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E-Signatures to Take Hold Slowly, Report Says

Strategic issues associated with the Electronic Signatures in National and Global Commerce Act (E-SIGN) are likely to slow the adoption of e-signatures in financial transactions, according to a Meridien Research report.

Customer use of e-signatures in financial transactions will begin no earlier than 2002, and widespread use appears to be several years away, Meridien said in the report, The Case of the Invisible Ink: E-Signatures. Inconsistent implementation across solutions plus differing processes across financial institutions and transaction types will likely keep consumers from using e-signatures in financial transactions in the near term.

"The immediate impact of e-signature technology will occur in business-to-business or internal applications where employees, departments, and partners use digital signatures and certificates in a closed, limited-user environment," said Tom Richards, research director at Newton, Mass.-based Meridien. "Implementations in less complex transaction processes and environments where economies of scale can be realized will be first. It will be a while before consumers may see a benefit in closing a loan at an ATM or at their PC."

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