Do you use a digital signature when you sign a document online?
Is it possible to have an electronic one?
Is there a difference at all?
There is, indeed.
A very common question that gets asked while discussing the topic of electronic signatures is; What is the difference between eSign and a digital signature?
A very direct and generic answer to this question is that electronic signatures and digital signatures are used interchangeably, but the fact of the matter is that these two are quite different.
A significant difference between eSign and digital signature is that digital signatures are mostly utilized to secure documents because they guarantee the authenticity of documents while online electronic signatures are like symbols attached with a contract where the signer has a very clear intent to sign documents.
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However, the average signer isn’t always aware of this, and many people confuse the two terms.
We’ll go over the difference between eSignature and digital signature so you’ll know what to look for if you’re thinking about switching to a paperless, digital platform.
What is Electronic Signature?
Electronic signatures are like an electronic process, or a symbol attached or logically associated with a contract or any other document. E-signatures are executed to perform online document signing by a person who has a clear intent to sign the document for different purposes.
In other words, an e-signature is more like a digital version of a handwritten signature. They are used to showcase the intent to either approve or accept the contents of important documents by either a person or different parties involved.
One of the most relevant and significant benefits of electronic signatures is that they make signing online documents remarkably simple. They enable the users to create an electronic signature in word with either a tap or just a click of the mouse allowing them to sign using their fingers or a stylus.
What is Digital Signature?
Digital signatures are one of the categories of electronic signatures that leverage algorithms to produce a unique digital fingerprint for each document. This digital fingerprint is linked to the signer’s identity and is used to authenticate it.
Fundamentally, one can create digital signatures utilizing the public key infrastructure system. The signature software uses an algorithm to produce two keys (a public and a private key) consisting of a sequence of numbers that are essentially linked to each other mathematically.
When any user signs an online document, he/she uses the private key to create a suitable signature. The private key is basically used to stay under the owner’s control essentially. At the time of the signing process, a crypto code ID is created and embedded inside the document.
When verification is facilitated, the signer simply utilizes his/her public key for unwrapping the digital signature code while subsequently comparing it with the document to ensure that there is a match.
A digital signature uses cryptography to provide authentic proof of the integrity and origin of every signature while verifying it.
Key Differences Between eSign and Digital Signature
- Electronic signatures online are mainly used to verify the documents.
- An electronic signature is not regulated by the certification authorities.
- eSign uses a wide range of methods for the purpose of authenticating the signer’s identity such as enterprise ID, emails, phone verification, etc.
- Electronic signatures use an audit trail to showcase the proof of signing a document.
- eSign is concerned with a comparatively lesser number of security features when compared to digital signatures.
- Digital signatures are mainly used to secure a document.
- On the other hand, digital signatures are most commonly regulated by certification authorities.
- Digital signatures use the certificate-based ID for the purpose of authenticating the signer’s identity.
- Digital signatures bind each signature to the document through encryption to showcase the proof of signing.
- Digital signatures are specifically concerned with an increasing number of security features.
The Main Differences Between Digital Signature and Electronic Signature
- The main difference is that, while a digital signature refers to a set of cryptographic methods, the concept of an electronic signature is fundamentally legal in nature, as it provides the signature with a regulatory framework that grants it legal validity.
- Another distinction is the context in which they are employed. An electronic signature is mostly used to sign electronic documents where the signatory intends to use his e-signature to sign the document. A digital signature, on the other hand, is used to safeguard papers and is utilized by certification bodies.
- Electronic signatures serve as proof that the signee has accepted the conditions of a contract via electronic means. This may include things like typing their name into an email, entering a PIN into an ATM, signing their name electronically on a touch screen gadget, or checking a box to sign up for a new streaming subscription.
- The basic goal of digital signatures is to secure a document so that it cannot be altered without permission. An electronic signature, on the other hand, is primarily used to verify a document.
- The verification process of the digital signature is performed by a trusted service provider or a trusted certification authority. There is no verification process for creating online signatures.
Conclusion – Difference Between eSignature and Digital Signature
Digital signatures and electronic signatures are primarily used to sign documents online. When comparing the two, it is possible to conclude that electronic signatures are superior to digital signatures.
Now that the distinguish between a digital signature and an electronic signature is pretty clear, it will get much easier to make an informed decision about the type of best esign service for small business that will be perfectly suited for your business.
Because the best electronic signature software is more secure and requires less verification, this is the case. They use coded messages to link a document to the signer in a safe and secure manner.
To make your documents more secure, platforms like WeSignature can be used to generate specific encryption authentications and keys, such as usernames and logins. Because they provide the highest level of security, electronic signatures are widely accepted.