As anyone who has tried to sign an electronic document would know, there is a bewildering array of options for online signatures. Whether you’re using a mouse, a stylus, or your finger, there are various ways to create a signature that will be legally binding. However, not all online signatures are created equal. Here are many examples of electronic signatures and how they work.
For businesses, it’s important to understand the different types of signatures and when each should be used. As a result, legal operations can run more smoothly and efficiently.
What is an Electronic Signature?
An electronic signature, also known as an e-signature, is a technical term for electronic data that indicates the intention of a person or organization to sign contracts online or other documents.
Although there are slight variations, electronic and digital signatures both serve the same purpose: to identify the signer and to ensure that the document has not been altered. The main difference between these two types of signatures is how they are created.
An electronic signature can be easily created by typing your name into an email or web form, while a digital signature requires more complex software and technical expertise. If you need to create a legally binding document, it’s best to use a digital signature for authentication. However, for most everyday transactions, an electronic signature will suffice.
Electronic Signature Examples: Types of E-Signatures
When it comes to e-signatures, there are different types: electronic, wet, digital, and clickwrap. Each kind has its use cases worth exploring to enhance legal operations.
Basic Electronic Signature Examples
There are three main categories of electronic signatures: simple, advanced, and qualified. This regulation is based on the legal framework outlined in the 2016 Electronic Identification, Authentication, and Trust Services Regulation (eIDAS regulation).
Simple Electronic Signature (SES)
Simple electronic signatures are one of the types of electronic signatures that don’t require identity verification for signers. In many cases, a simple e-signature can be considered binding, but sometimes a higher level of verification and security is needed.
SES can be used for various purposes, such as signing online documents or creating digital signatures. There are many advantages to using SES, such as convenience and cost-effectiveness. These qualities make this signature a useful tool for many business contracts.
Advanced Electronic Signature (AES)
Advanced electronic signatures are based on a “unique identifier” linked to the signatory’s identity, such as a digital certificate. This unique identifier can be in the form of a digital certificate or a secure online identification method.
AES are different from traditional signatures in that they can be used to verify the signatory’s identity and ensure that the document has not been altered. In addition, AES can be used to track when and where a document was signed. As a result, AES provide a higher level of security and accountability than traditional signatures.
Qualified Electronic Signature (QES)
Qualified electronic signatures are based on a qualified certificate and are more secure than simple or advanced signatures. To create a qualified electronic signature, the signatory must use a designated device containing the signatory’s qualified certificate. This device is then used to generate a digital signature attached to the document.
The digital signature can be verified using the signatory’s public key, which is contained in the qualified certificate. Qualified electronic signatures offer high security and are often used for legal or financial documents.
When to Use an Electronic Signature
When conducting business online, several important documents must be signed. In the past, this required printing out the legal document, signing it with a physical signature, and then scanning or faxing it back. However, this process has become much simpler with the advent of electronic and digital signatures.
An electronic signature is a digital version of a physical signature that can be used to sign an electronic document. Because they are easy to use and quick to process, e-signatures are often the preferred method for signing documents remotely. Digital signatures can be a convenient and secure way to conduct business online when used correctly.
How to Create an Electronic Signature
There are many situations where you might need to create an electronic signature. For instance, you might need to sign a contract online, manage other legal documents, or fill out an online form. Fortunately, creating an electronic signature on Signaturely is quick and easy. In most cases, you only need a computer with an internet connection and a web browser.
- Create an account on Signaturely.
- Navigate to the signing page.
- Create a handwritten, typed, or uploaded signature.
- This signature is stored in your account for easy access to secure signing.
Wet Signature Example
A wet signature is a physical signature typically created with a pen on paper. In electronic signatures, a wet signature may be made by printing out a document and signing it with a pen or using a digital pen to sign a digital document.
When to Use a Wet Signature
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to forget that there are still situations where a wet signature may be required. While a digital signature is legally binding in most cases, there are some exceptions where a wet signature may be necessary. For example, you must usually sign a physical contract to complete the transaction when buying or selling property. The same is true for wills, trusts, and certain loan agreements. Because of the wet signature’s varied use cases, it’s important to understand when and how to create one.
How to Create a Wet Signature
A digital or electronic signature is a coded entry that identifies the signer and verifies that the document hasn’t been altered. You can use a wet signature—an original, handwritten signature to create a digital or electronic signature. You can then use this wet signature to sign documents electronically. Here’s how:
- With a pen, sign your name on a blank piece of paper. Ensure your pen produces dark ink, so your signature is easy to scan.
- Scan the document into your computer using a scanner or app. Save the document as a PDF.
- Upload your signature to your eSign tool to use in future agreements.
Digital Signature Example
A digital signature is an electronic version of traditional handwritten signatures that can be used to sign contracts, documents, and other agreements. Unlike a handwritten signature, a digital signature is unique to the individual and cannot be replicated.
Digital signatures use a public key infrastructure (PKI). This PKI will generate a pair of public and private keys corresponding to the level of access users have. The individual uses their private key to create a digital signature when signing a document. This signature can then be verified by anyone who has the individual’s public key. As a result, digital signatures provide a convenient and secure way to sign contracts and other agreements.
When to Use a Digital Signature
A digital signature is a secure way to verify your identity and protect your documents from tampering. When you need to sign a document electronically, you can use a digital signature to add a layer of security. There are a couple of key scenarios in which you might need a digital signature:
- When sending a sensitive document, such as a contract or financial statement, you can use a digital signature to ensure that the document hasn’t been tampered with.
- If you’re working on a team project, you can use a digital signature to sign off on your portion of the work. This way, everyone knows that the work is authentic and can be trusted.
- When filling out an online form, you can use a digital signature to ensure that your information is safe and secure. This is especially important for sensitive records, such as tax or medical forms.
How to Create a Digital Signature
A digital signature is a convenient and secure way to sign documents electronically. When you need to sign a document, you can simply create a digital signature and affix it to the legal agreement. To create a digital signature:
- Access your eSign tool.
- Once you log in, you can create a digital signature by entering your name and other identifying information.
- Once you have created the signature, you can save it to your computer or print it out.
- When you are ready to sign a document, open the document and click on the place where you want to insert the signature. The software will then insert the signature into the document, which you can then save and send electronically.
Clickwrap Signature Example
Clickwrap is a type of electronic contract formed when a user takes some action on a website, signifying their agreement to the website’s terms and conditions. This can be done in various ways but is typically accomplished by clicking a button or checking a box labeled “I Agree” before using the site’s services. The clickwrap agreement may also be presented as a pop-up window to which the user must agree before proceeding.
While clickwrap agreements are generally enforceable in court, there are some circumstances under which they may not be considered valid, such as if the terms are unfair or if the user was not given sufficient notice of the agreement. For these reasons, business websites must ensure that their clickwrap agreements are clearly and prominently displayed.
When to Use Clickwrap
In general, a clickwrap agreement is used when an individual is agreeing with a company, such as downloading software or agreeing to terms of service. In contrast, an e-signature may be used in various situations, including signing a contract, document, or application.
Unlike a clickwrap agreement, typically presented in a pop-up window or separate webpage, an electronic signature is generally embedded within the document. An electronic signature is often used when both parties to the agreement are individuals instead of one individual and a company.
Clickwrap agreements are simple, encrypted, and easy for customers to agree to. They’re also enforceable and legally binding. As a result, clickwrap agreements can add significant convenience for companies to enter into contracts at scale.
What Electronic Signatures Are Used For
Electronic signatures have become increasingly common in recent years as businesses have sought to take advantage of their speed and convenience. There are many different contexts in which electronic signatures can be used, but some of the most common include real estate, sales, and logistics. In each case, electronic signatures can save time and money by streamlining the process and reducing the need for paper documents.
In addition, electronic signatures are frequently used in various business contexts, from employee onboarding to customer contracts and vendor agreements. Generally, they provide a convenient and secure way to confirm that all parties involved have received and agreed to a document.
Electronic signatures can help speed up business processes and improve security and compliance when used correctly. In addition, they can be used to sign documents remotely, which can be particularly helpful in the current climate. As such, it is clear that electronic signatures play an important role in modern business.
Benefits of Using an Electronic Signature
The use of e-signatures has become increasingly prevalent in recent years as businesses have recognized the numerous benefits they offer. Perhaps most importantly, e-signatures can help to streamline processes and scale legal operations.
There are many benefits to using an e-signature compared to the traditional paper-based signatures method. One of the most salient benefits of using e-signatures is the time savings associated with it. With an e-signature, there is no need to print out the document, have each party sign it, and scan it back in. This can all be done electronically, which saves a significant amount of time and is especially beneficial when dealing with remote parties.
Ease of Use
These days, more and more businesses are using e-signatures to streamline their operations. And it’s no wonder e-signatures are fast, convenient, and secure. Perhaps best of all, they’re easy to use. All you need is a computer or mobile device with an internet connection.
E-signatures are a convenient way to track progress on a document or form. Using an e-signature, you can track who has reviewed and signed it. This feature can be especially useful when multiple people are involved in the review process.
Electronic Signature Legality
In the United States, electronic signatures are just as legally binding as traditional signatures. The Federal ESIGN Act of 2000 declared that e-signatures could be used to form valid contracts and agreements. State laws also generally recognize the legal validity of e-signatures. However, some types of documents still require a traditional signature. For example, wills and trusts typically must be signed in ink in the presence of witnesses.
Other documents that may not be suitable for electronic signatures include powers of attorney, government forms, and court documents. In general, however, electronic signatures are a legal and convenient way to sign documents.
FAQs About Electronic Signatures
There are a few top FAQs when it comes to electronic signatures:
An e-signature is any digital mark that indicates acceptance of an agreement or contract. This could include a typed name, initials, or even a simple checkmark. It will be legally binding as long as it is reasonably certain that the person made the signature it purports to represent and that person intended to sign the document.
There are various ways to create an electronic signature, but the most common method is to use a stylus or finger to draw your signature on a touch screen. You can also craft an e-signature by typing your name into a document or using a secure signature creation device.
What You Need to Remember About Electronic Signature Examples
Electronic signatures provide many benefits for both the signer and the document recipient when used correctly. Because they are legally binding, it’s important to use an electronic signature that is appropriate for your situation and conforms to applicable laws. If you’re looking for a reliable way to execute contracts and other agreements securely and quickly, understanding electronic signatures can go a long way.