HelloSign has collected what we like to refer to as a “league of extraordinary users.” From solo business owners to insurance agents to socially-minded startups, we have a pretty impressive crew. But for all the yay-sayers in our user base there are plenty of people who are only just dipping a toe into the world of eSignatures.
These newly introduced users (or potential users) usually start off by asking great questions as they poke around the product. Unsurprisingly, some of the most frequently asked questions relate to concerns about eSignatures.
So to answer to these common concerns, we thought we'd tackle the top 5 eSignature myths.
We'll debunk these concerns:
- eSignatures aren’t secure
- eSignatures aren’t as legal as a paper signature
- eSignatures aren’t legal in some states
- eSignatures share access to important (or classified) documents
- eSignatures are only a trend
Is it a formidable lineup? Indeed. But we’re always excited by a challenge. Time to get myth-busting.
Myth #1: eSignatures Aren't Secure
At HelloSign stringent measures have been put in place to maintain the highest level of security.
- SSL encrypted connection PS that’s the level of encryption used at leading banks!
- Audit trails These can be used to safely track every step of a document’s signing journey.
- Bank-level security for payment info Any time you pay for something online, you'll want to make sure you’re entering your info into a secure system. At HelloSign we use Stripe – a PCI compliant company – to process payments.
- 2-factor authentication This is an optional feature at HelloSign which gives an added layer of protection by requiring a user to provide a code that’s been sent to a separate device. Many people already use 2-factor authentication for things like email accounts or online banking accounts.
All of these protections combined actually make eSignatures more secure than traditional pen and paper signatures.
We want our users to feel comfortable using eSignature services without feeling like they’re at risk. By keeping our security up-to-date and being transparent about any fine print, we also hope to inspire users to double-check the security behind any new technology they adopt.
Myth #2: eSignatures Aren't as Legal as a Paper Signature
Entire countries were founded by way of pen and paper (we're looking at you, Declaration of Independence) so questions about eSignature legality completely make sense.
True, eSignatures take the pen and paper out of the signing equation. But that doesn’t mean online signatures take legality out of the signing equation. In fact, electronic signatures are a federally recognized form of signature. We’ve written about it before, but did you know that "The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act) states that a contract or document can’t be denied its legal effect, validity, or enforceability just because it’s in electronic form."
The truth is, eSignatures carry the same heft as a paper signature. Sign away with confidence!
Myth #3 : eSignatures Aren't Legal in Some States
From the HelloSign HQ’s state of California all the way to Delaware, all 50 states accept eSignatures as a legal form of signature. But there’s still a buzz about the inconsistency in eSignature adoption nationwide. Most of the confusion comes from a nearly complete list of states that have signed what’s known as the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA).
The act was created to unify regulations for eSignatures across the country but, as it stands now, Washington, Illinois, and New York have yet to sign. But this doesn’t mean eSignatures aren’t legal when sent or received in those states. Those three states simply passed their own laws validating the legality of eSignatures. All 50 states accept eSignatures as a legal signature!
Myth #4 : eSignatures Share Access to Important (or Classified) Documents
HelloSign doesn’t share or use info from any shared documents. But what HelloSign does track is the audit trail for a document.
Why would someone need an audit trail?
Audit trails are a part of the legal equation for eSignatures. For instance, some documents aren’t legally admissible in court without a validated audit trail. Audit trails include time of signature, IP addresses for signers and senders, and when a document has been opened. Audit trails keep track of the details necessary to verify the legality of a paper trail and also act as an added level of security for users.
Myth #5: eSignatures Are Only a Trend
eSignatures will be the future of signing and business transactions. Guaranteed.
A big statement to make? Definitely. But consider this – while some new technologies focus on tackling a temporary problem, others are created to upgrade an entire system. eSignatures fall under the second category. They’re geared up to solve a big problem.
For example, even if you haven’t used an eSignature tool specifically you may have already had a hand in signing a document electronically. Have you ever created a PIN to file your taxes online? You created a type of digital signature. Yes! Even the IRS is thinking about how electronic signing will play into how we process paperwork.
Online signatures help to solve the challenge of getting a high volume of documents signed online, quickly and efficiently. This streamlining of administrative processes is positioned to impact (and benefit) everyone. From HR to insurance to construction to freelancers, eSignatures are picking up speed in most industries that rely heavily on printing and paperwork.
BONUS Myth #6: eSignatures Are a Pain to Adopt
The pain of adopting a new technology is a pain you hear about a lot, especially from larger companies. Big businesses are kind of like the barges of the professional sea and changing course can take a lot of work and a lot of redirecting. But not every recalibration has to be slow going and difficult to maneuver. It all comes down to whether the output of a new tool warrants the time taken to integrate it.
eSignatures definitely pass that test.
Not only is it super easy to integrate eSignatures, the time spent doing so is almost immediately returned. Printing takes time. Mailing takes time. Signing takes time. Start to finish, processing a document between multiple parties can span for days, weeks, and even months (yes, months!). Now that's painful.
Moving your tasks online and streamlining the signing flow solves a major “There’s never enough time!” problem in big businesses and small businesses alike.