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Electronic signatures

For greater security, ease, and customer acceptance

You have choices when it comes to choosing the method of capturing paperless approvals, authorizations, acknowledgments, and commitments. Choosing electronic handwritten signatures has clear advantages over other methods.

Are Electronic Handwritten Signatures Right for Your Business?

Going paperless is not an easy task. Rarely do you have the luxury of specifying and deploying entirely new customer-facing systems from end-to-end. You will likely need to integrate new applications or functionality into existing systems. This requires diligence in researching your options and careful planning. Once your organization has determined that you want the benefits of a paperless process, the next step is to choose a method of collecting both authorizations and declarations of intent.

For centuries, the handwritten signature, stamp, or mark with ink on paper, has been universally accepted as a legally-binding method for committing to contracts and agreements. Extending this concept to the digital world makes a lot of sense. By nature, a signature is unique, and unlike a mouse click, a signature is given deliberately, so it inherently declares intent.

An individual's signature cannot be forgotten, and if a forgery is attempted, the use of verification systems is a common practice. Laws are in place to protect the victims of forgeries. Electronic handwritten signature systems provide all of the benefits and safeguards as traditional wet ink signatures, but with much greater efficiencies.

Using handwritten signatures for purchase agreements, contracts, payment approvals, registrations, authorizations, consent, and other forms are a common practice worldwide. Acceptance and adoption of paperless technology is very high when signing with an electronic pen on a signature capture device. It is the most intuitive, natural, and familiar of all paperless methods. This means fewer disruptions in your quality of service, less training, a smoother transition, and more confidence in the new digital process.

If ink-on-paper handwritten signatures served your business or organization well in the past, but were too costly in terms of time and resources, then choosing electronic handwritten signatures will reduce your risk, satisfy your customers, and be the least disruptive to your systems and staff.

Here are some frequently asked questions about electronic handwritten signatures that you may find helpful.

A handwritten signature establishes a clear link between a written document and its author. An electronic signature is used to assign an electronic document to its originator, thereby assuring authorship. A qualified signature also safeguards a document’s authenticity (is the document actually from whom it says it is?) and integrity (has the document been changed at any time during the transmission process?).

Electronic signature is a legal term with a certain degree of legal force. Digital signature is a mathematical and technical term and is used for producing electronic signatures.

  • In most European countries, the USA, and a growing number of countries around the world, legislation is in place to encourage the rapid adoption of electronic signatures and reduce the use of antiquated paper method
  • The following acts reinforce the validity of electronic agreements.  
    • 2000 U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN)  
    • Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)  
    • European Directive (EC/1999/93)
  • For example, ESIGN states that a contract "may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its formation."

Not at all. A static image, or a photo of a signature will help make signature information more accessible, but it does not provide as many benefits as capturing the signature directly in an electronic form without printing. Document scanners use CCD sensors to read the image of a handwritten signature as color and brightness information of individual pixels. The signature is recorded as static image data only. The appearance of a signature alone is not a secure criterion, because the individual dynamic parameters of the signature are missing. Signature pads take security to the next level by analyzing the signature as it is handwritten on a sensor panel using a special pen. In addition to the appearance of the signature, they record biometric parameters such as acceleration, pressure progression and the angle of the pen while signing, thereby producing a kind of a “digital fingerprint”. This fingerprint is as individual and unique as its owner, and together with a digital certificate, is today the safest method of reading electronic signatures.

  • An individual's signature cannot be lost or stolen like a card can be
  • It is impossible to forget one's signature, unlike a PIN
  • Signatures cannot be disclosed to third parties
  • Signatures are always given deliberately, where cards and disclosed PINs may be used without consent
  • Signatures are considered suitable for authenticating declarations of intent
  • Signing with a pen is a familiar and customary process

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