Signing documents is a primary process of creating legally binding contracts. While the definition of a legally binding contract remained the same, signing a contract has evolved. In fact, the past decade has seen many of us moving from wet ink signatures to digital or electronic signatures as critical document standards. In this article, we will understand the meaning of a wet signature and whether these are better to use in the current technological era.
What is a wet signature?
A "wet ink signature" refers to anyone placing a distinct mark or physical signature on a hard copy document. The process involves using a seal or pen to make a binding contract.
A wet signature is a handwritten approval mark. Anyone signing a hard copy of any document directly applies wet ink signatures. Typically, these signatures contain the signer name’s stylized cursive form. Wet ink signatures don’t necessarily need to contain the signer's name. In fact, it can be anything: a symbol, a trading name, or a word mark.
Even though electronic and digital signatures have evolved the way we used to sign documents at present, wet ink signatures are still necessary for certain documents in government offices. These documents more often include a sworn statement, affidavit, or will in which Notary Public needs a person's identity verification.
On the other hand, certain business processes also require wet ink signatures for document execution. These more often include mortgage agreements, commercial leases, and promissory agreements.
How is a wet signature different from a digital and electronic signature?
Most people don't know the difference between wet, digital, and electronic signatures. Before knowing which of these is best for you, it is important to know the difference between them.
Historically, wet signatures have been used to prevent fraud; it is used to represent a binding contract. As technology evolves, digital and electronic signatures have started to carry the same legal effect and weight as handwritten wet signatures, especially in the business world.
Most importantly, electronic or digital signatures can help you save time and money while being much more secure than traditional wet signatures.
Fortunately, various regions recognize electronic and digital signatures as legal. Due to their added benefits and convenience, these are now accepted in global and national commerce.
Pros and Cons of wet signature:
Wet ink signatures also come up with pros and cons:
Pros of a wet signature
1. Branding and Personality
Wet signatures are powerful when it comes to branding purposes. These signatures are the best option for signing autographs; they can add warmth by imprinting personalities.
2. Social and psychological effects
While digital and electronic signatures are faster, wet ink signatures require a signer to be physically present, especially with other signees. This practice can help the signer and signees to develop a long-lasting business impact. Moreover, you can also use this particular event for social and marketing purposes.
Cons of a wet signature
Forgeries are way easier with wet ink signatures. While uniqueness is the only thing that can keep any wet signature safe at the end of the day. Unfortunately, even the most unique and difficult signature can be done by a forgery expert.
On the other hand, digital and electronic signatures are less vulnerable to forgery. The statement is true when you utilize dedicated contracting solutions to secure digital signatures.
Security is arguably the key concern in wet ink signatures. Any physical document left around for a while can get into the wrong person's hands. In addition, without appropriate document protection, these signatures also pose a higher risk of being tempered, forged, or copied without your knowledge.
2. Slower process
Unlike digital or electronic signatures, it takes a longer period of time to process a paper-based document with wet ink signatures.
The process can also be tedious for both signers and signees as it involves various repetitive tasks. It also affects the accuracy of documents due to the increased possibility of human error risk.
3. Costly process
Creating and maintaining wet signatures on paper documents can be costly for businesses. Many businesses spend about 5% of their budgets filing paper documents for wet ink signatures. Besides that, businesses also spend an additional amount on managing these documents safely for later use. So, the overall process of wet signatures can add a significant cost to a business.
We usually manage multiple documents that require signatures in our lives. The world is becoming more digital; thus, businesses have also evolved their way of signing a document. Many businesses have now opted for digital signatures for their added benefits. Digital signatures are completely legally binding and easy to use. However, it would help if you choose the safest tools to sign a document digitally.
Fortunately, tools like dSign can provide a smarter and safer way to sign a document. With dSign, you can sign and certify your important documents safely from any device. Most importantly, the tool provides advanced verification and encryption to protect your signature.