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Online Contracts and Electronic Signatures : Are They Safe?

are third-party contracts safe?

In this day and age, you’ve probably signed at least one or two contracts with your electronic signature. Physical paperwork is being replaced more often with digital copies, benefiting the environment (yay!), making record keeping easier, and sealing deals faster.

But…have you ever stopped to think if electronic signatures are safe, not to mention legally binding? And what about the online contracts themselves? If you buy them from a third-party, are they legit? All great questions that we answer in this blog!

Are electronic signatures legally binding?

Thanks to the internet, we’re now able to buy stuff, conduct business, and enter into legal agreements without ever meeting someone face-to-face. Even though electronic transactions are so common nowadays, it’s totally normal to feel a little worried about online contracts and electronic signatures. Are they  really  safe? And are they legally binding?

The answer? Yes. (Phew!) A law called the  Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act,  aka the E-Sign Act, was signed into law in June 2000. The E-Sign Act makes most electronic signatures, or e-signatures, as legal and legally binding as traditional signatures.

Plus, each state in the U.S. adopted a version of the  Uniform Electronic Transaction Act  (UETA), which outlines their own electronic signature laws like the E-Sign Act does.

What about digital signing tools like HelloSign?

We know that e-signatures are legally binding, as long as you’re  signing your contracts correctly.  But even if you are, electronic signatures can get tricky. 

Not all e-signing requirements are the same, and some are less secure than others. You might’ve had to use digital signing platforms like HelloSign or Docusign and wondered if they’re actually safe or necessary.

In a nutshell, yes: using a third-party digital signing tool to sign a contract is legally binding and secure. In fact, these are actually called  digital signatures, which are special kinds of e-signature. 

We won’t get into the nitty gritty details of cyber security, but digital signatures use cryptography to embed details like your device, location, or email address to protect the document. This info creates a sort of virtual fingerprint,  added layers of protection  that ensure your digital signature really is secure and unique to you

And the online contracts themselves? Are those legit?

Alright, so we’ve covered what you need to know about e-signatures and digital signatures. What about the  online contracts  themselves? Are they legit, or do you also need a physical copy? And what if you buy a contract template  instead of creating a custom contract?

Don’t you worry. The E-Sign Act we talked about? That very same federal legislation applies to most e-contracts too. That means that yes, most online contracts will protect your booty and hold up in court, if it comes to that.

Even though some companies or businesses still prefer to use physical copies of contracts, there are pretty sweet benefits to using e-contracts:

  • They’re budget-friendly. Say goodbye to printing, mailing, and filing costs!

  • They’re quicker. No need to wait for paper documents to be received and returned, either. Doing business is so much faster with online contracts.

  • They’re actually more secure. That virtual fingerprint thing we talked about? It’s actually more secure than someone possibly intercepting your contract or forging your signature.

  • They save space. You can also say goodbye to piles of paper (not very eco-friendly) stored in your office. An online record keeping system is more sustainable and much easier to use.

With these benefits  and  the knowledge that e-contracts are safe, secure, and legally enforceable, using online contracts whenever you can is a no-brainer.

Save time (and money) while protecting your biz

Convinced that you should be using e-contracts from here on out? Cool. To save even more time and money, you might be considering investing in contract templates instead of shelling out for custom contracts.

Before you ask, yes, contract templates are just as safe and legally binding as custom contracts! A contract template can actually help you cover your legal bases. 

If they’re prepared and reviewed by experienced attorneys  like our contract templates are,  they’ll already have all the required elements you need. And customizing a contract for every new client or employee can be costly and time-consuming. All you have to do is customize your template when you need to and reuse it again and again.

If you’re on the search for an online contract template specifically tailored to your business thatalsoworks with digital signing tools, look no further than The Contract Shop®.  Our contract templates  are rock solid and ready to go. Find the perfect contract template for you and your biz by  browsing our contract template shop  today.

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