The debate between traditional signatures and electronic signatures rages on. What are the pros and cons of each? Let’s take a closer look.
Advantages of a Traditional Signature
A physical signature has been the gold standard for centuries. When you sign a contract with a physical signature, there is no doubt that it is you who signed it. A physical signature is also harder to forge than an electronic one.
If someone were to steal your identity, they would need your actual physical signature to sign documents in your name—something that is much harder to do than simply copying and pasting an electronic signature.
Another advantage of using a physical signature is that it provides a way to make a handwritten annotation on documents. This can be useful if you need to make changes or add comments to a contract or other document before signing it.
With an electronic signature, you would need to print out the document, make the changes by hand, and then scan it back into the computer—a time-consuming process.
Disadvantages of a Traditional Signature
One of the biggest disadvantages of using a physical signature is that it can slow down the signing process. If you and the person you are signing a document with are not in the same location, you will need to mail the document back and forth until it is finally signed by both parties. This can take days or even weeks—far longer than it would take to simply send an electronic copy of the document that can be signed electronically.
Another disadvantage of using a physical signature is that it requires you to have access to a printer and scanner if you need to make changes to the document before signing it. As technology advances and more and more business is conducted online, this may become increasingly inconvenient.
Advantages of an Electronic Signature
The biggest advantage of using an esignature is that it allows you to sign documents quickly and easily from anywhere in the world—no printer or scanner required. All you need is access to the internet and your electronic signature on file with the company or individual with whom you are signing the document.
An electronic signature also eliminates the risk of losing important documents in the mail. With an electronic signature, both parties have instant access to signed documents—there is no need to wait for them to arrive in the mail.
Disadvantages of an Electronic Signature
One disadvantage of using an electronic signature is that it can be easy for someone to steal your identity and use your electronic signature without your permission. This type of fraud is known as “phishing.” To protect yourself from phishing fraud, make sure that you only input your electronic signatures into websites that are secure (look for HTTPS:// in the address bar) and that you trust.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both traditional signatures and electronic signatures. Ultimately, the best choice for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. If speed and convenience are paramount, go with an electronic signature; but if security and personalization are more important to you, stick with tradition and sign with pen and paper.