Something that everyone working in finance learns quickly is the need for signatures – the faster, the better. Chasing clients, vendors and lenders for signatures is something the industry is familiar with. Fortunately, technology is solving the problem.

Nodifi takes a look at some of the best digital signature solutions that are helping the finance industry (among others) cut down processing times, save costs and most importantly provide a better customer experience.

E-signatures Overview

The beauty of e-signatures is sending legally signable documents via email or even text. Documents are created as per normal, however with the additional functionality of having electronic signature capabilities, alleviating the need to print, sign, and scan paper versions.

The recipient or signatory is able to ‘draw’ their signature on such documents using their smartphone, tablet or desktop, by simply using their finger or mouse.

If your team is using file sharing platforms for client documents, e-signatures can really help.

Are they legal?
Yes, the electronic signature laws were established in Australia in 1999 by the Electronic Transactions Act. They are legal to use in Australia assuming requirements have been met.

What’s API integration?
Application Programming Interface. You’ll often hear the acronym ‘API’ when on the topic of e-signatures. In simple terms API allows two or more software applications to talk to one another. An example is using Facebook to log in to a separate application – you may have seen a ‘Log in with Facebook’ (or Google) type button.

A common use for API when it comes to e-signatures is connecting clients to a businesses’ CRM. For example, a button within the CRM might automatically send a document requiring an e-signature to a client. This eliminates the step of going from the CRM to an e-signature platform yourself.

Best Digital Signature Solutions for Business in 2021

Cost
$14 / month ($168 annually): Single user only, documents for e-signature: 5/month

$34 / month ($408 annually): Up to 5 users, unlimited documents for e-signature, reminders & notifications, personalised branding, comments

$55 / month ($660 annually): Same as above, plus; collect payments, advanced fields, signer attachments, bulk sending

Free Trial: Yes

Benefits

  • Well known with a large user base
  • Good user interface
  • Excellent tech support
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Can get costly, especially if limits are exceeded
  • Limited basic plan

About
DocuSign claims it can save $36 in time and materials per agreement and increase turn around times by 80%. These may seem bold statements but they are par for the course when switching from paper to digital documents.

DocuSign is a dedicated e-signature solutions provider with almost 20 years experience, launching in 2003.

The hundreds of millions of users that DocuSign serves can be sure that the process is simple, straightforward and compatible with all devices. The platform integrates with Google, Windows, Apple and Salesforce (among other CRMs) so clients and colleagues aren’t going to get stuck, no matter their tech skills.

Cost
US$15 user/month (US$180 annually): 1 user, unlimited e-signature requests, 5 templates, additional signer fields

US$25 user/month (US$600 annually): Starts at 2 users, same as above, plus; use your own branding, bulk send, Salesforce integration

Free Trial: Yes

Benefits

  • Easy to use templates
  • No-fuss setup
  • Top-notch security

Cons

  • Notification overkill when waiting for multiple parties to sign
  • Lacking some editing features that competitors offer

About
HelloSign offers digital documents with clear, legally binding e-signatures. The templates are one of the platform’s best features (although competitors have them too). Users can edit and set up their own templates, customised to their needs and business requirements.

HelloSign supports Google, Mac and Windows integrations and the documents are viewable on iOS and Android devices.

Like other platforms, when a user receives a document awaiting a signature from a HelloSign user, they’ll be able to either upload a pre-saved e-signature or draw one on their device.

Documents for signing can also be shared via Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.

Cost
$21 / month with yearly commitment or $36.29 monthly: Scan and sign on mobile, sign PDFs and documents, convert to and from PDF, require password before signing, add a handwritten signature via text message to mobile phone

$50.84 / month, billed annually at $610 (for 1-9 users): Same as above, plus; send for signature in bulk with Mega Sign, website singable forms, enhanced e-signature authentication.

Adobe offers tailored enterprise options in addition to the above.

Free Trial: Yes

Benefits

  • Easy document tagging (where signatures are required)
  • Advanced customisation capabilities
  • High level of security
  • Highly-rated customer service

Cons

  • Some complicated options for first timers
  • Can be expensive if not used frequently

About:
Adobe is one of the oldest and most trusted brands out there. If you often find yourself asking less-than-tech-savvy clients to use e-signatures, the ‘Powered by Adobe’ and Adobe logo often put people at ease.

Like other platforms, Adobe Sign offers web-based and mobile solutions and offers an authentication service to ensure legal compliance.

Initially launched in 2006 under the name ‘Echosign’, Adobe Sign became mainstream and supported on multiple devices in 2016. Furthermore, iPhone, iPad, Windows / Android and cloud-based preferences are supported.

Adobe provides webinars and training as well as videos and online support to its users which makes the platform popular to those new to e-signatures and / or those using legal documents.

Cost
US$8 / month ($96 annually) Single user: Supports all popular document, 5 email e-signatures / month, sign unlimited number of documents

US$15 / month ($180 annually) Single user: Same as above, plus; Integrate with Google Workspace, Office 365 and more, save and share 3 templates, request in-person signatures via mobile device

US$20 / month ($240 annually) Starts at 3 users: Same as above, plus; Save and share unlimited templates, Manage usage, account and billing via admin dashboard, your own branding, customer success manager, email, chat, and phone support. Add US$20 for each additional user / month.

Free Trial: Yes

Benefits

  • Easy to navigate interface
  • More affordable price point than competitors
  • Easy to track progress

Cons

  • Prices can increase with large organisations when using the $20 / month option
  • Low-price subscriptions can be too limited for some users

About
The platform is great for mobile use and has been optimised for such users. SignEasy is cloud-based which backs up the previous point. The layout is extremely clear on mobile devices and if you find your clients needing to sign the same documents regularly, especially if they’re on the run, SignEasy’s templates can really help.

SignEasy sometimes lives in the shadows behind bigger names like Adobe and DocuSign, but the app was featured as a ‘Best Business App’ by Apple in 2014 and 2015.

SignEasy has been the only e-signature app featured in Apple’s global TV commercials when advertising iPhones and iPads.

To note, SignEasy users should take a careful look at what each price point offers as some important features might be lacking in basic packages.

At the end of the day

Digital signature platforms have one goal: make signing documents as fast, safe and easy as possible.

All the above listed applications offer this solution. Furthermore, all of the above listed offer a free trial. If you’re looking for digital signature solutions, take a few for a test drive as more often than not, the best one comes down to personal preference.

As pointed out by Chief Product Officer, Chris Sims, it’s usually businesses (not consumers) who struggle to keep up with changing technologies and subsequent consumer demands. In contrast to what you might think, technology adoption is beginning to be more prominent to years gone by.

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