Using e-signatures in the Middle East
Traditional businesses have realised that e-signature technology can be adapted and used to streamline day-to-day transactions. The potential benefits are well documented; accelerated transaction cycle times, increased flexibility, reduced transaction costs and more reliable identity authentication, to name but a few.
So what is the legal status of an e-signature in the Middle East? Should we all be preparing to put down our pens and pick up our ipads?
This article addresses the risks and highlights some of the issues to bear in mind when considering adopting e-signatures, in contracts with consumers or other businesses, in the Middle East.
The rise of the e-signature
The worldwide retail and leisure sector has unsurprisingly led the way in the use of e-signatures; keen to meet consumers' expectations of carrying out instantaneous transactions. However, the benefits have not been lost on businesses operating in sectors which are traditionally more conservative.
Communication Intelligence Corporation, a US provider of e-signature solutions, acknowledged in November 2012 that a major US financial services company has now integrated e-signature capabilities with its annuity sales technology platform. In the financial services sector, where security and legal compliance is paramount, this development demonstrates that the e-signature technology available in the market is capable of meeting the highest bar; vital in a world where cyber security threats are on the increase.
Players in the wider technology market have also recognised the potential value in e-signature solutions, demonstrated most notably by Adobe's acquisition of e-signature solution provider EchoSign in 2011 and Google's venture capital investment in DocuSign in August 2012.
What is an e-signature?