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Bank to sell digital signatures

Royal Bank of Scotland is to offer large businesses a commercial digital signature service, after using the technology to boost the profits of its car-hire division.

The bank will launch the service, which it claims will be the first commercial digital signature service offered by a UK bank, next week.

Although digital signatures have been slow to take off so far, the bank predicts a slow but steady take up among larger organisations.

"Signed documents are nearly always required in finance; healthcare; doctor's surgeries and prescriptions; drug testing; also anything to do with government," said Jeremy Rudge, head of e-commerce at Royal Bank of Scotland.

The bank claims that the technology has boosted the business of its car leasing division, Kenning. According to Rudge, customers are placing more orders because they find it easier to do business electronically.

The digital certificates issued by the bank, which is part of the Identrus group of 60 banks, are recognised internationally.

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