The Price is Right: Comparing eSignature Pricing Models

What's the right price for eSign? We're comparing the different pricing models that eSignature providers offer.

John Levy

John Levy

John is the Executive Vice President for IMM.

At a basic level, the idea of pricing strategy is incredibly simple. Banks and credit unions want to pay the lowest possible price for high-quality products and services that meet their needs. However, marketplace realities quickly muddy the waters. For instance, eSignature solution providers use a variety of pricing structures and tactics, making apples-to-apples comparisons difficult.

Let’s compare IMM eSign’s single-price, subscription-based model to the metered approach employed by others in the eSignature industry and consider which is better suited to the unique needs of financial institutions.

Per Envelope Model

Many other providers enforce a volume-driven approach across all industry verticals. Sales are made in activity-based bundles; each usage event is referred to as an “envelope,” a carryover of terminology from legacy processes in which eSignatures would have instead required printed documents mailed to and from customers.  

How many “envelopes” does a given institution need? Good question- you’d better guess wisely because a bank or credit union that depletes its allotment before the end of the contract term will need to purchase additional envelopes at a significantly higher unit price. It’s similar to the frustration and sticker shock of managing data overages on mobile phone plans, except it’s a lot harder for a financial institution to control usage by turning off the “roaming” option.

We’ve also heard reports that the first-year price tends to be a “teaser rate” and that subsequent renewal terms carry a much higher fee per envelope, a larger envelope bundle, or both.

Per Institution Model

IMM eSign operates on a one-price approach based on an FI’s asset size. IMM’s goal is to align the client’s interest with our own, which means encouraging IMM eSign to be leveraged as widely as possible wherever it generates benefits and ROI for the financial institution and its consumers. From our perspective, it makes little sense to penalize our clients for maximizing the benefit and usage of our product.

One example of this “usage and benefit” philosophy employed by IMM is in the use of eSign to enable webforms, which emerged as an essential capability during the pandemic and has since proven to be a valuable ongoing self-service channel. When customers could not visit the branch, these online forms with eSignature capability became the avenue to handle standard account management tasks like address changes, stop payments, lost or replacement card issuance, etc. Once branches reopened, FIs discovered many of their consumers prefer to engage this way, shortening contact center queues and allowing reps to focus on more complex and value-added tasks.

Under our pricing model, IMM eSign delivers such cost-saving and experience enhancing rollouts at no additional cost. In a bundled model, however, these web-based transactions, sometimes referred to as “powerforms,” add another envelope usage to the metered billing.       

Meeting the Unique Needs of Financial Institutions

While our competition sells to a wide array of industry verticals, IMM eSign’s sole focus is the financial institution community. Although a metered pricing model may make sense in some sectors, webforms are just one example of why it’s a poor fit for FIs. Our experience with more than 1,500 banks and credit union clients equips us to help your institution identify more such opportunities.

We suggest you get in front of this issue before your institution is locked into another annual cycle through auto-renewal or other means. Your vendor may be banking on the notion that switching providers seems like a bigger hassle (hint- it isn’t) than accepting a price increase.

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