Digital signatures are an inherent part of the e-conveyancing process, and a great time-saver. Here's what you need to know about this technology.
Digital transactions are great – until you need to sign a document by hand. Then the ‘print, sign, scan and send’ approach starts to wind back the time efficiencies you’ve gained by going digital. We look at how new digital signing technology overcomes this problem.
What is digital signing?
A digital signature looks nothing like a traditional signature. Forget the swirls, it’s time to put down those fancy fountain pens. A digital signature is an electronic stamp inserted into a document; it shows the name of the person who has digitally ‘signed’ the document. Digital signing technology enables you to sign transfers and other documents on behalf of your client. Of course, this happens only after your client has signed a Client Authorisation. The form can be downloaded from the ARNECC website.
What are the benefits?
Signing digitally allows you to save significant amounts of time and paper. Instead of the transfer travelling through the mail from party to party over days or weeks, it’s signed by all parties’ representatives in an instant. And when timeframes are tight, this can be the difference between settling on time and a delayed settlement.
How does it work?
A digital certificate is used to electronically sign documents. In technical terms, these certificates use public key cryptographic technology to secure information that passes from one computer to another over a network. If it sounds complicated, that's because it is – which ensures a reliable and secure system. However, using the digital signature software is simple. Digital certificates used in PEXA are stored on an encrypted USB token. You insert the USB into your computer when you need to sign a document. Then you simply click 'sign', enter your unique pin, and the digital signature is added to the document. You do this on behalf of your clients after they’ve signed the Client Authorisation. Digital certificates are available through PEXA or you can buy one from the accredited provider, Symantec. Whatever option you choose, PEXA can assist you.
How does it change your process?
Signing on behalf of a client may seem like an additional responsibility. However, these are documents that you would otherwise have prepared in paper or provided advice about. Clients are signing these paper documents based on your advice, leaving little difference in terms of professional responsibilities. Major banks and financial institutions use digital technology, so it’s what the general public is coming to expect.
Digital signatures offer a high level of security. They also save time during the conveyancing process. Once you’ve converted, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to ditch the ‘print, sign, scan and send’ method.
If you’re ready to talk about going digital, visit our page on e-Conveyancing for lawyers and conveyancers.
Author: Libby Hakim