What are Wet Signatures?

What are Wet Signatures?

Written By
Joy Cunanan
Updated on
July 12, 2024
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A wet ink signature is what you would imagine signing documents has been like for most of human history: it is created when a signature is signed by hand onto a physical copy. Wet ink signatures can be differentiated from the increasingly popular electronic and digital signatures as a more traditional form of signing.

In this guide by Lexagle, we’ll explore everything about wet ink signatures including:

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Wet Ink Signatures vs Electronic Signatures

Electronic signatures serve as a legally binding method to get consent or approval on electronic documents, such as signing a PDF online. Unlike wet ink signatures, they are not signed by hand on a physical document. Instead, they are often signed using a pen tablet, touch screen or mouse cursor.

Wet Ink Signatures vs Digital Signatures

Digital signatures, or advanced electronic signatures, are a specific type of electronic signature that uses an encrypted digital certificate to validate its authenticity and integrity. The certificate allows the document’s signature to be verified using a public key algorithm and is tamper-proof.

In practice, digital signatures provide the most secure signing experience as digitally signed documents cannot be altered or reproduced in any form. Digital signing certificates also verify the signers of a document, protecting your contracts and electronic signatures from being forged.

Wet Signature Alternatives

If you find that wet ink signatures are not a convenient or efficient use of time, especially with larger loads of contracts, you may wish to use alternatives.

Electronic signatures are becoming increasingly popular as they solve some of the problems you may find when using wet ink signatures, especially with large quantities of documents.

The global pandemic has forced business operations to go digital. Limiting physical contact and remote working has accelerated the adoption of electronic signatures by many organisations. Electronic signatures are now becoming the de facto standard for signing without the need for physical interactions. The added benefit of electronic signatures means that your contracts are digitized from day one.

Many e-signature platforms are readily available to be utilized on web platforms, or you can schedule a demo with Lexagle if you want to know how you can create electronic signatures while saving costs by streamlining your contract management process.

Legality of Wet Signature Alternatives

Electronic signatures are legally binding except for a few cases. These exceptions requiring wet ink signatures differ from country to country.

  • United States - Promissory notes and notarized documents, mortgages, deeds of trust, and other collateral documents
  • Singapore - Negotiable instruments, documents of title, bills of exchange, promissory notes, consignment notes, bills of lading, warehouse receipts, or any transferable document or instrument that entitles the bearer or beneficiary to claim the delivery of goods or the payment of a sum of money
  • United Kingdom - Documents required to be filed with the UK tax authorities or Land Registry
  • Germany - A transfer or pledge of shares in a GmbH; a transfer of real estate; or a mortgage or land charge over real estate would require to be notarised

Other jurisdictions have formal and informal requirements when it comes to wet ink signatures vs electronic signatures. Use this guide for a brief rundown of Singaporean law on electronic signatures.

Some individuals or organisations may also prefer wet ink signatures over electronic signatures, so be sure to check whether the signatories involved in your agreement prefer one or the other.

Pros vs Cons of Using Wet Ink Signatures

Besides the aforementioned requirements that may necessitate wet ink signatures, there are a few advantages to using wet ink signatures, with the following pros and cons:


  • Only needs a pen and the contract to sign
  • May be required by law or by request
  • No investment in pen tablets or eSigning programs needed
  • Losing your electronic data storage will not cause you to lose your copy of the contract


  • Needs to be signed and sent in person
  • Forging wet ink signatures is becoming easier
  • Needs to be printed out or delivered by mail to sign
  • Physical copies cannot be backed up easily in case of loss

While wet ink signatures only require a physical pen and a contract, they may take much more time to be delivered to involved parties. On the other hand, electronic signatures could be sent and received in a matter of minutes. Additionally, wet ink signatures do not come with the security that many e-signature platforms offer.

FAQs About Wet Ink Signatures

How do you send wet ink signatures?

Wet ink signatures are typically sent over the mail, in hand, or photocopied. Note that photocopying and sending it over email still means that the signature is a wet ink one and not an electronic signature.

Can you fake wet ink signatures?

Yes. Forging wet ink signatures is a time-tested classic in fraud and white-collar crimes, with many legal ramifications. Some examples you will most likely encounter today would be forging signatures for the purpose of embezzlement, identity theft, pension robbery, and other forms of fraud.

Can you scan and use wet ink signatures online?

Yes, you can scan wet ink signatures and they will constitute a legally binding agreement. The scanned signature is then considered an electronic signature and will be subject to the laws that apply to electronic signatures. With Lexagle, you can scan a document or take a photo of it and our machine reading will be able track the terms of the contract of the document.

Wet Ink Signatures in Lexagle

If you’re looking to reap the benefits of digital signatures without the hassle and automate contractual actions beyond signing, check out our platform.  With Lexagle, you can easily sign any documents you have with just a few clicks. Lexagle also goes beyond digital signatures to contract management, helping you automate certain contractual actions beyond signing - including tracking the terms of your contract. 

When faced with managing large amounts of documents and having to digitize them,  the issue of digital signatures can be a  complex procedure. With Lexagle, you can scan a document in or take a photo of it and our machine reading tracks the terms of your contracts. Assigning a secure key to your wet ink-turned-electronic signatures and tracking them for you is possible with just a few clicks.

If you’re looking to bridge the gap between physical and electronic, check out our platform here.

What are Wet Signatures?
Joy Cunanan
Joy is the Digital Transformation Manager at Lexagle. As a marketing professional in the Tech and B2B industry for over seven years, she is always on the lookout for the next best solution in the ever-changing online world. With a passion for helping businesses thrive and optimize operations, she shares her expertise in the power of contract lifecycle management and its capacity of easing the contracting process for busy organizations worldwide.

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