What’s the Difference Between Digital and Electronic Signatures?


With the rise of electronic documents, more users expect to be able to sign important files digitally. Compleo WebSign has risen to this challenge and enables users to digitally sign as they wish. Although the terms “digital signature” and “electronic signature” are often used interchangeably, it is important to note that they refer to different things. Both enable users to sign a document easily and have transformed document workflow processes. Compleo WebSign seamlessly integrates into any document management process to make things truly paperless.

An electronic signature, also commonly referred to as an eSignature, is “data in electronic form, which is logically associated with other data in electronic form and which is used by the signatory to sign,” (according to Wikipedia). In recent times, they have surpassed handwritten signatures as a means to validate and complete several types of transactions, including sales and delivery processes.

Digital signatures are a form of electronic signature with added security features to verify the signer is who they say they are. These features include a means to identify both the parties that request and provide the signature through the use of a personal key infrastructure (PKI). This is important as it ensures that the signed document has not been tampered with.

The good news is that both electronic and digital signatures are considered to be valid and legal as long as they meet the criteria listed in relevant legislation. Examples include the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) for the United States and the Electronic ID and Trust Services (eIDAS) for the European Union.

Compleo WebSign is fully compliant with both US and EU regulations and allows you to sign your documents securely by simply clicking on a link sent via email. This enables the user to access, view, and validate each document by digitally signing it. Compleo WebSign security features include GPS coordinates as well as date and time stamps to ensure document and signature integrity. Compleo WebSign is easy to use and makes it possible to sign documents with a click of a mouse, either by uploading an image of the signature or by tracing it onto a document. Recipients of WebSign-enabled documents do not need to be Compleo customers, which eliminates the need for external vendors and customers to create an account.

The difference between electronic and digital signatures might be hard to grasp, but it’s an important one. Regardless, a real document management solution should prioritize security and efficiency.

Compleo Suite can make signatures easy, no matter your needs. See Compleo WebSign in action here.