Getting eSigns just got expensive. Five times more expensive, to be precise.

Companies that have been paying Rs 5 for an eSign (electronic signature) are now looking at the possibility of paying Rs 25 for every transaction, after eKYC prices were revised by the UIDAI recently and eSign was clubbed with eKYC.

So...did they inadvertently make eSign redundant? Let's explore.

There are four signature options for companies

(a) Signatures on paper: The good old way of getting people to sign on actual paper is unlikely to disappear in the near future. There are transactions mandated by law that require physical signatures. But then, a runner paying the customer a visit makes the company's pocket lighter by Rs 100 to Rs 250. Simply not feasible for most KYC use cases.

(b) Digital Signature using the DSC dongle: This isn't meant for widespread use.  The physical dongle is distributed by the C.A. and it's only used by Directors of companies. Clearly, this signature method is not feasible for KYC.

(c) eSign using eKYC: It's simple. It's fast. It's reliable. But it's not cheap anymore. Few expected this curve ball from the UIDAI and fewer still will be happy about spending 400% more on KYC.

(d) Click-wrap agreements: Finally, there’s the click-wrap agreements - those ubiquitous online agreements we tick without blinking an eye. It's free, just a matter of adding a code. It is satisfactory as long as the internal head of legal / compliance thinks it’s ok and there are no regulatory reasons to have a proper sign.

Fact is that most use cases don’t really have a regulatory reason for signature. Signatures are used primarily for contracts and the Contract Law doesn’t make it mandatory to have a wet signature or an eSign.

We live in a world of digital KYC solutions like Video KYC. They are real-time, reliable, compliant, and admissible in a court of law.

Digital KYC costs anywhere between Rs 10-15 per transaction. In fact, for very high volumes like large telcos, this could even go as low as Rs 5 per transaction.

Clearly, digital KYC solutions combined with click-wrap agreements for customer consent check all the boxes for efficient KYCs.

If someone were taking bets, I'd put mine on 'Digital KYC solutions + click-wrap agreements' to win this four-horse race.