In today’s worlds when most business transactions are made through the Internet electronic signatures finds an immense relevance. According to the US Code an electronic signature is “an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” A more reliable form of electronic signatures is the biometric signature. Instead of replacing handwritten signatures biometric signature are signatures digitalized throughout the writing process. Instead of scanning the paper containing the signature, the signature is digitalized during the signing process itself. To facilitate the process the signature is taken, not on paper, but on certain biometric devices such as electronic signature pads, tablet PCs, pen pads etc.
Electronic signature pads and the like are a way forward in the attempt to establish a world free from papers. They play a significant role in online transactions which are rapidly becoming the norm of the day. Electronic signature softwares such as signature verification systems ensure that the e-documents containing e-signatures are legally binding.
However, the validity of electronic signatures has been a disputable issue. Most laws regarding electronic signatures were created in the mid-90s when the world was yet to wake up to such biometric devices. But in view of the growing demand and popularity of e-commerce and online transactions, there was a pressing need to amend the existing laws to be inclusive of issues concerning electronic signatures. Today most countries have included a framework for electronic signatures in the laws dealing with information technology.
Electronic signature software finds wide application in the banking sector. They are an essential part of e-banking, e-mortgage, online loan applications and approval systems. Amended laws in most countries have also boosted the use of digital and electronic signatures in the banking sectors. In fact use of high-end electronic signature software has led to the capture of high-quality cryptographic digital signatures which, in turn, ensures that these biometric signatures have the same authenticity, integrity and non-repudiation as their paper equivalents.