Contrary to what one might think, an electronic signature is not a handwritten signature affixed to a document in digital format. It is a technical process consisting of a series of numbers associated with the signatory as a digital fingerprint guide and allowing him to legally consent to digital documents. At the heart of digital innovations and the dematerialization of services, this new form of signature makes it possible to quickly and easily certify documents in digital format.
The use of this signature is a new phenomenon which quickly spread in the professional world to facilitate exchanges. In addition to simplifying document management, this practice allows you to easily exchange contracts and documents by email. Indeed, the signatories will no longer need to travel, because everything is done online.
As with the handwritten signature, affixing a digital signature designates the approval and commitment of the signatory with respect to the signed document. This is a signature with legal value. The latter can therefore be used as proof in the event of a dispute or control.
The different types of electronic signatures
According to elDAS regulations, there are three types of electronic signatures. Their difference lies mainly in security.
Signature electronic tailored
The simple signature is the most common today. Fast and fluid, this corresponds to the first level of security and legal recognition of the signature of a document. There are no specific requirements for the simple electronic signature. The user can have a document signed in a few clicks and without a concrete identification and consent process. That said, nothing prevents you from strengthen the process of simple electronic signature and obtain greater legal value provided you add an additional authentication step. Some dedicated platforms offer this possibility by means of an SMS code which will be sent to the signatory and which will be required at the time of signing.
The simple electronic signature is generally used for current acts or containing limited financial or legal risks. This can, for example, be a membership contract, a quote, an invoice, a lease contract, an employment contract, a cash transaction, a SEPA direct debit mandate, etc.
Advanced electronic signature
More secure than a simple signature, the so-called "advanced" electronic signature is recommended during banking transactions and signatures of documents with important legal issues : real estate sales agreement, contract for opening bank accounts, contractualization of certain banking and insurance products.
According to the elDAS regulation, the advanced signature must comply with certain certification criteria pushed and have a higher level of security. The advanced signature must for example be linked to the signer in a clear and unique way. Created exclusively through the telephone or the personal computer of this one, it must be able to identify it in a formal way and to guarantee the act to which it is attached.
Qualified electronic signature
The qualified signature corresponds to the highest level of security. Equivalent to the handwritten signature and accepted in all Member States of the European Union, it is subject to certain regulatory penalties in terms of recognition of the identity of the signatory and key protection. This form of electronic signature is only used in very specific cases, including the signing of authentic deeds (notaries, commercial court registries, auctioneers, bailiffs, etc.).
The ecological issues electronic signature
The electronic signature has a real ecological advantage in reducing the journeys, the papers, the actors around a signature and thus makes it possible to largely reduce carbon footprint of a conventional signature. Ecology is a major issue for our society, which concerns both individuals and businesses. They must therefore integrate a more eco-responsible dimension into their daily activities.
The transition to digital, in particular through this signature, makes it possible to reduce the quantity of paper required by companies and therefore to reduce the felling of trees. Apart from paper and fewer trips, the electronic signature reduces the carbon footprint throughout the processing chain of signed documents: reduction in the number of prints and reduction of mailings.
Offers on the European market
Currently, many European platforms offering the possibility of making electronic signatures exist. Experts are on hand to support you and advise you on the most suitable solutions for your business and your electronic signature needs. In addition to securing signature processes, this allows you to easily legalize your transactions without you having to travel.
The use of an electronic signature is a judicious way to facilitate the exchanges and the certification of the authenticity of the documents in digital format. In addition to the considerable time savings, this allows you to effectively secure the data exchanged in a more eco-responsible way.