What is the difference between digital and electronic signature?

What is the Difference Between Digital & Electronic Signature?

The e-signature market is booming at a faster pace.


 “In just a time span of 5 years, the e-signature transactions have risen from $89 million to $754 million.”

With such popularity and growing market size of e-signatures, people still tend to get confused between the terminologies like digital and electronic signatures. Though the concept of both is different, they often use these terms interchangeably.

If you are planning to opt for an online signatures methodology for your work process, let’s first see the difference between the type of signatures: electronic and digital, so that you can decide which one should be best for your business model.

Electronic Signature

An electronic signature can be any image, symbol, handwritten signature or a process associated with any message, document or a contract where the signer has the intention to do so.

Key Highlights of Electronic Signature

  • It verifies the signer’s identity with the help of email, OTP, etc
  • It is equivalent to handwritten signatures
  • It doesn’t include any specific validation process
  • It comprises of fewer security features hence it is vulnerable to tampering/alterations
  • It usually is not authorized
  • Common types of electronic signatures include hand-drawn or scanned signatures
  • It is quite easy to use but is less authentic
  • The main motto is to show the intent to sign the contract


It was predicted by P& S Intelligence that in the coming year (2020), the expected growth of the electronic signature market will be around 39% and if people continue to adopt the e-signatures, the global online signature market will sum up to $9.07 million by 2023.

Digital Signature

A Digital Signature is an electronic fingerprint that is embedded in a document and is used to recognize the identity of a particular signer. It is often used to secure documents and is authorized by a global certification authority. A pre-verified digital signature guarantees that the document is from the appropriate signer and hence ensures that the document/message is tamper-free.

Key Highlights of Digital Signature

  • The authentication is based on digital certificates
  • It is verified by certification authorities and trusted third-party service providers
  • The validation process is highly secured ones
  • It works on the lock and key mechanism
  • It is more used than electronic signature because of high levels of authenticity and data integrity but is complex than electronic ones
  • Considered valid across the globe

In the previous blog, we have already spoken about How do Digital signatures really work?

Key Takeaways

Both electronic and digital signatures have their pros and cons. But it is surely way ahead than the traditional validation process. The future workflow will definitely rely on the e-signatures. This is already adopted by a big chunk of businesses and now it’s your turn to do so. Our Cygnature team will help you out in choosing from the variety of e-signatures based on your business type and requirement.

Sharing is caring!