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E-signatures - are they all the same? A short Q&A

30th May 2023
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All-in one app for secure client communication 

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Qwil Messenger now includes unlimited e-signatures at no additional cost and it is just as simply as sending a chat in our All-in-one client communication platform. So that raises a few questions about e-signatures - what makes them legal? Are they all the same? Can I copy & paste a signature? Is the font important? Our answers below. 

Qwil Sign request
Qwil Sign request

What is a digital signature? 

A digital signature is a specific type of e-signature that complies with strict legal regulations, securely associating a signer with a document and providing a level of assurance of a signer’s identity. 

Are they all the same?

That would be too easy! There are 3 categories of digital signatures: Simple electronic Signature (SES), Advanced electronic signatures (AES) and Qualified electronic signature (QES). 

Many e-signatures you will have received by email will be categorised as Simple electronic signature (SES) where only the signer's email address is required without any verification of the ID of the signer. This is the most basic form and therefore only to be used for day-to-day sales or forms agreements. 

Qwil sign is the next level up as an Advanced Electronic Signature (AES) as we meet the following four main criteria (eIDAS regulations): 

AES requirements

Qwil Signature

It must be uniquely linked to the signer

Each signer has a unique ID in Qwil

It is capable of identifying the signer:

Each signer is verified in Qwil as invitation only platform by each organisation using 2FA

The signature creation data used is under the sole control of the signer:

Only the signer can sign and with a secure access to the signed document in Qwil. 

The signature must be linked to the data signed in such a way that any subsequent change in the data is detectable:

A full audit trail is provided with a digital certificate on every complete document with unique ID stamped on each page. 

Advanced electronic signatures (AES) are appropriate for high value transactions and documents where you want to be sure that the right person has signed! 

Qualified electronic signatures (QES) go one step further by face-to-face ID verification by Trust Service Providers ahead of the signing and used for highly regulated transactions. 

What about copying and pasting a signature image file on a document?

It is so easy to paste a signature to a document but that is not a legal digital signature and even it looks the same as wet ink, it will not be valid for the following reasons:

  • Not legally enforceable 
  • Everyone (and anyone) can paste a signature
  • No audit trail for the courts to rely on
  • You can’t ensure it is the right person signing
  • Not tamper proof when sending by email. 

The method of signing is therefore key including the ability to identify the person which is why we favour Advanced signatures at Qwil Messenger. 

Do signatures need to look “real”?

No. Which cursive font you “adopt” or whether you type it in Arial, draw a few Squiggly lines on the screen or even upload your Wet Ink signature image is all the same for e-signatures. 

They all have the same legality as it is the digital identification of the signer, the tamper proof process and the certification which are key.

At this stage Qwil only provides one cursive font to make it simple but will offer the option to sign on the screen (or upload the signature) in the next release of Qwil Sign.

Where do I find more about the legal framework?

The use of digital signatures is regulated in legal texts, such as the European eIDAS regulation of 2014 and the United Kingdom’s Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulations of 2016.

What about Qwil Sign and Qwil Messenger?

Thought you would never ask! :)

All client communications can now happen on Qwil whether it is chat, sharing a document or a video meeting so it is only natural you can also ask for a signature at no extra cost! 

Clients, partners and employees now expect this level of convenience, not having to look out for an email, or logging in to a portal or even switching between apps. We've made it easy. 

Your signed agreements benefit also from Qwil Messenger's enterprise-grade security and compliance controls (including hosting) but without sacrificing the user experience. 

But why don’t you try for yourself - get your Branded Qwil communication platform for your staff and clients to try with just a few clicks: 

Start a free trial

Talk to an expert

Qwil Sign with the security of Qwil Messenger: As easy as sending a chat. Learn more here

  • Unlimited signature requests included in Qwil Messenger Plan
  • Signing directly in the chat on mobile and desktop after previewing the document. No need for another application. 
  • Read Receipts confirmation ticks like a chat so easy to chase!
  • Simple to use by just uploading PDF or template, select signers and sending in the same chat thread. Completed document securely shared and stored with other participants.
  • Templates created in minutes from any document, Word or PDF and with Signatures where you need them to be. 
  • 2 signers (Staff requestor and Signer) within the security of a chat thread. Other participants in the chat can view and see completed documents. .
  • Completed documents searchable in Qwil's File Manager and in chat thread by all users. Can be downloaded directly to Salesforce. 
  • Notifications of request and daily reminders. Quicker response rates with chat! 
  • Video meetings and screen sharing (with recording) in same chat thread for immediate support.
  • Staff Dashboard coming Q3 2023 to view all e-signature requests in one place. 
  • 3rd Signer & guests and (e.g. for witnessing signatures) and option to sign on screen & uploading coming soon.