Signing with an ID card. How to do it?

Most of us use ID card signing exclusively for communication with the authorities. However, electronic signing has a much wider application and you will appreciate it not only in the business sphere, but also in private transactions. And even with convenient signing without an ID card.

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Electronic ID card and its usage

An ID card with a chip enables proof of identity in an electronic environment, especially (but not exclusively) when using public administration electronic services. It has been issued since 2013.

The electronic identity card (abbreviated as eID) is currently mainly used for:

  • authentication – logging in via the Internet to the office’s website or portal, logging in to the electronic mailbox and confirming the receipt of the message in the mailbox (it is necessary to enter the BOK),
  • authorization – creation of a qualified electronic signature (QES) on the submission that the citizen sends to the office (using a special application, BOK and QES PIN codes).

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Did you know that…
…according to the statistics of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic from 2022, only about 8% of all ID card holders with e-signature certificates use electronic signing?

How to sign a document with ID card?

Let’s look at the use of the identity card for authorization purposes. To be able to communicate with the authorities electronically, you need:

  • ID card with an electronic chip and a valid qualified certificate (eID card),
  • BOK and PIN QES codes,
  • connected chip card reader with installed drivers,
  • a computer with an application for logging in via eID and an application for a qualified electronic signature (for example, NFQES Web Signer).

With your ID card, you can create a qualified electronic signature (QES) free of charge, which is used when communicating with the state (and not only with it).

Document validation without a notary

Although the advanced electronic signature is already an equivalent to an ordinary handwritten signature, a qualified electronic signature with a qualified timestamp is the highest level of electronic signing and fully replaces a handwritten signature at a notary with a certificate of authenticity.

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Qualified electronic timestamp serves for a qualified time validation of a document. It guarantees the validation of the document at the time it was added and prevents falsification of the time the document was signed.

This follows from the Civil Code, which states that a certificate of authenticity of the signature is not required for legal acts carried out by electronic means, signed with a guaranteed electronic signature or a guaranteed electronic seal and provided with a timestamp (although the term guaranteed electronic signature is no longer used according to the new European legislation).

With an electronic identity card with a qualified timestamp, you can sign a document electronically with the same result as if you had your signature notarized. Moreover, free of charge, without signature certification fees and the often lengthy journey to the notary. So you can use it to sign all important and legally binding documents that require the highest level of security and authenticity.

Electronic communication with authorities is not only easier, but also cheaper. As the state tries to motivate people to use electronic services, in some cases it reduces fees by up to half.

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TIP: You can find comprehensive instructions for signing documents with an ID card in the article Electronic signature: Manual for beginners

Not only for authorities, but also for business and private transactions

In today’s electronic age, you can handle many business and personal transactions electronically. Giving the extensive benefits of electronic signing, there is no reason to limit them to mandatory communication with the state administration and the use of the portal.

There are commercial portals that provide many more services, even in a free version. They are operated by certification authorities that meet the demanding requirements of the eIDAS regulation and have obtained accreditation from the National Security Office of the Slovak Republic.

For example, through the NFQES platform provided by Brain:IT, you can sign documents with your ID card for free, even in bulk. You can easily sign contracts, issued invoices, delivery notes or orders. You can also use an electronic mailbox or graphic signature and various other useful services for free.

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Brain:IT is the only company in Slovakia that provides a graphic signature for free. It is a graphic representation of a signature on a document that you create in the NFQES platform by uploading, scanning, generating, or you can draw it by hand. With a graphic signature, you do not need to print, physically sign and scan documents, which saves you time and costs.

There is also another way: Electronic signing without a reader and ID card

Is your reader not working again? Or have you just set it up somewhere and don’t want to look for it? Are you annoyed by constantly entering BOK and PIN codes? Or is signing with a reader and ID card simply inconvenient for you? Maybe you didn’t know it, but you can sign electronically even without them.

The NFQES service also offers you the so-called remote signing. You only need our remote certificate (which we issue to you as a certification authority) and a mobile phone or tablet. The entire process of remote signing takes place using two-factor verification.

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Two-factor verification significantly increases the security of signing and minimizes the risk of misuse of your electronic signature. Two factors are used to verify the signer:
1. login data to your account
2. NFQES hardware token or NFQES Qualified Authentificator mobile application

In this way, you can complete the entire signature agenda quickly and conveniently, not only through, but also elsewhere. With a remote certificate, you do not need to connect a reader, search for an ID card, or enter codes. You can sign documents easily using your mobile phone.

And what will it cost you? The cost of a virtual certificate is around 20 euros per year, but it means a significant saving related to the digital workflow.

The author of the article is

Miroslav Rechtorík