Digital, Wet, and Electronic Signatures: What's the Difference?

Submitted by Tech Support on Mon, 08/15/2022 - 12:12
digital pen preparing to sign a digital document

Autograph, signature, John Hancock--whatever you call it, signing a document is an important part of many business transactions, which is why it deserves your attention when it comes to process improvements. Luckily, there are plenty of document solutions designed to make signatures simpler and more secure. Here's what you need to know!

Three 3 Signature Types

Did you know there are three kinds of signatures, and each one can be used for different things? Here's a quick look:

Wet signatures

Wet signatures are probably the kind of signature you're most familiar with--the one that looks most like your autograph. Because they're written on a page, they're named after wet ink. They're used for notarized documents, mortgages, contracts, and other sensitive or important files.

Digital signatures

Digital signatures are a little more difficult to define. They can come in the form of check-boxes, info entry forms, or buttons on a webpage. When you interact with these options, you're signifying your approval or agreeing with certain terms. They're used when authenticity needs to be validated or an agreement needs to be made before users can engage with a certain piece of software.

Electronic signatures

Electronic signatures are, in many ways, the future of autographs. They're essentially on online version of your wet signature and are legally binding. That means they can be used in many of the same scenarios as a wet signature, but without all the paper.

So, why does all this matter? Simple: When it comes to process improvements, you need to know which signatures are required in which scenarios so you can choose the best document solutions to get the job done. Most of the time, that means identifying opportunities to use electronic signatures instead of wet signatures.

Document Solutions for Electronic Signatures

You probably use a lot of wet signatures in your workplace; after all, that was the only option until fairly recently. The truth, however, is that wet signatures are on their way out. Here are just a few reasons to make the switch to electronic signatures with a little help from well-placed document solutions:

  • Electronic signatures are more efficient.

Consider all the steps necessary to have two or more parties sign the same document with wet signatures. You have to print the document, sign it yourself, scan it back into the system, email it to the other parties, and wait for them to repeat the process themselves. That's a lot of effort--and a lot of wasted time, too.

With document solutions, it's possible to cut out all these unnecessary steps. It all comes down to electronic signatures, which can be completed without ever hitting "print."

  • Electronic signatures help save money.

Speaking of printing, do you know how much money you spend on all that paper, ink, and energy? Printing and physically signing documents is not the most cost-effective way to complete a legal arrangement or other important agreement. Luckily, electronic signatures eliminate this issue by allowing you to do all the work digitally.

  • Electronic signatures support remote and hybrid work.

If you're one of many businesses reconsidering the in-person work model, you're probably wondering how wet signatures fit into the story. The truth is that electronic signatures are better suited to remote and hybrid work because they allow you to take documents with you wherever you go. There's no need to be in the same room or even the same country to sign a file; with electronic signatures, all parties can sign in seconds--and they can do it from anywhere.

  • Electronic signatures are more secure.

You probably know just how much easier it is to handle a digital document than a paper file. The same is true when it comes to signatures. An electronically signed document can be shared, stored, and secured with all kinds of digital tools, while a paper signature is vulnerable to natural disasters, theft, and more.

In conclusion, electronic signatures are a big deal for the future of business--and with the right document solutions, it's easy to say goodbye to wet signatures without any hassle.

Interested in document solutions for electronic signatures? Looking for more tech tips? Contact us today!

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