Using your debit card to tap in on the tube? Paying for a sandwich with your mobile phone? These customary activities that we perform in today’s world would never have been dreamed of 20 years ago. Least of all signing a contract or agreement from your tablet or laptop.

eSignatures are a common point of discussion today, the idea of replacing the pen for your finger or a mouse is alien to some but a life saver for others. Businesses and consumers worldwide are signing letting agreements, purchase orders, sales contracts; all without ever lifting a pen but rather using any device at any time. This dramatically increases the speed of business, which is paramount as we move forward into a new digital age. But there is one question that still lingers despite its widespread adoption across the board; is eSignature legal?

For centuries we have been putting pen to paper to sign our John Hancock on the dotted line, so why the need to change? The answer is very similar to why cheque books are nearly obsolete and why the 4 digits of our chip and pin number are closer to the forefront of our memory than the date of our significant others birthday. The desire to make our lives better. We are at a time now where the bad guys can easily copy or replicate anything we write down on paper. So something like our signature can be tampered with and moved across a document, which can also be changed at ease without our knowledge.

eSignature is an advancement that may have previously left question marks with those who were in deliberation as to whether to move into a more digital world. But for those few, it was more a question of cultural change than legality. In reality, the legalities surrounding eSignature have been in place for well over a decade now. Europe recently moved things forward with the eIDAS Regulation, which replaced the Electronics Communication Act that had been in place since the turn of the century.

So as much as people rightly have questions regarding the legitimacy of signing a document electronically, they can rest safe in the knowledge that this is something that has been legal and governed since the year 2000 and is far from a new technology.

Be Boundless: Drive Global Business with eSignatures

Join Richard Oliphant, DocuSign General Counsel EMEA, as he explains how you can best capitalise on this new opportunity and what the new regulation means for your business, whether in the UK or the EU.