Introduction to digital onboarding and account maintenance eAuthorization

Introduction to digital onboarding and account maintenance eAuthorization

eAuthorization is the fastest, most secure method of securing client approval at Schwab. With eAuthorization, your clients can digitally approve the account open and account maintenance requests you initiate from Schwab Advisor Center®. Once you submit your client's request for digital approval, the workflow will notify your client via email when the request is ready to be approved. Your client will then approve the request using Schwab Alliance credentials; clients without credentials can create them during the approval process. Once your client approves, you will be notified of the authorization. You will then need to submit the digital envelope to Schwab.

Unlike form-based methods, eAuthorization requires no paper, no pre-tagging, and only the relevant, required fields to be completed. And because digital onboarding is integrated with Schwab data systems, applications submitted this way benefit from the lowest rate of missing information (under 5%) and the fastest processing time of any channel.

Looking for eAuthorization information specific to the move money tool? See Introduction to move money eAuthorization.

Top eAuthorization resources

Explore our eAuthorization resources at the links below, and for more detailed "how-to" eAuthorization information, click on the individual workflow name below and navigate to the eAuthorization section:

Digital onboarding eAuthorization resources:
Digital onboarding interactive guide View the client experience section of this a step-by-step guide to the digital onboarding workflow.
How to use digital onboarding for eAuthorization Open eligible accounts, and set up funding and features in a single workflow using digital onboarding

Key features of using eAuthorization:

  • The fastest and most secure way to secure client approval
  • Streamlines the client approval process and provides a better client experience by eliminating the need to print, sign, and fax paper forms
  • Leverages advanced authentication tools to help protect your client against fraud (for additional security, Schwab may require your client to enter an access code provided during the approval process)
  • Simplifies monitoring by providing approval status updates on the Schwab Advisor Center Status or the Manage Envelopes page.

Key information related to eAuthorization:

  • eAuthorization requests are initiated using the account maintenance or account open workflows on the Schwab Advisor Center and require the approval of appropriate signers.
  • An intuitive, guided workflow that allows both advisors and clients to enter or edit information and takes only minutes to complete
  • Integrations with Schwab systems and popular third-party advisor software programs that minimize data entry and keep issues caused by missing information or documentation at a minimum
  • Detailed status tracking and flexibility in managing envelopes, including the ability to recall and resend envelopes to your client

What is the signing process when there are multiple signers in the envelope?
Signers will sign sequentially starting with the primary account holder, who must complete any missing information. During the approval process, each approver sees only their own personal information, and subsequent signers cannot change information required to be entered by the first signer.


If my client shares their phone and email address with their co–account holders, can they be used for the authentication process?
Yes. The same phone number and email address can be used for all signers in an envelope, but each signer must have a unique set of Schwab Alliance credentials.

Note: Due to the signing order described above, each signer must use the link from the email addressed specifically to them to ensure that they pass Schwab authentication.


How does a client agree to the terms and conditions, including the advisor documents, presented to them during account opening?
The signing process begins with the client's signing the Agreement to Use Electronic Records and Signatures. After reviewing each subsequent agreement or document and before proceeding to the next step, the client must check a box for that agreement or document. These checked boxes are electronic signatures and provide a record of the client's agreement, consent, acknowledgment, or receipt, as applicable.

The act of checking the box has the same legal effect as signing an agreement or other document by hand with ink.


Are electronic signatures enforceable?
Yes. Federal legislation enacted in 2000, known as the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act), states that a contract or signature "may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form." This law provides that electronic signatures and records are just as valid as their paper equivalents and are therefore subject to the same legal enforceability as paper documents.


What about record retention requirements?
The E-Sign Act also provides that if a law requires a business to retain a record of a transaction, the business satisfies the requirement by retaining an electronic record so long as the record is (1) in an unalterable format and "accurately reflects" the substance of the original record at the time it was signed or delivered; (2) "accessible" to people who are entitled to access it; (3) "in a form that is capable of being accurately reproduced for later reference, whether by transmission, printing, or otherwise"; and (4) retained for the legally required period of time. FINRA and the SEC have also provided guidance permitting the use of electronic records and signatures in the securities industry.


How does my firm obtain a hard copy of the new account application—the equivalent of my firm's making a photocopy of a paper account application—for my books and records requirements?
For each account that is opened using the digital onboarding workflow, Schwab publishes a soft copy artifact (receipt) on the Manage Schwab Envelopes page that has all the data that either you or the client filled in, along with evidence of the client's electronic signature. Schwab captures and archives all boxes the client checks, the date and time the agreement was checked, and the document version that was agreed to for the mandated period of time. These artifacts are labeled "Download signed receipt" or "Download signed advisor documents," and can be printed or downloaded to your firm's systems.


How do I countersign documents?
Documents uploaded during the digital onboarding process can be signed only by the account holders in the envelope; there is no signing process for individuals in your firm. Other advisors, however, have chosen to upload countersigned documents prior to receiving their clients' signature or to upload the receipt with the client signature into DocuSign® to collect a counter signature.

How to establish a Schwab MoneyLink® profile

Introduction to move money eAuthorization