What is a Wet Signature? (definition, examples, differences)

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak

About: Haissam is a digital software product manager with 15 years of expertise in developing enterprise content management solutions. His core capabilities encompass digital transformation, document management, records management, business process automation, and collaboration.

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The term wet signature has been around since the early 1800s when it was first used in a legal document. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that it became more common for people to sign paper documents with wet ink, leading to this new term being coined.

A wet signature is a physical mark on a paper document that serves as a confirmation of our acceptance. Personal seals, typed names, thumbprints, stamps, or simply an “X” is the most common wet signatures examples used to authenticate a writing.

Even though this method is still the preferred way and is mainly used across governmental entities and organizations, many businesses are moving away from wet signature as the preferred authorization requirement to adopt newer methods.

There are three different types of signatures for us to authorize a contract or a document: wet signature, electronic signature, or digital signature. Each of these strategies has its own set of benefits and uses.

Wet signatures are used as a form of authentication and authenticity. They are often used on contracts, deeds, checks, and other legal documents in order to show that the signer agrees with what they are signing. They can be made by either wet or dry methods.

In this article, we will discover wet signature and the difference between digital, and electronic signatures.

what is wet signature

What Is a Wet Signature?

A wet signature is a physical mark made by a person on a document to indicate that they agree with its contents. The term “wet” refers to the fact that ink is used to create the signature.

The wet signature can also be referred to as a wet ink signature, wet sign, physical signature, manual signature, or pen-and-ink and is mostly used for identity verification.

Our key transactions, such as governmental and financial transactions, still require a wet signature. Because some countries are formalizing the authority of e-signatures, we have seen an increase in the use of electronic in favor of wet signatures in recent years.

With universal access to the internet and online technology today, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in how we sign documents, shifting from wet signatures to electronic signatures.

After COVID19, we have seen major businesses shifting to digital signatures. As a matter of fact, one of the mega construction projects in the middle east used it for the project award contract.

Why is it called a wet signature?

The term wet signature is used because the ink from the pen or stylus soaks into the paper. This is a common term in the legal world, but it’s also used in other industries as well.

The most common use of this term is in law, where it refers to a handwritten signature on an agreement. The wet ink makes it difficult for someone to forge a signature and can make forgery easier to detect. It’s also used by banks and mortgage companies as a security measure against fraud.

Difference Between Electronic Signature & Wet Signature?

The way we sign contracts and documents on a daily basis has changed dramatically.

While a wet sign or a wet ink signature requires a physical mark on a document (wet signed documents), electronic signatures or dry signatures rely on electronic messages, documents or transactions.

An electronic signature or dry signature is a quick and legal technique to approve electronic documents. It is secure and verifiable, and it may be used in place of a handwritten signature in almost any procedure. If a traditional wet ink signature on a piece of paper is scanned into an electronic device, the scanned version is an electronic signature.

A scanned signature on a document or contract is considered valid in countries where the usage of electronic signatures is authorized. This had helped companies operate faster because of the time it used to take to get someone to physically sign a document.

Some examples include:

  • Scanned image of handwritten signatures (wet signature scanned)
  • Sign the email with your credentials or name: acknowledgment of an electronic message, which may be a name at the end of an email or a typed name
  • Consent or approval of electronic forms or documents
  • Agree or disagree on terms and agreements
  • Scribbling
  • Drawing signatures on tablets or smartphones
  • Transactions: Your 4-digit pin code serves as an electronic signature, identifying you as a distinct person connected with an account and processing your transaction.

Since the U.S approved the law to legalize e-signatures in every U.S state through the uniform electronic transactions act, they have become more commonly used internationally.

Most countries are adopting the e-signature act as a way to authenticate legal documents.

If you are looking for the best electronic signature software, check the below article

7 Best Electronic Signature Software in 2022 (theecmconsultant.com)

What is Digital Signature?

As the world is moving into digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation, there was a need to create solutions to meet our modern demands.

The old-fashioned way of authenticating a document (wet signed documents) or a transaction using wet signature should transform and align with our digital world.

E-Signatures Save an Estimated $20 per Document & Reduce Turnaround Times by 80%

More businesses rely on online transactions that require an individual to agree and sign digitally an electronic form rather than the old-fashioned method of printing a document, filling it out by hand, and mailing it to them.

Nowadays, business processes require signatures can be completed online for example you can complete an online purchase by using your smartphone, tablet, or computer without requiring you to have an original wet signature.

That’s where a secure signature comes in handy.

An electronic document may be made much more legally binding by the use of newer technologies. The document’s security is enhanced by the digital certificate process, which allows it to be kept confidential between one party and another.

You can think about it as the next generation of electronic signatures which uses some sort of user electronic identification. This involves using cryptographic means of protecting electronic documents to prevent tampering.

Digital signatures act as a sort of fingerprint for electronic transactions guaranteeing the authenticity of the person’s signed document and that no modifications have been done to the document after the signing process.

Why Digital Signature is Better Than Wet Signature?

Studies have shown that using secure e-signatures in organizations can save the equivalent of a whole working week per year for every employee.

A physical document is more likely to be destroyed, stolen, or compromised than a contract that is stored remotely and safely in the cloud.

A recent study shows that when switching from wet to electronic signatures, companies save between 55 and 78 percent on average taking into account expenses such as supplies, management, and subscriptions.

Electronic signatures will help finalize the digital processes in a matter of minutes, improve productivity, reduce costs, prevent fraud, and it is paperless.

The same study mentioned above demonstrates that It takes 37 minutes on average to receive a signed contract with an electronic signature. The procedure could take up to 5 days or more if done the usual way.

  • Reduce costs: It helps you to save money on physical storage, mailing or couriering papers, and printing. The greater the number of documents handled by your company, the greater the reduction.
  • Improve Overall Business Operations: Consider how wet signed documents can stymie your business’s operations. Consider how much time we would lose if we had a large number of papers to sign from different parties based in different geographical locations. It’s possible the processing would have to pass through many departments and workflows.
  • Sign Anytime & Anywhere: You may use digital signature solutions to sign a document, leave requests, or procedure from anywhere. Documents can be remotely signed by you while on holiday or on a business trip using your smartphone or laptop. Other parties aren’t waiting for you to come to the office to wet signed documents. The digital processes are much more effective, safer, and convenient.
  • Centralized Document Storage: Organizations expend fewer resources on document preservation since all files are stored online. Finding a document became a much easier process, which was formerly a painful job involving digging into filing cabinets and a pile of papers.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Sharing and signing documents online speeds up the process and makes it more comfortable for consumers. It saves a significant amount of time and resources. It allows clients to manage documents more efficiently and move on to the next business steps.
  • Improved Security: Documents digitally signed provide a high degree of confidentiality. They cannot be forged or altered. Anyone trying to change the document can be quickly tracked down and detected. Any improper access is reported to the original owner.
  • Eco-friendly: It eliminates the need for paper. It protects forests, lowers the carbon footprint, and adds to environmental conservation.


Signatures are one of the things that have evolved as a result of today’s fast-paced technological climate. Prior to the modern age, wet signatures were produced using a pen; but, in the digital era, wet signatures should not be used any longer.

Electronic or digital signatures provide the same authority yet they are aligned with our digital world.

Wet signatures were formerly the standard, but electronic and digital signatures are increasingly replacing them since they are faster, quicker, safer, and more convenient.

What is the difference between a wet and dry signature?

A wet signature is a signature that is written in ink, while a dry signature is one that is written on an electronic device such as a tablet or smartphone.

How do you send a wet signature?

There are many ways to send a wet signature. One way is to use a stamp that has been soaked in ink. Another way is to use a stamp pad and stamp the paper with a rubber stamp.

Why is a wet signature required?

The wet signature is an indication that the document has been signed. It is not required for all documents, but it is a requirement for some important documents such as wills and contracts.

3 thoughts on “What is a Wet Signature? (definition, examples, differences)”

  1. Great information however, would this ever be utilized for Trust and Estate documents?


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