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eSignatures arose out of the need to collect consent in a more efficient and digital-friendly way. They have existed in some form for several decades, but it wasn't until the year 2000 when the eSignature finally gained the same legal standing as traditional wet signatures. From that point on, anything wet signatures could do, eSignatures could do better. Today, companies across a wide range of industries including auto finance, legal, healthcare, insurance, and banking rely on eSignatures to effortlessly collect customer consent. [COVID-19 Update:] eSignatures are a pivotal tool to help complete important transactions (even coronavirus testing medical forms) when customers are stuck in their homes. By simplifying, mobilizing, and guiding eSignature completion, businesses can optimally service their customers during these uncertain times. This page is a comprehensive guide to signatures and will help you understand about what it is, how to create one, how it works, its advantages, it's legality, industry-specific use case and more.

Table of contents

  1. What is an eSignature?
  2. How do eSignatures work?
  3. How to complete eSignatures
  4. What are the advantages of eSignatures?
  5. How to choose and implement an eSignature solution
  6. Legal considerations
  7. eSignature APIs
  8. Industry deep dive #1: Healthcare.
  9. Industry deep dive #2: Insurance.
  10. Industry deep dive #3: Banking.
  11. FAQ
  12. eSignature pricing models
  13. Conclusion

What is an eSignature?

An eSignature is, just like a traditional pen-and-paper signature, a legally binding demonstration of a customer’s agreement with the contents of a contract, form, or document. But that’s where the similarities end. Traditional signatures require preparing forms, printing them out, and having a person physically sign. In many cases, it involves activities such as sending documents by post or fax, or requires in-person visits to a location to carry out. The problem is that in today’s increasingly digital world, it is no longer acceptable for businesses to inconvenience customers, and require them to go out of their way to conduct a simple transaction such as signing a paper. Traditional signatures are no longer sufficient for companies where efficiency is increasingly being prioritized. eSignatures offer a digital signature solution to this problem. 
eSignatures allow them to shave off valuable time wasted on printing, sending, and waiting to receive signed paperwork. Customers can easily provide consent with the swipe of a finger or typed signature, and even legally capture an esignature on an iPhone or mobile device. eSignatures must abide by some basic principles in order to be considered legally valid. To be a legally valid eSignature they are required to:
    1. Demonstrate that signatories are who they claim to be (means of identity verification can differ from company to company)
    2. The signers’ intentions to sign are captured (e.g., an option to not agree is also present)
    3. The signatures’ authenticity can be independently verified (e.g., via digital paper trail, time stamp, or IP address)
By fulfilling the above criteria, eSignatures serve as a legally-binding way to gather customer consent without clunky physical paperwork.

How do eSignatures work?

eSignatures (legal ones at least) work through using a digital signature system, by using public key infrastructure (PKI). A PKI is a system that enables the secure management of electronic digital signatures by creating a pair of keys: a private key and a public key. The private key, as its name suggests, is not visible to others and is only used by the signatory of the document. The public key is shared with anyone who needs to validate the authenticity of the e-Signature. PKI also ensures additional requirements such as certificate authority (CA) are met, which is governed by organizations that are entrusted to maintain key security integrity. When a signatory provides an electronic signature, a cryptographic hash is created for the form or document, which serves as a unique digital fingerprint. The sender’s private key then takes the cryptographic hash and encrypts it, then stores it in a secure HSM box. It is added to the document and sent to the recipient with the sender’s public key. Using the sender’s public key certificate, the recipient is able to decrypt the encrypted hash. On the recipient’s end, a new cryptographic hash is generated. The two hashes are compared to validate the authenticity and demonstrate that no tampering has taken place.
How an esignature with a digital signature work

How to complete eSignatures

e-signature process on iphone While all eSignatures (or typed signatures) are invariably a step up from traditional wet signatures, some provide greater value than others. The most effective eSignature solutions put smartphones at the heart of the transaction, as they are the one medium almost all customers have access to, wherever they are. These eSignature solutions work by sending customers a text message link (or email) to a mobile environment. These are the steps to complete most esignatures:
  1. Providing signers access to the documents
  2. Authenticating signers’ identities
  3. Present documents while satisfying compliance requirements (HIPAA, TILA, etc.)
  4. Capture data from participants and/or upload documents at the time of signing (if applicable)
  5. Optionally re-verify the signer’s identity at the time of signing
  6. Establish intent and capture consent through the act of electronically signing
  7. Provide the ability to insert additional documents into the transaction (if applicable)
  8. Deliver the final electronically signed documents to all parties

What are the advantages of mobile-optimized eSignatures?

First-generation eSignature solutions primarily rely on emailing customers PDFs with electronic signature capabilities embedded. The problem is that they aren’t mobile-optimized, making it difficult for customers without immediate computer access to sign. By the time they do have computer access to create a signature on the computer, valuable time has passed. During this time, the email may have gotten lost or forgotten, and customer interest may have even changed. On the other hand, mobile eSignature solutions provide a lot of benefits for companies who use them. That’s because they are:
  • Instant: Customers are asked via text message to provide their consent in the moment when their interest is at its peak. They don’t need to wait for emails, download annoying apps, or scan their physical signatures –– all of which are barriers to business.
  • Legally recognized: The latest eSignature solutions exceed the high standards of the ESIGN Act, Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, and other legal requirements.
  • Integrated: Modern eSignature solutions can be seamlessly integrated into businesses’ legacy CRMs, workflows, and third-party applications via an API. This makes integration easy and effortless, and promotes successful employee adoption.
  • Sign once: Customers can draw or type their signature once, and just tap to add it to other required places in the document.
  • Tamper-proof: Security-minded businesses benefit from an automatically-created, time-stamped record of all activities with a complete audit trail. This enables total compliance and removes exposure to legal risk.
  • Agent-guided: Agents are able to guide customers through their eSignature process in real time via phone conversation, ensuring they sign correctly the first time around.
  • Flexible: The best eSignatures put the mobile experience front and center to cater to the modern customer’s on-the-go lifestyle. But they allow flexible use through other channels. Businesses can also give their customers the option of providing their signature through other channels and devices including email, the company’s website, Alexa, IVR, or in-store terminals.
eSignature adoption continues to skyrocket thanks to these crucial benefits. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the electronic signature market is forecasted to grow from $1.2 billion in 2018 to $5.5 billion by 2023. This represents a CAGR of 36.% during the five-year period. It is very likely that the fastest growth in the sector will come specifically from mobile-optimized eSignatures.

How to choose and implement an eSignature solution

Companies interested in implementing eSignatures into their workflows will find plenty of options and tools on the market. For help choosing an e-signature solution check out this guide. Here are the main steps to follow at the early stage of choosing the best digital signature solution:
  1. Evaluate the company’s needs: How many contracts, agreements, or documents require signing every day? Smaller companies handling fewer customer transactions on a regular basis may be able to make do with a rudimentary solution. For example, adding a signature line in a Microsoft Word or Excel file. PDFs with embedded signature lines are also an option. But large enterprises and SMEs will likely gain more utility from intuitive mobile-optimized eSignature solutions that efficiently and easily manage numerous customer transactions.
  2. Consider your use cases: Will all your customer-facing employees be required to learn and use the eSignature tool? Or just certain departments? What kinds of transactions require customers to provide a signature –– onboarding, receipt of different services, modifications of existing contracts, or something else? This will allow companies to determine how many employees in which roles require access to an eSignature platform, and plan accordingly.
  3. Ensure smooth implementation: Once a company has selected the best eSignature solution for their needs, they need to make sure the implementation process goes smoothly. This requires evaluating compatibility and integration with existing systems, ensuring the solution is integrated in a compliant manner, and handling infrastructure considerations.
For example, how does the e-Signature provider give API support? Should the eSignature solution be on-premise or on the cloud? Personnel considerations are also key. How do company staff, from the frontline to the CEO, feel about the new eSignature solution and digital transformation in general? If everyone is on board and excited, it makes successful implementation much easier. On a practical level, how will staff be trained to use the new technology, and when can they be expected to be proficient? These questions and more can help guide the process. Is especially important to consider the signing experience of both the sender and the recipient or recipients in a multi-sign scenario.

eSignature Legal considerations

Although eSignatures have been around for decades, many people still ask: “Are eSignatures legal?” Many jurisdictions have held that esignatures are just as legally binding as wet signatures, as long as they abide by the overarching criteria discussed earlier. It’s also important to consider the various legal aspects of eSignatures that relate to geolocation. Even though eSignatures are accepted across the world, each region and country has its own particular frameworks surrounding their use. This section will address the specifics of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

eSignatures in the US

In the US, the legal acceptance of eSignatures is based on two main acts: the state Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN). Both acts were passed in 2000. Both ESIGN and UETA note five main elements that make an eSignature legally binding:
  1. Validity: Signatures and records that are created electronically carry the same weight and import as traditional paper and ink versions. Just because a signature was recorded electronically does not mean it can become invalidated.
  2. Consent: The person signing must give consent to using an electronic signature. That involves making certain disclosures to them before they sign.
  3. Intent: Just like a wet signature, an eSignature demands that the person signing has the intent to sign the document. They must agree to what’s written in the document they are signing and fully understand the effect of their signature.
  4. Recording: An eSignature needs to be accompanied by a record that makes it clear that this is an electronic signature and not a physical one.
  5. Data integrity: Just like a paper document, records that have been eSigned need to be kept secure from tampering, alteration, or unintentional loss of data.
In the U.S., documents that have been signed electronically are accepted in almost all situations. That includes B2B, B2C, and C2C interactions, as well as interactions between the government and businesses or individuals.

eSignatures in the UK

Like ESIGN and UETA, the UK Electronic Communications Act in 2000 confirmed that an agreement can’t be invalidated purely because the signature is an electronic one. Electronic signatures were accepted in the UK under the Electronic Signatures Regulations Act in 2002. According to English law, a valid contract doesn’t necessarily need a written signature, as long as both parties have full understanding of the contract and reached a mutual agreement. This being the case, an electronic record – like an eSignature – is acceptable proof that both sides agreed to the document. These are Standard Electronic Signatures, or SES. An SES isn’t seen as having the same weight as a handwritten signature, but UK law does accept a particular type of eSignature as equal to a handwritten one. These eSignatures are termed Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) or Advanced Electronic Signatures (AES). An AES is:
  • Uniquely connected to the person signing
  • Identifies the person who signed it
  • Created using a process that can only be accessed by the signator
  • Linked to other data, so if any alterations or tampering can be detected
A QES is:
  • A particular type of digital signature that has been approved by the government
  • Created using a secure signature creation device
  • Accepted as the equivalent to a handwritten signature under all legal conditions
In the UK, standard eSignatures are accepted on most documents, including HR documents, employment contracts, commercial agreements, sales documents, short leases, guarantees, and loan agreements. Other documents need QES or AES. There are some documents, however, that still have to be signed by hand, including:
  • Some family law documents such as prenups and separation agreements
  • Real estate deeds such as transfer of title, legal mortgage, and release of a mortgage
  • Most leases
  • HM Customs and Revenue documents

eSignatures in the EU

In 2000, the EU accepted eSignatures as legally binding through the Directive on a Community framework for electronic signature (eSignature Directive). This confirmed that an electronic signature can’t be rejected merely on the grounds that it was created electronically. Many European countries share the UK’s approach of accepting contracts as legally binding without a handwritten signature. In 2015, EU legislation replaced the 2000 eSignature Directive with Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, usually referred to as eIDAS. eIDAS stated that there are three types of eSignatures – SES, AES, and QES, just like in the UK. The standard eSignature (SES) is accepted for most contract and documents, including employment contracts, purchase orders, invoices, sales agreements, software licenses, and real estate documents. An SES is accepted in B2B, B2C, and C2C situations. AES or QES are accepted for most court briefs, consumer credit loan agreements, and residential and commercial leases. Like in the US and UK, there are just a few situations in which only a handwritten signature will do. These include:
  • Contracts to transfer or buy real estate
  • Marriage contracts
  • HR termination notices
  • Incorporation of a limited liability company
It’s important to remember that each member of the EU has its own set of requirements for eSignatures.

eSignature API

eSignature APIs allow businesses to sell and serve their customers immediately, efficiently, and effectively from any touchpoint. With powerful functionality including document collection, file sharing, dynamic form filling and instant eSignatures, businesses can provide robust self-service solutions to businesses serving on-the-go customers. Customers can be sold to or served more efficiently when the eSignature platform is pre-configured, for example eSignatures for Salesforce users. Here are some of the most common integrations:
  • Existing workflows
  • CRM
  • Agent toolbars
  • Third-party business applications
  • Agent call center toolbars
e-Signature solutions can also enable white labeling, allowing them to be integrated into the interface while appearing as a native capability.

e-Signature industry deep dives

HIPAA compliant eSignatures for Healthcare

The healthcare industry is notorious for requiring a hefty amount of forms, documents, and signatures. According to an analysis conducted by Harvard Medical School, the City University of New York at Hunter College, and the University of Ottawa, 34% of all U.S. medical costs including doctor visits and health insurance comes from paperwork. An average hospital maintains 45 million individual paper forms and documents that must all be stored in a highly secure yet searchable way. While a majority of hospitals use an electronic patient administration system (PAS), the system generally remains siloed from other hospital systems and is not often used by doctors. Another issue is that key patient information is frequently inaccessible when multiple doctors are involved due to paper notes. Finally, even if medical documents are scanned, the originals are still kept for perceived compliance and legal reasons. None of this should come as a surprise, as the U.S. healthcare system is highly complex, with complicated rules about copays and coverage, and a delicate interplay among patients, doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. All of these administrative overhead results in significant bloat. eSignature solutions, along with electronic document and form collection, are just what the doctor ordered. They significantly cut down the amount of time hospital administrative staff need to spend chasing patients to provide paper forms, have the (possibly bedridden or very ill) patient physically sign the forms, and then scan and manually store it in a file. Here are some of the top ways electronic signatures in healthcare benefits providers:
  1. Existing paper forms and documents can automatically be converted into signable digital ones that are archivable digitally.
  2. Customer experience is improved as patients aren’t hassled for physical paperwork and signatures during their time vulnerability.
  3. Precious staff time is conserved as manually scanning of EHR documents is no longer needed: healthcare forms can be instantly generated and prefilled with patient information.
  4. Doctors and nurses can feel confident that they always have the most up-to-date version of whatever document or form is required.
  5. The top eSignature solutions are HIPAA-compliant.
By adopting an eSignature solution, compliance-conscious healthcare providers can ensure data privacy and efficiency coexist without any tension.

eSignatures for Insurance

e-signature on insurance claim form on iphone Streamlined insurance applications, renewals, and claim processes (FNOL) are the cornerstone of a successful insurance business. Unfortunately, many insurance companies still suffer from inefficient processes that require them to chase clients for supporting documents, correct documents not in good order (NIGO) and policy approvals. This endless back and forth drives up operational costs, delays sign-ups and claims and leaves your customers and agents frustrated and unsatisfied. eSignatures can simplify and automate insurance sign-ups, amendments and claims. Customers can submit all information and documentation needed to process the application or claim, and agree to policy terms in real-time. Here are the main benefits of eSignature solutions for insurance companies:
  1. eSignatures slash the transaction costs of binding policies and processing claims.
  2. Recent estimates show that simply digitizing contracts, policies and signatures save $15 dollars per transaction in paper, faxing, scanning costs alone.
  3. By guiding customers through the signing process, insurers are seeing completion rates jump, as customer interest is at its peak
  4. With agent-guided signup procedures, insurers can ensure customers complete documentation and signatures in the moment and address any lingering issues or doubts.
  5. Settling claims faster leads to a more productive claims team and improved post-claims retention rates
  6. Tamper-proof, audit trails document exactly where and when customers opt into coverage terms so that insurers are sure of their compliance and no longer need to discuss accusations that they “weren’t shown that disclosure,” or “opted out of that coverage.
Streamlined eSignatures processes enable insurance teams to expedite sales and claims processes across core areas of business, making it an essential investment.

eSignature for Banking

e-signature on banking form on iphone Both retail and commercial banks spend a disproportionate amount of time processing paperwork, including chasing after customers to provide consent. This is a major area of concern for banks, as many processes require signatures, including account opening (onboarding), mortgage applications, personal loans such as signature loans, and wealth management. Even modifications of existing agreements, such as loan deferrals and forbearance requests require documents and forms to be signed and submitted. Banks face even longer turnaround times and abandonment rates when multiple signatures are required to complete a transaction. This is a common scenario for both retail banking customers, such as spouses with a joint bank account, and commercial banking customers, such as organizations with multiple stakeholders. It’s challenging enough to get an individual to sign physical banking documents in a timely manner; it’s exponentially more difficult when multiple signers are involved and coordinating schedules is required.

Benefits of using eSignatures in banking

Unlike physical signatures, however, eSignatures pose none of the obstacles and drawbacks. Customers who need to provide consent for any number of banking transactions can easily do so without having to find a time to go to a bank branch, or deal with fax machines or scanners. These are some of the benefits financial institutions can expect to gain by adopting an eSignature solution for banks:
  1. eSignature solutions enable faster customer onboarding, as customers don’t need to spend time going to a physical branch and signing stacks of papers.
  2. Conversion rates and sales are boosted thanks to the ability to capture customer consent in the moment via mobile.
  3. Operational costs are slashed and productivity increases, as agents waste less time and effort filing paperwork.
  4. Customer experience is enhanced, which contributes to banks’ NPS scores, boosts loyalty, and decreases the likelihood of churn.
  5. Providing seamless digital capabilities like eSignatures positions traditional banks to stay competitive with contender neobanks and fintechs.
  6. The top eSignature solutions also provide KYC and ID&V procedures required for compliance.
Whether banks are handling onboarding new accounts or providing essential services to existing customers, eSignatures in banking removes the friction that comes with physical paperwork.

e-Signature FAQ

While many of the aspects of eSignatures (also sometimes written as eSignature, eSign) have been discussed above, below is a collection of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about esignatures in general and questions about Lightico's eSignatures.
  1. What is an Electronic Signature? The term `electronic signature’ means an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record. eSignatures replace wet signatures and thanks to eSign technology, it’s now possible to sign documents, contracts, forms and powers of attorney on a PC or cell phone instead of printing, signing, sending or showing up in person - making for a much-improved signing experience and overall improve customer experience.
  2. How are eSignatures different to Digital Signatures? Electronic signature and digital signature are often used interchangeably, but these two concepts are slightly different. Both eSignatures and digital signatures are legally binding. The difference between the two is that an electronic signature is a finger swipe or typed signature by a person with the intent to sign – usually associated with a contract, whereas a digital signature is mainly used to secure documents and is authorized by certification authorities to guarantee that a document is authentic.
  3. Should I be using eSignatures? Absolutely. As customer attention has become ever more scarce, they expect to be able to purchase anything from anywhere- why should your product or service be different? It’s critical to make your final transactions easy, accessible and convenient and to not make your customers rely on outdated and cumbersome equipment like printers, scanners, desktop PCs and even fax machines to provide signatures. With Lightico, all customer-facing processes – including signatures, can easily be completed with simple finger swipes on their cell phones from wherever they are.
  4. Are eSignatures Legal? Yes, eSignatures are legally binding including typed signatures. Today, nearly 20 years after the ESIGN Act, there is no longer any question about whether electronic signatures are legal. eSignatures have the same legality as wet signatures. Electronically signed documents, agreements, contracts, transactions, and forms won’t be denied legality because they don’t contain a wet signature. Lightico eSignatures are compliant with: The U.S. E-SIGN act of 2000 The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (EUTA) of 1999 The new eIDAS regulation for the EU of 2016 (EU Regulation 910/2014), which replaces the former European EC/1999/93 Directive General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  5. Are Lightico’s eSignatures Secure? The Lightico platform was designed and built with the highest security standards. It has passed rigorous security tests and is ISO 27001 certified, the internationally recognized information security standard for the best software companies in the world. Lightico’s multi-layered security design has made it a trusted technology partner for some of the world’s largest and most demanding companies. To learn more about Lightico and its security procedures, click here.
  6. How will Lightico enable me to collect eSignatures in real-time? Contact center agents will simply send the customer a text message, which opens a digital collaboration channel with the simplified document for signing. Customers easily review and finger-sign the documents on their cell phone – all in real time with the guidance of the call center agent. There is no login or password required on the customers end.
  7. How can Lightico’s eSignatures benefit my business?Lightico delivers the highest signature completion rate by making it dead-easy for customers to instantaneously sign documents, agreements and terms all from their cell phones.We give you the ability to: -Accelerate Cycle Times with Digital Signatures -Complete all tasks in one call -Guide your customers in real time -Improve First-time Acceptance Rate -Reduce the Cost of Compliance & Oversight -Ensure Smooth Onboarding to Improve Customer Experience
  8. Why is Lightico’s eSignature better than others? Most eSignature companies use email as their primary method for sending documents to their customers. Lightico, on the other hand, utilizes instant messaging as its method for delivering and receiving documents. In the US, email open rates have been shown to have a 20% open rate compared to the 98% open rate of text messages. Text based signatures have an 85% immediate completion rate while on the phone, making Lightico the obvious choice for all of your eSignature needs.
  9. How can I integrate Lightico eSignatures into my business processes? Lightico is very easy to set up and use. With remote training sessions, your team can be ready in a few hours (depending on the number of forms and 3rd party integrations). Your business requirements are captured in an initial kick-off call where we create a plan for deployment.
  10. What is Lightico’s compatibility level? Lightico has an open API that can integrate the key components of its platform with your current systems. Lightico easily connects to your CRM, Agent Toolbars, Self Service and other Business tools so you can effortlessly collaborate with your customers and deliver exceptional experiences while driving productivity and improving efficiency.
  11. Is Lightico certified / compliant? Yes. Lightico is proud to exceed worldwide industry standards and comply with the following regulations: -ISO 27001 -PCI DSS level 1 -GDPR -UETA ACT -ESIGN ACT -AS -Entrust Datacard
  12. Can I also obtain eSignatures via email? Yes. Lightico’s eSignature solution can be activated via email, text message or in-app.
  13. Is Lightico right for my company? Lightico best serves organizations that need to collect a high volume of various documents from their customers in real-time.
  14. Are esignatures safe?
What makes an e-signature safe for its user? Not all esignatures provide the same level of security. To give users peace of mind and prevent compliance issues, watch out for these key elements of a safe e-signature solution:
  • Uses a third-party certificate authority that can validate that an image of the signer’s signature has been placed in the document. Just remember, digital certificates expire after two years, and must be renewed.
  • Maintains an audit trail to capture a detailed chain of custody. Ideally, this should be with blockchain technology, as blockchains cannot be altered.
  • Provides additional identity verification, such as requiring signers to open an account that’s validated or using SSO.
  • Fully compliant with regulations such as GDRP, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and other local and global standards.
Can a digital signature be forged? It is nearly impossible to forge a digital signature. With a wet signature, a bad actor can simply imitate the real person’s signature, or tamper with the document to enable forgery. On the other hand, a digital signature can be authenticated. When a signer signs digitally, the software scans the document and produces a unique formula, called a hash, that stands in for the signature. When the receiver verifies the document, a similar process takes place. Digital signatures are also tamper-proof and time-stamped, ensuring that eSigned documents cannot be altered after the transaction is completed. Is it safe to use digital signatures? The short answer is yes, esignatures are safe and have the same legal standing as wet signatures if done properly. With the right e-signature solution, there is nothing to worry about from a compliance and security standpoint. However, it’s important to be on the lookout for non-compliant e-signature apps, many of which allow signers to merely “paste” an eSignature image into a PDF. Such solutions are not safe because there is no digital evidence that links the signature to a particular person, and can be easily modified after being sent. Can my digital signature be misused? It’s highly unlikely that a digital signature will be misused, provided it is done through a certified and compliant digital signature provider. However, there have been instances of code-signing certificates being stolen to sign malicious software, certificate authorities (CAs) mistakenly issuing certificates to bad actor organizations, and malware incidents. However, such events are few and far between, and CAs and eSignature providers have gotten very good at preventing them. Remember that wet signatures can also on rare occasions be tampered with or misused, just in different ways. But overall, digital signatures present a very low risk of misuse. What are the legal problems with digital signatures? Digital signatures are fully legal. In the U.S., electronic signatures have held legal status since the ESIGN Act of 2000 was passed, stating that a document or contract cannot be denied legality on the mere basis that it was signed electronically. That same year, similar eSignature laws were passed in different countries around the world, including the EU as a whole. Digital signatures are a highly secure subset of electronic signatures with authentication capabilities. Thus, they are not just fully legal, but nearly impossible to contest due to their immutability and security. How to validate and verify a digital signature? The process for validating and verifying a digital signature depends on the eSignature software or format a business is using. In general though, the software should indicate whether an approved certification authority (CA) trusts the signature. Why should you trust esignatures? Today, there is simply no reason not to trust esignatures. Esignatures have equal legal standing to wet signatures across the world, and are backed up by esignature laws such as the ESIGN Act in the U.S. (2000) and eDIAS in the EU (2014). 15. What is the difference between an e-signature and a digital signature? What is a digital signature and how does it work? A digital signature is a mathematical way of verifying the authenticity of digital documents to prevent forgery and tampering during the sending and receiving process. They not only prevent impersonation, but provide evidence of an electronic document’s origin and identity, as well as the signer’s informed consent. It protects sensitive information with two mathematically linked keys: a private key, which is only known to the person it belongs to, and a public key, which is shared with anyone who needs to access the digital document. There are three different types of digital signatures that each provide a different level of legality: Class 1 signatures: Provide basic security for low-risk environments; not legally binding for business documents. Class 2 signatures: Authenticate a signer's identity against a pre-verified database. Used in moderate-risk environments, such as e-filing text documents. Class 3 signatures: Require a person to present in front of a certifying authority to prove identity before signing. This is reserved for e-ticketing, e-tendering, and court filings where a breach results in major consequences. What is an example of an electronic signature? An electronic signature shows the signer’s agreement with the contents of a document, form, or request. Some examples include a name typed at the end of an email or document, a picture of a wet signature sent via tax, a signature made by finger swipe on an internet-connected device (e.g., smartphone, tablet, a PIN entered into a bank’s ATM, and ticking the “agree” or “disagree” box in an electronic terms & conditions form. 16. What do you look for in an e-signature solution? What is the best e-signature app? There are dozens of eSignature apps available, and some are better suited for certain types of businesses and industries than others. For example, Vizolution is commonly used among financial services and telco companies and was designed for the enterprise. But it’s not as configurable as many more recent solutions, lacking APIs and not built as a true SaaS company. Docusign has a strong brand and global presence comes with hundreds of integrations and is widely considered a mature product. But it’s not real time and therefore less suitable for B2C companies with high volumes of customer signatures. It is primarily an electronic document signer that doesn’t cover the entire customer journey (e.g., lacks document collection and shared review). Adobe Sign is another mature and well-known eSignature solution, but not intuitive for customers and agents, and not optimized for a mobile experience. Most eSignature apps, including these, are focused on “digitizing PDFs” for businesses. On the other hand, Lightico’s eSignature product was built to accelerate entire journeys with consumers in a sleek, mobile-friendly way. It drives faster turnaround times and higher completion rates thanks to its intuitive and real-time capabilities. This makes Lightico the ideal eSignature app for B2C companies. What software offers the best enterprise digital signature solutions? It depends on your company’s needs. Small businesses that primarily serve other businesses and have relatively low sales volumes can use eSignatures that are embedded into a PDF or Word Document. Companies that primarily serve consumers, especially in high volumes are better off working with a mobile-optimized eSignature solution that is designed for consumers’ busy, on-the-go lifestyle. Of course, pricing is also a significant consideration. While there are different pricing models for eSignatures, it’s important to choose one that offers flexibility to accommodate changing signature volumes over time. What e-signature app is actually both easy and useful? Lightico’s eSignature solution is easy to use while allowing companies to complete full customer transactions. All signers need to do is open a text message link that takes them to a mobile environment where they can upload documents, fill out forms, provide an eSignature, and have their identity verified. Meanwhile, they are guided by an agent in real-time via phone conversation, eliminating confusion and enabling the entire process to be completed the first time around. 17. What are some use cases for eSignatures? What is the future use of a digital signature? eSignatures, just like wet signatures, have a large number of use cases. eSignature use cases are poised to become even more widespread in the future as they replace wet signatures. Some of these use cases include sales contracts, vendor contracts, customer forms, modifications to contracts, new employee onboarding, licensing agreements, non-disclosure agreements, loan application forms, healthcare waivers, and much more. What are the benefits of an electronic signature? Unlike a wet signature, which typically requires a signer to print out a form, physically sign, and then scan, fax, or mail the firm, electronic signatures require no extra cumbersome steps or channels. Electronic signatures can be completed and sent through a single digital channel, such as smartphone or desktop or laptop. This also means that businesses can conduct more customer-facing transactions remotely. The ease and simplicity of providing and collecting electronic signatures results in a better customer experience, reduced turnaround time, greater organizational efficiency, and even improved security and compliance in the case of digital signatures. Electronic signatures also eliminate paper waste, contributing to a greener world. What industries must use electronic signature software? Virtually all industries that rely on wet signatures would benefit from switching to electronic signature software. Lightico’s eSignature solution is particularly well suited for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies who have large volumes of customer transactions that must be processed quickly. Banking, auto finance, insurance, healthcare, and law are our specialties, though we work with other industries as well. 18. How easy is it to use an electronic signature? How to turn a checkbox click into a digital signature? A checkbox alone does not count as a legal digital signature. However, if it appears next to an actual digital signature that is cryptographically secure, then it is acceptable. How to automatically digitally sign a PDF? Open the PDF that you want to sign in Acrobat. Click on the “Sign” option and from the new options that appear, click “I Need to Sign.” From the new options, click “Place Signature.” In the dialogue box that appears, click “Draw New Signature Rectangle.” Scroll down to where you want to sign the document, and draw a rectangle. If a digital signature has already been set up on the computer, it will appear in a dialogue box. Otherwise, click the “A new digital ID I want to create now” option. Enter the additional requested details in the dialogue box, and hit “Finish.” Save the image, and the digital signature will appear at the bottom of the document.

eSignature pricing models

Many common eSignatue solutions offer a per-user license, or per "envelope" sent. Others offer more robust and volume-based pricing. Pricing can depend on various considerations such as API access, customer support, integrations, and other microservices that many solutions offer. Pricing for eSignature solutions is usually based on either a system of sender-initiated processes, or system-initiated processes. Sender-initiated processes:
  • Are considered “ad doc” because they require employees to manually prepare documents for eSignatures
  • Are commonly found among smaller companies that don’t have a large volume of signatures to process
  • Allow customers to test out the volume of e-Signature requests before committing to a set price. As in the case of more complete, automated solutions, using APIs
System-initiated processes:
  • Automatically generate e-Signature documents, and require no manual work from employees
  • Are typical for large companies with high volumes of signature requests
  • Seamlessly integrate into existing company systems
  • Pricing depends on needs and predicted volumes. At the beginning, it can be difficult to know the exact volume needed.
Above all, the best e-Signature solutions allow businesses to test their volume and usage over time, and then change the prices accordingly. They should offer a fair pricing structure, whether it is charging per transaction, per document, or a flat annual fee.

The bottom line: The top e-Signature solutions hasten digital transformation and improve CX

Signatures have made great strides since the times when only paper and ink could enable them. Companies across a diverse array of industries are adopting eSignature solutions at an unprecedented rate. As more businesses adopt eSignatures as part of their digital transformation, they should be selective in choosing one. Therefore, legacy eSignature solutions, while certainly a step up from traditional paperwork, are beginning to be overtaken by seamless mobile eSignatures. In conclusion, mobile-optimized eSignature solutions are uniquely built to collect forms, documents, and consent from customers from their preferred channel, their smartphones. Lightico’s solution is among them and has established a new next-generation eSignature standard for flexibility, convenience, customer-centricity, and compliance for some of the world’s fastest-growing enterprises.

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reviews"Great tool to expedite customer service"

The most helpful thing about Lightico is the fast turnaround time, The upside is that you are giving your customer an easy way to respond quickly and efficiently. Lightico has cut work and waiting time as you can send customer forms via text and get them back quickly, very convenient for both parties.

"Great Service and Product"

I love the fact that I can send or request documents from a customer and it is easy to get the documents back in a secured site via text message. Our company switched from Docusign to Lightico, as Lightico is easier and more convenient than Docusign, as the customer can choose between receiving a text message or an email.