Wet Signature vs Electronic Signature

Wet Signature vs Electronic Signature

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In today’s digital landscape, signing documents electronically has become increasingly popular. However, many people remain unsure about the differences between a traditional “wet” signature and an electronic signature. 

Here’s a breakdown of the two types of signatures and their differences. 

What is a wet signature?

A wet signature is a term used to describe the traditional process of signing a physical paper document using a pen (wet ink.) Signing in this way signifies a persons’ agreement to the contents of a document and enters them into a binding contract. 

The rise of electronic signatures however means that today, the majority of contracts or agreements no longer require a wet signature and can instead be concluded electronically using eSigning software. 

Implementing eSignatures not only reduces the physically demanding nature of wet signatures, but can also help to cut printing and postage costs, as well as reduce your carbon footprint. A win win!

When is a wet signature still required? 

Despite eSignatures being recognised globally, there are some instances where a wet signature is still mandatory to meet legal signature requirements in the UK.

Certain documents pertaining to wills, deeds and lasting powers of attorney for example, must still be signed using a physical piece of paper. 

an infographic showing the benefits of electronic signatures

Are wet signatures more secure than eSignatures?

The validity and identity of wet ink signatures are established by testimonies from witnesses or handwriting experts who were present at the signing. Not only is this process expensive and time consuming, but relies wholly on the human element which is somewhat unreliable.

eSignatures on the other hand contain a secure electronic record, making them less susceptible to forgery. Documents signed with Signable come with SSL encryption, a full audit log, and certificate of signature alongside many other security measures. 

The good news is that thanks to ​​eIDAS regulations in the EU and UK, and the ESIGN act in the US, electronic signatures are recognised as a valid alternative to handwritten signatures and are as legally binding as their counterparts.

For a full breakdown of Signable’s legality policies, check out our dedicated legality guide.

The downsides to wet signatures

Wet signatures not only cost unnecessary time and money for businesses but come with the following disadvantages:

Higher turnaround times 

When collecting wet signatures, businesses are totally reliant on postal services or couriers, and have to contend with things such as public holidays or strikes. With eSignatures, documents can be signed almost instantly, from anywhere. 

Customer experience

Why would your customers want to wait for their document to be delivered when they could sign it with the simple click of a button? Electronic signatures provide an efficient and stress-free user experience for your customers, allowing them the flexibility to sign instantly from anywhere in the world. 

Privacy and security

Physical documents are vulnerable to tampering and forgeries as well as damage, theft and loss. Electronic documents however are stored securely online and are SSL encrypted. Signable also offers two factor authentication on your account meaning your documents are only accessible by you. 

Make the switch to eSignatures

Swap wet signatures for eSignatures and discover how efficient electronic signing can be. Sign up for our 14-day free trial today – no payment required!