Spend half an hour with my parents and you’d think the internet launched last week. Many of the concepts we take for granted, such as real-time digital communication, fast payment mechanisms, multiplayer gaming and high-definition media streaming, are alien concepts for so many people. It can take time for seemingly old technology to make a noticeable and valuable impact in ordinary people’s lives. And we are no more extraordinary for being able to use the internet. We’re simply up to speed with what’s possible, and have learned how to make it useful.
Let’s talk about signatures. We validate something most days. In fact, if you have an iPhone, you probably validate your identity each time you pick it up (with your face). When we shop, we validate our identity with login credentials such as an email address, password and two-factor authentication. The history of validation isn’t so different, with our “signatures” having enjoyed legal acceptance via morse code, fax machine and email for decades.
The method of validation is where technology is making a difference, especially how we validate our identities in financial services. An electronic signature (or e-signature) is commonly used to denote validation of a person’s identity in association with something else. For instance, sending an email to your boss and calling them a useless bucket is legally defamatory because it came from an electronic account associated with your credentials. It was you, and you’re sacked. A digital signature, on the other hand, is slightly different, and it’s where advances in technology have made a difference to how we validate quicker and more securely.
What is a digital signature and who’s using it?
A digital signature isn’t as simple as an e-signature. The difference can be understood by comparing these two scenarios:
1. I can sign a piece of paper, scan it and fax it to you
You receive the signed fax, which was sent to you electronically, but you only have a copy of my original signature and no way to prove that it was actually me who signed it.
2. I can “sign” your document in a secure online environment
Your document is housed in this encrypted environment, so I know it’s yours. You receive notification that I have signed it, and the system authenticates all parties and the document is legally binding. You know it was me because I had to provide specific credentials to access the encrypted document.
The benefits of digital signatures
But don’t get bogged down in terminology. Simply put, digital signatures (which some may call an e-signature anyway) offer many benefits over simple signatures on carbon copies. Here are three of the best:
They are highly secure
People can forge your signature, but it’s infinitely more difficult to forge your digital signature because they’re coded and encrypted. To unlock your digital identity, two keys are required: the sender’s and the recipient’s.
They save time
Customers don’t need to have a printer, scanner, or fax machine. They don’t need to walk to the Post Office (good luck finding one) to send documents through snail mail. The received documents (days later) aren’t sorted by hand and manually entered into a database (with risk of human error). I could go on, as there are so many time-savers!
They’re less expensive
Take the points from the benefits above, and you can see where costs can be cut right through numerous unwieldy processes.
All of these benefits have helped many industries improve customer experiences. We sell the benefits of digital signatures for Interact Switch customers.
Speedy, secure authentication for retention teams and their customers
Mortgage providers have specialist retention teams that handle the switching process when mortgage terms approach their expiry dates. The idea is that customers need a helping hand in understanding their options when it’s time to renew their mortgage. Who wants to be stuck with a rate that doesn’t make financial sense? It saves time and money for the mortgage provider to be able to keep mortgage customers than lose them to competitors, so it’s vital that retention teams have new technology to hand.
The sad fact is there are still too many disparate service providers involved in the retention process. But let’s talk about the retention teams who get it right, where the process of switching is super-easy thanks to streamlining the customer experience.
Simply put, the customer doesn’t want or need to see every player and every spanner in the works. They require information, easy-to-understand options, and the means to push a big green button when they’ve made their minds up. The retention team needs to make this possible at speed so that every tumbler clicks into place when it needs to. One of these tumblers is the digital signature: the authentication process that manages identity validation, minimising risk, fraud, and anti-money laundering (AML).
By offering a mortgage customer the ability to securely sign in to a self-serve environment, you create the first layer of security. From then on, it’s about offering speed and simplicity, so that when the time comes for the customer to authenticate their product switch, it’s a piece of cake. The system kicks into gear, automating the process of secure data validation, cross-checking credentials, verifying documents, and ultimately retaining the customer in a matter of well …
How fast this happens depends on you, the mortgage provider. The technology is there. Why not get up to speed with what’s possible, and learn how to make it useful?