BioSignature. Naturally, it's signed!
Biometric signature implementation at Santander Leasing. A Case Study
Santander Leasing – experienced provider of business financing
Santander Leasing is a company with more than 20 years of experience, a leading leasing company in financing vehicles, machinery and equipment. It offers services to small and medium-sized business and corporate clients. It has 700 employees and the value of its financed fixed assets exceeds PLN 11 billion. Together with its affiliate Santander F24, it is also developing products for individual customers. Santander Leasing already serves more than 70,000 customers, and the company signs more than 40,000 contracts and lease loans every year.
Paperless with biometric signature
Santander Leasing, out of concern for the environment, decided to abandon paper contracts and introduce only electronic versions, to simplify their conclusion and increase customer convenience, while speeding up their average handling time by more than half. In addition, to increase the security of the contracting process and customer data while preserving the 'ceremony' of document signing. The digital yet classic solution was to emphasise the company's innovation and position it as a pioneer in the Polish leasing market. Digitisation was to reduce the costs of paper, printers, postage and archiving.
The digitisation of leasing contracts has meant profound changes in document workflow processes, from their preparation and sharing with customers to shipping and archiving. The process of inspecting and activating contracts also required changes.
A proposal from Asseco Data Systems was selected for the task, using Certum's qualified trust services – an electronic seal and timestamp, a biometric signature based on Xtension's signaturiX solution. The project was implemented in three main phases.
The first – conceptualisation – included an analysis of legal, compliance and technological issues. It was necessary to verify the quality and security of the planned solution and the tools needed. The second phase – production – involved changes to the company's IT systems. The document workflow process at headquarters was reorganised and a new way of generating documents was introduced. The third phase was testing and implementation. The changes made and their understanding by the staff were verified, training materials were prepared for customers and the sales network, and the sales network was equipped with the appropriate IT systems, computers and a qualified electronic signature.
After accepting the lease terms, the customer receives digital documents in the form of PDF files for approval and signature. The implemented solution allows him to make a biometric signature, which is an electronically fixed handwritten graphic mark with a stylus on a computer screen. When the signature is made, its biometric characteristics are recorded, such as pressure or speed, which guarantees the security and reliability of the signature. The documents are then signed by the company's representative with his/her qualified electronic signature, and the customer receives the signed contract and documents by e-mail and has access to it on the e-BOK24 platform.
The market advantage of the solution implemented for Santander Leasing is its integration with Asseco's qualified trust services compliant with the eIDAS regulation: a qualified seal and a qualified electronic timestamp, to secure the authenticity of the origin and integrity of the biometric signature, as well as the time of its creation.
As soon as a biometric signature is made, the document is 'closed', with no possibility of changing its content or using the biometric data contained in the affixed signature. The biometric data enabling graphological analysis of the signature will always be secure, and can only be accessed by a forensic expert authorised by a court or other institution.
The new solution, called BioSignature, was officially made available to customers in February 2022. After the first months of implementation, almost 35% of contracts were already being signed using the new signature method. Selected advisors are already signing even more than 80% of contracts in this form.
- Accelerated contracting and contract execution process
- Reduced costs associated with the annual printing and archiving of more than 40,000 contracts
- Protecting the environment by eliminating the consumption of more than half a million sheets of paper (saving at least 50 trees a year)
- Increased security of leasing documentation
Project in numbers
- 11 months of the project
- ~450 number of system users
- ~30 Santander Leasing employees involved in the project
- 3 main phases of implementation
'We launched a pioneering and innovative project, which at the same time had to be in compliance with very demanding leasing laws. It was therefore a creative work, not a reproductive one inspired by other implementations. We could observe similar projects on the market, but they were not as comprehensive and cross-cutting as ours. It was necessary to combine legal, process, technological issues in a new business environment. The scale of the project can be measured by the number of users or even the value – going into the billions of zlotys – of the contracts concluded in this way. I would like to emphasise that all parties to the project have shown determination to achieve a clearly defined goal. We are introducing the biosignature to further simplify the way contracts are concluded. The realised implementation naturally translates into paperless operations. Every year, we generate more than 40,000 contracts in our leasing operations, resulting in the consumption of more than half a million sheets of paper. To produce that amount of paper, it takes at least 50 trees. As a company we also have a lot of benefits from this, the solution increases our efficiency, reduces costs, has a positive impact on our image; all this increases our competitiveness.'
Mariusz Wlodarczyk, Managing Director, Santander Leasing
'A key challenge in the project was the lack of legal provisions explicitly defining biosignature issues. It was therefore necessary to develop a legal position in relation to biosignature. The draft confirms that under the current legislation, a signature in the form of a handwritten graphic mark, made and fixed by electronic technology, is a handwritten signature in the legal sense. A biosignature fulfills all the functions of a signature, which in legal doctrine are considered sufficient for a handmade graphic sign to constitute a signature and, together with its associated content, constitute a document that meets the requirements of written form within the meaning of the Civil Code.'
Artur Miękina, Key Projects Sales Director of Asseco Data Systems.