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E-signatures seen as less trustworthy than hand signatures

Signing your loan application with an e-signature may lower your chances of getting it approved!


E-signatures seen as less trustworthy than hand signatures

New York: Signing your loan application with an e-signature may lower your chances of getting it approved!

E-signatures are considered to be less convincing and trustworthy than traditional hand signatures, scientists say.

Documents signed electronically evoke strikingly different - and significantly more negative - psychological reactions than those with traditional hand signatures, scientists have found.

Advanced technology allows people to sign a document by entering a PIN or inserting a software-generated signature.

Eileen Chou, an assistant professor at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, conducted a series of controlled laboratory experiments to establish a causal relationship between how a document is signed and people's reactions to the document.

Participants were randomly assigned to review a travel reimbursement, mortgage application, or leasing contract that had been signed either by hand or electronically (by entering the signer's name), 'Live Science' reported.

They were then asked to rate their overall reaction to the document without focusing on any particular aspect of it.

People trusted the value of e-signatures significantly less than that of traditional hand signatures, citing as their main reason the sense that e-signers were less involved and committed. In other words, e-signatures felt artificial and robotic.

The researchers expanded their investigation to include four types of e-signatures in common use: PIN, avatar, checked box, or software-generated signature.

Results showed that reviewers found these common types of e-signatures to be less convincing and trustworthy than traditional hand signatures.

They were deemed less valid, required more scrutiny and possessed less legal value. Software-generated signatures, however - which were perceived as more involved - fared better than the others types of e-signatures.

The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

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