With banking and other sectors digitalizing, many products and service we once had to procure in person can now be taken out online. Likewise, there’s a new way to sign for consent virtually.
We’ve all had to create our signature — whether it’s something easy to read, just our initials, our full name or a letterless mark —, often repeating it over and over until we’re satisfied, only to scrawl it down for things like our national ID, a form or just a note. We write our signature every day, and, now with the Internet, it — like many other things — has gone digital. But we shouldn’t mix up digital and electronic signatures; they can be different according to the laws in each country.
In general, an electronic signature is data that establish someone’s identity on an electronic document. There are many types of electronic signatures:
A digital signature is a cryptographic output (made with algorithms) that certifies the authenticity of an inalterable document accepted by a signer. It is used for advanced and qualified electronic signatures. Therefore, all digital signatures are electronic, but not the other way around.
Digital signatures are an excellent way to sign paperwork to open a bank account, government forms (in some places) and other documents because they’re secure with encryption; authentic, with a certificate that prevents tampering; fast, for applications and other bureaucratic processes; convenient, with no need to leave home; and sustainable because they don’t use paper.