What is an Electronic Signature? FAQ

What is an electronic signature exactly? At Signable we see a lot of the same questions pop up time and again, and we’re aware that there are probably a few that you’ve been dying to ask too! So here are a few commonly asked questions we run into – if your question isn’t answered here take a gander at our Help Page or alternatively why not give us a shout directly? We’d love to hear from you!

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature, or eSignature, is (as the name may suggest) any electronic method that indicates either that a person (we call them the signer) adopts the contents of an electronic document. This can be any written form or document.

Are electronic signatures legal?

Absolutely. A digitally signed document is as legal as those with handwritten signatures on them. Signable adheres to UK laws established by The Electronic Communications Act 2000 and the European Union established eIDAS regulations. We meet and exceed all of the regulations that regard accepting and processing documents, signed via electronic signature. Electronic signatures are considered legal across the globe, including in the United States.

You can find out a bit more about the subject by heading to our legal page.

How does the signing process work exactly?

Getting your documents signed electronically using Signable’s signature solution is a four-step process:

  1. Create or upload your fully branded and customised document. You can upload PDF files, Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and more.
  2. Add elements to your document. Such as name and signature fields. You may wish to also password protect your document for added security.
  3. Choose your signing parties, add their names and email address etc, and then send the document.
  4. When the document is signed, an email with the signed document is sent to all of the parties involved instantly, including you. It’s also securely stored in your account for you to download at any time.

What can I use electronic signatures for?

Any document that requires your customers, partners, employees, suppliers to complete any type of form, document, contract or can be done electronically. To give you an idea, just some of the ways our customers use Signable include:

  • Recruitment contracts
  • Tenancy agreements
  • Customer order forms
  • New customers contracts

If you’re curious about whether or not your industry electronically signs documents why not check out our Industry Guides section.

Does an electronic signature need to match my ‘wet’ signature?

When signing a document with qualified electronic signatures, the actual signature, however it has been input, is purely cosmetic. Legally, it actually does not matter how the signer has signed, as long as the person with the intent to sign has expressed written agreement and intent to sign in some way.

Signable tracks all documents from the point it is sent, to the moment all signers have signed. Ensuring that it has been signed in the correct way, so it can stand up in court as a legally binding document.

How secure are eSignatures?

It’s a good question and the answer is, very! All of your data is stored in a highly restrictive, access limited database within a state-of-the-art data centre. Your account password is stored as a, realistically speaking, irreversible, “one-way encryption” into our database system and it’s up to you if you want to have public and private documents. Your documents are never, ever stored anywhere as plain text.

Electronic signatures are also different from digital signatures, despite the two terms often being used interchangeably. You can find out more about that here.

As Signable is based in the UK, all of your information is securely stored within the EU. Find out more here.

What are the main benefits of using an electronic signature software over ‘wet’ signatures?

One of the main advantages of getting a document signed electronically is that every action is logged. This means that once everyone has signed you will receive a complete audit trail of events covering every action of the signer, including how many times they opened the document and an automatic time stamp detailing when your document was signed.

You can learn more about the differences between wet signatures and electronic signing here.

How do my customers actually sign? What device can they use?

Customers can sign any way they wish. With a mouse, a finger or by typing their name, all are legally binding methods to agree to the terms of your document.

Signers can sign on any device, including mobile, tablet or desktop/laptop. Electronic documents sent through Signable can be signed from just about anywhere (as long as they’re connected to the internet), at any time and from just about any device.

Signable also provides tablet and mobile-based signature apps that are available for senders and signers to make life even easier when dealing with electronic signatures.

Can I try Signable before I buy?

Yes! In fact we encourage you to. Try Signable for FREE for 14 days by completing the short form below, it takes less than 60 seconds to sign up and you won’t need a credit/debit card.

If you still have a question we have lots of how-to articles for any other questions you might have, and you can always give us a call on 0800 612 6263.

We may send you emails directly about your Signable account. These emails will come directly from Signable and will always be related to your account. You may opt out of these emails via the link at the bottom of the email that you receive.

Author: Jessie Davies
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