What is a digital certificate?

The digital certificate is a  virtual identity document  used by natural or legal persons. It works as an electronic CPF or CNPJ and allows the digital signature of documents.

This certificate authenticates transactions without the need for the physical presence of the person, which makes the processes faster, less bureaucratic and cheaper.

The digital certificate can be used to sign contracts, issue electronic invoices, sign and send documents, bank transactions, etc. The digital signature has the same legal validity as a notarized signature.


  • Authenticity  : recognition of documents and signatures as true;
  • Integrity  : proof that the documents have not been altered after signing;
  • Non-Repudiation  – A person cannot deny that they have signed a document.

The information stored in a digital certificate is extremely secure, as it is protected by   highly complex encryption .

The digital signature is not visible on a document like the signature we do by hand. To verify that it has been signed, it is necessary to use recognition software.

How to get a digital certificate?

To obtain it, it is necessary to contact a certification authority recognized by the body called Brazilian Public Key Infrastructure – ICP Brasil.

The certifying authority will receive all the necessary documents for the creation of the digital certificate and will encrypt all the information in this type of virtual identity.

The encryption that protects the data consists of two keys generated by mathematical functions: the public and the private. It is the recognition between these two keys that allows the identification of the digital certificate.

The digital certificate has an expiration date that varies depending on the type of certificate. There are two types, A1 and A3 certificates, please understand the difference between them:

Types of digital certificate

  • A1  – Certificate with simpler encryption, stored in a digital file and valid for one year.
  • A3  – Certificate with more complex encryption, stored on a mobile device (  token  or  smart card  ) and valid for up to three years.

Benefits of the digital certificate

  • Security  – By using complex cryptography, the digital certificate system does not allow fraud to take place;
  • Reduction of bureaucracy  : it is not necessary to go to the notary or public agency or print documents – all procedures are carried out virtually;
  • Agility  : signing and sending documents  online  streamlines the process and allows transactions to be carried out remotely.

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