Signature types: Five different kinds to know about.

Discover the important difference between electronic and digital signatures while learning about the top 5 signature types everyone should know.

It might feel odd to have a conversation about the types of signatures when, in theory, a signature is just one thing. But there are actually several different types of signatures that can each do different things.

Read on to get a basic introduction to the five most relevant signature types.

The first two signatures you should know: digital and electronic.

These two terms are often considered synonymous, but that’s not true. A digital signature is a specific kind of electronic signature that is typically more secure, has built-in protective features, and embeds information if anyone tries to change a document.

An electronic signature, on the other hand, is just a digital version of a handwritten signature — without any of these comprehensive security features.

Three other types of signatures to know about.

But those aren’t the only signature types you should be aware of. There are three more that are necessary to understand if you’re delving into the world of electronic signatures (ES) and what they entail:

  1. Basic electronic signatures: Considered the simplest type of ES, identity verification isn’t usually required. These signatures are not always legally binding.
  2. Advanced signatures: These signatures require a certain level of identity verification and are often sent using a specific delivery service that can provide trails that are easy to track and audit. Usually, they need to be certified by a certificate authority to be valid.
  3. Qualified signatures: The most complicated of the three, this type of signature requires firm identification and must meet additional specified criteria to be valid, like built-in features that verify whether the document or data has been tampered with or changed.

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