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The various levels of electronic signature
The various levels of electronic signature
Ferdinand avatar
Written by Ferdinand
Updated over a week ago

📖 Table of contents

Not sure which level of electronic signature to choose for your documents? Follow this guide to find out and choose the one best suited to your needs.

Discover the different levels of electronic signature

According to eIDAS, an EU legal framework created to improve the security, speed and efficiency of electronic transactions, there are three levels of electronic signature, the main differences being ease of implementation and level of technical and legal security:

  • The simple electronic signature, the simplest and fastest form of use for documents that do not require a formal identity verification process.

  • The advanced electronic signature, for documents requiring enhanced security. It ensures document integrity and verifies the identity of the signer.

  • The qualified electronic signature, the highest level of electronic signature, for documents requiring maximum security and involving high legal requirements and risks.

The level of electronic signature to be considered must correspond to your needs. After all, not all documents can be signed in the same way, and certain documents need to comply with specific formalities.

Your choice will depend on the nature of the document and the associated risks, which will require a more or less robust level of security.

Simple electronic signature

The simple electronic signature is, as the name suggests, the simplest level of signature to use. It allows documents to be signed quickly and efficiently, without any identity verification process, but still ensures the integrity of the signature. This enables signers to sign documents in 2 clicks, anywhere, anytime.

The simple electronic signature has legal recognition and is the most widely used procedure on the market.

How does it work?

Signing with Yousign's simple electronic signature enables you to ensure a higher level of security, since you can add an authentication step by SMS code or e-mail, which is required before signing the document. Furthermore, an audit trail of the signature process, including the signer's e-mail address, telephone number and the IP address of the computer used to sign the document, provides a higher level of credibility in the event of a contract dispute.

What type of documents can be signed electronically?

  • Inventory of fixtures on entering and leaving a property

  • Employment contract

  • Certificate of sale

  • Quotes

  • Membership contracts

  • SEPA direct debit mandate

  • Rent receipt

  • ...

Advanced electronic signature

The advanced electronic signature is the intermediate level of the electronic signature. It makes your signed documents more secure and reliable by meeting more stringent identity verification criteria, reinforcing the validity of the signature within a rigorous legal framework.

How does it work?

For an advanced electronic signature to be recognized, it must comply with the requirements of the eIDAS regulation. To achieve this, it must :

  • be uniquely linked to the signer;

  • be capable of identifying the signer;

  • be created using electronic signature creation data that the signer can, with a high level of confidence, use under his or her sole control;

  • be linked to the data signed therewith in such a way that any subsequent change in the data is detectable.

To meet these various requirements, Yousign:

  • issues a personal certificate associating the signature creation data with a physical person, guaranteeing the integrity of the signature;

  • verifies the signer's identity document;

  • authenticates the signer by means of a code received by telephone;

  • and generates a proof file archived by a trusted third party within the PDF.

What types of documents are suitable for advanced electronic signatures?

  • bank contracts

  • bank account opening/closing

  • property sales agreements

  • insurance contracts

  • consumer credit

  • real estate credit

  • life insurance

  • ...

Qualified electronic signature

The qualified electronic signature is the highest, most secure level of electronic signature. It is the only one with a legal effect similar to that of a handwritten signature, in all member nations of the European Union.

It offers maximum security and authenticity, while retaining Yousign's simplicity.

The qualified electronic signature uses exactly the same criteria as the advanced electronic signature: establishing an unambiguous link with the signer, verification of identity, any subsequent modification of the data to be detectable, etc.

How does it work?

There are three main stages in the qualified electronic signature process:

  • Verification of the signer's identity document.

  • Verification by easy recognition of the signer with AI, to prevent identity theft and confirm that the person signing is a real person.

  • Sign the document.

The qualified electronic signature uses exactly the same criteria as the advanced electronic signature: establishing an unambiguous link with the signer, identity verification, any subsequent modification of the data must be detectable, etc.

However, it requires the signature key to be stored in a Qualified Signature Creation Device (QSCD), and the identity of the signer to be validated beforehand.

What types of documents are suitable for qualified electronic signatures?

  • Lawyers' deeds: cohabitation agreements, PACS, parental agreements, mandates for future protection, company articles of association, contracts for the sale of businesses, contracts for the sale of shares...

  • Deeds with effect outside France and the European Union:

    • subscription contracts for European financial products,

    • intra-EU banking transactions (bank-to-bank transfers, securities purchases, stock market transactions, etc.)

  • Transactions with public bodies requiring high levels of confidence and security:

    • dematerialized public procurement

    • invoices sent in electronic format to tax authorities.

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