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How do I set up an Electronic Signature platform for my business?

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How do I set up an Electronic Signature platform for my business?

2021-01-29T09:26:45+08:00November 18, 2020|0 Comments

There are various ways to use technology to improve your business. From cost reduction to optimizing the end-user experience, technology aids in helping businesses run faster and more efficiently. One of these technological advancements that aids businesses are the use of electronic signatures in place of a physical signature.

In Singapore, the use of electronic signatures in all transaction types is increasing more especially by local companies. This means that documents can be acknowledged remotely, and you can speed up the administrative process. This also allows your clients and your greater flexibility in conducting business. Electronic signatures can also bring an added element of security, as changes can be tracked to specific users, and record-keeping, as digital records can be more efficiently duplicated and stored.

What are electronic signatures in the Singapore Context?

In accordance with the Electronics Transactions Act, businesses can utilize electronic signatures in place of a physical signature, if certain conditions are fulfilled.

Below is an extract from the Electronics Transactions Act, concerning the requirement for a signature.

8. Where a rule of law requires a signature or provides for certain consequences if a document or a record is not signed, that requirement is satisfied with an electronic record if

(a) 

a method is used to identify the person and to indicate that person’s intention in respect of the information contained in the electronic record; and 

(b) 

the method used is either — 

(i) 

as reliable as appropriate for the purpose for which the electronic record was generated or communicated, in the light of all the circumstances, including any relevant agreement; or 

(ii) 

proven in fact to have fulfilled the functions described in paragraph (a), by itself, or together with further evidence. 

Decide which service is right for you

Your specific needs and the legal requirements may call for a more integrated platform, or if your business needs fewer signatures, it may be possible to use a different platform. You must recognize your needs and wants from the platform and find which best suits your needs.

It is also important to bear in mind the legal requirements in Singapore, especially for foreign entrepreneurs. You may not be familiar with the law in Singapore. Hence, it is best to engage Paul Hype Page, a reputable firm with over a decade of experience, to advise you on the legal needs. We can also advise you on all compliance matters for your business, to allow you to plan your business activities accordingly.

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Integrate with your website and digital platforms

Once you have decided on the platform that best suits your needs, the next step is to build it into your platform. This can be done in various ways, depending on which service provider you decide on.

In general, the sales consultant will have guides and support staff on end to assist in the implementation process. Do ensure proper record keeping of when you started with electronic signatures, and which documents have been signed electronically at the start. This will assist in your internal tracking and auditing processes.

How do I create an electronic signature?

Creating an electronic signature depends on the software you choose to use. These software’s are:

Adobe Acrobat

It is very easy to sign electronically using Adobe Acrobat:

  • Click the option on the right side of the document to ‘Fill & Sign’
  • Enter the recipient’s email address and a message, then
  • Click Next
  • Fill the form and signature fields then send them

DocuSign

This service is widely used, and the procedure is simple:

  • Click on NEW which allows you to send an envelope
  • Upload and choose your document
  • Enter the recipient’s details
  • Create an email subject and the message
  • Drag and drop fields the fields you want the recipient to sign from the left pane onto your document
  • SEND

PandaDoc

PandaDoc is well known because of the electronic signature services it offers in simple steps as follows:

  • Upload the document
  • Drag and drop fields onto the document where you want to sign or for the recipient to sign
  • Sign, or choose a recipient to sign.

Hello sign

  • It is a free and easy to use service.
  • Upload your document,
  • Choose the signatories and their email addresses,
  • Click on ‘Prepare doc for signing’,
  • Choose your signature fields from the toolbar,
  • Enter a title message to signers, and
  • Request Signature.

Other Tools for Creating an Electronic Signature

  1. CreateMySignature
    It works on your desktop, tablet, and cell phone and it is cloud-based. It ensures your information is secure through 256-bit SSL encryption. It is suitable for Small and Medium Size Businesses. It allows you to draw your signature using any device and save it as a .png file which is an image. To use it just inset the save image into a document that allows embedding of an image or upload your .pdf file on to the website and quickly add the .png file containing your signature.
    In as much as it is easy to create, it is worth noting that it does not store your signature for future use and only works with documents that allow embedding of an image.

  2. Preview on Mac
    It involves four simple steps to create an e- signature with Mac’s preview. The good thing with ac is eh synchronization feature that it offers such that you can use it on other devices such as iPad. However, if the document you intend to sign does not open on Mac preview, then this tool does not work for you. Additionally, it not suitable for large organizations.

  3. Google drive

  4. Microsoft word in Office 365.

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What are the requirements for All Digital Signatures?

  • Must be created within the validity of the certificate and is verifiable by reference to the certificate in which it the public key listed.
  • The certificate is trustworthy if it was issued by an accredited authority for certification as per the set regulations or
  • It was issued by a recognized authority for certification or
  • It was issued by any public agency acting with the permission of the Minister or
  • Through an agreement between concerned parties (sender and recipient) and the digital signature was appropriately verified by reference to the public key of the signatory.

Summary

Electronic signatures carry the same weight as a physical signature and are legally accepted. They are different from digital signatures in that they are actual signatures appended on documents whereas a digital signature involves the process of encryption to verify the originality of documents and guard it against being tampered with by unauthorized users. Digital signatures on digital certificates are automatically recognized by the law and are considered trustworthy as long as they are issued by accredited CAs.

Singaporean government prohibits organizations from transferring any personal data to a country or jurisdiction outside Singapore.

Those transacting with public sectors requires additional consideration about the use of electronic signatures.

How do I set up an Electronic Signature platform for my business? FAQs

What documents cannot be signed electronically?2020-11-18T11:50:30+08:00

There are several instances (use cases) in which only a physical signature may be appended. These include:

  • Handwritten Wills
  • Bills of exchange, bills of lading, documents of title, negotiable instruments, warehouse receipts, or any instruments entitling the beneficiary or bearer to claim delivery of goods or specified payment
  • Promissory notes
  • Any nature of an indenture such as creation, performance, or enforcement; Power of attorney or declaration of trust, except in constructive, resulting, or implied trust.
  • Transaction of any immovable property
How does a digital signature contribute to cost reduction?2020-11-18T11:50:10+08:00
  • An electronic signature increases the speed, ease, and productivity of sharing and storing data. It also reduces human error that may occur during authentication.
  • It reduces the hustle of printing, signing, and scanning a document to send it to the intended recipient.
  • An electronic signature enables you to sign the document easily and return to the requester in just a matter of seconds.
How can I know I have a secure electronic signature?2020-11-18T11:48:35+08:00

A secure electronic signature should be unique to the person using itIt should be capable of identifying the person using it, and It should be under the sole control of the person using it. 

What is the difference between electronic signatures and secure electronic signatures?2020-11-18T11:47:55+08:00

An electronic signature is a technology allowing a person to append a signature or its equivalent as they would do in a physical document. In contrast, secure electronic signatures are acquired through the application of specified security procedures as prescribed by ETA (Electronic Transfer Authority) or by a commercially reasonable procedure agreed by the concerned parties. It becomes invalid if the record to which it relates is changed. 

Both signatures are admissible and enforceable by ETA. 

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