eSignature software has held the same legal weight as wet signatures since the year 2000, when the ESIGN Act was signed into place. As a result, many banks today are using some kind of eSignature solution to reduce paperwork and satisfy customers’ digital needs.
Yet there are still many holdovers who continue to rely primarily or partially on wet signatures, despite the many disadvantages of this obsolete practice. Still other banks may have an eSignature solution in place, but they require customers to sign at a physical branch –– defeating one of the technology’s main benefits, which is to enable remote transactions.
Now, the spread of the coronavirus has driven entire communities into lockdown, where face-to-face transactions are a liability for banking agents and the customers they serve. Enabling customers to fill out and sign eForms is a matter of necessity.
As banks turn to eSignature technology to preserve business continuity and ensure health, they should examine the multiple advantages conferred by eSignatures. These are benefits that will continue to be felt long after the coronavirus has passed.
eSignature technology for banks: Main benefits
Improved turnaround times
Requiring customers to physically sign agreements and documents is a major time strain on banks. Frontline employees must print out endless paperwork, and customers must come into a branch to sign –– in some cases, stacks of paper. This is further complicated when multiple account holders are the signatories and need to coordinate a time that works for everyone to meet at the branch. Requiring customers to sign documents that arrive by post, fax, and even email increase the likelihood of lost, misplaced, or forgotten paperwork. This only adds to the turnaround time, as agents are forced to chase customers or re-send them documents.
On the other hand, allowing customers to sign electronically via their mobile phone –– their preferred channel –– ensures the transaction is completed quickly and instantly. There is no printing, going to a branch, or waiting for mail to arrive required.
2. Better customer experience
Like it or not, today’s banking customers are comparing their banking experience to a host of other brands they interact with on a daily basis. They can order anything on Amazon, watch anything on Netflix, and get a ride to anywhere with Uber –– it takes nothing more than a few taps of a smartphone. When customers are forced to deal with cumbersome physical paperwork at their branch, their frustration is compounded by the fact that very few areas of their lives still require filling out and signing forms.
Meanwhile, digital-first contenders such as neobanks and fintechs are tempting customers with 100% seamless digital services and 24/7 remote agent assistance. A recent Lightico survey found that 42% of banking customers have considered switching banks due to a poor customer experience at their traditional bank.
Overwhelmingly, great customer experience goes hand in hand with a robust digital experience. In fact, 82% of Generation Z customers say that a great online/mobile experience would be the most compelling reason to switch banks –– and a majority of other generations feel the same.
3. Greater employee productivity
Digital technologies such as eSignature solutions aren’t taking the place of human agents or human contact. On the contrary, they allow banks to reserve their human talent for more valuable activities. Instead of banking employees spending their time printing out and filing form after form, they could be helping customers with sensitive or complex transactions that require human input.
The best eSignature software actually empowers banking agents to guide customers through their mobile-optimized forms and signature process via phone conversation. This prevents customers from making time-sapping errors, and ensures that forms are filled out right the first time.
In the long run, banks who provide their human capital with easy-to-use, time-saving technology will see boosts in employee morale and productivity, and enjoy reduced agent attrition rates.
4. Enhanced security and compliance
Paperwork has a way of giving an illusion of added security due to its physicality. But it’s only that: an illusion. Signatures can be forged, paperwork can be stolen, and documents can be misplaced or fall into the wrong hands. Next-generation eSignature solutions are built to eliminate all the risks of traditional paperwork. Here are some of the certifications the best eSignature software can be expected to offer:
- ISO 27001
- PCI DSS level 1
- Entrust Datacard
The process of an eSignature transaction begins in a secure mobile environment, where customers can read the terms and conditions on a mobile-optimized screen. All transactions are finalized with a time-stamped, tamper-proof record with a complete audit trail, ensuring total compliance with US banking regulations.
The bottom line: eSignature solution are critical –– now and into the future
Banks that offer eSignature capabilities today will allow their customers to conduct important transactions, even if the coronavirus prevents them from visiting a physical branch.
Happily, the benefits of investing in convenient digital forms and e-signatures today will reverberate into the future, even when health is no longer a factor. Banks looking for better turnaround times, improved customer experience, greater agent productivity, and full security and compliance should look no further.