A few decades ago whenever people used to imagine a world signature, they used to imagine a pen, paper and a person making his or her signature to affirm that he or she accepts whatever content is mentioned on that document.
However, in today's age signature can be imaging in different ways or categories. Three of these main categories are a wet signature, electronic signature and digital signature solutions.
Let us explore these three categories more and understand the impact these three types of signatures have on business processes.
What is a wet signature?
A wet signature or ink signature or ink-on-paper signature that is made when a person physically signs the document. Some people make ink signatures by writing their own name or initials or their full name in stylized or cursive format, while some people or organisations use name sales. In both cases, the signatures are called wet signatures. These signatures take time to dry, need to be done face to face to affirm that the signature is done by the right person in all consent.
When Should You Use a Wet Signature?
The UN and the US passed laws validating the use of electronic signatures in the national and international trades. Even the healthcare sector is allowed to use esignature solutions to cater to its clients/patients better.
However, there are a few organizations which still prefer wet signatures when it comes to certain types of transactions or agreements. These organizations prefer to take extra regulations manually than relying on esignature software features. Companies or businesses which deal with critical transactions like issuing loans for purchasing goods and services prefer to use ink signatures.
Let us understand the pros and cons of wet signatures?
When there is a signature on a document, it affirms that the person who has signed it agrees with the content and terms and conditions mentioned in the document and he or she approves it. The signature is proof that there is an agreement between the involved parties. One of the advantages of using wet signatures is that everyone has to be present to witness the shining process. Usually before signing the document maker read all the terms and conditions mentioned in the document to every concerned party which insurance that all the parties you are going to sign the agreement are on the same page and their doubts are cleared. An additional electronic signature can create a sense of detachment between the parties which does not happen in wet signatures. It provides an opportunity to connect with every e involved party and create a bond or business contact which can last longer. In short, wet signatures put a face to the signatures.
However, similar to the advantages there are some drawbacks of entering a contract through wet signatures.
Making, handling and storing paper documents can be a costly affair for any business or non-business organisation. Creating, storing and sharing documents costs a considerable amount especially if you think of it in the long term. Some businesses spend thousands of dollars on maintaining these documents.
Plus processing a paper document takes more time. Electronic signatures are given equal validation and legal backing as wet signatures under the E-Sign Act, 2000. Hence, rather than processing paper documents, dealing with digital documents would be easier.
What is an electronic signature?
The United Nations published UNCINTRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce to build the way for the development and making of more laws which can administer the use of electronic signatures. In 200, the U.S. passed the E-Sign Act validating that the electronic signatures can be used for both national and international commerce.
Additionally, retrieving information from a digital document is easier than digging piles of files for a necessary paper document in -time. No wonder smart businesses and organizations allow staff to leverage Digital Signature Solutions to securely store and organize documents online. There are multiple legal definitions of electronic signatures that are used to approve a message, document or file. Here are some examples:
Scan or a digitally captured image of a handwritten signature.
Checking a box where “agree” or “I don’t agree” is written.
A name typed on an electronic/digital document/file/agreement/form.
Drawing a signature on a mobile device using a stylus of fingers.
A photograph of a signature that is made physically (handwritten).
A name typed as an email signature.
A PIN that we mention in the ATM.
Ticking a box where “terms and conditions” of the contract are mentioned.
Let us understand the impact esignature solutions have on the transaction/process, especially if you are leveraging eSignature Solution for banking or legal activities.
In terms of secure electronic signatures are the best. They eradicate the risk of fraudulent activities and mishappenings like loss of documents, change in the content, forgery, risk of a signature by a wrong party, etc. If you're using a reliable digital signature in banking, your documents/forms are safe and have legal backing too.
2. More Efficient Workflow:
Bottlenecks are eliminated which help in an efficient workflow. Parties involved in the agreement no longer have to print, sign and scan documents which reduces the waiting period and the cost that has to be spent on stationary. Efficient Digital Signature Solutions send reminders to the concerned parties and keep an audit trail to track the progress and ensure the flow is smooth and timely.
3. Accessibility & cost-effectiveness
Electronic signatures can be accessed remotely irrespective of the time, and geographical location and hence, it is perfect for the modern age agreements. Plus digital solutions are budget-friendly as the organization and individual does not have to spend money on both days filing a recovering and retrieval of the data.
4. Easier Compliance:
Electronic signatures facilitate the process that is in adherence with the state, federal and international laws and regulations. Your documents meet global standards. Plus, digital signature software allows easy access to the documents from any place at any time. This access is available to the concerns parties only for the safety of the document.
What does a digital signature mean?
Digital signatures which are also known as cryptographic signatures are the most secured form of electronic signatures. Digital signatures include certificate authority. These signatures are more reliable especially in the sector's where crucial data is shared and maintained. These signatures allow everybody to track the progress of the document and signature. Involved parties can find out if the electronically signed document is forged or changed.
Here, electronic documents are encrypted with the private key and can be verified only by those who have access to the public encryption key of the message sender. Which means, both the sender and receiver are exactly who they claim to be, and hence, reliable.
Though the terms 'electronic signatures' and 'digital signatures' are used interchangeably, digital signatures offer more security options than electronic signatures. Digital signatures are commonly used in online tax forms, application for business approvals, and college applications.
The digital signature solution is accepted across the globe and is considered legal in many countries including European Union members, United States and Saudi Arabia. In many sectors, a digital signature is a legally accepted alternative to the wet signatures/official seals. Digital signatures are enough to authenticate the documents/message.
Digital signature solutions are used by many government agencies. Online Signature Pricing is also very less (especially in the long run) hence, the use of digital signatures in banking is also popular.
How Digital Signature Solutions Process?
There are overall three algorithms that are involved in the digital signature process:
Key generation – A private key along with a correspondent public key is generated.
Signing – A signature and the message is received using this private key, with the help of the algorithm.
Verification – the algorithm also checks the authenticity of the message.
Digital signature solutions use asymmetric cryptography methods which help in preventing common attacks.
Read the blog- 5 Ways E-Signature Software Helps the Banking Sector in 2020
Why Choose a Digital Signature Solution?
Apart from maintaining the workflow and providing security against the forgery and other mishappenings, the use of digital signature offers validation benefits too. Plus, it plays an important role in building positive customer relations.
Every progress with the document is tracked, hence, the parties involved in the process now if anything goes wrong with the process/document/signature.
The signature will be considered invalid if the digitally signed content is altered, etc.
In today's age, where almost every sector is dominated by technology and the way we operate and function has evolved, we must sign and process documents in a modern way. To keep up with the pace of the world, and to survive in the competitive market, signature solutions can be of great help.
A few decades ago, everything used to be done manually, then came industrialization and now is the time of digitization of the world where everything operates in 0s and1s format.
Business, government agencies, educational institutions, even banking sectors are opening up to the use of digital signatures for the list of attractive benefits they offer.