What is a wet signature? A comparison with digital signatures

The pros and cons of wet signing vs digital signatures: What to consider

May 5, 2023
What is a wet signature

What is a wet signature?

A wet signature refers to a physical signature made in person using a pen and paper, a process that is also referred to as a “wet sign”. Wet signatures are commonly used to ratify legal and business documents like contracts, NDAs, and lease agreements.

This style of signature is the traditional method of signing documents, and some prefer it compared to digital methods as it adds a personal touch by signing in person and the signature can be witnessed to ensure its validity.

Can a wet signature be scanned?

Yes, if you want to sign a document with a wet signature you can sign and scan your document using the Scan PDF tool.

This is helpful if you have been sent a physical document and you want to quickly sign and send it without the cost, time delays, and security risks of posting.

Scanning your documents is also a useful way to keep a recorded copy of your important documents, and you can even protect these documents by using the Protect PDF tool that allows you to ensure file security by encrypting PDFs with a password.

How to scan a wet signature:

  1. Go to the Scan to PDF tool on your computer.
  2. Open your smartphone’s camera and scan the QR code on your computer screen.
  3. Follow the link to our Mobile App (you will be asked to download it if you haven’t already).
  4. Position your document with the completed wet signature and scan the page with your mobile, adding more pages if required.
  5. Choose your scan options and click Save to PDF to download the scanned document to your computer.

What is a digital signature?

A digital signature is a type of electronic signature that uses advanced techniques to verify the authenticity and integrity of a digital document.

Digital signatures are legally binding, and based on a mathematical algorithm that creates a unique digital code that is linked to the signed document and the signer's identity.

Digital signatures ensure that signed documents are not altered or tampered with after signing, and that it was signed by the intended signer.

They require the use of a digital certificate, which is issued by a trusted third-party certificate authority to verify the signer's identity.

Some key features of digitals signatures include:

  • Strict security measures: Unique identification based on digital code, known as a Certified Hash.
  • Verification: Signatures are certified by a third-party certificate authority.
  • Legal compliance: Digital signatures are required to meet high levels of compliance with internationally recognised laws and regulations.

Wet signature vs digital signature

The benefits of a wet signature include the personal element of the signing process mentioned above, which can give confidence to the signing process as it is completed face-to-face. This makes authentication straightforward, as the signer must be present.

Although some still prefer the traditional wet signature, there many benefits to using digital signatures, including:

Improved security: Document integrity is ensured by a certified hash, digital signature certificates, and abiding by strict international standards including ESIGN, UETA, and eIDAS

Greater efficiency: Digital signatures are faster and more accessible than wet signatures as signing can be done remotely. Businesses and professionals can therefore sign documents from anywhere, from any device. 

Reduced environmental impact: In addition to practical benefits, digital signatures are also more environmentally friendly than wet signatures as they eliminate the need for paper-based processes.

Cost-saving: Digital signatures offer a cost-effective and efficient solution for businesses looking to streamline their document signing processes. They eliminate the need for printing, shipping, and manual handling of documents, reducing administrative costs and equipment spending.

How to sign with a digital signature

As technology and security have developed, more companies and individuals are moving away from the traditional style of signing. Now, digital signatures are used because of their security, convenience, and cost savings

Here is how to sign a document with a digital signature. First, you can use PDF converters to convert your original file into PDF if you don’t already have it in this format. 

There are two options when using the Sign PDF tool that allow you to either sign documents yourself or request and collect signatures from others. This guide is for signing a document yourself. 

If you require a guide on how to request signatures please go to this post that explains the process.

To start signing with a digital signature:

  1. Go to the Sign PDF tool.
  2. Upload a PDF from your computer, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
  3. Select Only Me.
  4. Enter your Full Name and Initials in the relevant boxes.
  5. Select the Text, Draw, or Upload icons depending on the signature you require. 
  6. Choose a Simple Signature or Digital Signature under the Signing Options.
  7. Drag, drop, and position the Signature Field onto your document along with your Initials, Name, and Date.
  8.  Select Sign to sign the PDF.

Secure signature protection with iLovePDF

Are you required to process multiple signatures online? To ensure the highest level of validity of your documents, signing or requesting digital signatures offers you the greatest legal protection.

Switch to Premium or Business with iLovePDF to utilize all of the benefits and security features of digital signatures. Premium provides full access to iLovePDF's tools, with unlimited document processing and the ability to work across the Website, Mobile, and Desktop.

Using a Premium subscription gives you access to digital signatures via an adjustable amount that is renewed on a monthly basis, or by purchasing a package with a set number of signatures.

The Business plan is designed for companies with unique needs, and includes all of the Premium features, along with additional benefits such as flexible payment options, custom contracts, a dedicated customer success representative, and exclusive hardware.

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