Digital Signature vs E-Signature

What is an e-signature? What is a digital signature? What is the difference between an e-signature and a digital signature? At Signable, we get asked these questions a lot. Thankfully the differences between the two are easy to explain.

The differences at a glance

An electronic signature serves as evidence that the signer of a document has agreed to its contents, while a digital signature uses encryption methods to ensure a document is genuine. These two types of signatures complement each other and work to ensure the authenticity and legal enforceability of a digital agreement.

Electronic signatureDigital signature
Signifies the signer’s agreement to the contents of an electronic document.Verifies the authenticity and integrity of a digital document.
Is the electronic equivalent of traditional handwritten signatures.Involves the use of cryptographic techniques to create a unique identifier for the document.
Includes evidence of the signer’s intent and integrity.Sometimes requires a digital certificate issued by a trusted third party to verify the identity of the signer.

What is an e signature?

An e-signature allows individuals to electronically add their signature to an online document. Essentially, e-signatures are a digital version of traditional handwritten signatures which use pen and paper. This streamlined electronic signing process offers many benefits, including cost savings and convenience, and eliminates the need for signing via outdated, wet signatures.

Notably, e-signatures are legally binding and hold the same validity as traditional signatures in the UK, European Union, and beyond, thanks to EU eIDAS regulations. By using Signable, businesses can be confident that their electronic signatures are legal and secure.

For more information on electronic signatures and how to use them, visit our explainer page or download our free e-book.

What is the difference between an e signature and a digital signature?

The terms digital signature and electronic signature are often used interchangeably, however there’s a big difference between the two. Simply put, an eSignature is the electronic equivalent to traditional handwritten signatures. A digital signature on the other hand, is a term used to identify documents which are encrypted to be ‘tamper proof’. 

Digital Signatures use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to create a private key unique to your document. The most secure level of digital signatures (Qualified Electronic Signatures) also require a digital certificate known as certificate authority (CA). These certificates are issued by a trusted third party organisation to verify a signers’ identity.

Most often, you will find that it is electronic signatures rather than digital signatures which you encounter when signing online documents. For example, e-signatures are commonly used to sign contracts, agreements, and other legally binding documents.

Want to see Signable in action?

Need electronic documents signed?

With Signable’s e-signature solution, you can easily create electronic signatures and send and sign electronically in seconds. Simply upload your document, add your signing fields and recipients, and you’re good to go! 

You can use any device to send documents anywhere in the world, as long as you are online. This means your documents arrive instantly, and can be completed in seconds.

Signable is available as a progressive web app, making life easier when it comes to sending and receiving documents. It can also be integrated with your own software or CRM via our API toolkit.

Learn more about the legality of our signatures worldwide with one of our free eSignature legality guides or discover how e-signatures are already benefiting others in your industry.

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