3 Common Misunderstandings About Electronic Signature Requirements

Written by Heather Mueller on December 5, 2019

Posted in Workflow Automation

By now, you probably know that electronic signatures are legally binding. But are you relying on them within your organization?

Even though they hold just as much legal weight as their pen-and-paper counterparts, and have since 2000, electronic signatures are still frequently misunderstood.

If you’re still unsure about using electronic signatures to seal the deal on contracts, proposals, and other important documents, take a look at these three common misconceptions to help dispel any concerns that may be holding you back unnecessarily.

Misconception #1: Electronic Signatures Are More Cumbersome

In fact, the opposite is true. When you consider what it takes to electronically sign a PDF, it quickly becomes clear that signing with pen and paper is usually far more complex.

After all, signing with pen usually means there are items to print, scan, save, and store. And if the information you’re working with is sensitive in any way, the original paper files may need to be shredded, too. The entire process can span several days or weeks.

In contrast, electronic signatures can be completed, saved, and stored within a matter of minutes. With today’s technology options, it’s quick and easy to turn virtually any digital document into a signable version that can be completed on smartphones and tablets as well as laptops and workstations. Depending on the eSignature solution you use, those signatures can even be collected via email or text message.

long form tipsDid you know? With Formstack Sign, you can send your document for signature via text message instead of email!


Misconception #2: Electronic Signature Apps Are Less Secure

Paper-based signatures worked well in the pre-digital era when documents were still stored in folders and file cabinets. Now that those same signatures have to be emailed, shared, and otherwise passed around, the likelihood of them getting in the wrong hands is a very real risk.

Having an electronic signature process in place saves companies from having to collect and convert traditional pen-and-paper signatures into digital formats. In fact, many solutions come with built-in features to keep signatures continually secure, whether they’re sitting in a database or are in transit via email.

With Formstack Sign, for example, all signed documents are stored in high-tier data centers with SSL-encrypted endpoints and 256-bit AES encryption. If an extra layer of protection is needed, users can further secure the signing process by adding a required passcode—something a paper-based signature simply wouldn’t support.

Learn More: How to Know Your Data is Protected Within an App


Misconception #3: Electronic Signature Are Legal in Some, but Not All, Instances

Incorrect again.

According to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), electronic signatures carry the same legal weight as those signed with pen and paper. As long as you follow some key electronic signature requirements, the ESIGN Act ensures the electronic signatures you collect are legally binding in every state where federal law applies.

In the few states where federal law does not apply, most states have adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). And in some cases, states have developed their own legislation to ensure the legal validity of electronic signatures.

So, no matter where you conduct business, you can collect electronic signatures that will hold up in court. Some eSignature solutions will even maintain a complete audit trail to give you an extra layer of protection should any legal disputes arise. Compared with many legal complexities, electronic signature compliance can be relatively easy to maintain.


Ready to start capturing electronic signatures? Formstack Sign is designed to help companies collect signatures quickly, securely, and compliantly. From enterprise-level security to drag-and-drop templates, you’ll have everything you need to store and save signatures with ease. Start your free trial today!