An electronic instrument is created in a computer-based method for effecting a transfer of funds from an account of a payer in a funds-holding institution to a payee. The electronic instrument includes an electronic signature of the payer, digital representations of payment instructions, the identity of the payer, the identity of the payee, and the identity of the funds-holding institution. A digital representation of a verifiable certificate by the institution of the authenticity of the instrument is appended to the instrument. This enables a party receiving the instrument, e.g., the payee or a bank, to verify the authenticity of the account or account holder. The invention may be generally applied to any financial electronic document.