Everything You Need to Know About itsme and Qualified E‑Signatures in Belgium

Rahim Kaba, April 12, 2021

Consumers around the world have acquired new digital habits, and as a result, every organization is resetting its digital priorities to deliver anywhere, anytime digital user experiences. Electronic and digital signature solutions support these efforts and help businesses put digital transformation on a fast track.

As an European Union member-country, Belgium has legally recognized electronic signatures since 2000. The Belgium Civil Code recognizes three types of electronic signatures as identified in the EU’s eIDAS Regulation:

  • Simple electronic signature (SES)
  • Advanced electronic signature (AES)
  • Qualified electronic signature (QES)

Head over to our eSignature Legality Guide to learn more about the differences, legal frameworks, and admissibility requirements, but in essence, what sets these three forms of e-signature apart is the level of identity proofing required before signing documents.

Each of the above electronic signatures is legally binding, enforceable, and admissible, except where a particular form of e-signature is imposed by law for select electronic documents. For example, notarized contracts and employment agreements in Belgium can only be signed with a QES.

Digital IDs in Belgium

Belgian citizens routinely use their Belgian eID card to prove their identity when transacting online. The national ID card contains two certificates: one for authentication and one for electronic signature. The eID holder must use their personal PIN code before an electronic signature can be generated and applied to a document.

The challenge with the Belgium eID is that this process can be time-consuming and clunky at times, because it requires a card reader that keeps people tethered to a computer in order to complete transactions online. This can create a major roadblock in deploying e-signatures to your employees, partners and customers. What if they don’t have access to an eID card reader? What if their eID isn’t recognized by the card reader? Either of these scenarios can be a huge headache when trying to sign routine agreements.

Enter itsme®. The Belgian Mobile ID is a consortium of Belgium’s leading banks (Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, KBC/CBC, and ING) and telecommunications companies (Orange, Proximus, and Telenet Group) who joined together to develop itsme, a brand now synonymous with mobile identity and digital privacy in Belgium. The itsme app offers everyone with a Belgium eID the convenience of applying a QES and avoiding paperwork and old-fashioned handwritten signatures.

Digital signing with itsme and OneSpan Sign

OneSpan is proud to partner with itsme and offer Belgian citizens the opportunity to securely sign documents and electronic forms through the convenience of their smartphones. Businesses in Belgium can use itsme with OneSpan Sign to enable their consumers to access a wide range of online services, including opening a bank account and signing agreements with an employer. It’s simple, secure, and legally binding.

How it works

OneSpan Sign automatically works with certificate-based IDs issued by a qualified Trust Service Providers (TSPs) like the Belgium Mobile ID for itsme to deliver Qualified E-Signatures. When signing a document in OneSpan Sign, the signer clicks “confirm” and is then asked to validate their identity using their smartphone and the itsme app. A personal PIN and other verification steps are used to prove the signer’s identity before applying a QES to the document.

Securely identify signers prior to accessing and signing agreements

When it comes to verifying identities online, OneSpan Sign provides a choice of native and third-party identity verification and authentication options. We help you stay compliant, no matter where you do business.

OneSpan Sign-provided identification methods

TSP-provided identification methods

Signer identification to grant access to the document:
ID verification (including government photo IDs and biometric comparison), SMS, Q&A, and Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA)

Signer identification at the point of signing a document using local and remote digital certificates issued by our TSP partners, including:

  • Belgium Mobile ID for itsme
  • TrustPro
  • Swisscom
  • Asseco
  • Firma Professional
  • Aruba.it

 With OneSpan Sign, you get:

  • Superior experience: Bring automation to your e-signature workflows and deliver optimal customer and employee experiences
  • Global solution: An enterprise-grade solution that scales across geographies, use cases, and channels and integrates with the apps you use every day
  • Strong compliance: Vendor-independent audit trails that help you deliver legally binding, admissible, and enforceable e-signatures
  • Strong security: Bank-grade security, strong identity proofing (e.g., government photo IDs and European eIDs), and support for digital certificates that adhere to global standards (e.g., X.509 PKI)

OneSpan Sign is a full-service electronic and digital signature platform that provides the perfect balance between security and customer experience. You get a global solution that helps you deliver superior digital customer and employee experiences while staying compliant with laws and regulations such as the EU’s eIDAS Regulation, Switzerland’s ZertES, and the U.S.’s ESIGN and UETA laws. Our TSP partners are on the EU Trusted List, enabling cross-border recognition of electronic signatures.

eSignature Legality in Belgium
Legality Guide

eSignature Legality in Belgium

Are e-signatures legal, admissible, and enforceable in Belgium? Yes.

Learn More

*DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this page is for information purposes only, provided as is as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice or to determine how the law applies to your business or organization. It is recommended that you seek guidance from your legal counsel with regard to law applying specifically to your business or organization and how to ensure compliance. OneSpan does not accept liability for the contents of these materials or for third parties materials.

Rahim Kaba is a passionate and results-driven digital technology leader who has played a key role in advancing digitization initiatives at organizations around the world. As VP Product Marketing at OneSpan, he leads the go-to-market strategy of the company's growing portfolio of solutions.