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Signature cards

Digital signatures with qualified signatures

In the digital world, the qualified signature replaces the hand-written one. It helps companies and public authorities to digitize their business processes because electronic documents can be signed in a legally recognized manner, especially when processes are subject to the written form requirement.

Qualified certificates for electronic signatures in the form of a smartcard, i.e. signature card, are always issued to a natural person. The signature card cannot be transferred to another person. Recipients of an electronically signed document can be certain that the signature is in fact from the sender and that the contents of the document have not been manipulated.

Your advantages at a glance

  • Legally binding – Replaces the hand-written signature with the digital signature

  • Effective – Electronic business processes without any annoying changes to another medium

  • Secure – Based on high-security cryptographic keys

  • Certified – Warrants the highest level of data security through D-Trust

Product details

The signature card enables digital signatures especially when the written form is required for processes. This means, for instance, that contracts can be signed electronically in a legally recognized manner, public invitations to tender can be handled via electronic tendering platforms and court documents can be submitted in electronic form. 

Product variants for the qualified electronic signature

D‑Trust’s standard signature card is used when documents are to be digitally signed individually. Companies or public authorities that wish to digitally sign many documents in succession use D‑Trust’s Multicard or Multicard 100. D‑Trust’s Multicard 100 is also suitable for a single workplace and can be used to sign more than 100 documents in one process. D‑Trust’s Multicard is our card for qualified bulk signing in a server environment.

Vast range of applications

  • Electronic legal communications

  • Emissions trading

  • Contracts, employee leasing, business correspondence

  • Statements of claim, notices

  • Expert reports and final reports

  • Auditors and tax auditors

  • Completeness test certificates (Packaging Act)

  • Electronic tax return with ELSTER-Plus

  • Electronic civil status register

  • QE invoicing: electronic invoicing that qualifies for input tax deduction

  • Online dunning

  • Quality management documents

  • Design drawings, construction plans

  • Electronic waste notification system (eANV)

  • Registration of intellectual property rights with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office

  • Replacement scanning and archiving

Technical specifications

  • Signature cards contain a qualified certificate from the eIDAS PKI for signing and a non-qualified certificate for authentication 
  • Valid for up to three years 
  • Cryptographic hash function SHA-512 
  • Supported signature scheme: RSA-PSS for standard cards and ECDSA for multi-cards
  • Key length of 3,072 bits for standard cards

Other components 

  • PIN and PUK are sent separately with a PIN letter
  • D-Trust Card Assistant for card initialization and PIN change provided free of charge
  • Smart card reader, class 2 or 3, available from the REINER SCT shop 
  • Middleware: Nexus Personal available from the REINER SCT shop 
  • Signature software: various providers supported

FAQs

In the digital world, the qualified electronic signature (QES) replaces the hand-written one and can be used to electronically sign purchase agreements, orders and offer letters in a legally binding manner. The qualified signature card is always issued to a natural person and cannot be transferred to anyone else.

The electronic seal, on the other hand, ensures that the documents originated from a certain organization and are genuine. It is the digital counterpart to the company stamp or the public agency seal.

As required by law, the person ordering a signature card for digital signing must always be identified in person. This is the only way to ensure legal certainty. This means that the applicant must present an ID card or passport that is valid for at least another four weeks.

When submitting an application, you have the following options:

  • PostIdent method: You fill out your application documents and go to a post office to have your identity confirmed using the PostIdent method.
  • IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce): More than 60 chambers of industry and commerce throughout Germany offer a signature service. They will guide you through the application procedure and you will be identified at the same time. An overview can be found here.
  • D-Trust registration partner
  • D-Trust on site in Berlin: You can contact us by sending an e-mail to: service@d-trust.net

Please note: The 'electronic certificate of origin' signature application only works with the IHK signature card and not with the D-Trust standard card. You cannot apply for multisign cards at the chambers of industry and commerce.

You need a signature card in order to create an electronic signature. You will also need a reader and – depending on the application you wish to use – additional software. Card readers can be purchased from Firma Reiner SCT.

Applications, such as MS Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird or the ‘electronic certificate of origin’, can communicate directly with the reader and require Nexus Personal as additional software. The software can be purchased from Reiner SCT.

Do you have any other questions about signature cards?

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