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May 01, 2023
4 minutes read

Sign your documents at the highest level of security with Qualified Electronic Signature (QES)

Electronic Signature has become a must-have for companies, regardless of size or industry. Being able to request, collect and store electronic signatures in a highly secure way saves companies time, money and protects the environment. Used directly via our platform or integrated into software through our API, our Sign solution allows you to send and receive electronic signatures through several channels. So far, we were already meeting eIDAS legislation requirements for Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES).

Today, we are excited to announce that Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) is available, allowing companies to sign documents with the highest authenticity and originality. Let’s dive into Qualified Electronic Signature.

What is Qualified Electronic Signature?

In Europe, e-signature has been operating under the new eIDAS regulation since 2016. This regulation makes electronic signatures legally valid. Three levels of electronic signatures have been defined by eIDAS, depending on the authentication processes required to sign a document. Qualified Electronic Signature is Europe's most secure and legitimate level of e-signature. In a nutshell, it has the legal value and effect of a traditional signature.

Simple Electronic Signature

This first level of e-signature is defined as follows:

"Data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other data in electronic form, and which is used by the signatory to sign."

In simple terms, it means that the people who sign the document only enter a check mark, add their name, or tick a box saying they “agree” to validate the signing process. It is straightforward to use. A simple e-signature doesn’t have to look like the person's handwritten signature and doesn’t put the signatories through any identity verification process. Its simplicity makes it easy to dispute, as anyone with access to the document can sign it. The risk of fraud is higher.

Advanced Electronic Signature

For an e-signature to qualify as “advanced”, the signatory's identity must be uniquely linked to the signature. But concretely, how can you make sure of that? You can base the signature on data only accessible by the signatory: access to their mobile phone, phone number, and much more. For example, you can send a One Time Password message to validate the document's signature.

An advanced e-signature also requires the signature and associated data to be protected against future changes. This is where proven techniques such as encryption and digital signatures come into play. Each signature comes with a digital certificate that traces every modification to the original document, so it can’t be forged.

Qualified Electronic Signature

In addition to simple and advanced electronic signatures, Sign now offers the possibility of generating a Qualified Electronic Signature.

A qualified e-signature comes with a specific certificate issued by a QTSP (Qualified Trusted Service Provider), which shows that the signatory has completed the whole identity verification before signing the document. QES is mainly used for agreements of very high value and high potential risk. Because of the important authentication process, the cost of qualified e-signature is higher than the other levels. However, every step of the process is done online, saving the time and expense of meeting in person.

Let’s see how Sign now supports qualified electronic signatures.

How Does Qualified Electronic Signature Work in Sign?

Although requesting a qualified e-signature sounds complicated, the process is, in fact, quite simple. Using Sign, the signatory can authenticate with their mobile phone and an ID document. The tool extracts the data from the ID document through the NFC chip and recognises and identifies the owner via a sophisticated facial recognition and liveness check process. The qualified certificate is then issued to validate the authentication process and the document's signature.

Our partner: Digidentity

To offer a Qualified Electronic Signature through Sign, we needed a partner that complied with all relevant standards, guidelines, laws, and regulations in that area of expertise. Thanks to our partner, Digidentity, qualified e-signatures through Sign have become a reality. Digidentity provides electronic identities and qualified trust services following EU Regulation 910/2014 (eIDAS), included on the EU Trusted List. Through its app, our Sign customers can get the QES certificate for their signed documents in a few clicks only.

How to choose the right level of signature?

To save time, we added a brand new “prepare wizard” to Sign. Depending on the kind of document you want to send out for signing, you must pick the right level of electronic signature. The prepare wizard will help you configure a sign request step by step, guiding you through the whole setup and helping you choose the required level of Identity Verification.

Send all your E-Signature Requests via Sign

Simple, advanced, or qualified: all three levels of e-signature are now available through Sign. Whether you need to sign a simple document or a high-risk contract that requires a thorough identity verification process, our e-signature solution offers simple and efficient features that turn document signing into the most straightforward task. Reach out to arrange a customised demo today and discover the power of Sign.

Discover Sign's features and benefits for your organisation.

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