Using electronic signature software and accepting electronic payments during COVID times
There has been a paradigm shift in the way business is conducted amidst the pandemic, social distancing and work from home have become the norm. These times call for contactless merchant-client relationships, many enterprises are investing in electronic signature applications which ensure execution of contracts in a seamless and secure manner.
Electronic signature has the same impact and legal binding as in the case of “wet-ink” in the US. The legal validity of e-signature is governed under UETA and E-SIGN. With the legal framework laid out, there are many software companies offering comprehensive e-signature services which can be integrated with multiple disciplines within an organization. It is important for an enterprise to understand clearly the key aspects with respect to accepting electronic signature and electronic payments.
What is electronic signature software?
E-signature applications enable procurement of signatures from end-users on forms, documents, contracts etc., shared electronically. This helps the organization to encrypt, digitize and centrally store the documents for future reference. E-signature services may differ across various products, however, typically, the following features are included –
- In-built templates for frequently used documents.
- Sender and recipient users can sign documents across devices with varying operating systems.
- Encrypted and secure sharing of documents between users.
- Dashboard which automatically tracks status and notifies users on any required actions.
- Defines and customizes user permissions as per roles.
- The advanced players in this space such as BluSynergy integrate with payment/accounting applications to automatically generate invoices and payments on signing documents.
How does electronic signature and payments work?
Prior to the pandemic, there was a need to procure physical signatures from the client on various documents followed by another business process to initiate payment. However, with the advent of BluSynergy’s electronic signature application, both these processes are integrated as one simple process. E-signature applications can be integrated with your chosen payment gateway, thereby the user can optionally select invoice generation and payment request on document signing. Or simply request the payment method (credit cards, ACH, etc.) in a secure manner inside the signed document. Often, these applications can be integrated with other applications such as accounting applications (such as QuickBooks or SAP), HR management suite, CRM (e.g. Salesforce), etc., Flexible solution providers offer customized services, workflow automation and analytics.
Key benefits of e-signatures with integrated payments
The key benefits of e-signature and payment gateway are:
- Enables seamless payment collection and transaction completion
- Instantaneous and secure mode of document signing and payment
- Reduces manual intervention and scope for errors
- Payments are credited directly into the account, thereby reducing lag-time in collection and remittance of payments
- Integrating with accounting application improves the maintenance of books of accounts and analytics generation
- Standardized and centralized document management
- Reduced administrative spend
How to choose the right electronic signature application?
There are a number of online e-signature applications available in the market, making it tough to select the one with optimal features that align with the business. Below are some value-add e-signature services offered by best in the industry:
- Encryption of document and optimal security: Confidentiality is the crux of any merchant-client relationship. Online electronic signature and digital payment involve handling sensitive data, hence it becomes important to ensure high standards of security. Premier e-signature applications are compliant with PCI security standards, thus making it safe to use the application for contactless document management and payments.
- Automated workflow and invoice generation: The application is designed with trigger-based programming, where one action automatically leads to the next action which eventually leads to seamless closure of the transaction.
- Flexible payment modes: Leading providers have advanced payment technology incorporated into the e-signature platform. In addition to debit cards and credit cards, leading e-signature providers allow ACH payments in the US. This is an important consideration when high ticket values are involved since this mode of payment does not incur the credit card surcharges (typically in the 3 to 4% range for Card Not Present transactions).
- Integration and customization: Leading e-signature application providers to have deep integrations with popular enterprise software such as Google’s G Suite/Google Workspace, Salesforce CRM, QuickBooks accounting, or SAP ERP applications. In addition, a distinguishing factor is the providers ability to customize the workflow for your specific business requirements.
- Dynamic dashboards: Dashboards can be powerful tools with the ability to push notifications for prompt actions by the end-user. They also automatically update the status and track process to ensure the completion of the workflow. There can be insightful analytics generated by integrating e-signature applications with CRM, which can potentially prevent revenue leaks and enhance customer lifetime value.
- Multi-device, multi-OS compatibility: Most applications are devised to be compatible with multiple devices including mobile which is convenient and time-saving. Also, this e- signature applications have uniform performance across operating systems.
E-signature services alongside electronic payment and customer delight
Although online electronic signature has been around for a while, there has been an increased focus on customer orientation and user-friendly interfaces.
There are challenges such as customer ID verification, misuse of document/data by anyone who has access to the device; excessive push notifications by multiple apps reducing the visibility of actions required on e-signature application; despite being mobile-friendly, navigating bulky documents remains a challenge.
Despite these challenges, enterprises of all sizes are quickly moving towards contactless transaction closures, especially during these Covid times. E-sign applications have emerged as an additional step towards providing a wholesome digitized experience. For both the merchant and the client, the use of online electronic signatures and payments is time-saving. Given that most of these applications are mobile-friendly, they provide access to documents anywhere and anytime. The encryption of documents for the sender and recipient warrants high security. Businesses using electronic signature applications and electronic payments have come a long way from volumes of the paper trail; they are now able to maintain documents securely in the “cloud”.
In these Covid times, electronic signature services and online payments have become critical for business continuity. One can see that e-signature services combined with electronic payments are gaining steady and potent popularity for they benefit the business and the customer. We believe that investing in the right electronic signature and payment system can enhance the customer delight and lifetime value significantly.