Not too long ago, a person’s word was their bond. And most of them signed contracts with an X. That’s one reason many contracts needed co-signatures from witnesses, though many of them also signed with an X.
Even when education improved to the point where almost everybody could sign their name, that didn’t mean they were legible. Some people use a fancy script, some designed stylish flourishes and many other people had just plain bad handwriting. A skilled forger can duplicate everybody’s hand-written signature, and only highly trained handwriting analysts can detect the difference.
That’s why Congress and President Bill Clinton passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 (ESIGN). That law gives electronic signatures the same legal status as ink written on paper. The European Union passed the EU Directive for Electronic Signatures in 1999.
1. eSignatures are more secure.
Paper documents can and are sometimes lost. Or stolen. Or burned up. Or destroyed in a flood. Also, electronic documents contain more information about the person, thereby making it more likely than it was the person who signed electronically. Sure, some hacker could have stolen the information off a hard drive, but they’d be more likely to use it to sign up for an online casino and send themselves the cash than to use it to sign someone up for a merchant account.
Also, the esignature time-stamps the moment, and then locks and encrypts the document using Public Key Infrastructure so nobody can change it.
Esignatures protect your business against fraud.
2. They make the process smoother, quicker and more convenient.
They reduce lost orders. Customers abandon shopping carts in mid-transaction more often than e-commerce merchants like to talk about publicly.
3. They save time.
It takes around a week to snail mail paper documents back and forth. It takes even longer when somebody makes a mistake and doesn’t sign in all the correct places. Therefore, deals go through more quickly.
Also, because sales people and managers don’t have to spend so much time on detailed paperwork, they have more opportunities to speak with more prospects.
4. They save money.
You’re waiting for orders. Sometimes buyer’s remorse creeps in, or a competitor, and you lose the order. You pay a team member to handle the paper documents, to scan them and store the images, to email attachments, and you pay for overnight express mail delivery.
Experts estimate the cost of business paper documents at $6.50 per signed piece of paper.
5. They increase customer satisfaction.
Customers don’t like the hassles created by processing paperwork. They prefer to sign it once and be done in just a few seconds.
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