Curious to learn more about wet signatures? You’ve come to the right place!
In a nutshell, a wet signature is when an individual uses a seal or pen to sign an important agreement. For many years, signing a document in this way was the only way to endorse a permanent contract.
To this day, it’s still a preferred method and one that helps to sidestep fraudulent activity.
Today, the wet signature is less common, especially with global businesses, which tend to opt for electronic signings. Wet signatures require an individual to be physically present, whilst electronic versions can be completed online.
When it comes to signing business deals with clients and colleagues overseas, electronic signings have speeded the entire process up and are proving particularly beneficial in the pandemic.
Examples of common electronic signatures, which many sign daily, include signing up for a new membership, such as an iTunes account. You may not be 100 per cent aware of this, but by ticking all the company policy boxes to say you agree with their terms and conditions, you’re providing them with your very own electronic signature.
Another form of electronic signing involves an individual typing their name at the footer of an email before sending it out to fellow associates.
Other popular examples include:
Contemplating the difference between e signatures and wet signatures is? Despite what many think, they boast numerous dissimilarities, although both are legally binding! (Read about what is a legal signature if you want to learn more.) For one, the phrase ‘digital signature’ alludes to a document’s validity when sent virtually, either via an email or via an app.
This process involves using an encryption key, which only an authorized server has permission to decrypt. One example of this is when a global platform, such as Microsoft Outlook, adds an electronic signature on an e-correspondence sent via the platform’s server. Adobe Acrobat is also one of the tools that you can use to digitally sign a document. You can read our guide on how to create a digital signature in Adobe if you want to learn more.
How are electronic signatures generated? The creation of a digital signature is somewhat complex and involves a computer-generated mathematical procedure. This procedure prevents virtual files from being viewed by anyone other than the designated recipient.
To put it simply, electronic signatures are a little like fingerprints - only those with the required fingerprints can access the encrypted documents.
With today’s digital landscape evolving at a rapid pace, wet signatures are becoming less and less common, especially with companies across the globe who participate in regular business dealings with other jurisdictions daily. Quite simply popping into an office to sign a document isn’t possible.
Thankfully technology has moved on leaps and bounds, which means documents can be signed by various parties in various locations using electronic signatures.
The fax machine was the first nod towards creating efficient digital signings. This piece of tech allows people to sign documents, scan them and send them to other locations.
For example, a London office can sign a document and send it to New York, China, or anywhere in the world for that matter. Providing both sides have the relevant technology in place, each party is able to generate the necessary electronic signatures.
But are electronic signatures as binding as wet signatures? They are now! Court rulings have made digital and electronic signatures legally binding for businesses across the globe.
There are times when only a wet signature will suffice. This does tend to come down to personal preference, especially as electronic signatures are legally binding. Wet signatures are often preferred by companies offering purchase goods or loans.
Today, electronic signatures are backed by the United Nations and the United States. The E-Sign Act (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act) was put in place over 20 years ago in 2000. This law warrants the use of local and international digital contracts. In a nutshell, this means both electronic signatures and wet signatures each carry the same legalities today.
When it comes to the benefits of using ink, one bonus is that all individuals involved in the business transaction must be present, and in the same room. This can cause less confusion in terms of the contents of the document and also avoids fraudulent signatures
Another advantage? Wet signatures are more personal and present the opportunity to form a closer, more trusting bond with a client, whilst putting a face to all parties or companies involved. This may help to secure a better business relationship, depending on the type of people involved in the business agreement.
As with anything, there are cons to wet signatures too, these include:
There are many tech-savvy ways to manage contracts requiring a digital signature (e signature) today. These include investing in business processes such as signature electronic software, which provides companies with an easy, and centralized way to look after their electronic documents or virtual agreements.
Those using these platforms can create virtual contracts and forms from scratch, or import documents that have been designed in another program. In addition to this, digital signatures and customized signatures can be added to these platforms, meaning they are readily available when it comes to issuing approval. These are known as e signatures. Bonsai has an online signature maker which you can use for free.
On top of this, there are many types of digital e-sign programs that present users with the option to upload signee lists, which can be applied to several documents at the same time. This creates a safe, effortless audit trail, and one that requires less approval or the need to put pen to paper. You can check out our guide on how to digitally sign a PDF.
In terms of using electronic signatures in global and national commerce agreements, it’s important to know the National Commerce Act makes signing a contract in this manner completely legal.
Yes, you can! Scanning a wet signature into an online program effectively turns it into an electronic signature, also known as an e signature.
Both wet signatures and digital signatures are legal ways to sign a document. Certain companies, including those providing loans or a particularly sensitive service, will ask for a wet signature, as they feel a signed piece of paper or signed document is more legally binding.
A wet signature is a name that is created manually, and not via a digital means. In a nutshell, it is when an individual physically marks a paper contract or physical document with their name.
No, an electronic signature is a signature that has been created online, either scanned into a program or created virtually. A wet signature is when paper meets a physical pen. This is known as a physical signature, all rights reserved.
You can indeed. With a fax machine or scanner, you can easily replicate a wet signature and paste it onto a virtual document. Scanning a wet signature into an e-signature program is one way to turn a physical name into an electronic signature.
There are many other processes in place that allow you to add the required name to a variety of different documents, irrespective of the device you are working from. This means businesses can receive and approve contracts without having to put ink to paper. They can even do this whilst working from home, at any time of the day or night.
It’s easy to create a wet signature in PDF, however, you must first import your signature onto your computer if you want to add it as an image. Once you have saved your signature as an image, open the PDF you wish to sign via the Adobe Acrobat Reader program.
Click on the tool panel, and then on ‘fill & sign’. Use the ‘sign’ option then find the ‘add signature’ button. A pop up will ask you whether you wish to draw, add or type your signature. If adding as an image upload, you will be prompted to resize your signature once added to the PDF.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?