Electronic signature solutions help millions of individuals & organizations execute legal agreements & optimize their document workflows. However, many of the solutions available can be expensive, especially if you only need a basic solution for a limited number of documents. Fortunately, many tools have built free plans that let you sign and manage your documents at no charge.
Table of Contents
- What is an Electronic Signature?
- Are Electronic Signatures Legally Binding?
- How Can I Get a Free Electronic Signature?
- Top Free Electronic Signature Software
- Check Out These Free Trials
What is an Electronic Signature?
According to the E-Sign Act, an “electronic signature” is a sound, symbol, or process attached to a contract or other record that is executed by a person with the intent of signing said record. Most of the time, an electronic signature is a digitized version of a physical signature.
Are Electronic Signatures Legally Binding?
Long story short, yes, electronic signatures are legally binding under the E-Sign Act, which is a federal act, and UETA, Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which is adopted on a state-by-state basis. While we are not legal experts, we’ve provided a quick summary below of how each act contributes to the legality of electronic signatures.
|E-Sign Act||Grants legal recognition of electronic signatures and electronic records as long as all parties intend to use them|
|UETA||Enforces that electronic documents and signatures related to business, commercial, and governmental matters suffice for legal purposes as long as the parties involved agree to proceed electronically|
These acts also guarantee that a contract, signature, or record cannot be denied legally just because they are in electronic form. They also guarantee that a contract used in a transaction cannot be denied just because an electronic signature or record was used in the process of creating it.
How can I get a Free Electronic Signature?
Lucky for you, you have options when it comes to getting a free electronic signature! You technically do not need an electronic signature tool to create an electronic signature, but using one is definitely the easiest and most legally secure method.
Typically the steps include signing up for an electronic signature tool and then either drawing, typing or uploading a signature into the platform. Some platforms let you create and set a default signature that you can choose to use instead of typing, drawing and uploading one every time.
Top Free Electronic Signature Software
Here is a short-list of our top three free electronic signature solutions. Take a look our solution overviews to find out which solution works best for you or your business.
PandaDoc is one of our favorite overall electronic signature solutions. In addition,PandaDoc offers the most robust free plan in the market. Features found in PandaDoc’s free plan include:
- Unlimited document uploads
- Unlimited document sends for e-signature
- Document activity tracking and notifications
- In-document payment processing
However, the downside of PandaDoc’s free plan is that it does not come with templates or audit trails. You would have to upgrade to one of PandaDoc’s paid plans in order to access these features. For an in-depth analysis of PandaDoc and its other plans, read our PandaDoc review.
HelloSign is one of the most popular electronic signature tools in the market. It offers a free plan that lets you request three signatures a month.
Some of the main features HelloSign’s platform offers include status notifications, integrations with Google Drive, and audit trails. However, it does not include in-document payment processing or templates.
For an in-depth analysis, check out our HelloSign review.
Docsketch is an electronic signature tool used by over 10,000 businesses. It offers a free plan that allows you to send three documents a month.
The features its free plan includes are audit reports, document reminders and notification. In addition, Docsketch is the only solution that offers the ability to use templates for free. However, Docsketch does not include in-document payment processing.
For an in-depth analysis of Docsketch and its features, we recommend reading our Docsketch.
Check Out these Free Trials
While only a few electronic signature platforms offer a free plan, most offer free trials. These free trials let you edit and send documents for a limited period of time. There are a few differences between each free trial and what they offer, which we’ve described below.