Businesses all over the country are recognizing the benefits of using online signatures. The technology reduces paper waste, speeds up the pace of business and can save you time and money. (Not sure how much you can save? Check out this ROI calculator!)
Many business owners still wonder, “How much does a digital signature service cost?” It’s not an easy question to answer. There are a lot of different factors that affect the price of digital signature solutions. But don’t worry—I’m here to share some industry secrets to help you understand what kind of investment you could be looking at when you adopt digital signatures.
There are five key aspects to digital signature pricing:
- Users and Volume
- Security and Legal Features
- Identity Authentication
- Integration Options
- Lifetime Cost
Users and Volume
Most cloud-based software is priced on volume of users and usage, and digital signatures are no different. But it’s important to know that your signers don’t need a license—they can sign online for free. The only people who need licenses are those who will be sending documents out to be signed.
To cut costs, many companies designate one person to have a license—often a secretary or administrative assistant. Not only does this save money on licenses, but it also cuts down on training time.
Digital Signature Security & Legality
If you’re using e-signatures to sign your kid’s field trip permission slip, just about any vendor will probably work for you. There are even free options to get documents signed online for low-risk transactions.
But what if you’re selling life insurance or negotiating a business merger? What if you’re dealing with HIPAA-protected healthcare information? Chances are that you’d like a lot more security than you’d get with a free solution.
The great news is that there are digital signature services with some really amazing security features, including:
- Tamper Evidence: Documents are sealed against tampering at all times. If someone tries to change the terms of the contract, there’s proof that tampering took place.
- Encryption: Documents are encrypted both at rest and in transit with AES 256 and SSL 256 encryption.
- Detailed Audit Trail: When it comes to legal evidence, more is always better. You should look for a company that offers a detailed log of events in the document’s history—often called an “audit trail.”
- Advanced Compliance: Depending on the industry or country you’re doing business in, you might need different features to comply with laws and regulations. Most online signature vendors comply with ESIGN and UETA, but many don’t comply with other industry-specific standards, including those set by FINRA and the SEC, HIPAA, the FDA, the IRS and more.
Think all of those features sound like they’d cost you a pretty penny? Think again! You can get a digital signature service with these security features for as little as $9.99/month.
When you do business online, it’s critical that you know who you’re dealing with. That’s why digital signature services offer a feature called “identity authentication.” This technology uses information you already know about your signers (like their email address, cell phone number, date of birth, etc…) to protect documents from unauthorized access.
Because each type of identity authentication uses a different kind of technology, each comes with a different cost. These costs are usually charged based on usage. Here are some common identity authentication options:
- Email Authentication: The signer confirms their identity by clicking a link to prove they have access to their email account.
- Shared Secret Questions: Signers answer a question that you choose when you send the document. Common questions include the last four digits of an account number, the signer maiden name or other questions that help verify the signer’s identity.
- Mobile Phone Authentication: The vendor sends a text message to the signer with a randomly generated code. The signer must enter the correct code to be able to access their documents. This method is great for customers looking for an inexpensive, multifactor authentication method that’s easy to use.
- Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA): The signer is prompted to enter their date of birth or social security number. If they correctly answer that question, they will have to answer a set of four questions based on a database of 30 years of public records. This is a well-known authentication method that pulls information from credit reports, public health records, town hall records and more.
Do you want a ready-made service that you can start using today, or would you rather have a custom-made solution? You're the only one who knows the answer to that question, and your answer will affect the price of your digital signature service.
As a buyer, you have to decide if you want the lower cost of a ready-made product or if you’d rather pay a bit more to get a truly custom-built solution. With an integrated product, you can customize the look and feel of the signing experience to match your company's brand standards. This gives your customers a seamless experience, which will cut down on confusion as they switch between systems.
Consider Lifetime Cost
When you’re evaluating digital signature vendors, it’s critical to think about the lifetime cost of a service. Research the vendor’s document retention policy, and make sure you’re not being locked into one specific technology for the lifetime of your documents.
You might be surprised to hear that some vendors hold the legal evidence for your documents on their own servers. You have to go back to them for the evidence to prove that your documents were actually signed. That can be a huge liability if your documents are ever challenged in court.
If you’re no longer using that vendor, how will you retrieve the legal evidence you need to defend yourself? Picking the wrong digital signature vendor could come back to bite you years down the line.
At SIGNiX, we’re dedicated to creating pricing options that are customized to meet your needs. Request a quote from us or check out our pricing, and we will talk to you about your digital signature project to create a plan that makes the most sense for you.