When we hear the word signature, we immediately think about the wet signature. For decades, wet signatures have been the first choice to formally authorize the content of a document, contract, or transaction. Even though this method is still the preferred way and mainly used across governmental entities and organizations, many businesses are moving away from wet ink signature as the preferred authorization requirement to adopt newer methods.
In this article, we will discover wet signature definition and the difference between digital, and electronic signatures.
What Is a Wet Signature?
A wet signature is generated when we physically mark (wet sign) a paper document using a pen or any other writing device. The presence of wet signed documents serves as proof of approval and makes it legally binding.
Original wet ink signature doesn’t have to be a person’s name. Throughout history, people used different wet ink sign on a piece of paper. The most used wet sign which would be enough to authenticate writing are:
- Personal seal
- Typed names
- Simply put “X”
While electronic & digital signatures have been on the rise and organizations are accepting them, some governmental entities and businesses require wet ink signatures.
What Is Electronic Signature?
While a wet sign or a wet ink signature requires a physical mark on a document, electronic signatures rely on electronic messages, documents or transactions. An electronic signature refers to the means of replacing wet signed documents by electronic means in virtually any process. Some examples include:
- Scanned image of handwritten signatures (wet signature scanned)
- Sign the email with your credentials or name
- Consent or approval of electronic forms or documents
- Agree or disagree on terms and agreements
- Drawing signatures on tablets or smartphones
Since the U.S approved the law to legalize electronic signatures in every U.S state, they have become more commonly used internationally. Countries are adopting the e signature act as a way to authenticate legal documents.
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What is Digital Signature?
As the world is moving into 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. That’s where a secure digital signature comes in handy.
You can think about digital signature as the next generation of electronic signature which uses some sort of user identification. This involves using cryptographic means of protecting the document to prevent tampering.
Digital signatures act as a sort of fingerprint for electronic transactions guaranteeing the authenticity of the person signing the document and that no modifications have done to the document after the signing process.
Why Digital Signature is Better Than Wet Signature?
Studies have shown that using secure digital signatures in organizations can save the equivalent of a whole working week per year for every employee. It will help finalize the digital signature process in a matter of minutes, improve productivity, reduce costs, and it is paperless.
- Reduce costs: The use of a digital signature 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.
- Sign Anytime & Anywhere: You may use digital signature solutions to complete a digital contract signing, leave requests, or procedure from anywhere. Documents can be remotely signed by you while on holiday or 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 signature process is 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 filing cabinets and a pile of papers.
- Enhanced Customer Experience: Sharing and signing documents online with secure digital signature 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: Adopting digital signature solutions eliminates the need for paper. It protects forests, lowers the carbon footprint, and adds to environmental conservation.
Digital Signature Integrated In ECM Solutions
Many document-based business processes like purchase orders can be automated using the BPM module in an ECM system. Having the ability to digitally sign documents incorporated within automated processes will help employees speed up business operations.
A solid ECM system with seamless digital signature integration will help speed up the signing of a pdf in comparison to paper-based documents and a wet signature.
Check out the full guide to enterprise content management to know more about ECM.