Are Esignatures A Safe And Legal Way To Do Business Online?

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You can send an esignature from anywhere—home, office, or while traveling, and you can send it to anywhere—across your town or across a continent.

Definition

An esignature is an electronic signature on a virtual document, and it is as binding as a written signature on paper. Like a written signature, an esignature authenticates the identity of a document signer or message sender.

Before the Internet, documents had to be either faxed or mailed, which was a comparatively labor-intensive and time-consuming process. Now it takes less than a minute and a few taps and clicks to upload a document from a computer to an email account and hit the “send” button.

Moreover, an esignature cannot be disputed. Since it is automatically time-stamped and electronically verified as transmitted, a sender cannot later claim the signature is a human error or a forgery.

Misconceptions

An esignature is sometimes confused with digital signatures. An esignature is synonymous with a digital signature but the too are different kinds of authentication.

An esignature is also sometimes confused with a digital certificate. The two are unrelated. An esignature is an electronic signature while a digital certificate that has the digital signature of the authority who issued a certificate to verify that it is a genuine one.

Used Globally

People around the world use digital signatures for transactions, contracts, agreements, loans, leases, forms, and orders. They are used for any personal or business transactions that need to be legally signed.

Benefits

  1. An esignature has 10 advantages over a written signature:
  2. It saves paper. There is no need to print, file, fax, or mail it.
  3. It saves costs. It is delivered across the Internet free.
  4. It is instant. It takes only few seconds or at most a few minutes to go from sender to receiver.
  5. It can be sent from any computing or mobile device that has an Internet connection.
  6. It can be made tamper-proof because it is digitally encrypted during transmission.
  7. It is traceable because it leaves an audit trail.
  8. It is irrefutable and the sender cannot deny signing at a later date.
  9. It cannot be intercepted or stolen.
  10. It is legally binding all over the world.

Legislation

A digital signature is recognized around the world as a legal document, although different countries have different legislation to ratify it.

For example:

  • –In the United States (USA), it is the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA, 1999). And the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN, 2000)
  • –In the United Kingdom (UK) it is the UK Electronic Communication Act
  • –In the European Union (EU), it is the European Directive 1999/93/EC of 13 December 1999, where it is ratified by 30 European nations, including Croatia, Turkey and Liechtenstein.

Almost every country in the world has adopted measures to make electronic signatures legal.

Conclusion

An esignature can be used in any kind of document or message and it does not matter whether or not it is encrypted. It not only works easily and effortlessly for any official transaction, but it’s also a safe, speedy, secure, and an acceptable way to do business everywhere on the globe. Once a document is signed electronically, it can be sent across the Internet in a few minutes.

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