A word of warning: Be careful when using free electronic signature services
Electronic signatures offer a great, convenient way to manage documents, agreements and contracts. Adding an electronic signature to a digitised document can be as easy as clicking a button. However, there’s more to e-signing than simply adding a signature.
Technically, an electronic signature can be any type of electronic data that links the signing party to the agreement they are signing. While there are many ways of adding an electronic signature to a document, not all methods are created equal. And, more importantly, not all methods are safe, secure or legally binding.
How to evaluate the security of your e-signing provider
The three key elements for making an electronic signature legally binding are evidence of intent, identity and integrity.
The link between the content of the electronic document and your signature is evidence of your intent to enter into the agreement. Evidence of identity can be anything that ties an individual to the act of signing. This can range from the phone number or e-mail address to which the document is sent to more secure methods of identity verification such as using a recognised electronic identification means. Finally, integrity is evidence that the document is in its original form and has not been altered or tampered with after the signature was added. This is usually done by applying a digital signature to the document.
All three are required to make a document legally binding, so when using any service (free or paid), make sure evidence of these is provided with the signed document. For example, if a document includes a signature (intent) and a phone number (identity) but lacks evidence of integrity (such as a digital signature), you might not be able to legally enforce the terms of the contract if a dispute arises.
Free electronic signatures at Scrive
Scrive offers safe, secure and legally binding agreements. And it’s available at no cost using our free trial.
- Evidence of intent – The electronically signed document links the signing parties to the terms of the written agreement
- Evidence of identity – Identity is evidenced through the email address or mobile number of the signing parties (eID authentication is available with a subscription)
- Evidence of integrity – Scrive applies a digital signature using blockchain technology to protect document integrity
At Scrive, we set the world standard for quality of legal evidence saved with each signed document. We stand by the security and legal viability of all signatures created through our service.