NEWTON, Mass. — Widespread customer use of electronic signatures in financial transactions appears to be several years away, according to a report from Meridien Research.

The broad use of e-signatures will begin no earlier than next year, Meridien said in its report, “The Case of the Invisible Ink: E-Signatures,” which cited inconsistent implementation and differing processes across financial institutions and transaction types as the reasons for the slow adoption.

“The immediate impact of e-signature technology will occur in business-to-business or internal applications, where employees, departments, and partners use digital signatures and certificates in a closed, limited-user environment,” said Tom Richards, research director at Meridien.

“Implementations in less-complex transaction processes and environments where economies of scale can be realized will be first,” he said. “It will be a while before consumers may see a benefit in closing a loan at an ATM or at their PC.”

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