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The Signicat Blog
Thais Guillén

Marketing Manager UK

What Is an Advanced Electronic Signature and How It Works

The advanced electronic signature or advanced digital signature is one of the accreditations of identity and acceptance of the content of document methods. However, this type of electronic signature is not unique.

Digitalisation has allowed companies and institutions to establish contractual relationships with their audiences without the need to physically appear in an office or branch of the organisation.

In this article, we will focus on the advanced electronic signature to understand all its features and how it works, in addition to reviewing the concept of electronic signature and examining the differences between an advanced electronic signature and other digital signature formats.

# What is an electronic signature?

The electronic signature originates from a legal concept for its definition, which is equivalent in digital/electronic form to the handwritten signature traditional concept. This signature depicts a subject and means the will and acceptance of a text by it.

Then, what is an advanced electronic signature? It is the one that makes it possible for the traditional process to become 100% online, remotely and through any channel and digital device, composes a series of encrypted data attached in an electronic message with entire integrity.

This technology is based on different techniques for signing a document. The process consists of the identity verification of the signatory subject and the subsequent Simple, Qualified or Advanced Signature registration and contractual acceptance by the same one.

In the first part of the process, different methods are used, such as facial biometrics, cards of coordinates or one-time-password (OTP) to verify the identity of the signatory subject, and in the second, different types of cryptographic techniques are performed to ensure the reliability and subsequent inviolability of the time stamp, the document and to join the signature to the identity of the signer

# What is an Advanced Electronic Signature? Definition and requirements

An Advanced Electronic Signature, by definition, is the e-signature that matches and ensures signing with a series of technical and legal requirements according to the reference regulation in electronic signatures eIDAS, which we will discuss in-depth later in this article.

An advanced electronic signature must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be linked to the signer’s ID in a unique and non-transferable manner.
  • It must allow its identification.
  • It must be created using data that the signer can use with trust and has exclusive control.
  • It must be linked to the data in the signed document preventing any subsequent modification thereof.

These features of an advanced electronic signature provide complete and high-level security in the signing and contracting processes. The integrity of the signed content is its key feature, being this type of e-signature the one that ensures that the signed document has not been modified or the signer’s identity has been changed.

# What can the Advanced Electronic Signature be used for?

There are still everyday processes that must be digitised and that require a high level of security, something that advanced digital signature grants towards other types:

  • Bank account and high-level contracting (mortgages, pension plans, direct debit and more) in any sector.
  • Procedures in the mobility and tourism sectors (check-in at hotels, border procedures and much more).
  • Processes of electronic administration and others related to citizen cooperation.

# Differences between a Simple, Advances and Qualified Electronic Signatures

The advanced electronic signature is one of the three most widespread types of e-signatures. This electronic signature displays substantial differences from the other two types: simple electronic signature and qualified electronic signature.

The main difference with a simple electronic signature is the identification of the signatory person. With the simple e-signature, it is not required to create a signer identification pattern, while in the advanced e-signature one, it is an indispensable requirement. This is a key factor for the contract signing the law requires a high-security criterion for this type of risk operations, in addition to the obligation to comply with money laundering regulations.

Despite the difference between advanced and qualified electronic signatures, both share all the features and uses of the advanced electronic signature. The key point lies in the creation of the signature. A qualified electronic signature device is used for its creation. Specific and regulated hardware is required to make the digital signature.

# European law on the Advanced Electronic Signature

Europe leads the regulatory standards for electronic signature in the world, and these ones are replicated in different countries. Regulation 910/2014, known by its acronym eIDAS (Electronic IDentification, Authentication and trust Services), sets the framework for electronic signature and online trust services.

eIDAS organises all aspects related to electronic transactions, including advanced electronic signatures. In the same direction, the 5AMLD regulation Anti-Money Laundering Directive) matches eIDAS by creating a unique space of opportunities in Europe for the digital sector, improving users' life and helping companies maintain a safe and transparent relationship with their customers.

# Electronic Signature API: Signicat’s Electronic Signature

Electronic Signature API, a part of Electronic Signature API, is the complete electronic signature solution of Signicat. A versatile solution that adapts to any situation and means (from ATMs to digital terminals, web or mobile app) thanks to its flexibility and easy integration.

Electronic Signature API is a triple solution, offering advanced electronic signature, simple electronic signature and qualified electronic signature. Customer identification can be done using the following methods:

  • A handwritten signature, electronic graph.
  • OTP (One Time Password) via SMS or call.
  • Facial Biometrics.
  • Contactless technology with NFC identity document.
  • Personal pin.

Electronic Signature API holds maximum-security guarantees and regulatory compliance. It is arranged with x.509 v3 electronic certificates and has been implemented in Adobe PDF with PadES standard. Its development is 100% eIDAS, AML5 and SEPA compliant, with a qualified electronic time stamp.

Its software with unique mechanisms performs a signer identification with guarantees by purely digital means, relying on the leading VideoID video identification technology, and avoiding physical personification required to date. Likewise, it is the first RESTful API for electronic signature services on the market, which allows any organization to integrate advanced signature capability from any channel and into any process and device in a matter of hours.