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Understanding Digital Signature Certificates: Types, Classes, Costs, and Acquisition

Understanding Digital Signature Certificates, Its Types, Classes, Costs, and Acquisition


In today's digital world, ensuring the authenticity and security of online transactions is crucial. This is where Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) come into play. They act as your digital identity, allowing you to electronically sign documents and verify their integrity.


Obtaining Digital Signature Certificate


Obtaining a digital signature in India involves a systematic process governed by the Information Technology Act, 2000. Firstly, one needs to acquire a digital signature certificate (DSC) from certified authorities such as licensed Certifying Authorities (CAs) like eMudhra, Capricorn, or Sify. This involves submitting requisite documents and undergoing identity verification procedures as per the guidelines set by the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA).


The DSC serves as a secure electronic key that verifies the identity of the signatory digitally, ensuring authenticity and integrity of online transactions, filings, and communications. Once obtained, individuals or entities can utilize their digital signatures across various platforms, including government portals, e-commerce websites, and financial transactions, streamlining processes and enhancing security in the digital realm.


Choosing the Right Class:

The appropriate class depends on your specific needs. Class 2 is sufficient for most individuals, while businesses and organizations often require Class 3 for enhanced security


  • Class 2: Suitable for basic e-filing and signing purposes like income tax returns or online forms. Class 2 DSCs are discontinued w.e.f 01.01.2021.

  • Class 3: Class 3 Digital Signature Offers higher security and encryption, ideal for sensitive transactions like tenders, e-procurement, and company filings.


Types of DSCs and Understanding DSC Classes:

Within each class, there are further categories based on functionalities:


  • Signing: Allows you to digitally sign documents.

  • Encryption: Enables secure data encryption for added protection.

  • Signing & Encryption: Combines both signing and encryption capabilities.


Cost Considerations:

The cost of a DSC varies depending on the class, validity period, chosen features, and issuing authority. Generally, obtaining a Class 3 digital certificates are more expensive than Class 2. Renewal fees are typically lower than issuance costs.

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Additional factors influencing cost:

  • Token: A USB device for storing your DSC, usually a one-time purchase.

  • Issuing Authority: Different authorities may have varying pricing structures.


Obtaining a Digital Signature Certificate :


Here's a simplified guide to acquiring a DSC:

  1. Choose a Licensed Registration Authority (RA): eSolutions is a licensed RA since 2006 with many dsc brands giving you a options to choose from.

  2. Select the appropriate DSC class and validity period : Choose from Class of DSC and Validity like 2 Years or 3 Years.

  3. Complete the online application form: Provide personal details, supporting documents, and choose your preferred features.

  4. After processing , complete Video verification & other verification process.

  5. Make the payment and receive your DSC on a USB token.


Remember: Always choose a reliable and government-approved CA for secure and legitimate DSC issuance. By understanding the different types, classes, and costs of DSCs, you can make an informed decision when choosing the right certificate for your needs. Secure your digital identity and ensure the authenticity of your online transactions with the power of DSCs.

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