The Ultimate Guide To Electronic Signature Verification

Electronic signatures have changed the way we do business. Gone are the days of waiting weeks for signed agreements to be completed, and watching a never-ending stream of paperwork pile up on your desk. As this technology becomes the new norm, it’s important to understand the difference between eSigning and copy-and-pasting an image of your signature into a PDF document. 

The key factor here is that eSignatures can be verified. 

Electronic signature verification is important because many of the agreements you’re signing are legally binding. If you want to do business with confidence, those documents will need to be accompanied by an audit trail that links them back to you.

This article dives into how electronic signature verification works, what you need to know as a business, and how you can sign with a compliant and verified eSignature. 

What is an electronic signature?

The US Federal ESIGN Act defines an “electronic signature” as an electronic sound, symbol, or process associated with an agreement. It is executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign that agreement.

The Complete Guide to Electronic Signature Laws around the World

Electronic signatures have been used across many industries and business functions to sign purchase orders, employment contracts, sales contracts, permission slips, rental/lease agreements, liability waivers, financial documents, and many more essential documents.

Electronic signatures are widely used and legally enforceable in almost every country in the world.

What is electronic signature verification?

Electronic signature verification proves that the signature on a signed agreement was provided by the signee named on the document, like a digital “fact check.”

Since an eSignature is made electronically, whether on your computer or mobile phone, your device records information like the date, time, location, and IP address at the time of signing. This data provides a positive determination that the signature belongs to and was executed by the signee.

How does electronic signature verification work?

Electronic signatures are verified by encryption, which is built around public and private keys. Each public and private key is like a partnership: they’re both generated at the same time and are linked upon their inception. The private key can be used to decrypt data when combined with its “partner” public key.

Identity verification

In this sense, the signature verification process works the same way as logging into a website with your email and password. With those two data points combined, your identity can be verified. 

With an electronic signature, all of the information required for the signee to prove their identity is embedded in the signature itself. During the process of signing and returning an agreement, you will not only be including the original data and the encrypted data, but also the public key and any other information required to verify your signature.

So, to ensure that your document hasn’t been forged or signed by anyone else, you can verify that a signature is real by decrypting the file using both keys. If their output matches the original data, then you know it’s the real deal.

This process also doesn’t have to be done manually: with Signeasy, file verification is completed repeatedly by our system. This feature is why we are compliant with the eSIGN Act and eiDAS.

Authenticity verification

Electronic signature verification is also vital in ensuring that only one copy of your document exists, and that there are no falsified copies that exist. In the event that it has been tampered with, eSignature verification confirms which one is the original.

Thanks to verification, only the authentic document will have the public key that works with the private key. The certificate authority can therefore easily identify which document is real and which document isn’t.

Can’t I just type my name as a signature?

Although you can copy and paste an image of your signature on a PDF document or type it as a text field, it won’t be a verified signature. 

To ensure important documents are legally binding, signature verification is a must, and a key reason behind why many businesses choose an eSignature solution like Signeasy.

As mentioned above, if you don’t have encrypted and therefore verified documents and signatures, then the contents of the document could be forged, or the signature might not have been executed by the signee. 

With Signeasy, you won’t have to worry about doing any of this manually: it’ll all be taken care of by our software.

Are electronic signatures legal?

This is a question we see a lot. The short answer is yes, electronic signatures are legal. The long answer is that there are different legal definitions of what constitutes a binding signature depending on which country you are from.

You can read more about how the legality of electronic signatures applies to your country of residence here.

How do different business functions use electronic signatures?

Ensuring that signatures can be verified is important across every industry and business function, from real estate and marketing all the way to construction and consumer goods. 

Electronics are particularly popular among sales professionals, who are constantly sending agreements and contracts to new clients. As these contracts signify the start of a new business relationship, having electronic signature verification is essential for both parties to have full confidence in the deal at hand.

HR teams are also using eSignature solutions to send offer letters, internal approvals, contracts, NDAs, and expense claims for signature. Again, these important documents need to be verified as a point of trust between the employer and employee.

There has also been mass adoption of eSignatures by legal professionals. After the ESIGN Act was created and therefore validated their legality, electronic signatures began overtaking wet signatures as they are much more convenient and yield faster turnarounds.

Our legal customers use Signeasy to send documents like confidentiality agreements, M&A agreements, and employment contracts, as well as personal legal documents such as power of attorney agreements, purchase and sale contracts, and cohabitation agreements.

Conclusion

Although electronic signature verification is quite a technical process, it’s not something you need to worry about if you’re using an eSignature solution like Signeasy.

Signeasy takes many precautions to ensure your documents have verifiable signatures and are fully protected by law. 

Your documents are also securely stored in your Signeasy dashboard so you can easily access them whenever you need them again.

Does every document need to be verified?

With Signeasy, every document is verified, from the simplest permission slip to confidential NDAs, at no extra cost to you.

How much does electronic signature verification cost?

Verification is included in your Signeasy monthly plan; we offer it standard with every Signeasy subscription.

I’m on a free trial, is my signature still verified?

Yes. Every document completed using Signeasy has electronic signature verification. Our free trial exists to share all of the benefits of having an eSignature solution as part of your workflow, including peace of mind.

For more information on electronic signatures and Signeasy, check out this page.