Signature verification: what is it and how to use it?

Signatures used to be associated with handwritten scribblings. Initials or parts of names/surnames written in an illegible way seem impossible to be forged. However, time went by, and as the Internet took the reigns, almost everything became computerized, including signatures. Creating a major security question: ’what is signature verification, and how does it work?’

What is an eSignature?

Before focussing on the security issue, let’s take a look at two terms: digital and electronic signature. Most of the users on the internet would consider them the same. However, these notions are not the same. Their uniqueness has to be taken into consideration when choosing how to sign your document. A digital autograph is mostly used to guarantee a paper’s authenticity and needs approval from a certification authority. While in turn, an eSignature (a shortened variant of ‘electronic signature’) is a legitimate way to receive approval on e-documents. Below let’s take a look at more details about the second type.

Basic features of an eSignature:

  • Helps authenticate a document.
  • Is used to execute agreements.
  • Has a legally-binding effect.
  • Is easy to use.

There are three types of eSignatures: basic, advanced/qualified, and click-to-sign.

What are the key advantages of using an eSignature?

eSigning tools are really useful solutions when dealing with difficulties that are usually connected with a wet signature. An eSignature has several benefits compared to its handwritten equivalent.
  • 1. Upgraded security. The first advantage is its increased level of security. Unlike paper-signed documents, the likelihood of forging someone’s e-autograph is next to impossible since any attempt will be automatically detected.
  • 2. Fast contract execution. eSignatures can streamline the contract process because they prevent delays in finalizing agreements. Even long distances between the parties is no longer a factor to worry about because everything is done electronically in a matter of seconds.
  • 3. Low transaction cost. Finally, savings on paper, packaging, and transportation, along with human error, is reduced. The automated process helps prevent many problems and, therefore, saves money.

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How to eSign a document?

Where there’s demand, there’s supply. Therefore, numerous tools for eSigning documents have appeared on the market. The most reputable include DocuSign, PandaDoc, Adobe Sign and signNow. Keeping these in mind, let’s find out how to sign a document with an electronic signature:
  1. Open the invitation to sign the document in the email you received.
  2. Type your full name in the Text field.
  3. Read through the document (contract, agreement, etc.) you are going to sign.
  4. Click on the Signature field.
  5. To add your signature, type, draw or upload an image of it and then click the Add button.
  6. Check whether you have filled in all the required fields and click the Done button.

Note: Any eSignature you add in signNow is legally-binding.

What is signature verification?

In a nutshell, verification is a method used by high-profile institutions, e.g., banks, to verify the identity of a particular person. Therefore, the main reason for this process is ensuring security. It’s worth noting that for the sake of privacy and validity, a signer must be the only person who owns his/her eSignature. Only then, is it valid under the ESIGN electronic commerce act. Additionally, there are other pieces of legislation capable of approving the validity of eSignatures, namely UETA and eIDAS.

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How to verify an eSignature?

The process of verifying electronic autographs has a lot in common with traditional techniques used to guarantee the authenticity of wet signatures. The whole procedure is mostly about proving that the right person used the eSignature. Through establishing the location, time, and date when the eSignature was used, organizations and the court can determine who signed using the eSignature and if the right person did it. Various software solutions help cope with the issue of authentication. They provide either one or two-layer security measures to protect your documents. Two-factor verification is considered more reliable because it requires two types of information, like email account, password or fingerprint each time someone logs in.

Using signNow, you are guaranteed security through two-factor verification. Here are the guidelines to set it up:

  1. Select the document you want to get signed, upload it and choose Invite to Sign.
  2. Add the signer’s email address to the field that follows. Then click on the green button Start adding fields in the right-hand bottom corner.
  3. Place the types and number of fillable fields you need on the document, and after which click Save and Invite.
  4. Select a two-factor authentification type you want to set up (e.g., text message, phone call or password). It can be different for each signer.
  5. Click the Send Invite button, and the recipient will get an email notification inviting them to sign the form. It will be impossible to complete the signing unless both levels of verification are satisfied.

Conclusion

Electronic signatures have the same value as their pen-and-ink equivalents and are much harder to forge. However, to be confident in your documents’ security, signature verification is a crucial factor. signNow is a complete solution for eSignature authentication trusted by organizations of all sizes.
Yana Kryvosheina
Yana Kryvosheina
Digital content writer at signNow
May 07, 2020