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Legal validity of digital signature explained

More and more people are discovering the benefits of online proposals. Where traditional (PDF) proposals often remain printed out on a desk for a few weeks, we see that online proposals are approved much faster. Customers can immediately accept proposals online and confirm this via an electronic signature. But what about those electronic signatures? Are they just as valid from a legal point of view as an ordinary signature? Read on and discover how it works.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic (or e-) signature is simply the digital replacement for your handwritten signature. Within the EU, every country is obliged to follow the same eIDAS (Electronic Identification and Trust Services) standards. Fortunately, because before that each country had its own rules on personal identification and electronic signatures. If you used to do international business, you needed quite a few codes of law. The eIDAS now makes it possible for European companies to easily sign documents digitally.

3 types of electronic signatures

The eIDAS describes electronic signatures and divides them into 3 types that say something about security: standard, advanced and qualified. The more important or valuable the document, the more secure the signature should be. Find out which signature best suits the approval of your proposals and other documents.

1. The standard e-signature

This includes, for example, the signatures that you make in an online document (such as a proposal) with your mouse or mouse pen. Your identity does not have to be inferred from the signature. In other words: a check mark on a website with which you indicate that you agree is also included. The standard e-signature is legally valid.

2. The advanced e-signature

In contrast to the standard e-signature, at this level the identity of the signer must be inferred from the electronic signature. It is then linked to a bank account or telephone number. Codes, so-called Public Key Identifiers (PKI), are often used. For example, you can log in with your Digid to show who you are. This makes this signature more secure than the standard signature and you are also free in your choice of technology and software. All data is secured and it is impossible to make changes afterwards.

3. The qualified e-signature

Only to these signatures does eIDAS impose very specific technological obligations. A signer must have identified himself in advance on the basis of a TSP (Trusted Service Provider) certificate. This is without a doubt the safest and most legally valuable variant. Obviously, this comes with a hefty price tag. It is therefore mainly used for contracts of extremely high amounts or legal value.

Which signature suits you?

All forms of electronic signatures are legally valid. The differences lie in the legal value. In addition to the e-signature, factors such as the process, e-mail communication and the signer's IP address also play an important role in tenders. With Offorte, this information is automatically added to your proposals.

According to Dutch law, everything you agree with the customer is legally valid. It does not matter whether it concerns an oral, written or digital agreement.

Approving online proposals, the advantages in a row

Do yourself and your customers a great favor because electronic approval via online proposal software

  • Fits in our current, digital era
  • Saves time
  • Saves money (higher efficiency and less paper and print consumption)
  • Is legally valid
  • Has probative value
  • Provides insight into the process (who signed which proposal when)

Dennis Wiemer

Monday, November 30, 2020 - Proposal software

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