonplace with global faxing.
  • Time zones. Other potential issues that may arise from faxing internationally are logistical challenges and delays. This can happen when trying to send or receive faxes in different time zones.
  • Security concerns. International faxes may be subject to legal scrutiny under privacy laws and regulations from the country they were sent to. As a result, it can make it more challenging to ensure the utmost security of clients’ sensitive data and information.

Local vs. Toll-Free vs. International Fax Numbers

Each fax number type has its own advantages that make them preferable and more ideal than the other. But which type is perfect for you would also greatly depend on your business needs and long-term goals. After learning about local, toll-free, and international fax numbers’ differences, here’s a quick final guide to help you decide:

  • A local fax number is your best bet if you are looking to establish a local presence in a particular community or region. It is also the cheapest option compared to toll-free and international fax numbers.
  • A toll-free fax number, meanwhile, is ideal for businesses whose target market comprises US citizens in multiple states. It is also a cost-effective option for your customers who can contact you from anywhere in the country.
  • An international fax number, finally, is the perfect investment for larger businesses that are aiming to establish a global presence. It is the costliest option among the three fax number types. Still, it is worth the investment as it means reaching more loyal customers beyond the US.

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