Difference Between Online Signature and Offline Signature

Online Signature & Offline Signature 

Imagine being in Mumbai city but having a need to travel to Bangalore only because a specific document needs your review and signature.

Speed post or courier may help in some cases but are they reliable and fast enough?

The onset of eDocuments and eSignatures have been especially welcome across the world for the instant viability they offer.

While eDocuments are drafted digitally, the same can be authenticated in a lawful manner with the online signatures.

For instance, in India, the Aadhaar based eSignature and Dongle based DSC are two legally binding alternatives one can choose to digitally sign a document from any part of the world.

Offline v/s Online signatures:

The below table explains the primary differences between online and offline signatures:

Rationale:Offline  SignatureOnline Signature
LegalityLegally validTwo types, namely Aadhaar based eSign and Dongle based DSC is valid according to IT Act.2000.
ViabilityLimited. Needs the physical presence of the person concerned.Massive. Documents can be e-Signed from any part of the world with an Internet-enabled device.
SecuritySusceptible. For example,  incidents of forgery and fraud over the documents have been consistentWhile the Audit Trail mechanism ensures no foul play and the absolute veracity of the online signature and the document.
CostThough presumably cheap, involves paper, inventory, storage and most times, extensive manual effortsConsiderably cheaper as the eSigner only needs a device that is connected to the Internet.

Meanwhile, the new-age, online signatures are challenging the historical usage of the offline (handwritten) signature. Certainly, this represents the simplicity digitization has presented to the global economy.

Now that it is somewhat clear about the differences between online and offline signature, one may wonder how to make an electronic signature and if the online signature looks exactly similar to your offline signature, well, no, it does not.

Audit Trail

A behind-the-scenes mechanism ensures your online signature is secure and free from fraud.

Firstly, it records all the actions over the document. Secondly, it will also play a major role in authenticating the signer.

Similarly, any intent to manipulate the document or the electronic signature is recorded making it easy to find the source of such fraud.

Therefore, this is clearly a progression from the physical signature which has been forged with an intent of malice throughout its usage.

More progressively, the fact that a person from Mumbai (or even Miami for that matter) can access a document that needs to be validated in Bangalore with just an internet-enabled device and an Aadhaar linked phone number and not actually go through the hassle of courier service or travel for this reason makes online signatures an undeniable part of our future.


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