Signatures have also evolved so much since it was first introduced to society. In fact, the very first signature dates back to 3500 BC, when the Sumerians introduced the seal to authenticate and legitimize business deals. But it wasn’t until the 17th century that the use of signature became widely used among common people. Since then, we have seen many different types of signatures.
Signatures have become such an integral part of our lives. Some might think that they’re just scribbles or characters, but they hold so much power in proving and certifying our identity. It is said that an average person affixes their signature on hundreds, maybe even thousands, of documents like forms and contracts to name a few.
Table of Contents
- What are the different types of signatures?
- Which type of signature is best for your needs?
- How to get started with electronic signatures?
What are the different types of signatures?
As mentioned briefly in the introduction, signatures have been around for many, many years and have evolved ever since. Currently, there are four main types of signatures. Let’s go through each one of them:
Symbols and Special Characters
It is said that long before people knew how to write, they already had their own signatures using symbols and marks. Nowadays, there are still cultures that heavily use symbols and characters as signatures. For instance, a small engraved seal or stamp, Hanko, is still widely used in Japan for common transactions. In fact, using Hanko is more prevalent than wet signatures.
Written or Wet Signatures
Moving on to the second type of signature, the wet signature or more well-known as the written signature. As the name suggests, this type of signature is created through writing their name using a pen; hence, the name. It’s one of the most common ways people sign forms and documents.
Electronic signatures are becoming more prevalent in today’s modern and highly digital environment. To define it simply, an electronic signature is a set of digital characters or letters that you use to sign digital documents.
There are various ways to create an electronic signature. With Fill, for instance, you can draw your signature using their on-screen canvas. You can also use your mouse to draw. Another method is to upload a picture of your wet signature. The last way you can create an electronic signature is by typing your name and choosing from our selection of fonts.
More often than not, people confuse digital signatures with electronic signatures. While, at first glance, they seem similar, they are actually quite different from each other. One of the defining differences between digital and electronic signatures is that the former offers more security than the latter.
Digital signatures are encrypted to ensure the authenticity of the signature. They are usually used in government processes and similar highly confidential transactions.
Click wrap signature
There’s a pretty good chance that you have already encountered this type of signature, especially in the current digital landscape. This is widely used in e-commerce and online shopping. Have you ever purchased an item, maybe even an online service, that requests you to read the terms and conditions first before pushing through with the transaction? The box that you click to confirm that you have gone through their terms is a click wrap signature.
It is essentially a form of consent or verification that you have understood their terms of service. However, this type of signature is not a substitute for wet or electronic signatures.
Which type of signature is best for your needs?
With all these types of signatures available, you might be wondering which one is the best method for signing and is most suited for your needs? Just as with any other thing, each option has its pros and cons.
First and foremost, you need to verify the legality of each type of signature. For instance, while symbols and special characters might be accepted and widely used in Japan for many legal transactions, they might not be considered legally binding in other places.
In the same vein, if you are considering adopting a completely digital environment, do your research and ask, “Is electronic or digital signature legal and accepted in the court of law?”
Another factor that help you decide is the ease of use and convenience. Which one of these options offers the simplest and most straightforward signing process? Using wet signatures is a popular choice as you only really need a pen. However, many also prefer electronic or digital signatures as processing paperwork online is quicker and more efficient.
Lastly, you need to take a deep look into the safety and security of your files. Which one of these types of signatures is more vulnerable to forgery? As mentioned above, digital signatures win this battle by a mile because of the kind of encryption it uses.
How to get started with electronic signatures?
Switching to electronic signatures have a plethora of advantages. For one, you can cut your costs significantly. You no longer have to spend a lot of money on printing expenses and courier services. Sharing documents for signing can be as easy as sending an email, or in this case, sharing a link.
Aside from that, using electronic signatures can also relatively reduce bottlenecks in your processes. By using an electronic signature application like Fill, you can automate many of your tasks, leaving your employees more time to do more important tasks.
Speaking of Fill, the best way for you to get started with electronic signature is to sign up with Fill. Fill has a host of top-rated features that can surely make document signing a breeze. For as low as $4.17 per month, you can enjoy unlimited signature requests, unlimited document uploads and smart filling, reusable templates, and so much more
These are the five types of signatures available to you today. The most commonly used ones are wet and electronic signatures mainly as they are the most accessible methods among the five. Digital signatures are also starting to gain steam, especially with threats of breaches and data theft constantly looming.