11 November 2022 by

Benefits of electronic signatures

Benefits of electronic signatures

Where electronic signatures are used

You might imagine an electronic signature is simply a picture of your signature being placed onto a pdf document. In reality, electronic signatures have been adopted in many more ways and may not be in a form that you would expect.

Electronic signatures are defined in the eIDAS Regulation  as “data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign”.

Completing a chip and pin transaction or using your contactless card counts as an electronic signature. Using fingerprint or facial recognition when downloading an app or making a purchase on your device is a form of electronic signature. Other day-to-day actions which would constitute using an electronic signature include ticking “I accept” in online purchases or typing your name at the end of an email.

Benefits of electronic signatures

There are many benefits of e-signatures:

  • Ease – this can be as simple as ticking a box or typing your name at the end of a form. It is now acceptable for certain deeds to be completed by way of electronic signatures, and for witnesses to sign electronically too.
  • Speed – the process can be completed in a matter of minutes. Using recognised e-signing platforms, we can have parties to an agreement from all across the world complete the same document very quickly.
  • Cost – the use of some platforms and software may incur a cost but this can be offset to some extent by the speed of obtaining signatures and reductions in printing and postal costs.
  • Security – there are different levels of security and encryption within electronic signatures but, across the board, electronic documents are deemed to be more secure than paper copies.
  • Integration – as processes can be imbedded into websites or apps, this creates further benefits for the end user.

Limitations of electronic signatures

While this article focuses on the benefits of electronic signatures, we must mention some of the limitations. Electronic signatures are not accepted by all organisations. You may not be able to electronically sign certain types of document, including wills or trust documents, guarantees, documents relating to real estate transactions or marriage, birth, divorce and death certificates.

Similarly, not all countries have the same level of acceptance of electronic signatures and this may cause conflict when it comes to multi-jurisdictional agreements.

At Bolt Burdon, we are geared up to enable you to sign legal documents electronically and can guide you through the process.  If you have any questions relating to electronic signatures, please contact our Corporate & Commercial team.

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