Electronic signatures are as valid for business contracts as signatures signed in ink on paper. That’s been the case since the year 2000, when a U.S. Federal law known as the Electronic Signatures in Global and International Commerce act, was enacted.
According to Nolo.com , people have “several different ways to indicate their electronic signatures, including typing the signer’s name into the signature area, pasting in a scanned version of the signer’s signature, clicking an ‘I accept’ button,” among other ways.
One of the biggest draws for electronic signatures, or e-signatures, is the convenience the service offers.
It’s a less time consuming solution than printing and faxing contracts around. Documents can be signed instantly online and often on any device available.
The end-to-end service offered by e-signature providers will route the document to all those required to sign. Automatic reminders can be sent out to help people remember to sign, and you are notified once everyone has signed as soon as it’s done.
Electronic signature platforms maintain the executed copy on a platform/dashboard so you always have them available, or they integrate with a File storage service such as Google Docs or Dropbox, so you always know where to find the executed contract (a common problem in businesses, that the contract once signed gets misplaced or can’t be found).
There is typically also a PDF created of documents you can save and archive.
E-signatures are recognized for business contracts between two private parties, but it should be noted that not all situations allow you to sign electronically. Court documents, a last will and testament, adoption or divorce papers, and family law matters can not use electronic signatures.
Other situations include repossession, foreclosure, eviction, and product recall notices. With that mind, consider implementing electronic signatures in your business. Below is a list of electronic signature sites and service providers to check out.
Eversign  bills itself as a legally binding digital signature platform you can access from anywhere — office, home, or via mobile.
The company says it offers eSignatures meeting the most stringent security and authentication guidelines under U.S. and European law and around the world.
The platform also offers a variety of options when entering your signature. These include drawing, typing, uploading an existing signature, or using Eversign’s platform to generate a new signature.
Sertifi  works with what you have by accepting more than 300 different file types including Word, Excel, and PDF.
The electronic signature service offers a collaboration features so customers can post comments or questions about documents in a centralized area, so no more back and forth emails. Tracking helps you know the status of sent documents and manage activity.
Sertifi also offers Payment Bridge, a service that allows customers to submit payments immediately after signing a deal or contract so you can get paid faster.
RightSignature  was founded in 2009 but last year was acquired by software company Citrix. RightSignature offers similar features as other esignature services but at a lower cost and backed by the company known for Cloud collaboration software.
Paid plans start at $11 a month. There is also a customizable Business Plus plan that starts at $99 a month.
For a more budget friendly option, eSignly  is one of the electronic signature sites that offers business plans starting at $10 per month per user. This company may not be as feature rich as other e-signature services but they do offer the basics of what you need to cut down on your business’s paper-based processes.
With eSignly you can manage end-to-end actions, have digital evidence of every electronic signature, document tracking, and documents can be signed from any device.
e-Sign Live by Silanis
Founded in 1992, e-Sign Live  calls themselves the enterprise market leader and process over 600 million e-signed transactions annually.
The company boasts offering flexible solutions for business by offering “any premises” e-signatures. Its technology can be deployed on premises, on a private cloud, or through their Software as a Service (SaaS) offering.
Canvas  seeks to replace all your business’s paper forms and manual processes with mobile business apps. They offer Signature Capture so customers can sign documents on mobile devices. But Canvas also offers more than 13,000 applications in its business-only app store.
Users will be able to utilize apps that provide features such as collaboration, mobile payments, job dispatching, and barcode scanning. Pricing hits somewhere in the mid range. A basic business plan will run you $22 per month per user.
DocuSign  boasts being the simple to use global standard for esignature with 50 million users in 188 countries and offering bank-grade security. The company’s service is purportedly simple to use and feature-rich, offering solutions for individuals, small businesses or enterprises.
Pricing for DocuSign is on the higher end. A business plan will run you $30 per month per user, or you could choose the business premium plan for $125 per user per month. But it does offer a wide range of plans to choose from, so one may work for you.
If you are thinking about dipping your toe into e-signatures for your business, eSign Genie  is a free service you could consider. And they boast an easy to use system that requires 30 percent less clicks when sending a document for signing than other electronic signature services.
The company says on its website that the service will not be free forever. As the service expands, the company plans to start charging, but for now you can try the full service free of charge.
SigningHub  boasts servicing banks, global companies, and over 15 governments around the world. With customers like these SigningHub makes the effort to be certified against EU and U.S. standards as well as meeting a wide set of security compliance certifications.
The service is available as a software product for on-premise hosting as well as public or private cloud service.
Signix  boasts ensuring the highest level of enforceability for business documents. They put in a lot of effort into making sure their products are compliant, legal, and secure. The company claims its technology is based on international standards to make your business’s documents legally valid forever.
Signix includes detailed logs of events for signed documents in case your business documents are challenged in court. It also offers protection against document tampering and notifies you in real-time should tampering occur.
Adobe Document Cloud
You may recognize Adobe Document Cloud  by the former name EchoSign. The service combines Acrobat and PDF with online services to allow users to prepare, send, and archive documents for signature no matter where you are.
Document Cloud also offers a tracking feature so you can check the status of sent documents, whether they have been opened, signed, or returned.
Signature  Photo via Shutterstock