What is an E-Signature?

What is a e-signature

You’ve probably heard the term “electronic signature,” but not everyone knows what it means. 

Even if you haven’t heard of it before, you may have already encountered this, for example, while putting an e- signature in a bank. 

Traditionally online documents are signed in the same way as paper documents. Signatures are either scanned or drawn on the screen with the mouse or touch screen. 

In your regular working day, contracts, agreements, and other paperworks that require filling and signature take most of your day.

Today companies and professionals often use electronic signatures to save time and reduce costs, as electronic documents are sent to customers much faster. Besides, ease of use is also an advantage, the difficulty of faxing, scanning, and returning signed documents often frustrates clients. That’s where Clustdoc’s safe and user-friendly document-sharing platform comes in. 

Among other features, the software’s legally binding e-signature feature will help you wow your clients. If you were on the fence regarding e-signatures, here are some critical insights that will convince you to reconsider.

In this article, I will provide you with a detailed explanation of what an e-signature is and how it works.

What Are E-Signatures Used for ?

An electronic signature is a feature of an electronic document that verifies the author’s identity and corrects any changes made after signing. An e-signature can be effectively equivalent to a handwritten signature, depending on its kind, and confer a legal obligation to the files.

Electronic signatures are legally binding, valid, and enforceable for business and personal transactions in almost every country in the world. However, it is crucial to understand the various types of e-signatures and their usage.

Different Types of E-Signatures

E-signature

Simple or Basic electronic signature (SES)

A simple e-signature verifies that an electronic document was created by a specific individual using codes and passwords, giving legal validity to the document. A simple electronic signature is a login and password combination used to provide authorization on a website, obtain access to email, and make online payments. It is necessary to identify the user, and the input code must meet certain conditions depending on the severity of the action. Simple electronic signatures aren’t legally enforceable.

Advanced electronic or digital signature (AES)

An advanced electronic signature is generated by encrypting a document with cryptographic methods and allowing the user to identify the person who signed it. It also verifies that the document is not altered after signing. Electronic trading and document transfer between counterparties are two areas where advanced e-signature is commonly employed. It is better suited to individuals rather than legal entities.

Qualified advanced electronic or digital signature (QES)

Cryptographic encryption tools are used to establish a certified advanced digital signature. It has the same features as an unqualified e-signature. However, only an authorized certification institution can issue it. A certified electronic signature verification certificate is issued to the author of the signature. Along with a paper-signed document, a qualified e-signature has a legal meaning. It can provide dependable data security against unauthorized access; the owner controls the level of data secrecy. Even if the key expires, the data will remain safe.

Clustdoc’s Online Electronic Signature Software

Clustdoc provides two types of e-signatures following eIDAS requirements : Simple Electronic Signatures and Digital signature (AES).

Here, the following table describes the Clustdoc eSignatures module : 

What Are the Benefits of E-Signatures ?

For individuals: digital signature provides remote interaction with government, educational, medical and other information systems via the Internet. 

For legal entities: an electronic signature gives admission to participation in electronic trading, allows the organization to have a legally significant electronic document flow (EDF) and the submission of electronic reporting to the regulatory authorities. 

Clustdoc offers you several e-signature opportunities and for different users. You can create e-signing workflows allowing you to have multiple people sign your documents in one go. With Clustdoc, your clients can easily access the documents and sign using their phones in their own time. 

How Does a Digital Signature Work?

Digital signatures are unique for each person. Digital signature providers use a special protocol called PKI, which requires use of a mathematical algorithm to generate two numbers called keys. One key is public and the other is private.

When a person electronically signs a document, the signature is made with the signer’s private key, which is kept safe by the signatory. Data related to the signed document is generated and encrypted using a mathematical process. This encrypted data is used to create the digital signature. The e-signature includes a timestamp. The e-signature becomes invalid if the document is altered after it has been signed.

Find the Right Tool to Create an E-Signature

You can create a simple electronic signature with the help of software and apps:

  • Clustdoc e-signature solution
  • Microsoft Office
  • Preview on Mac
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Google Drive
  • PandaDoc API
  • HelloSign
  • DocuSign

Legal entities and individuals can get advanced electronic signatures from certification centers or even with the help of experienced programmers.

Only an accredited certification center can issue qualified advanced digital signatures. To apply to an accredited certification center, you will have to collect a package of documents of the organization and documents proving the owner’s identity.

Where Can You Use an E-Signature?

You can use e-signature nearly everywhere:

  • For remote submission of documents. An electronic signature is used in systems of external and internal electronic exchange of information.
  • For public services portal. Individuals can do some operations online and put an electronic signature instead of going to state structures and waiting there in queues.
  • For electronic auctions. Many online marketplaces offer electronic trading. You can register on such a website and use its capabilities only if you have an electronic signature.

To sum up, e-signature is used nearly in all areas and facilitates many business processes. E-signature also saves the time it takes to send documents, sign and return them. As there are different types of e-signature, choosing the one suitable for you depends on the business you deploy.

Say Hello to New eSignature + Signing workflows with Clustdoc

Our new signing workflows feature allows you to :

  • automatically collect legal signatures from clients and your management for each new process
  • remove the verification code and decide if they should receive the signed document or not.
Clustdoc E-Signature feature

Discover the new eSignature experience that Clustdoc provides in its application.

To learn more about Clustdoc’s e-signature read our article on 5 Online Electronic Signature Tools That Will Have You Signing That Dotted Line In Seconds

And don’t forget — Clustdoc can help you save a ton of time every single week by optimizing client onboarding, document collection, and payments. 

Start using it today and enjoy our 7 days free trial !