Anyone who signs or sends documents will be able to tell the difference between an electronic signature (or digital signature) and an ink-based one. An eSignature is a generic term for any signature transmitted electronically-whether it’s a digitally-written signature on a document or a signature generated through an electronic document signing service. Digital signatures are an electronic signature that has advanced features to ensure they remain secure and compliant.
For agreements or approvals that are not subject to strict security and compliance standards, standard eSignatures might be acceptable. Consider situations in which an HR professional must approve vacation time for an employee. For internal use, an electronic signature might be ideal.
A digital signature is necessary when dealing with sensitive processes and strict compliance standards. Digital signatures, in a basic sense, are an electronic signature subset that is more suitable for industries like legal and healthcare. Digital signatures can be audited, encrypted and have other backend tools that ensure authenticity. These digital signatures are very popular for signing contracts, tax documents, and insurance forms.
Similar to a regular signature but better
Electronic signatures have many advantages over their ink-based predecessors. They are portable, legal binding, instantaneous, and reduce the impact on the environment. They are often supported by technology that verifies the authenticity of the signature.
Instant, convenient, reliable
Electronic signatures speed up approvals and agreements, eliminating any unnecessary delays. Electronic signatures are instant and you don’t need to wait for mail or get in your car if you want to drop off documents. You can start the next step as soon as you have applied your electronic signature to a document.
Signing documents is also much easier with electronic signatures. Electronic signature solutions are portable so you can sign or request signatures anywhere you want. It’s not necessary to print, sign, scan and resubmit the document. You also don’t need a fax machine to send and receive signed documents.
You don’t need to worry about small mistakes becoming big problems, as many electronic signature systems won’t allow you to submit a document until every signature field has been filled in.
Electronic signatures are as legally binding as ink-based signatures. The E-Sign Act, which was passed by the United States in 2000, defines electronic signatures and gives them the same legal authority that an ink-based signature has. Nearly all states have adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions ACT, which authorizes electronic signatures. Only a few documents, like wills, can’t be signed electronically.
Easy on the environment
It’s not only annoying and time-consuming to scan, print and fax to create an electronic signature, it is also harmful to the environment. Your overall carbon footprint increases with every appliance you buy. Your workflow will be more efficient if you have fewer devices. Plus, you won’t require as many trees to be felled for paper used for printing hardcopy documents.
All in all, electronic signatures have come a long way and provide much more convenience, security and speed than traditional ink-based signatures. If your organization is still using wet signatures, it’s time you tried eSignatures for all the benefits.