How to Sign A Contract Online

How to Sign A Contract Online

Signing and going through paperwork is tough work. You flipped through stacks of paper one by one, looked for signature lines, and signed each by hand over and over until your wrists started aching, and you could barely keep up. For decades, that has been the only procedure to get things done. But with the advancement of technology, modern solutions emerged, and eSignature technology became the lifesaver for business owners, contractors, signers, publishers, and anyone else who constantly deals with paperwork.

By digitally signing, you can reduce costs and operations, such as printing, scanning, faxing, overnight delivery, and traveling, compared to paper-based methods. From emails to a sales contract to other legal documents, it’s possible to sign them all without the need for in person signing. With just an electronic form and a personal electronic signature used within a trusted online signing software, the entire deal can be initiated and completed electronically via the internet and nowhere else.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the signing process of online contracts, its legality, its key benefits, and the most trusted e-signature software to make it possible.

How to Sign A Contract Online

Online contract signing can be done in a few different ways, but the first step is always to find a trusted e-signing application or website and follow the instructions. In the case of most platforms, it’s typically a straightforward process. You sign up for a free trial, and shortly after, you can go ahead and upload a contract, prepare it for signers to sign, and send it to the recipients as prompted. You will be finished in no time as soon as you fill out the necessary information.

There are various ways you can sign contracts online: 

  • Drawing one manually using a cursor or stylus
  • You can add your digital signature by uploading an image of an existing wet signature.
  • Typing and then customizing how the text looks, all within a signature box that you can move to different positions on the online contract.

Signing a PDF contract online undergoes a similar fashion. Just upload your contracts to your preferred e-signing service, such as HelloSign, Adobe Sign, or DocuSign, and electronically sign them when ready.

How To Send A Contract For Electronic Signing

When you are a contractor, your job is to request signatures from relevant parties and organize the contract’s content details before sending the online contract.

The steps to add signers and start a signature request would vary from creating and adding your signature to a contract, but the flow will be similar enough not to give you a hard time.

Step 1. Open your preferred contract program.

Step 2. Upload the contract file to the program.

Step 3. Fill in necessary information such as names, email addresses, and others.

Step 4. Identify the signature fields where you want eSignatures, initials, and dates to appear. 

Once the contract is ready, the program will send it to the signers’ emails, prompting them to create and add their signatures on the signature fields. Once the contract is completed, a confirmation email will be sent to all parties involved with a link to download the final contract.

Yes, it is 100% legal. Not only contracts but any online document can use legally valid and enforceable electronic signatures, provided the electronic signatures comply with the rules of the UETA and/or the ESIGN Act. Handwritten and digital signatures are given the same legal status under state law. Also, it’s good to know that electronic signatures and their legal validity can vary by continent, country, state, and sometimes even locality. 

For instance, in Europe, the electronic signature is regulated by the European eIDAS regulation (2014), and in the United States, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) are in effect.

Tips for Choosing An e-Signing Software

When signing a contract electronically, be extra cautious about the e-signing platform or software you use. There are hundreds of digital signing services out there that claim to give “great, reliable service” to everyone, but in reality, they aren’t capable of providing all the essential features for a safe, secure, and smooth workflow.

For an e-signing app to be safe, it must:

  • Have a specific set of features that could store sensitive documents like contracts, such as document encryption, audit trails, and digital signature support. 
  • Meet the regulations concerning electronic signatures, like having U.S. or EU government compliance. 

Electronic signatures combined with sealing, strong authentication, security, and an audit trail have a more weighty evidentiary value than a scanned image of a document with a signature. 

Furthermore, while there are e-signing websites that offer a free plan, it may be wiser to choose a paid plan instead, especially if your contracts contain highly sensitive information. E-Signature software that offers premium plans goes out of its way to ensure users’ safety, which is typically not the case with free tools. Saving a few dollars at the expense of valuable security will cost you more in the long run if your contract is tampered with.

Remember: Above all, prioritize safety and security because if a dispute over the signed contract arises and goes to court, the judge will always look for the trustworthiness of the authentication method.

Key Reasons To Switch To Online Contract Signing

There’s no doubt that online contract signing has more to offer than traditional paper methods. Professionals are empowered to get work done faster with the help of e-signing technology. It’s more convenient, innovative, and less hassle than other ways. By using electronic mobile apps, you can check your document status directly from your devices after preparing and submitting electronic documents. 

It may seem like a challenge to train yourself or your team to switch to digital procedures, but the payoff is absolutely well worth it, and here are the key reasons why:

Faster return times

One of the primary benefits of online contract signing is that it allows users to sign and return documents across any device from anywhere in the world. Mobile devices are compatible with many document signing programs, so almost any recipient can sign the document in real-time. This method is much faster than mailing a physical contract to each recipient and waiting for return mail from multiple sources.

Increased Security

Online contract signing ensures better security when compared to physical contracts. After you and the recipients sign the contract, many programs prevent anyone from making further changes. There are some other great features, too, like audit trails, a built-in time stamp, and automatic reminders. This adds a layer of security that is hard to match with similar physical documents, which could possibly be changed because of printing mistakes or other means.

It Saves Time And Money

Online contract signing saves you time and money in several ways. First, it prevents you from creating multiple physical contracts for each person who needs to sign them, helping you save money on ink and paper you may use for your printer. They also save you time because they can reach recipients as soon as they have an internet connection. Finally, they decrease costs by preventing you from having to pay for postage or transport to new locations to sign documents.

Best e-Signature Software For Online Contract Signing

There are a lot of e-Signature programs out there that let you sign a contract online. However, their set of features may vary according to their main purposes. Below are some well-known and trusted by millions all around the world.

  • DocuSign: for businesses that sign lots of things
  • HelloSign: for integration with cloud storage
  • Preview: for occasionally signing documents on a Mac
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader: for occasionally signing documents on a PC
  • for a pay-as-you-go option
  • SignWell: for a free eSign app
  • PandaDoc: for collecting payments when people sign
  • signNow: for small teams

Final Say

As we all know, contracts help both parties align and understand what’s expected of them in their agreement. With secure and legally binding electronic signatures, you can work faster and more efficiently whenever you have a contract to sign. No matter where you or your partners are, as long as you have an internet-enabled device, you can sign contracts whenever and wherever you want.

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