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Online Signatures and Security Questions


Online Signatures for Electronic Company Formations

Electronically company formations require that the directors and secretary provide online signatures in order to demonstrate their consent to their respective appointments.

Without the facility to use online signatures, the process of setting up a company quickly via the internet would not be possible. The company formation process would have stop and wait for Companies House to both receive and verify the traditional paper based signatures of the proposed officers.

When considering online signatures, the most popular image conjured up is the picture of somehow writing their signature on an internet form on the computer monitor before them. That action is then captured, copied, scanned or somehow digitally transferred to Companies House through the UK company formation agents system.

Security Questions for Online Signatures

An online signature in the context of registering a UK limited company is neither as complicated nor as elaborate of any of the fictitious methods above. It is in fact the process of providing personal information to Companies House to verify the identity and willingness of a person or company to act in the incorporated business.

The signature process begins with a series of seven security questions which Companies House deem suitable for the purpose of verifying a person’s identity and agreement. These questions are as follows:

  • Town of birth
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Father’s first name
  • Telephone number
  • Passport number
  • National insurance number
  • Eye colour

The telephone number option will accept mobile telephone numbers.

Answering Online Security Questions

Each director and secretary is required to choose any three security questions from the above list and provide the first three digits of the appropriate answers. They are not required to choose the same questions as another appointee or provide the information necessarily in the same order.

Although Companies House will accept answers to any three of the seven security questions, in practice some UK company formation agents will only offer three questions in total. In such instances the choice of replies is limited and all three questions would have to be answered.

The benefits of online signatures are that they allow consenting appointees to demonstrate their acceptance as a company officer quickly. They also use standard internet forms and require information which each appointee would likely to readily have on hand or which could be easily obtained.

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