Are electronic signatures legally binding?

Electronic signatures are considered legally binding for nearly every business or personal transaction in the United States and around the world.

The eSIGN act of 2000 established the legal basis for the use of electronic signatures in the United States as an alternative to paper signatures. In the United Kingdom, the equivalent legislation to the ESIGN Act was the Electronic Communications Act 2000.

When using Cognito Forms’ signature fields to capture a signature, take the following additional steps to ensure full compliance with eSIGN:

  • Inform the person filling out the form that the signature will be legally binding and provide a paper-based alternative if possible (the consent provision).
  • Include a date next to the signature to show when the document was signed.
  • Include a PDF copy of the signed form in the confirmation email sent to the customer/user (the retention provision).
  • Additionally, send a PDF copy to yourself (or to a cloud service via Zapier) for your own records.

Following these simple steps ensures that you have notified your customers that the form submission will be legally binding, and have provided them with an electronic copy of the signed contract; thus fulfilling the basic requirements of the eSIGN act.

Learn more about collecting electronic signatures in our Signature Field reference.