Although e-signature technology has been legally recognized for nearly 20 years, it is still in its infancy when it comes to implementation. Many corporations and businesses understand how e-signatures can help them integrate a full digital plan, but a less number of consumers have come to see the benefits of electronic signatures.
The essence of e-signatures has been a legal one. If they are not valid, there would be no point of permitting documents to be signed via an electronic device. However, most countries have accepted an electronic signature as legally binding since 2000.
What are e-signature and digital signature technology?
While most people believe that an e-signature and a digital signature are the same, they are not.
An e-signature is the term that refers to the electronic signature an individual makes on a document that has been emailed or provided in a digital format.
Digital signatures are a specific type of e-signature that allow for data collection such as who signed the document, as well as when it was signed and where it was signed.
The growth of e-signature technology
A couple of recent decisions have added validity to organizations using or looking to implement e-signature technologies.
The first is how the Business Development of Canada has adopted the technology for loans. An app designed by the organization has allowed for e-signatures on loan documents. Early results have shown that this move has reduced the need for in-bank visits by about 75 percent, which is a significant advantage for busy consumers.
“A move like that helps in giving credibility to e-signature technologies,” Vancouver innovator and digital security expert Thierry LeVasseur said. “It also proves that the method is a secure way for businesses and other entities to efficiently manage their paperwork.”
A second move that has given e-signatures more publicity is a decision by the Law Commission in the UK, which has acknowledged that e-signatures are legally valid. The organization has also suggested that signing could be witnessed in the future via webcams.
Benefits of e-signature technology
Many companies have already been using e-signature technology in their workplaces, and the industry is expected to increase to $9,073.1 million by 2023.
It is easy to understand why companies have been shifting to e-signatures for their documents — it helps save on the cost of paperwork, is a secure and legal way to conduct business and also provides a speedy way to manage overseas deals.
One of the major reasons that organizations prefer e-signature technology is the affordability of the arrangement. Paper waste in Canada has been increasing over the last decade, according to Statistics Canada. That means over 3 million tonnes of paper is wasted when it does not need to be. By using e-sign software, companies can not only save on the cost of printing, mailing, faxing and couriering, but they can also reduce the errors that come with manual paper entries into their system.
Another benefit of e-signing has been the security it affords enterprises. With digital signature technology, both the signature and the document itself are protected against tampering. While the method of security depends on your e-signature provider, most companies offer a way to lock down the document after signing and to trace the e-signature details such as who signed, when they signed and where they signed.
Ultimately, e-signature technology helps businesses cut down on the time spent on managing documents. “As globalization continues to grow and companies find themselves dealing with organizations in other parts of the world, e-signing is simply a practical way to handle documentation,” Vancouver’s Thierry LeVasseur added.
Rather than wasting time sending over a copy of the paperwork via fax or courier, contracts and other documents can be sent digitally via email and other methods. They can also be returned the same way, just minutes later.
As the e-signature industry continues to grow, more organizations will continue to adopt the technology because it can reduce business costs and errors, is a secure method of documentation and also increases the speediness of doing business in a global market.