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Everything You Need To Know About eSignature Laws in the USA

Technology has changed the way businesses are conducted today worldwide. Any business that resists technology will not be around very long. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that being able to transform your business in virtually a moment’s notice is vital for prolonged success. Digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses, but an absolute necessity. Companies that use digital solutions versus manual processes are proven to be 26% more profitable according to a Capgemini study.

One of the areas many businesses are beginning to prioritize on their transformational journey is alleviating as much administrative paperwork as possible. Not only by reducing the number of forms and riders they use on a daily basis but in how they handle and transmit these documents to all necessary parties. As such, many organizations have adopted digital eSignature solutions that enable them to more quickly, efficiently and inexpensively send documents and secure authorizations. With most businesses having transitioned to remote work environments, such capabilities are more important than ever before.

However, one of the biggest reasons why some businesses have not implemented such a platform is they have reservations about the legality of eSignatures as opposed to the traditional “wet” signature. Worry no more. This blog will walk you through everything you need to know about the eSignature laws in the United States and why a tool like Signulu carries as much validity as an inked signature.

The legal status of eSignatures in the USA

The governing legislation for eSignatures in the USA are the ESIGN Act and UETA. Standing for United States Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act), and The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) respectively, these national eSignature laws guide and govern the legality of eSignatures in the USA.

Adherence to the ESIGN Act makes all eSignatures fully legally binding and enforceable in the court of law. Additionally, the Uniform Law Commission drafted UETA in the year 1999 which provides a legal framework for the use of eSignatures in different states across the USA.

The UETA has been adopted by 47 states, the US Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. New York, Washington and Illinois have not adopted UETA but have alternative similar statues validating eSignatures. Thus, regardless of what jurisdiction you live in -eSignatures are as legally binding and enforceable as traditional wet ink signatures throughout the USA.

What do the ESIGN Act and UETA establish at large?

The eSignature laws are designed to:

  • Establish that any document with a signature requirement can be satisfied by an eSignature and is fully legally enforceable in the court of law.
  • Prevent denial of validity of eSignatures on documents solely because the signature is in an electronic form. This safeguards the interests of eSignature users and solidifies the validity of eSignatures.
  • Allow electronically signed documents, agreements, contracts or deeds to be presented as a proof of evidence in the court of law.

What are the factors that make eSignatures legal in the USA?

For a eSignature to be legally binding, the following requirements need to be met:

1) Intent to sign

Just like traditional wet ink signatures, an eSignature is valid only when the user demonstrates a clear intent to sign the document. Signulu allows users to opt out of e-signing documents anytime by having an option to ‘Decline signature requests.’ This way, it is clear that every user who has e-signed a document has done it willfully, showing their intent to sign.

2) Clear consent to do business electronically

The respective parties of a transaction or a document might show a clear consent to do business electronically, either expressly or implicitly. All eSignature softwares that abide by the ESIGN Act prompt their users to confirm their consent to do business electronically before they sign. Signulu which is compliant with all major eSignature laws including ESIGN/ ITA-2000, sends such prompts before any user confirms their authorization.

3) Clear indication of signature attribution

Just like traditional signatures, the context and the circumstances under which a signature is procured becomes relevant while determining the legal status of a signature. For eSignatures, this indication of signature attribution is carried by a detailed audit trail, which is provided to all users. This trail can track everything from a signer’s mail ID, to device IP address, and the signature timestamp – giving a clear picture of who signed the document as well as, where and when they did so.

4) Retention of records

eSigned documents need to be retained for future references or purposes, as required by the ESIGN Act. These records must be maintained in a manner that is accurate for reproduction on a later date. Signulu allows you to store all your eSigned documents in one place, or even download your signed documents on the go, and save it for all future references. Signulu also integrates with popular cloud storage providers OneDrive, Google Drive and DropBox, making archiving of your documents all that much easier.

Signulu adheres to the governing laws of ESIGN Act and UETA, making your eSignatures fully legally binding and enforceable. You can have the complete confidence of compliance with all the relevant eSignature laws when you choose Signulu as your eSignature solution. Give it a try today with our FREE 14-day trial and begin using electronic signatures with confidence!

Still have questions/concerns? Give us a call at (609) 642-1632. We are here to help.

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Everything You Need To Know About eSignature Laws in India

Digitization has allowed many SMEs in India to operate and conduct their businesses online. Especially after the COVID-19 struck the world, the need for digital solutions increased rapidly, and most businesses were quick to adapt to these changing needs. The eSignature solution has been one of the most wide-spread technology solutions in the Indian business sector.

The smart eSignature solutions have not only made life easy, but also saved plenty of time and money for businesses across all sectors – allowing them to drive all focus on conducting business. In India, an eSignature is given the same status as traditional wet ink signatures, and is fully legally binding and enforceable.

India has accepted eSignature as fully legally binding since the year 2000, after passing the Information Technology Act. In fact, the government of India has been very encouraging, and has promoted the usage of digital technologies both for citizens and businesses across India. This led to a rapid adoption of eSignatures in the Indian business space. This blog is an overview of everything you must know about eSignatures in India:

Can eSignatures be used for all businesses in India?

eSignatures can be used for almost all businesses in India, with an exception of the following businesses which require other proofs to establish validity and enforceability. The following nature of agreements or documents will still require traditional wet ink signatures in order to make them legally enforceable:

  • Power of Attorney
  • Promissory Notes
  • Wills
  • Trust Deeds
  • Real Estate Sales and Contracts

Are eSignatures admissible in the court of law in India?

Yes, eSignatures are fully admissible, and legally valid and enforceable in the court of law in India. They can be produced as a proof of evidence in Indian court settings.

Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and eSignatures in India

The Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 states that contracts or records cannot be considered invalid solely because they are conducted electronically. It recognizes two types of legally valid signatures:

  • An electronic signature which uses an Aadhar identification number and an electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) method. An Aadhar identification number is a unique 12 digit number that is alloyed to citizens of India by the government. For verification, this might include an OTP or a PIN that will be sent to registered phone numbers for a two-factor authentication.
  • A digital signature which is created by using an asymmetric crypto-system and hash function. In this case, a signer obtains a digital certificate to verify a digital signature. These digital certificates are issued by Certifying Authority (CA) recognized by the Controller of Certifying Authorities, as appointed by the Information Technology (IT) Act. These digital certificates typically include the user’s name, the public key, details of
    expiration date of the certificate, and all other relevant information about the user. For highly confidential documents, the users might also be issued a unique USB token which contains the digital-certificate-based ID, and a personal PIN or OTP to sign a document.

Additionally, for every eSignature to be fully legally binding and enforceable, the following requirements needs to be met:

  • The eSignatures must be linked uniquely to the person signing the document. To meet this condition, a digital-certificate based digital ID is issued to the users of eSignature, which is unique for each user.
  • The signer of the document must have full control over the data that is used to generate the eSignature. To meet this requirement, most eSignature solution providers allow signers to directly eSign on the documents.
  • Any alterations or changes made to the document which has been eSigned must be traceable and easily detectable. This protects the interests of all parties involved, preventing any kind of abuse or misuse of the eSigned documents. To meet this requirement, documents are often encrypted with a tamper-evident seal – which helps in
    clear detection of any alterations made to the document.
  • A clear audit-trail must be present which clearly outlines each step of the signing process. Every action must be traceable. Everything from the signer’s email ID, IP address of the device used while signed, date and place of the sign are recorded and stored in the audit-trail.
  • The digital signature certificates which are generated in some cases, need to be issued by the Certifying Authority (CA) recognized by the Controller of Certifying Authorities, as appointed by the Information Technology (IT) Act.

Signulu’s smart integrated eSignature solutions complies with the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and other relevant laws around eSignatures in India. Thus, your eSignatures are fully valid and legally enforceable. Our platform is a one place destination that takes care of all your signing needs – from signing on the go, keeping an audit trail of the documents, creating and using reusable templates, and tracking the status of your eSignatures in real-time, while meeting all the legal requirements of your eSignatures.

Be a part of our large number of users in India and take your business to the next level by adopting our integrated eSignature Solutions. Check out our FREE 14-day trial and explore how Signulu can take care of your electronic signature needs.

Still have questions? Give us a call at (609) 642-1632 or send an email to support@signulu.com. We are here to help.