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Mobile Phone Signature

Your electronic ID card and your signature on the Internet

Since the end of 2009 citizens are able to choose between two different citizen card options. The first is the well-known card-based option, in which e.g. the e-card is activated as a citizen card. The other is a mobile phone solution called the "mobile phone signature".

The mobile phone signature (citizen card function on the mobile phone) was developed with support of the EU Commission in the large EU pilot project on interoperability of electronic identities called "STORK". It was activated during the last quarter in 2009. This solution makes it possible to use electronic signatures with a mobile phone. In contrast to the card-based citizen card, installing software and additional hardware (card reader) is no longer necessary.

The mobile phone signature functions similar to the solution banks use for e-banking. After successfully logging in with the access code (mobile phone number) and password, a TAN code is sent via SMS to the activated mobile phone. When the TAN code is entered in the respective application, a qualified electronic signature is created.

This could also be a simple method for creating qualified electronic signatures on a mobile phone. This signature would be, just like in the card-based solution, the legal equivalent of a handwritten signature, and could be used everywhere, not only for procedures with public administration, but also in business. The mobile phone signature offers a user-friendly alternative to the well-known card-based citizen card, which is especially attractive for users who use it infrequently.

Further Information about several mobile phone signature projects are available in German.

The mobile phone signature app

In addition, since mid-2016, there has been a mobile phone signature app that constitutes an even more convenient possibility for using the mobile phone signature. In the process, the TAN is not communicated by SMS but in a previously installed app. Another possibility is the “speed-sign” function in the app. Here, the triggering of the signature is done by the scanning of a QR code and thus replaces the manual entry of a TAN. The mobile phone signature app is cryptographically tied to the respective appliance, which increases the security of the solution further. In the medium term, the app solutions will replace the SMS-TAN in most cases.

The use of the mobile phone signature by means of an app is automatically supported by all services that use the mobile phone signature.

Links and further information