Due to new EU and UK regulations regarding eSignatures many people and companies are unsure about the legal side of using eSignatures to sign documents so we have put together a small selection of the most commonly asked questions regarding the use of eSignatures.
Are eSignatures Legal?
Yes, Just as you would sign a document with your written signature your eSignature is used in exactly the same way. You receive a document and you sign and date the document as your would any document only you use your mouse, finger or stylus rather than a pen.
There are a number of regulations to protect users and the companies sending out the document. Our legal and security page explains more about the legalities and security requirments.
Does your eSignature need to match your written signature exactly?
No, an eSignture does not need to look anything like your written signature, most have some resemblance but even this is irrelevant.
The concept of an eSignature is that the document was sent to your computer, tablet or phone using your email address and the IP of that device logged, then there was someone physically there to move the mouse – or their finger – in the signature box.
Are eSignatures Secure
This depends on the company or website you have chosen. There are a number of security requirements listed in the eSignature regulations. For a start the web site must use 2048-bit encryption SSL encryption and the signed document must not undergo any changes throughout its life.
There are a samll number of web sites not adhering to the regulations and there are a fewof plugins available that people can add to their own sites that save signatures during form submission rather than adding the signature to the document, and whilst these sites and plugins can produce results they are not legal and signatures collected in this way have no legal standing, so beware.
Do eSigned documents need to be a certain filetype?
Yes they do. eSignatures cannot be exported to editable documents such as Word Docs or similar, a signed document must be exported – at the time of signing not after submission – to a secure portable document file (PDF)
Other Legal Requirements
- 2048-bit encryption must be use on signing pages. eSignlite use 2048-bit encryption on ALL pages.
- Signature must be added to the document by the signee, it cannot simply be saved and added later or added after submission.
- Signee must be able to see the entire document as it will be saved, before they submit it for processing.
- Signature cannot be added to an editable document such as a Word Doc or Text Document.
- Signees details, date and time of signature, IP address and user agent details must be logged in case of audit/discrepency.
- Signature must be added and document processed (converted to PDF) in realtime and be instantly availble to the Signee.
- Signing cannot be done via a popup linked to a third party url or plugin, signing must be done on the 2048-bit encrypted site.