Because of COVID, more Americans are telecommuting than ever before. Workers have learned they can get as much done at home in sweats as they could in their offices, with no two-hour commute required.
Some jobs adapt to telecommuting more easily than others, like programmers and free-lance writers. However, many workers have historically struggled to complete customer-facing jobs from home.
Today, workers and consumers have both adapted to customer-facing remote work. Just like customers can shop from home, business people can close deals and even sign contracts without ever having to leave their homes.
Why are eSignatures such a big deal right now?
The pandemic has made people less likely to leave their homes, but even without a global emergency, workers have learned it’s simply more convenient to do things from home. It’s more comfortable, and they don’t lose a quarter of their day to transportation time.
Even if you aren’t telecommutingtelecommuning, there are many benefits to a paperless office. Without printing and filing, offices can save money on employees to handle filing and equipment for printing. It’s better for the environment because it’s not wasting ink and paper, and it increases functional office space by getting rid of clunky, oversized filing cabinets.
Ever since the federal eSign act of 2000, eSign documents have been deemed legally binding. This means legally binding documents can be drafted and signed between parties on opposite ends of the Earth. If your office hasn’t adopted eSign procedures, you run the risk of clients leaving for competitors with more efficient business processes.
Technically, eSigning covers a variety of different signature formats. While all of them are secure and some are more binding than others, each format serves its own purpose.
A handwritten signature on an online platform
When the average person thinks of eSigning, they imagine a digital representation of their handwritten signature.
The standard way to complete a digital handwritten signature is to use a stylus or finger to sign on a touchscreen or trackpad. This creates a reasonable facsimile of your signature even though it might not look exactly like your true signature.
The other way to capture a handwritten signature digitally would be to scan or photograph a handwritten signature on a piece of white paper. The user can then isolate their signature from the paper using an editing software. The scanned signature can be stored on their device or the cloud for future use.
Type your signature in a pre-existing “handwritten” font
A typed eSignature is much easier to use than a handwritten signature because it doesn’t require a touchscreen, track device, or scanner. A typed signature is still legally binding because of the security procedures involved.
By typing your full name into a typed eSignature, you acknowledge responsibility in the same way you would with pen and ink. The software will substitute a cursive font to mimic handwriting, but this is primarily for visual effect—the act of typing was your signature.
Click wrap is a form of eSignature that most of us do weekly. It isn’t technically a signature, so it isn’t as binding as typed or handwritten digital signatures. This is similar to the button you click to acknowledge webpage cookies or agree to a software license’s terms and conditions.
An eSignature has stronger legal standing to uphold an agreement, whereas click wrap is used to acknowledge that someone has seen an agreement. That said, click wrap is still legally binding, so watch where you click!
What about digital signatures?
To the uninitiated, a digital signature sounds like the same thing as an eSignature. Most people typically use the terms digital and electronic interchangeably, but there are significant differences between the two when it comes to electronic signing.
eSigning is any format that creates a binding signature using a secure login to confirm a user’s identity.
Digital signature adds an additional layer of encryption. It is typically used by governments and banks to safeguard data.
Digital signatures use two sets of digital “keys.” Each signatory has both a public and private key. The person who creates the document signs with their private key. When the document is sent, it is encrypted. When the signatory receives the document, they use the first party’s public key to open the document. They then sign with their private key and send it back. The document is re-encrypted for the return.
After the first party receives the signed document, they use the second party’s public key to open and file the document. This confirms both parties’ identities while keeping the document confidential.
There is a higher level of encryption called QES or qualified electronic signature. QES requires special hardware-based devices to verify users’ identities before the document will open. This is only used for the highest security applications, such as financial transactions, as it is extremely expensive and requires special equipment.
The level of encryption that you get from digital signatures is unnecessary for most transactions because the complexity, time, and cost are laborious, and your information may not be that secret. For example, do you really care if someone is able to see your lease terms? Standard eSignatures are still extremely secure and will work in most circumstances.
If your business is attracted to eSigning for its convenience and efficiency, adding these steps are counterintuitive.
Why choose Revv?
Regardless of which type of eSigning you need, Revv is ready to help.
Whether you prefer a digital signature or a click wrap acknowledgment, Revv can cater to your needs. Once your document has been signed, Revv can store it in a centralized repositoryyour secure Revv account for future reference.
Creating a signable document is as easy as importing a contract and adding as many signature blocks as you need. We also have over 1000+ templates that you can use to create the perfect contract, so it’s as easy as possible.
Revv can be used by anyone to sign contracts, even people without a Revv account. It only takes minutes! Revv will even provide updates on your document at every step of its journey until it has safely returned to you.