Switching from handwritten signatures to electronic signatures is key to boosting your company’s digital transformation, driving corporate social responsibility and standing out from your competitors. However, some questions may arise before using this tool. This post aims to answer the most common questions, such as what the electronic signature is for, what types there are, what requirements it must have to be valid, how the electronic signature works and where it is regulated, among other questions.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature is a digital process by which a computer or a person is identified in the management and processing of digital documents through several methods that guarantee the security and authenticity of the signature.

Regulations on electronic signatures

In Europe, electronic signatures are governed by the eIDAS Regulation, extended in Spain with the Electronic Signature Law of 2020. Globally, national legislation is in force in many countries, so it is necessary to consult each country’s legislation to determine the applicable regulations.

What types of electronic signatures do exist?

The eIDAS Regulation on electronic signatures sets out three types of electronic signature:

Simple The basic signature where a signatory can be identified with a user name and password, for example.

Advanced The signature meeting the requirements set out for this type of signature in the eIDAS Regulation: it is uniquely linked to the signatory, it is created using data that the signatory can use with a high level of reliability, and under his exclusive control, any further modification of the signed document will be detected.

Qualified This is the one created using a qualified electronic device and based on a qualified certificate.

Electronic signature potential use cases

Electronic signatures can be used to sign a myriad of documents in every department of the company. Here are some examples

– Human resources: work contracts, work offers, payslips, non-disclosure agreements, dismissal letters, reprimands, etc.

– Commercial: contracts with clients, budgets, contract annexes

– Purchasing: contracts with suppliers.

Using an electronic signature

Using electronic signature is straightforward:

The document is sent from a platform; with Click & Sign, the platform can be embedded in any manager via an API.

– You enter the contract recipient ( more than one recipient is possible), set up the texts for the email and the signature page, upload the contract in PDF format and send it.

– The recipient receives a registered email with a link to a website where the contract can be signed and any necessary documentation attached. Depending on the issuer’s choice, the signature could be either a click signature, handwritten signature or another method.

How is a digital signature different from an electronic signature?

Although they are often used as synonyms, they are not. As we have seen, an electronic signature is a set of electronic data that goes along with information in electronic format. The digital signature is not intended to attest to the signatory’s consent but only encrypts the data to provide greater security.

What is the documentary evidence?

It is an electronic document with all information about the signature process: signatories’ emails, telephone numbers, time stamp, date and time of each signature, etc.

About documents signed with an electronic signature

Once a document has been electronically signed, it can be downloaded along with the documentary evidence to save at your convenience. The electronic signature provider usually safeguards all documents in the cloud for five years.

How much does the electronic signature cost?

With Click & Sign, you pay-per-use because there are no set-up fees or permanence fees. To paint you a picture, the signature of documents by a user can be purchased by clicking on a button from 1.43 euros.

Is an electronic signature valid?

The validity of electronic signatures derives from the eIDAS Regulation and the Electronic Signatures Act. Article 25 of the eIDAS Regulation states that:

  1. An electronic signature shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in an electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures.
  2. A qualified electronic signature shall have the equivalent legal effect of a handwritten signature.
  3. A qualified electronic signature shall have the equivalent legal effect of a handwritten signature.

Are electronic signatures used as evidence in court?

Yes, as stated in the article quoted in the previous section. If it is submitted as evidence and the other party in the trial impugns it, an official report from an expert certifying its validity will be submitted.

As you have seen, the electronic signature is a handy and utterly valid tool that companies are gradually adopting due to its significant advantages and versatility.

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