3 Common E-Signature Myths

Mary Ellen Power, April 20, 2015

Electronic signature software isn't a new technology, but it is a relatively recent addition to mainstream culture. Like any technology that is getting new scrutiny and attention as it enters the mainstream, electronic signatures have been hit with many misconceptions about how they work. These e-signature myths can cause problems for an organization adopting the technology, as making the wrong assumptions about, or failing to recognize the full potential of e-signatures can lead to struggles creating value.

Three of the most common e-signature myths that need to be debunked include:

Myth 1: E-signatures and digital signatures are the same
This misconception comes, to a great extent, because people use electronic and digital interchangeably in so many parts of life, that the differentiation in e-signatures and digital signatures is ignored. You need to move past this myth if you want to find success using the technology. An electronic signature is a file that captures the process a user follows to sign a document. A digital signature is an encrypted record of metadata pertaining to the signing process. In the end, you need both an e-signature and a digital signature to verify consent in such a way that the process holds up in court, so be careful about considering the terms as interchangeable.

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Myth 2: E-signatures create complexity in court
Our second myth comes down to another nomenclature issue. People use the term electronic signature to describe everything from somebody typing their name into an email to an official capture of the signing process. This confusion has led many businesses to think that they can have workers email saying they agree to something, for example, and then go to court and run into trouble. Publicity for these types of cases has led some people to be concerned about using e-signatures. The reality is that electronic signature policy is clear. If you choose a software solution that provides a full process capture, you should have no problem having signatures holding up in court.

Myth 3: E-signatures are too expensive
Sticker shock is a common problem any time a new technology rolls around. You probably already have printers, scanners, fax machines and similar technologies, so you probably aren't thinking about how much those items cost a few years ago when you bought them. However, purchasing new ink, buying new hardware when machines wear out, paying for maintenance and warranties and dealing with mailing costs all add up substantially. The reality is that e-signatures may be expensive at first, but deliver a return on investment quickly by serving as a catalyst for process innovation.

Don't let common e-signature myths stop you from jumping on the technological revolution. Check out our FAQ page if you still have any concerns about electronic signatures.