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Electronic Signatures vs. Digital Signatures | Know the difference

All e-Signatures are NOT the same.  There is a big difference between an electronic signature and a digital signature.  When navigating this new world of digital documents it is important to understand the differences.  Here is a quick guide to help you decide which is best for you:

Digital Signatures

A digital signature is a type of electronic signature that offers more security than a traditional electronic signature. When you sign a document with a digital signature, the signature links a “fingerprint” of the document to your identity. Then that information is permanently embedded into the document, and the document will show if someone comes in and tries to tamper with it after you’ve signed it.

Because that information is embedded in the document, you don’t need to check back with the vendor if you want to verify that the signature is still secure. That’s a big benefit if you don’t want to be tied down to one vendor over the life of your documents.

On top of that, more countries around the world accept digital signatures because they comply with international standards for security. (More from Wikipedia)

Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures are popular because they are easy to use. Customers can sign documents online with a click of the mouse or by using their fingers to trace a handwritten signature onto a document.

The downfall of electronic signatures is that they aren’t regulated like digital signatures are. It’s up to each vendor to make their own standards, and you have to take their word for it when they say their signatures are secure.

In fact, electronic signatures don’t have the secure coding that digital signatures have. That technology is what links the signature to the signer’s identity and to the time the document was signed. Essentially, electronic signatures are an image placed on the document, but they can’t show if someone tampers with the document after it is signed.

Another drawback of electronic signatures is the fact that many vendors require you to check back with them if you’d like to know if your document has been tampered with. That means if you decide to change to a different vendor, you could lose those signatures that are stored on the vendor’s server. (More from Wikipedia)

Resources: Docusign, docusign ink, google docs scribble, Dotloop