We’ve all been there: asked to print, sign, and re-scan a document. It’s a hassle. But is it necessary? Increasingly businesses, legal services, medical offices and some official government processes are moving to electronic signatures: a way to quickly authenticate a document with a unique mark, no paper and pen required. While they’re increasingly common, however, there are still a few myths hanging around about the practice. Let’s bust them—and look at electronic signatures’ many benefits.
What are electronic signatures?
They’re an encoded signature to an electronic document, usually offered through a software like that provided by PRUVID. An electronic signature collects data to confirm the identity of the person signing and marks the legal intent to sign a document. It doesn’t matter if the signature is a checked box, a drawn signature, or a typed one.
Are electronic signatures legally binding?
In most cases, yes. Ever since the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN), enacted by Congress in 2000, courts have continually upheld the validity of agreements and contracts completed this way. As long as you’re using an e-signature vendor that complies with all UETA and ESIGN Act guidelines, you’re in the clear.
Aren’t e-signatures less secure?
No. This is a common myth — electronic signatures are actually harder to alter than a paper contract, for multiple reasons. For one thing, electronic signatures are automatically accompanied by verified data identifying the signer: public IP address, operating system, geolocation and method of identity verification. This metadata is stored in a document’s audit trail, which can be used to prove the validity of any electronic signature.
Electronic signature providers are also able to keep track of alterations, creating a digital paper trail on who opened the document, who signed it, when they did so, and on what device. That makes it easier to see at a glance whether signatures have been changed without permission, altering the contract. After signing, many services lock the document and store them on their servers—and if anything in the proposal is edited, all parties are notified and their signatures are removed.
On top of that, most electronic signature companies offer two-factor authentication and triple encryption on their servers.
Can you have multiple people sign off on a document? What about countersigning?
You can do both—in fact, it’s easier, because a digital document can fit as many slots for signatures as you need.
What are some of the other benefits of electronic signatures?
Aside from security, electronic signatures are significantly more convenient. In a globalized business environment, even local outfits have to deal with a constellation of different partners, suppliers and customers across the world. Clients across various countries can easily sign the same contract in a matter of minutes, rather than sending paperwork back and forth through the mail. As a result, time-sensitive contracts can be turned around much faster, without unnecessary delays. And that convenience helps grease the wheels of a deal: one industry study found that proposals with electronic signatures are 3.4 times more likely to close, and do so 32% faster.
Plus, they’re cheaper. You save on paper, postage, envelopes and other mailing supplies, which adds up very fast.
When it comes to making sure everyone’s on the same page—and agreeing to the same contract—electronic signatures are hard to beat. Freelancers can use them to get paid faster, and sales teams find that they increase the amount of deals made. They’re safe, secure and legal, and increase contract speeds for lower costs. All it takes is a few clicks of a mouse, and you’ll never have to wrestle with document mailers again.
PRUVID is a leading provider of e-signature and identity verification software. Our cutting-edge program allows businesses in the real estate industry, entertainment industry, legal industry, and other industries to self-authenticate, secure, and export information with a 98% accuracy rate. To learn more about our software, contact one of our representatives today.