Two years of itsme® Sign: Belgians are increasingly using their smartphones to sign documents
According to figures from the Belgian identity app itsme®, digital signatures got a huge boost in 2020. A whopping 17 times more digital signatures were signed using itsme® Sign than in 2019, the year in which you could first use the app to sign your documents electronically. The Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, has greatly accelerated ‘remote signatures’.
The itsme® app launched the Sign feature exactly two years ago, in March 2019. Later that summer, Belgians began signing electronic documents using the itsme® app on their smartphones. Gradually, more people learned about itsme®’s qualified digital signature process. And then suddenly… a pandemic hit. The Covid-19 pandemic seriously boosted the shift to digital signatures. The number of signatures made using itsme® Sign increased fivefold (x 4.8) in the short time span between February and April 2020. Most economic activity fell silent during the first lockdown and all contracts suddenly had to be signed remotely. Sending contracts by post was no longer an option either, as everyone was working from home. In 2020, ultimately as many as 17 times more signatures were signed with itsme®Sign than in the 2019 launch year.
In the meantime, the e-signature trend seems to have become a permanent fixture because 2021 has also started off well for itsme® Sign. The service was recording over 25,000 signatures per month in March 2021.
itsme® Sign is a qualified electronic signature and therefore has the same legal value as a handwritten signature. But without all the paperwork: the signature is securely completed, saved, and digitally stored in minutes. No prior knowledge is required to sign electronically, either: the feature is automatically available to each of the 2.8 million users of the itsme® app. That app is designed to be so secure and user-friendly that you only need your smartphone (and your personal code) to sign. Compared to the eID, you don’t even have to install additional software on your computer or search for a card reader. Digital signing with itsme® operates at the highest security level and is recognized in every European member state. Over 95,000 Belgians have already used itsme® to sign their documents. You can already sign many types of documents with itsme® Sign: a rental contract (already possible with ImmoWeb Docs), an employment contract, a loan from your bank, an insurance policy, annual reports from your accountant, business contracts, and so on.
itsme® is now integrated in various platforms for document management and digital signatures: Adobe Sign, Connective, Cosi, Dioss, Doccle, e-signature.eu, Evidos, Luxtrust, Quill, Signhere, Signhost, and Signicat. Three new platforms will be added this year: KeySign, DocuSign, and OneSpan Sign. KeySign enables signatures at Belfius and Corona Direct, among others, while DocuSign and OneSpan Sign are major international players in electronic signatures. These kinds of digital systems allow companies to manage their records online easily and quickly.
As of April, itsme® Sign will also be available to citizens who sign private documents and powers of attorney at their notaries’ offices*.