August 29, 2016 | Written by: Greg Council
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The decline of paper has been heralded many times in the past few years, but the fact is that there is still no substitute for the wet signature made on tangible, physical documents. Wet signatures can be treated as more authentic than electronic signatures. However, verifying the authenticity of a wet signature can be easily automated. Any document that contains a signature—which can be evaluated with a known genuine signature—is a candidate for automated signature verification. Signature verification automation is used across organizations and industries regardless of region. Here are just three examples of automated signature verification:
Contracts and Agreements
This is possibly the most abundant and critical signature application with substantial agreements affirmed by someone’s signature. Mortgages, collateral leases, master services agreements and many other documents are being processed in high volumes by some firms, making automation a critical part of fraud prevention and new application processing.
While a lot of paper is being converted to electronic documents, there are exceptions. For example, schedule II pharmaceuticals still require a paper prescription. Additionally, there is still substantial paperwork in healthcare for new customer applications, such as the forms required upon admission to the hospital or at the doctor’s office. Despite the requirements for electronic medical records, many incoming patient (customer) forms are handwritten and validated with a signature.
No good check fraud discussion is complete without some storytelling of the legend (and facts) of Frank Abagnale who is one of the most infamous impostors and check forgers, which inspired the film “Catch Me If You Can”. Verification of checks is typically limited to high-amount transactions, which leads to a gap in coverage at the lower end. Even so, checks continue to be a contributor to high volume signature processing.
Signature Verification: Its Ultimate Value
The ultimate value of signature verification varies by application, but automation in the signature review process has a financial, compliance, and productivity benefit. The 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Survey analyzed 2012 transactions and identified checks as the fraudulent transaction with the highest average ($1221 / fraudulent check).
The potential for savings is the obvious benefit. The compliance benefit comes with broader control and evaluation of transactions, as well as the potential ability to improve management of blacklists. Automation offers a higher level of accuracy, security and privacy in verifying signatures. The productivity benefit in automating signature capture and verification comes from reduced manual handling and acceleration of processing customer forms, especially new customers.
Download the Parascript White Paper to understand the different types and benefits of automated signature verification as well as compare online and offline signature verification techniques.
Greg Council is the Vice President of Marketing and Product Management at Parascript, who can be reached at email@example.com.