How to Use E-Signatures

While the concept of using technology for a legal signature isn’t new (morse code was the first), a growing number of businesses and organizations are looking for a way to quickly obtain a legal signature without requiring you to be physically present.

Electronic Signatures Overview

Regulations for digital signatures may vary by location, but essentially the requirements are:

  • The signatory can be uniquely identified and linked to the signature
  • The signatory must have sole control of the private key that was used to create the electronic signature
  • The signature must be capable of identifying if its accompanying data has been tampered with after the message was signed
  • In the event that the accompanying data has been changed, the signature must be invalidated.

Finding Your Best Solution to Digital Signatures

I’ve done several electronic signatures, some which used a scanned graphic of my written signature and others which used typed text for my name. The main criteria is method to obtain and use of my signature complied with the U.S. laws.

Here’s a diagram of how the process works.

My personal experience with electronic signatures has been through using Adobe Acrobat DC. I use Adobe Creative Cloud products every day, so Acrobat DC comes bundled with it and I don’t have to pay extra.

Nitro allows unlimited signatures and documents for free, and works with cloud storage like Google Drive and Dropbox.

After looking at several paid solutions for electronic signature, Hello Sign seems like a winner. It’s free if you only need 3 or less documents per month, and $13/month for unlimited.

RightSignature looks like another good option, though there is no free version. Still, at only $11/month for unlimited, it’s pretty reasonable.

All of the above methods allow you to get started right away. Whichever solution you choose, electronic signatures help you to get important documents signed quickly regardless of geographic location.

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