Electronic signatures (also known as esignatures or digital signatures) are gaining popularity as a more convenient method for getting documents signed. Before turning your back on the old fashion way of signing with pen and paper, it’s good practice to understand the pros and cons of electronic signature first.
Pro #1: Save Time
With electronic signatures, you eliminate A LOT of steps associated with pen and paper: the need to (1) set up an appointment, (2) print the document, (3) meet signers in person, (4) make copies, and (5) submit signed copies to all parties. The virtual transmission, signing, and storing of documents that are electronically signed generate significant time savings for all parties involved. Time is money, so saving time means putting money in your pocket.
Pro #2: Easy
If you are comfortable with using email and a smartphone, then you will find esignatures to be really easy. Most electronic signature software will have you email your document for signature. The receiver simply clicks on a link to sign on their phone using their finger. And that’s pretty much it. One of the easiest electronic signature software to use is eSignToday. You simply upload your document, add the email addresses for who has to sign, and that’s it. You can easily start investing in real estate, stocks, etc.
Con #1: Cost
There is a lot of selection when deciding which electronic signature software to use. Most services require a monthly subscription where you pay every month for a certain number of esignatures based on your subscription. One of the more popular esignature services is DocuSign. DocuSign’s cheapest plan starts at $10 per month, which is limited to five documents per month, so you’re already spending at least $120 per year. One of the, if not the only, electronic signature software that charges a flat fee is eSignToday. At only $0.50 per signature, you eliminate any monthly subscription, and you only pay for what you need.
Con #2: Comfort with Technology
Electronic signatures rely on the Internet and email to work, so all parties (document senders and receivers) have to be comfortable with technology. For example, if a signer does not have a smartphone or email, then an electronic signature is not possible. In this case, paper and pen trump electronic signatures. So there may be situations where you can benefit from electronic signatures while in other situations, you can still go the old fashioned way with paper and pen.
As you consider the pros and cons of electronic signatures, you will make the best choice for your signing needs. Whether you use paper and pen or an electronic signature software, knowing your audience will make the signing process easier.