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Posted on NOV 17, 2017

Electronic signatures securely speed up transactions

Signatures are vital to keeping lives and businesses running smoothly. Your signature is a representation of your commitment to whatever it is you're signing, from a greeting card or a driver's license to a mortgage contract or a business sale. But when important documents need a signature before a transaction can proceed, it can create a logjam in many otherwise streamlined electronic processes. Printing, signing, then mailing, faxing or scanning documents is a tedious process that introduces delays and potential security gaps.

That's where electronic signatures, or e‐signatures, come in. A 2015 report from Forrester Research found that the use of e‐signatures experienced 53 percent average annual growth since 2012, with the number of transactions settled using e‐signatures topping 210 million in 2014 and likely to reach more than 700 million in 2017.

“E‐signatures are fast, secure and convenient,” says Lisa Donais, VP, Operations & Imaging Services Manager, Johnson Financial Group. “They're more secure than sending documents through the mail or by fax, and turnaround time is substantially reduced. The speed of delivery and enhanced security are significant benefits of using e‐signatures.”

In addition to offering 24/7 convenience, e‐signatures are compatible with desktop computers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. You can use them virtually whenever and wherever you are ready to sign.

How do they work?

“At Johnson Financial Group, we use e‐signatures for a variety of transactions,” states Gloria Markowski, Officer, Operations & Imaging Services Business App Specialist, Johnson Financial Group. “One example would be providing clients with electronic account agreements. We first generate an email to the client via DocuSign, our e‐signature vendor. Then, we would send a text message or call the customer to deliver an access code that allows them to open the document in DocuSign,” she adds. This provides a second layer of authentication to increase security.

“Areas on the document that require a signature, initials or additional information are tagged. Customers can sign with a predrawn signature or draw their own using their mobile device. When they're done, they simply click ‘Finish’ and Johnson Financial Group is notified that the document has been signed,” states Gloria.

Electronic signature laws

In today's digital age one of the biggest concerns of e‐signatures is whether they are legally binding. DocuSign e‐signatures are compliant with both the United States Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act, and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA).

Both Acts have four major requirements for an e‐signature to be recognized as valid under U.S. law:

  1. You must intend to sign. Just as with an ink signature on paper, both parties must intend to sign.
  2. You must consent to do business electronically. Consumers must affirmatively agree to use electronic records for the transaction and receive UETA Consumer Consent Disclosures. Consent from a business can be established by the circumstances of the transaction.
  3. The signature must be associated with the record. The system used to capture the document must keep an associated record that reflects the process by which the signature was created.
  4. The record must be retained. Records with e‐signatures must be retained and accurate reproductions must be available for all parties who are entitled to access.

Efficient and green

Replacing paper documents and ink signatures with electronic documents and e‐signatures, not only makes transactions more efficient for clients, but it also saves them time and money in the long‐run. In addition, e‐signatures are environmentally friendly, eliminating the need for paper and transportation of that paper for multiple transactions.

Learn more

At Johnson Financial Group, we utilize e‐signatures to improve your ease of doing business. To learn more about e‐signatures or others ways we can help you improve your business operations, contact your advisor today.