Digital Signature Solutions or which are also known as electronic signatures or an esignature solution is one of the trending concepts in today's world. And why not?
There are many benefits to using document signing software. Event organization, profit or non-profit wishes to perform its operations seamlessly. It wants to interact with people as effortlessly as possible without incurring the extra cost or compromising productivity.
One of the reasons why an app for signing documents is gaining more popularity is because of the present pandemic too. The global spread of Coronavirus has forced every human being to conduct contactless transactions. People want to connect to the external world and perform all the daily activities, but without coming in direct contact with other human beings.
This is where digital solutions like electronic signatures are finding an opportunity to impact the world. And rightly so. If the business wishes to offer its customers all the safety and comfort they demand, the business has to make the customers feel comfortable and happy by saving their time and serving them with maximum speed and accuracy.
An e-signature solution is available in the market in two forms. A paid version to which the user has to subscribe in order to use it and the free version is open to every person. Both versions are used to make electronic signatures on the electronic documents. While the free version might not allow you to go beyond signing a document, paid or a subscribed version will let you draft multiple documents add multiple recipients to each, send the respective document to the added parties in a click, tracking every document, sending reminders to the parties, saving these document safely, managing every document's accessibility, etc. Online Signature Pricing for solutions may differ as per the vendor. However, in the long run, electronic signature solutions turn out to be more cost-effective than traditional signatures.
Below, let us try to understand the features and benefits of electronic signatures.
An electronic signature, popularly known as a signature is used by a person to denote that he has accepted the terms & conditions mentioned in the document/form/contract/agreement/record and has his consent to it. He shows his consent by electronically signing the document. This means electronic signatures are nothing but an electronic equivalent of wet signatures or handwritten signatures.
Many countries across the world such as India, the United States, Brazil, the European Union, Australia, etc. legally accept the use of electronic signatures. These countries consider that the value or legal weight of e-signatures and traditional signatures are equal. Any document or agreement signed using this form of signature will be considered authenticated provided other legal requirements are met too. In short, no document will be considered invalid just because it is signed electronically.
A document signing software is easy and simple to use. Rather it has to be this way only. In case the vendor you are associating with is claiming that such solutions are complicated to use or demand training on the user's part. The vendor is not right for you, and neither is his solution. With the right e-signature solution customers should be able to sign documents online by:
Ticking the right box.
Using the screen of the device to make signatures with a stylus or finger.
In the paid version of an advanced electronic signature solution, one can give consent with a sound too.
This means a user can sign a document from any device, at any time from anywhere in any of the ways approved by the law of the land and offered by the solution.
As far as the laws governing electronic signatures are concerned, they vary across the countries and vendors too. Hence, to ensure the security of data, customers have to ask the vendors about their security system used in the solution.
Paid Digital Signature Solutions use one kind of cryptographic transformation for data to let the recipients prove the origin of the document and protect the validity of data and its integrity. Here, security measures are high end as these signatures hold user verification data collected via digital certificates, even biometric or smart cards.
Read the blog- How to Pick the Best Software for e-Signatures in 2021
An Esingature solution is perfect for every documentation and signature process (except notarization). Here, every document and the day can be dealt with safely.
However, if a business is not interested in buying or subscribing to a paid electronic signature solution, and ready to let go of advanced features, it can go for free digital signatures software that offers the basics of the signature solution.
Let us see what a business can get in a paid app for signing documents & what it will miss in the free version.
Let us understand the difference between free and paid digital signatures?
As far as free digital signatures are concerned, they can be digital versions or downloaded applications on the computer. A free electronic signature is a stripped-down e signature. It does not come with any safety or validity or verification of the identity of the signer. Users can choose a signature type, don't or size or even can upload an image of the written signature. But sometimes, in free versions of electronic signature solutions, a watermark can come along with a signature. This watermark belongs to the brand which has produced the solution and it can be removed only if the user decides to use the upgraded or paid version.
In the case of a paid e-signature solution, it is easy to clarify that the right signer has signed the document. Here, every document is legally bound. The identity of the signatory is authenticated with the help of a reliable electronic identity (eID) verification technology. In the paid version, the signed document gets encrypted along with a time stamp. Users can handle multiple documents at the same time.
How secure are free digital signatures?
Whenever it comes to using a free application or installing free software into computing devices, security is always a concern. If you are using a free e-signsture solution, you have to think about the safety of the whole signature process and documentation activities.
You need to check if the digital signature solution is in compliance with the laws of the land. If you are a healthcare business, the solution must have HIPAA approval. You also need to check if the solution is offering you tamper-proof services.
One thing to remember is that when it comes to electronic signatures, the harder part is not about the technicalities of the solution but about the legality of the solution. When high-value transactions take place, all the parties and the court (in case)must be assured that the electronic signature solution has let the right signer sign the right document. Free signatures usually fail to validate the signers.
When a vendor says that the solution is free, it is hardly free:
Most of the time, free signature solutions turn out to be a test version or a free demo for a few days. If it is a free demo, the validity will expire in a few days or months, depending upon the offer. If you still wish to use the service post expiry, you will have to pay for the chosen plan.
However, if it is not a demo and the vendor is certainly offering a free version for use, you need to check the data and security policies. Such vendors do it free of cost to collect valuable data.
Can you verify signers' identities with a free electronic signature app?
One of the biggest differences between three digital signature solutions and a paid version is the ability to verify the signer's identity. The free version does not allow users to authenticate that the right signer has signed the right document.
No user authentication system means any person can sign up.to the solution using a fake identity and sign the document. While paid solutions use encryption to connect the signer to the signature. Here, the user can trail back to the signature to find out if the right person has made it. Just like in the traditional signature process, each sober has a unique signature, here also the signer is connected to the document through a unique digital identity. With such advanced technology in place, no party has to meet face to face and still, signatures can be made without worrying about security and verification issues.
Here are some of the tools offered by paid document signing software:
Team Management Tools
These tools will enable you:
Give admin rights.
Manage access controls.
You can integrate a paid e-signature solution with other applications or business management systems through APIs.
In The Cloud
In today's world, the cloud is everything. Using the cloud will save your device space. No need to invest in storage infrastructure to save huge data. Everything users do is stored securely and can be accessed easily.
Various Template At Service
Usually, paid Digital Signature Solutions to come with in-built templates that are readily available for users. Using these templates, users can create documents, text fields, etc.
Apart from the above features, users can also expect the following features while using paid digital signatures solutions:
In-person signing through tablets or other devices.
Manage bulk signatures
Send a customised signing invitation.
Easy export and import of data.
Manage user profile.
A perfect e-signature solution has everything tinkerer to small, medium and large scale businesses.