What is an electronic signature and how does it work?

What is an electronic signature and how does it work?

An electronic signature provides a reliable solution to enable the digital signing of an agreement. The most appropriate level of security for the specific use case can be selected depending on the industry and regulatory framework or risks.
Digital signatures are regulated by the European eIDAS regulation, the Swiss ZertES legislation and the United Kingdom’s Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions Regulations.

Depending on the type of electronic signature, it is possible to provide determine the willingness of the person to sign, that the document hasn’t been subsequently altered and the robustness of the identification of the person.

Electronic signatures are used in banking as they provide a high level of security when verifying transactions. Bank staff can use them to sign documents such as authorizations or requests. They also allow customers to digitally sign contracts, applications and other forms without visiting a branch.

The most common electronic signature is the Simple Electronic Signature (SES), which doesn’t require signer authentication or ID verification. There are also more secure options, such as:

  • AES: Advanced Electronic Signature. This involves signer authentication and ID verification.
  • QES: Qualified Electronic Signature. There is direct signer authentication and ID verification of provided by a Qualified Trust Service Provider.

Need for electronic signatures in banking

Electronic signatures are essential in ensuring security and confidence in online communications. They provide a means of verifying identity, protecting data integrity and preventing fraud. In banking contexts especially, but also across all e-commerce transactions, they provide proof of who signed a document and when. Digital signatures can be used for contracts, to authorize financial transactions and to perform a myriad of other tasks where security and trust are paramount.