Wet Signature Meaning & Why Handwritten Signatures Are Obsolete

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    CobbleStone Software explains the meaning of wet signatures and why they are obsolete.

    Signed, sealed, delivered...What comes to mind when you imagine a "signature" being performed on a document? Most likely, you picture a wet signature - meaning a handwritten signature.

    The iconography of the wet signature is pretty ubiquitous, but what does a signature do? What is a wet signature? Why is it so obsolete? What's a better option than a wet signature?

    Read on to find out.

    Wet Signature Meaning

    A wet ink signature is created when a person physically marks a document with a physical signature on a piece of paper. Wet signatures often entail writing one’s name in cursive, writing one’s initials, or placing an “X” where required on a paper document.


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    Why Wet Signatures Are Obsolete

    Wet signatures are both inconvenient and costly. But why? There are several reasons.

    Wet Signatures Count, But At What Cost?

    Paper resources, wet ink, and postage expenses (including rush delivery expenses depending on circumstances) can seem like manageable costs at first. However, they are bound to become excessive with company growth. Organizations can also hit a revenue snag due to signature delays and missed opportunities. Counterparties might even explore other options during the wait!

    Wet Signatures Keep Wasting Time!

    Managing physical documents for signature is tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone.  When collecting wet signatures, turnaround time is dependent on myriad variables. These variables include:

    • business days.
    • service delays.
    • courier schedules and routes.
    • warehouse schedules and procedures.
    • the schedules of busy stakeholders with authority for signing a document.
    • signature approval routing as required by business processes.

    Wet Signatures Can Prevent Archival & Retention

    Wet signatures are typically scanned and filed within disorganized digital storage or physically shelved away in filing cabinets. These processes can make it difficult to enforce contract archival and retention properly.

    If there is ever a need to refer to or retrieve signed contracts stored in this way, retrieval from boxes or shared digital drives could take hours or even days.

    Wet signatures are obsolete because digital transformation has provided professionals and organizations with a way to sign contracts and documents faster.


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    A Better Way To Handle Signatures

    The challenges of contract and document signing mentioned above can be avoided with a digitized way to sign electronic documents. Such a solution is electronic and digital signatures within contract management software.

    Legally Binding Electronic Signatures

    An eSignature has been legally binding since the turn of the millennium brought on digital transformation. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act – AKA the E-Sign Act - was signed into United States federal law in 2000.  E-signatures constitute a legally enforceable form of signing that represents the signer's intent.

    An advanced electronic signature can replace wet signatures with a faster and easier way to sign and execute contracts. Save time with electronic signatures that are:

    • legally binding.
    • cost-effective.
    • easily trackable.
    • in the office or on the go.
    • integrated with leading third-party applications.

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    Electronic Signature Software

    Electronic signature software can reduce send-to-sign time by up to 20%.

    Electronic signatures require encryption technology to verify a signature's authenticity.  Signing processes can be trackable down to the date and time of signing.  Advanced electronic signature solutions integrate digital signature software. Digital signatures certify a document's integrity without the need for a licensed notary.

    Advanced electronic signature software allows signatories to quickly add signatures to saved contract documents.  Organizations can also add necessary PDFs and MS Word documents (and other file formats) straight from a user-friendly document toolbox.  Users can enjoy various types of signature placeholder options, such as:

    • including a saved, typed, or drawn signature.
    • including a date.
    • signing with one's initials.
    • including additional texts with signatures.
    • and using a previously saved title for signing.

    On one user-friendly platform, organizations can manage signatures for:

    • contracts.
    • requests.
    • bids.
    • vendors.
    • employees.
    • purchase orders.
    • policy records.

    Organizations can also send tens, hundreds, or even thousands of contract documents for eSignatures in mass. As such, they no longer need to waste inordinate amounts of time routing manual signatures for:

    • bulk contracts.
    • bulk addendums.
    • HR documents.
    • policy updates.
    • and more.

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    Say Goodbye to Wet Signatures; Say Hello to E-Signatures

    Now you know why wet signatures gotta go. You also know what their departure is bringing to the forefront: electronic signatures.

    It’s time to take control of your organization’s contract signing process with CobbleStone’s industry-leading IntelliSign electronic signature software To see IntelliSign eSignature software and CobbleStone Contract Insight® CLM software in action, book your free demo!

    CobbleStone Software offers a complimentary demo.

    *Legal Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. The content of this article is for educational purposes only. The information on this website may not present the most up-to-date legal information. Readers should contact their attorneys for legal advice regarding any particular legal matter.

    Published: 01/5/23
    Sean Heck

    Written by Sean Heck

    Sean Heck is Content Marketing Manager at CobbleStone Software

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