How much legal weight does my e-signature need?

The law distinguishes between the qualified electronic signature (QES), the advanced electronic signature (AES) and the simple electronic signature (SES). The three standards vary in terms of legal weight and are used for different types of documents.

SES: The digital handshake

The one-click solution for everyday documents

The right fit for signing documents with low liability risk It is legally valid for documents where the law does not require a specific form. Typical use cases are information letters, orders and internal documents. Anyone who has an e-mail address can start signing with SES immediately in Helpfordesk.

AES: The pragmatic solution for contracts without formal requirements

Ready for immediate use thanks to lower requirements

The advanced electronic signature (AES) is legally valid for contracts where the law does not require a specific form.
This applies to most types of contracts, such as rental, purchase or mortgage agreements. Anyone who has a mobile phone number or is a member of AES for Business can start signing with AES immediately.

QES: Legally equal to a handwritten signature

The all-round carefree solution for the highest requirements.

The qualified electronic signature (QES) has the same legal validity as signing by hand.
You can use QES to sign contracts with maximum legal weight of your contracts or when the law requires an equivalent to a handwritten signature. The latter applies, for example, to loan or employment agreements with non-competition clause. For signing with QES in Helpfordesk, an identity check is required. You can choose between online identification via video (EU), face-to-face identification (Switzerland) or you can use a verified electronic identity (eID).

QES vs. AES vs. SES at a glance.

Standard
  • QES

    QES
  • AES

    AES
  • SES

    SES
Legal weight
$20 / month
  • QES

    Maximum
  • AES

    High
  • SES

    Basic
Identification requirements
$50 / month
  • QES

    Online identification via video (EU)/ Face-to-face identification (Switzerland)/ verified eID and Mobile phone number
  • AES

    Local mobile phone number or AES-enabled company e-mail address
  • SES

    E-mail address
Area of application
$60 / month
  • QES

    Documents with legal form requirements (requiring the written form) Maximising the legal weight of contracts without formal requirement (risk minimisation)
  • AES

    Documents without legal form requirement and with calculable liability risk
  • SES

    Documents without formal requirements with low liability risk
Examples**
$60 / month
  • QES

    Consumer credit contract Temporary employment contracts
    Management employment contracts
    Audit reports
    Entries with authorities
    Contracts of high value or long duration
  • AES

    Rental agreement
    Contract of sale
    Simple employment contract
    Account opening
    Mortgages
  • SES

    Supplier offers
    Orders
    Organization internal documents
    Announcements
    Information letters
    Informal documents

**The choice of the e-signature standard depends on applicable formal requirements and internal policies and may differ from the listed examples. Consult a legal advisor for your specific case.

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