One of the first questions we get from business owners that call us is: “How much do electronic signatures cost?” It’s a tough question to answer because a lot of factors affect price in the electronic signature services industry, but I’ll do my best to explain how it works.
Buying an electronic signature solution is kind of like buying a computer. You can buy a laptop from a discount store for only $78, but will it meet your needs? What if you need to watch a DVD, play games or edit photos? Well, you’re going to have to spend a little bit more.
It’s the same when you’re shopping for electronic signature software. You pay money for quality, and you need to make sure that you pick a service that will make you, your customers and your lawyers happy in the long run.
If you need signatures for an online petition, some of the cheaper options are probably a good fit for you. But if you’re working with transactions that could come under legal scrutiny, you need more security and legal evidence than cheap or free online signature services offer. Here are some important security features you might want to look for:
Anytime you do business online, you need to know who you’re doing business with. Electronic signatures are no exception! If a signed document is challenged in court, you’ll have to prove the signer’s identity.
High quality electronic signature vendors like SIGNiX offer a variety of identity authentication options. These choices let you customize the type of authentication based on the risk level of the transaction.
Here are some common identity authentication options along with the price range you should expect to pay for each type:
An electronic signature is only as good as the security it uses. After all, what good is a contract if someone can easily tamper with it?
Some electronic signature services offer a feature called “tamper evidence.” If someone tries to change any part of the document (even something as simple as deleting a space or capitalizing a word) there’s proof that tampering took place.
The highest quality electronic signature services don’t just put one tamper-evident seal on the document; they put a seal on each signature on the document. This means that you can clearly see what the document looked like when each person signed it. Pretty neat, right?
Without a seal on each signature, someone could change the terms of an agreement after one person has signed, and there wouldn’t be any proof.
If you’re dealing with important documents or high-value transactions, advanced tamper evidence is vital. In fact, many banks and credit unions require this kind of tamper evidence to protect their customers.
Most online signature services meet the requirements set in the United States by state laws like UETA and the federal ESIGN Act. But other countries are pickier about what types of signatures they’ll accept.
Your business may not be international today, but you should think about your long-term needs. Once you pick an online signature service, some vendors make it hard for you to switch to a different service. If you think you might start doing business internationally down the road, it’s important to choose an electronic signature service that complies with international standards.
Many other countries require a type of electronic signature called an “advanced electronic signature” or “digital signature.” Digital signatures incorporate identity authentication and tamper evidence, among other features (here’s an article that goes into more detail about the types of e-signatures).
Here are some other factors that can impact how much an electronic signature service costs:
As you can see, there are a lot of options available.
Looking for more information on electronic signature solutions or contract management platforms? Browse exclusive Business-Software.com resources on electronic signature solutions by visiting the contract management research center. You can also check out our side-by-side comparison of leading platforms in the Top 10 Contract Management Software report.