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Decoding the Puzzle: Understanding the Distinction Between Electronic Signature and Digital Signature

Decoding the Puzzle: Understanding the Distinction Between Electronic Signature and Digital Signature

Şeyma Yalçınkaya
November 13, 2023

Although the concepts of electronic signature and digital signature are often used interchangeably, there are some important differences decoupled between them. It is important to know which type of signature means what  In this article, we will examine the differences between the two terms that are often used interchangeably and how they provide benefits to many different sectors today.

Electronic Signature

Electronic signatures mean a digital representation of the approval of a document. An electronic signature includes all technological uses created in an electronic environment instead of a manual signature.

It occurs when people create their own icons in digital environments. Unlike most misinformation, electronic signatures are a type of signature that has legal validity,  they tell us who approved the documents.

Some features of electronic signatures are:

- It does not look like a handwritten signature.

- It speeds up transactions and facilitates the sharing of documents in a digital environment.

- Electronic signatures can legally prove that a document has been approved or signed.

Digital Signature

Digital signatures have emerged with the development of Public Key Cryptography (PKC). This important innovation has created a standard with the highest level of security and validity accepted worldwide through the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) used for the management of Digital Signatures. Thanks to PKI, digital signatures contribute to the creation of a reliable communication environment in the digital world by being used to ensure the security and integrity of documents and strengthen authentication and authorization.

The concept of Digital Signature in Turkey was introduced by the Electronic Signature Law No. 5070 published in the Official Gazette dated January 23, 2004. In this law, a digital signature is defined as ”Electronic data that is added to another electronic data or has a logical connection with electronic data and is used for authentication purposes". Again, with this law, the term "electronic signature" has been officially integrated into the Turkish legal system. This step is an indication that digital signatures have a legal basis and recognition in Turkey.

Digital signature is widely used to ensure the security of documents and to make it possible to use digital documents as evidence in court cases. In addition, cases such as case documents, reports and compliance with regulatory requirements are also among the areas where the use of digital signatures is often preferred. This technology protects the integrity of documents, helps to create valid evidence in legal processes and ensure compliance with regulatory standards.

What are the differences between an Electronic Signature and a Digital Signature?

Electronic signatures represent approvals given in a digital environment. Digital signatures are considered more secure in terms of encoding and encryption. For this reason, we can say that the biggest difference separating these two concepts, which are used interchangeably, is the verification methods.

In addition, there are differences between the two types of signatures in terms of technological infrastructure, security and decertification, and legal frameworks.

An electronic signature is used to verify a document and indicate the approval of the signatory. Such signatures are often associated with less sensitive digital documents, such as invoices and contracts. Electronic signatures are used to provide reliability in the digital world and speed up transactions, creating a digital environment in which documents are securely approved and verified.

An electronic signature is used for simple authentication purposes as a technology that can replace a wet signature. While digital signatures create an electronic fingerprint, it would not be wrong to say that electronic signatures are just a placed mark.

An electronic signature is a technology that provides authentication with any mark placed on a document. On the other hand, a digital signature is a process that creates an electronic fingerprint for authentication and security in electronic documents. An electronic signature usually occurs with simple signs, while a digital signature involves a more complex encryption process. While encryption is not used in the electronic signature process, a digital signature uses encryption technology to verify the integrity and source of the document.

Where are the Areas of Use of Digital Signatures?

Digital signatures have a wide range of uses today, from contracts prepared electronically to various digital documents. This technology increases the reliability of electronic transactions by supporting secure and valid documentation processes in the digital world. Let's take a few sectors where these signatures are active with wide usage scenarios:

Real Estate

The use of digital signatures in the real estate sector is very critical in terms of business efficiency and digitalization of some processes in this sector where signature processes are intensive. In an environment where paper documents can be easily damaged, changed, or even lost, it can protect the integrity of its documents with traceable authentication measures using a digital signature. This method allows real estate offices and their clients to easily track all signature processes, which allows business to be managed more efficiently and transparently. This is a development that adds value to the institution in terms of customer satisfaction.

Human Resources

Human resources professionals may find it difficult to focus enough on their main tasks by devoting a significant part of their shift to paperwork, such as preparing documents and reports. In addition, human resources departments usually stand out as units where paper waste and related costs are high. The spread of digital signatures in the field of human resources provides both time and cost savings in this sector. At the same time, it prevents forgeries thanks to the verifications used in the documents.

Thanks to the digital signature, document transactions are completed faster and more effectively, paper waste is prevented and therefore costs are reduced. In addition, processes such as getting employees to sign documents or correcting errors in documents when they cannot be reached become easier and more manageable. This allows human resources departments to work more efficiently.


The transition of insurance companies to digital signatures eliminates the obligation to pursue the signature processes of the company's customers first. All customers can sign and forward relevant documents from their location, which brings speed and efficiency to business processes. Customer satisfaction increases during litigation processes, the customer portfolio is better protected, which reduces the costs of the business, while the company's revenues and reputation increase. With the use of digital signatures, business is carried out more effectively, customer relationships are strengthened and more control is provided in operational processes.


The use of digital signatures in the hotel sector brings with it several important advantages. This technology increases customer satisfaction by allowing guests to complete their signature transactions quickly. The use of digital signatures in approval processes speeds up communication by facilitating the booking and approval processes of customers. At the same time, the electronic signing of important documents for hotel staff and the simplification of authorization processes reduce paper waste and speed up business processes. In addition to increasing the security of documents and transactions, digital signatures also provide customer authentication processes in an electronic environment. In summary, the use of digital signatures in the hotel sector increases customer satisfaction by modernizing business processes and optimizing operational efficiency.

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Şeyma Yalçınkaya

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