What is an eSignature?
An electronic signature or ‘eSignature’ is the digital equivalent of a wet ink signature. An eSignature is usually created in one of four ways:
scanning a wet-ink signature, cropping and saving it for digital insertion;
using a stylus, Apple Pencil, Surface Pencil, finger etc to sign a digital version of a wet-ink signature directly onto a touch screen;
when none of the above are available, by the user typing or selecting a pre-defined or custom-typed ‘signature’;
using a ‘digital signature’.
Digital signatures use algorithms to generate a unique digital fingerprint (also known as a “hash”), and are linked to the identity of a person (or business).
Why use eSignatures?
eSignatures have the potential to improve efficiency, reduce cost and – importantly – lower your carbon footprint by significant reducing paper use. They also enable faster turnaround time for execution of important internal and external documents, and improve compliance and document management through traceability.
The efficiency gains and cost-savings including significantly reducing – even potentially eliminating – printing and scanning at both the beginning (emailing or posting documents for signature) and the end (scanning documents for electronic retention and paper archiving).
Are eSignatures reliable?
If you use a reputable software vendor, yes!
We currently prefer to use Adobe SignTM for all of our paperless transactions using eSignatures.
We love this platform for reasons including: third parties may sign documents without creating a user account; there is an easy-to-use mobile app, which can be used to capture eSignatures in-person (such as at property auctions); and Adobe has published a series of easy to follow tutorials for signers. In addition:
signatures are linked to the signer via information including an email address and an IP address.
a full audit trail attaches to each document, capturing everything that has happened to the documents by time and date.
it is possible to click to validate signatures by click-through;
it is not possible to change the contents of an agreement after it has signed, without detection,
the final, signed version of each document is certified by Adobe