Differences Between Electronic Signatures and Digital Signatures

With the constant changes within the digital industry, transactions and other business affairs were developed for automation, making the processes easier for everyone. Business practices have moved on to a digital form. From printing documents, personally signing them, scanning them, and returning them, all these have become obsolete. And in offices all around the world, wet signatures have become the norm. However, with technological advancements, all of these business processes have now been integrated in a digital and automated form. They have discovered digital and electronic signatures, which have been an effective method for making signing processes easier.

Personal signatures are actually playing an important role for everyone since then. They are used everyday to sign important documents, and for verifying them as a self-identification for witness and certification. And with digital developments, they have been made more convenient and easier for people to transact with others, even from across the globe. They can be able to verify and certify documents with digital and electronic signatures. These have been progressively replacing traditional means of signing and certifying documents in today’s hyper-connected world.

However, people fail to identify the differences between electronic signatures from digital ones. These two are even used interchangeably. But then, these two concepts are completely different. Electronic and digital both have their own purpose, regulation, way of securing your signatures, verification, and intention. One of the primary differences between the two is that digital signatures are mainly used to secure documents and are authorized by certification authorities. With the electronic ones, on the other hand, they are often associated with a contract, where the signer has got the intention to do so.

It is necessary to understand the concept of both ideas, because of the confusion between the differences between both electronic signatures and the digital ones. And despite being knowledgeable about technology, there are certain factors that must be learned.

Digital Signatures

Digital signatures are forms of electronic signatures that provide greater security than a standard electronic one. When you sign a document with a digital signature, you are linking the document’s “fingerprint” to your identity. The information is then permanently incorporated into the document, and if someone tries to tamper with it after you’ve signed it, the document will show.

This type of signature is characterized by a unique digital feature, such as a fingerprint, that is embedded in a document. The signer must have a digital certificate in order to be associated with the document. Certification authorities, who are in charge of issuing digital certificates similar to licenses or passports, frequently authorize this type of signature. A digital certificate is used to verify the document’s authenticity and determine whether it has been forged. This is crucial in confirming the identity of the original individual who signed the document.

The implementation of digital signatures to secure digital documents is another important feature. Some people have a habit of tampering with digital documents received online, but this is impossible with a digital signature. The document is password-protected, and only authorized individuals may make changes or updates. And because trusted certificate authorities or trusted service providers validate digital signatures, they are then authorized. For this reason, digital signatures are favored over electronic ones, because digital signatures tend to be more secure and authentic.

Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures, on the other hand, tend to be the more popular choice, primarily because of its ease of usage. Customers can sign documents online with a click of the mouse with this method, or by tracing a handwritten signature onto a document with their fingers. Moreover, any electronic symbol, method, or sound linked to a record or contract where the parties intend to sign the document is referred to as an electronic signature. The intention to sign the document or contract is thus the most important feature of an electronic signature.

Also, another feature that distinguishes an electronic signature from a digital signature is that it can be verbal, a simple click of the box, or any electronically signed authorization.

The only disadvantage of electronic signatures is because they are not being regulated like digital ones. Each vendor is free to set their own criteria, and you must trust them when they say their signatures are secure. Actually, electronic signatures, in reality, lack the safe coding seen in digital signatures. The signature is linked to the signer’s identity and the time the document was signed thanks to this technology. Electronic signatures are essentially an image placed on a document. However, they cannot show if the document has been tampered with after it has been signed.

Difference Between Electronic and Digital Signatures


The fundamental function of a digital signature is to protect a document from being modified without authorization. While electronic signatures, on the other hand, are primarily used to confirm the authenticity of a document. The authors and source of the document have been identified.


Relative to the regulation process, digital signatures are authorized and regulated by certification authorities. These are trusted third parties who have been entrusted with the task. Electronic signatures are unregulated, which is why they are less popular in other states because their authenticity is being questioned. For this reason, they tend to be simple to meddle with.


A digital signature includes additional security mechanisms designed to safeguard the document. And because electronic signatures lack practical security mechanisms that can be used to prevent it from being altered without authorization, it is considered to be less safe.


For its verification process, digital signatures can be verified, to know whether the document has or has not been tampered with. The digital certificate that came with your signature can be used for tracking the original author of the document. While with electronic signatures, it may be difficult to verify the real owner of the signature, since it is not certified. This compromises the authenticity, as well as the integrity of the document. 


A digital signature is typically used to protect a document from being tampered with by unauthorized individuals. Regardless, it is legally binding and preferable since it is authentic due to its traceability to the document’s owner. With electronic signatures, the intent to sign the document or contract is frequently demonstrated. When people wish to get into a contract, they typically demonstrate their commitment by signing a document that becomes legally binding between them.

Key Takeaway

We may believe we are on top of constantly expanding technology, but suddenly something new appears. Automation is bringing a fresh wave of change to the developed and developing worlds. And with these digital and electronic signatures, it has been of great help by providing convenience and ease of process in several industries. But then, it is just as important to understand the differences between the two. By learning more about these digital and automated ideas, it can be observed that digital and electronic signatures are used interchangeably, but they actually differ significantly. They both have their own features that are beneficial to everyone. But then, despite the fact that both electronic and digital signatures are legally enforceable, the latter is favored since it tends to be more secure.

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