Home Definition Facsimile Signature (Legal Definition: All You Need To Know)

Facsimile Signature (Legal Definition: All You Need To Know)

What is a facsimile signature?

How do you legally define it?

What are the important elements that you must know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s take out our dictionary to find out!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What is a facsimile signature

A facsimile signature is a reproduction of your original signature either mechanically or electronically used in lieu of your original signature and legally binding.

In other words, a facsimile signature is when a “copy” of your actual signature is used in an authorized manner and legally holds the same weight as your original signature.

A signature by facsimile can be created in the following ways:

  • Using a rubber stamp (facsimile signature stamp)
  • Imprinting of your signature
  • Engraving of your signature
  • Electronic copy of your signature

Many of us associate a facsimile signature with a document signed and faxed using a fax machine.

However, a faxed signature is merely another way of “reproducing” your signature.

The “copy” or “duplication” of your signature (no matter the method, system or medium you choose) is referred to as a facsimile signature.

It’s like saying “duplicate signature”.

Having said that, let’s now look at the definition of facsimile signatures.

Facsimile signature definition

What does facsimile signature mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a facsimile signature is defined as:

A signature produced by mechanical means but recognized as valid by law for many banking, financial, and business transactions
Author

In other words, it is a signature reproduced mechanically, electronically or otherwise and considered as a valid and legally binding signature.

Signature facsimile types 

What are the different types of facsimile signatures?

What is the difference between a facsimile signature vs digitized signature or an electronic signature?

There are many ways that you can create a facsimile signature, such as:

  • Using a rubber stamp
  • Imprinting your signature
  • Engraving your signature
  • Electronic copy of your signature

A rubber stamp, signature imprint or engravings are different ways of recreating your signature so you or someone you authorize can use it to sign letters, checks or other documents.

A digital signature is a process used to verify the authenticity of an electronic signature.

This process is made up of an elaborate mathematical scheme performed by a computer to authenticate the person signing and associate a person to an electronic document.

With a digital signature, you have very strong confidence that the right person signed the document, and the document signed was not altered.

This process deals with the concept of signature authenticity and document integrity.

An electronic signature is someone’s signature in an electronic form and has the same legal value as a handwritten signature.

It’s the representation of someone’s signature but in an electronic format.

Purpose of facsimile signatures

Why are facsimile signatures used?

The objective of using a facsimile signature is to allow certain individuals to sign many documents to do so without having to sign hundreds, if not thousands, of pages manually.

For example:

A government official or elected representative may send dozens, hundreds or thousands of letters to their constituents, and can use a facsimile signature in lieu of their original signature to correspond with their audience.
Author

Another example:

The CEO of an international financial institution who wants to write a letter to its clients or shareholders will use a facsimile signature to avoid singing literally millions of documents.
Author

Another case in point:

A university professor may need to sign many documents in a day relating to subsidies, student papers, authorization documents or others.

The university will authorize the university professor to use a facsimile signature in certain situations to be more efficient, save the professor’s time and allow for the university to quickly turnaround what’s needed.
Author

Governments, government agencies, universities, private companies and large organizations dealing with lots of paperwork requiring their personnel’s signature will authorize them to use facsimile signatures to save time (and a lot of pain!).

Legality of signature facsimiles

Is a facsimile signature legal?

In most states, further to the contract law, facsimile signatures are recognized by law and are considered legal.

To be 100% sure, you’ll need to consider the specific legal and statutory requirements of your local jurisdiction for any particular legal requirements of facsimile signatures but generally, in the United States, they are legally valid.

Depending on the business or organization that you may be dealing with (banks or governments), they may not accept a facsimile signature to protect themselves and their clients from identity theft and so on.

A bank, government or large institution dealing with its customers may take the necessary precautions and adopt policies in using facsimile signatures to ensure they are efficient and limit liability.

For example, the University of Iowa has published the following policy in its operations manual regarding facsimile signatures:

Although the following ruling of the Attorney General was made in connection with the certification of claims by the State Comptroller, the Office of the Auditor of State has ruled that the same regulation applies to signatures by authorized University personnel on requisitions, vouchers, time tickets, and similar documents. This ruling is as follows:

(…)


A person’s signature on certification of claims may be affixed by stamp or other mechanical device as long as the instrument used is in his or her general possession and control, is applied by himself or herself or by another with his or her authority, and is intended by him or her to constitute his or her signature. When a stamped signature is applied, the person who applies the stamp must initial the stamped signature.
Author

However, when the bank’s clients, individuals and businesses deal with government organizations, using facsimile signatures are not necessarily considered safe.

As a result, organizations and governments may either not accept your facsimile signature or require an additional security layer to authenticate who you are.

For instance, you may provide an electronic facsimile of your signature to a bank provided you have logged into your online account.

This allows for an additional safety layer to ensure that some random person did not merely reproduce your signature and submitted a request to your bank for a transaction.

Takeaways 

What is facsimile signature?

In summary, what is the facsimile signature meaning?

Facsimile signature: 

  • It represents a reproduction of a person’s signature
  • It can be a physical, mechanical or electronic reproduction of a signature
  • It can be done by engraving, imprinting, stamping or using any other means
  • It allows a person to sign many documents efficiently to save time
  • In most jurisdictions, it is legally valid and has the same legal value as a handwritten signature
  • Proper safety and security precautions must be taken to avoid identity theft 
Editorial Staff
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer by trade and an entrepreneur by spirit. I specialize in law, business, marketing, and technology (and love it!). I'm an expert SEO and content marketer where I deeply enjoy writing content in highly competitive fields. On this blog, I share my experiences, knowledge, and provide you with golden nuggets of useful information. Enjoy!

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