Qualified signatures: How to check if the signature is qualified and verifiable in 3 seconds.

How do you tell a non-qualified signature and a qualified signature apart with your bare eyes?

Check the seal that comes with the signature. Does your signature come with a seal? Is the seal qualified?

A qualified electronic seal prevents both intentional and accidental change of the PDF document after it was signed, meaning you and your counterparties can remain secure in the knowledge that what you signed today will remain verifiably unchanged now and in the future, even if that is 20 years away.

In this article, we’d like to show you how you can check if your signature comes with a qualified electronic seal in 3 seconds.

Why is it important to check if your signed PDF contract contains a qualified electronic seal or not?

It baffles our mind how many companies out there are still using “watermark signatures” without knowing the real consequences of doing so. Perhaps the CEOs or business owners of these companies are unaware that the e-signatures they are using does not follow regulation.

From our research, 70% of all e-signing vendors in Sweden offer “watermark e-signatures” simply because of one reason…

It is very costly and complex to provide regulation standard signatures. Serious vendors will go through the process because not having it puts the business at very serious risks.

So why is it important to check the validity of your signed PDF contracts?

Some of the most important reasons include:

  • Your agreement or contract may not have been signed
  • You may not be able to prove that the document has not been modified after signing
  • You may be putting your business at risk without knowing it

How to check if your signed PDF contract seal is qualified and verifiable in 3 seconds

If you have a signed PDF contract and want to identify your trust level of the electronic seal, here’s a quick way to check if the signature is both qualified and verifiable, and what it means to you.

Step 1 – Open your signed PDF contract in Adobe Reader

Step 2 – On the blue bar at the top, do you see A, B, C, or D?

PDF signed in accordance with eIDAS

What does it mean?

A: Do something about it

The PDF is not sealed, making changes easy and untraceable. A PDF signed this way can never meet the requirements of eIDAS.

B: Look at other options

The PDF is sealed, but the signature could not be validated. Most likely because the certificate is not in EUTL/AATL, which makes validation independent of your e-sign provider hard, if not impossible. A PDF signed this way might meet the requirements of eIDAS, but most likely not.

C: Looks good, so far

The PDF is sealed with a digital signature, using a certificate that Adobe Reader recognizes and trusts. A PDF signed this way might meet the requirements of eIDAS, but there is no guarantee that it’s actually a qualified seal. To find that out, we need to go to the Signature panel.

D: Congrats! Keep going!

The signed PDF contract has a qualified seal and can easily be verified independently of your e-sign provider. A PDF signed in accordance with eIDAS.

Why Oneflow

E-signing with Oneflow ensures that your signed PDF contracts are electronically sealed with an independently verifiable qualified seal.

This means that:

  • The integrity of the content of your signed PDF contracts is protected from unlawful tampering
  • The signature can be independently verifiable without relying on Oneflow
  • The PDF is signed in accordance with eIDAS – the highest trust level of all e-signatures

What's next?

Learn more about e-signature here or contact us to help you evaluate your current e-signature practices.

Confused about the difference between electronic signatures and digital signatures and electronic seals?

Learn more about the differences here