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The convenience of electronic signatures

Remember when it was necessary to print out, sign, upload, and then send paperwork that needed to be signed? This process wasted a great deal of time, especially in business transactions.

In the world of global and interstate commerce, where time is money, a solution was needed to speed up this process. Rather than spending time physically signing a document, it is much more efficient to use software applications that will allow businesses and clients to sign legally binding documents without wasting necessary time.

E-Signature Act of 2000

The E-Signature Act of 2000 recognised the electronic signature as a viable form of verification for documents. Under this act, the electronic signature was recognised as legally binding verification. It also allowed electronic signatures to be used for both interstate and international commerce, as well as setting specific guidelines for the use of electronic signatures.

The institution with which the client is working must provide minimum guidelines for hardware and software requirements and also make paper copies of the document available upon demand. Finally, the act set requirements for the timing of electronic signature delivery, as well as requirements for the storing of the electronic information.

What can’t electronic signatures be used for?

After the passing of the E-sign Act of 2000, electronic signatures are valid for almost anything. The only exceptions to acceptability include Wills, promissory notes, large financial transactions and any documents that require notarisation.
In all other cases, provided the document is signed by the individual, and the individual has the intent to sign the document, it is legally binding.
This binding legalisation has been recognised by both federal and state laws.

Electronic signature software applications

With the increase in popularity of electronic signing occurring across the globe, many software applications have been created especially for this purpose. By having the necessary hardware and software requirements, an individual is now able to sign documents in their own writing.
Some software applications allow for documents to be signed with an electronic stylus. Others allow a unique signature to be uploaded once, and then individuals can use this signature on any of their documents.

The use of these applications which allow unique signatures has allowed the popularity of electronic signing to grow even more.

Electronic signatures versus digital signatures

The only disadvantage of electronic signatures is the difficulty of verification. Because electronic signatures do not have a standard format, they can be symbols, voiceprints or other forms of verification, and they must be verified before they are legally binding.

However, digital signatures are a more complex form of electronic signature. Digital signatures are created using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology. PKI technology provides verification of the electronic signature. It also protects the signature, ensuring that it is not altered or tampered with in any way.

The use of electronic signatures in business saves both time and money, while still providing a way for businesses and their clients to have legally binding documents. The E-sign Act of 2000 outlines requirements for the use of electronic signatures, and electronic signature applications increase the possibility of unique, customisable signatures.