Electronic notarization also referred to as remote notarization or online notarization (RON), is the practice of having a state-licensed notary public notarize a document remotely using an electronic signature, identity verification, audio-visual, and electronic notarial journal, and record-keeping technology.
The benefit of electronic notarization is clear to anyone who has had to find and go to a notary public to sign a document. However, electronic notarization has additional advantages over traditional, paper-based notarization, such as:
- Broader availability of notarial services,
- Security and enforceability,
- Decreased risk of identity fraud.
Move to Digital
Many people have grown disillusioned with the conventional paper-based, in-person notarization process as they have grown accustomed to the convenience that has accompanied the development of electronic signature technology. However, notarization is now getting its digital facelift because of electronic notarization technology.
The amount of time it takes notaries and the businesses that employ them to provide services to their customers and conduct permitted transactions is decreasing because of electronic notarization. Along with increasing productivity and enhancing the customer experience, electronic notarization reduces risk and fraud throughout the notarization procedure. Since many people were made to work remotely and away from their social networks, many states have already passed electronic notarization legislation, and the movement has only gotten stronger.
We cover everything you need to know about the new move toward electronic notarization in this article, from pertinent rules to the specifics of how it operates.
What is remote online notarization (RON)?
By using an electronic signature, identity verification, audio-visual, electronic notarial journal, and record-keeping technology, RON is the process of notarizing a document remotely. These tools help notaries perform their notarial duties safely while also reducing the amount of time and distance they must travel to meet with the parties.
The notary public and the signer can do a notarial act on their devices from any location they find themselves in, as long as their state laws permit, in place of physically meeting to sign a paper document.
States are increasingly allowing the use of RON, a practice that has only been worse since the COVID-19 outbreak started. Although the requirements for doing RON vary widely in every state, the majority of legislation contains the following requirements:
- Notary registration with the state,
- Usage of audio-visual communication technologies,
- Usage of credential analysis technology to verify documents,
- Electronic signatures and electronic seals application,
- Reliance on recordings, electronic journaling, and storage,
- Adherence to relevant data privacy principles.
Benefits of RON
RON has several advantages to in-person notarization that is worth mentioning in this article. Make sure you go through all of them to understand what makes remote online notarization the path of the future.
Convenience and improved accessibility
With RON, notaries don’t have to congregate where signers are to perform notarial services. By eliminating this obstacle, RON increases access to notarization for those who don’t have reliable transportation, reside in distant places, have irregular work schedules, or are confined to their homes due to medical conditions.
Notarization is done to make sure the signer of a document is who they claim they are. By utilizing recognized identity proofing technology, RON goes beyond in-person notarization in terms of authentication, such as:
- Identity verification: Signers use the camera on their device to provide a government-issued ID for identity verification. A more thorough approach than an in-person examination by a notary without appropriate experience is possible thanks to the RON solution, which verifies the ID’s optical, physical, and cryptographic security characteristics.
- Knowledge-based authentication (KBA): In several states, signers are required to accurately respond to a series of inquiries about their backgrounds, which are subsequently confirmed against a third-party database. By doing this, the signer’s identity is further verified before they participate in the audio-visual session.
Security and enforceability
RON uses a few extra security elements to help demonstrate the authenticity of a document that has been signed and notarized:
- Tamper-evident seal: A digital seal created automatically by the system aids authorities in determining whether a document notarized using RON has been altered.
- Strong audit trail: As proof of a finished notarial act, the electronic journal and audio-visual recording are used.
Utilizing RON Technology
Standards governing notarization are always changing, just as electronic signature standards have evolved as new technologies have emerged. RON is becoming more used as a quick and secure method of notarizing papers and agreements all around the United States. Nevertheless, legislation might differ from state to state, so it’s wise to educate yourself on the specifics of this developing process and, if necessary, get advice from local lawyers before implementing e-notary software.
That said, not all remote or electronic notarizations fall under the RON category. In addition to advancements in electronic signature and audio-visual technologies, new notarization techniques have also been developed. The two standouts are:
- In-person electronic notarization (IPEN): The first attempt at electronic notarization was IPEN. While it uses electronic signature and notarization, unlike RON, it doesn’t happen remotely; the notary must be present in the same area as the signer.
- Remote ink-signed notarization (RIN): RIN does not require that the notary and signer be physically present together, but it does require that the signer sign a physical paper document while the notary watches via audio-visual technology. The document is then mailed from the signer to the notary, who authenticates it and returns it to the correct party.
RON is a relatively new process with changing regulations and standards, despite being acknowledged in various jurisdictions across the nation. Many people are unsure of RON’s applicability beyond state boundaries because a few states haven’t fully adopted it yet. Fortunately, laws that recognize non-resident notarial acts exist in the majority of jurisdictions.
The remotely and digitally notarized document is legally binding, just like a traditional notarized document, as long as RON has been prepared in compliance with all applicable rules in the state where the notary public is appointed—and should be recognized as such everywhere in the country.
Furthermore, it is irrelevant whether the signer is based domestically or abroad in the majority of states with RON legislation. The notary presiding over the transaction must, however, be appointed by a state with active legislation and abide by all relevant regulations.
For more information on RON and implementing electronic notarization solutions, seek advice from companies such as blockchain development services PixelPlex which have already established themselves as leaders in this field.