For many years, the only conceivable way to sign a document was the traditional way of signing a document, that is, writing by hand on paper. However, the times are different and we have different types of signatures.

With the technological transformations brought by the digital era, other forms of contract conclusion, such as electronic signatures and digital signatures, are already part of a consolidated reality. 

This is easily demonstrated when we look at the many companies and professional sectors that have been making extensive use of these new resources to validate documentation, contracts and financial transactions, as an innovative way to streamline their processes.

With that in mind, we prepared this full article to explain everything about the types of document signatures: from their characteristics and differences, to legal aspects and how to decide between which one to use.

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Differences between traditional signatures, digital signatures and electronic signatures

Here, we will talk in more detail about the main differences between what are the 3 types of firms that exist and are most used by companies in which we can classify: traditional, electronic and digital.

Traditional signature (handwritten)

As we know, the traditional, or physical, signature occurs when two or more parties enter into an agreement defining contractual terms in person, and in their own hand. 

Even today, this type of firm is still widely used, especially by more traditional companies or companies with little investment in technological resources.

Electronic signature

When we talk about electronic signature, we refer to a broader concept, which encompasses various forms of identification carried out through electronic mechanisms. 

Thus, it is not only limited to signing a document online, but also to systems of various other types, such as: electronic key, token, biometrics, among others. 

Before opting for an electronic signature, you should pay attention to its particularities: normally, it is used to reveal the signer's intention to sign a document, as well as to verify the signed files. 

It stands out for presenting different methods to prove the identity of the signatories, providing a legal basis for the validation of the signatures. The cost is usually lower compared to digital subscriptions.

Digital signature

Unlike electronic signatures, digital signatures refer more specifically to the physical signature of a document, but carried out in a digital medium.

In this case, legal validation is carried out using cryptography, which makes a virtual certificate issued by regulatory bodies such as the ICP-Brazil mandatory. 

Therefore, the main points to consider when choosing to use the digital signature are the fact that it has even more security features (due to encryption), authenticity and tracking, in addition to being strongly guaranteed by Brazilian law and being authorized by the government or nongovernmental organization of the certification body. 

On the other hand, the cost of this type of subscription tends to be higher, since its use requires digital certificates from all parties involved. 

Keep in mind that digital signature and electronic signature are often treated as synonyms. This mix-up is common, but, as can be seen, there are important differences between the two types of online signatures, although both have, as a common point, the technological and innovative nature, in addition to the purpose of facilitating recognition and digital signature processes.

Why use electronic or digital signatures instead of a handwritten one?

While it is true that electronic and digital signatures perform the same function as handwritten signatures, when we stop to compare more carefully, it is not difficult to see that online signatures have some significant advantages over traditional ones. 

Therefore, these solutions have been adopted exponentially by companies. Among the main points, we can highlight three that we list below.

Cost savings

Thanks to the differential of allowing the entire process to be carried out over the Internet, on devices such as computers, tablets or smartphones, online firms dispense with the physical presence of all parties. 

And that's precisely where the big advantage lies: if those involved can't all be in the same place together, you don't have to send the documentation for everyone to sign. 

The document is sent by virtual means, waiving the usual costs with carriers, motorcycles or fuel. And to top it all off, choosing an online solution also makes it unnecessary to spend on notary signature authentication.

Agility and practicality

In the same way that the online procedure saves financial costs, the time factor also benefits; after all, the entire procedure is carried out more quickly, not to mention immediately. 

Thanks to electronic and digital signatures, even international contracts can be concluded in an extremely agile and secure way.


In some cases, the use of traditional signatures may be even more appropriate, thus generating impressions of physical documents. The use of electronic signatures or digital signatures, however, significantly reduces the generation of this material, contributing not only to the aforementioned reduction in costs, but also to the reduction of waste and greater awareness about the consumption of certain materials, in addition to a better use of the work space.

NAAT.TECH e-signature solution

As you can see, electronic and digital signatures can already be considered as essential practices in a company's documentary routine. There are several specialized virtual subscription platforms on the market. 

Among them, Biometric Agreement stands out for being considered the most secure electronic document signing platform in the world. Our internationally patented process ensures that the signant is who they say they are, to prevent identity theft fraud, ensuring greater security for your company.