Digital Transformation Insights

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What Is a Wet Signature? Digital Solutions for Physical Documents

Apr 11, 2024 11:19:52 AM

Before the digital era, all signatures were collected by hand using pen and ink. Today, electronic signatures (e-signatures) have taken over, with most documents being digitized to at least some extent. The value of the traditional wet signature has not been lost, though, and being able to obtain one effectively is still essential. But what is a wet signature, exactly, and how is it possible to use technology to collect one? 

What is a Wet Signature?

A wet signature (or “wet ink” signature) is simply an imprint made on a physical piece of paper. In other words, a wet signature is the result of a person physically signing a document with a writing device, typically a pen or seal. 

So, a wet signature is essentially the “classic” signature of the past. Before e-signatures were common, wet signatures were the norm. Today, they’ve become less commonplace, but they still have their use cases. 

Some documents – like divorce proceedings or wills – may warrant a wet ink signature. In other cases, a signer (or “signatory”) might just prefer handwritten signatures.

Is it Possible to Create a Digital Wet Signature?

While wet signatures always need to be written by hand, they can be obtained using digital technology. For institutions and organizations that regularly handle important paperwork, a digital wet signature solution can quickly become a must-have. 

A program that allows you to distribute documents, print them for physical signatures, and then scan them back into a digital format can save you a ton of time and effort. 

eSign from CDP makes it simple to safely and securely send, sign, and receive digital documents from any device. Here’s how it works:

  1. An organization prepares a digital document or file, complete with a field or space for the wet ink signature
  2. The document is sent to the signer
  3. The receiver signs the document using their device (for a traditional wet signature, the receiver would have to print and sign the document).
  4. At this point, normally, the signer would scan and email the document back, which can be risky. With eSign, instead, the signer simply submits the signature and thus you obtain the signature securely.

It’s that easy! eSign helps you streamline your workflow and limits the need for in-person interaction from your members, employees, or clients. Since eSign is designed for financial institutions, government offices, and other official organizations, you can rest assured that compliance and security always come first.

Wet Signature vs. Digital Signature

Before you start using digital tools, it’s important to understand the difference between an electronic signature and a wet signature obtained electronically. 

An electronic or digital signature is added directly to a digital document. Instead of printing, signing, and digitizing a piece of paper, the electronic signature process never has to leave your computer.

In most cases, digital signatures only require typing text into a field. Sometimes, you may use a digital signature pad to collect a snapshot of a handwritten signature and upload it to a document. But even this is distinct from wet signatures, which are specifically printed on a physical piece of paper.

Are electronic wet signatures legal?

It is legal to obtain wet signatures using digital resources. It’s also legal to rely solely on electronic signatures, as they’re seen as legally binding and legitimate in all US states and territories that abide by federal law. 

More Tips for Obtaining Wet Signatures Digitally

Cut back on the paperwork and headaches your team has to manage by implementing a digital system for collecting signatures into your work processes. Digitization helps everyone win – management, employees, members, and anyone else who uses your services can easily access the same information from just about anywhere. 

But when you use digital software solutions for wet ink signatures, you’ll want to make sure you do so with clear expectations in mind. Ensure, for instance, that your team knows the time and place to use a wet signature in place of a digital signature. 

We know that wet ink signatures are sometimes required for certain documents, but they might also be necessary if a signer doesn’t wish to consent to using electronic signature technology. 

If a document recipient prefers a traditional paper process, they should be able to access one. That doesn’t mean you can’t still rely on tech on the back end, though. 

Work Smarter, Not Harder, with CDP

Collect wet signatures and digital signatures all in one place with the help of CDP eSign. Our user-friendly but powerful e-signature software allows you and your customers to sign documents from anywhere. Without the need for physical interaction to collect wet ink signatures, you can expand your reach to even more customers and locations. 

When combined with our other software solutions, eSign can not only help you collect wet ink signatures, but it can also help you organize and optimize your documentation process. 

Pair eSign with tools like ePrint – which lets you find and print documents, checks, and forms to any printer – or Webforms, our document management solution, to unlock new ways to streamline your workflow. 

No matter your needs, CDP is here to help. We customize our software tools to fit your needs, so you never pay for anything more or less than what you need. Get personalized support and the guidance of a team with over 20 years of experience helping organizations like yours. 

Contact CDP today for a consultation or to learn more about our digital signature software and other tech solutions. 

Nirav Doshi
Written by Nirav Doshi

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