What are the Differences Between e-Notaries, Remote Notaries, and Traditional Notaries?

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    Document notarization once required traveling to a local bank, lawyer, or post office to get the appropriate signature. Thanks to the rise of more advanced and secure notarization technology, those seeking an impartial witness to sign legal documentation can now turn to online platforms for notary public services. 

    If you’re unsure whether to choose a remote notary, e-Notary, or traditional notary, these insights into each option can help you make a more informed decision.

    Remote notary

    The most convenient option is remote notary services, which bring the entire process online. 

    Rather than meeting face-to-face, remote online notarization, or RON, allows all parties to meet from different locations, including out of the state or the country. 

    To meet the legal requirements, clients must send electronic proof of identity for security purposes. Some states also require knowledge-based authentication, also known as KBI. 

    From there, signers schedule a live video meeting, during which the notary will confirm the client is who they say they are, then sign the document with their electronic seal and digital signature.

    The client receives an electronic copy of the signed document, which the signer can print off and submit just as they would a physical, paper version. 

    e-Notary

    An e-Notary works the same way as a traditional notary, except they sign documents with an electronic signature rather than one written in ink. 

    All parties must be physically present in the same room where the notarization is taking place, but an electronic signature offers the benefit of being harder to tamper with. 

    E-Notary publics use an electronic “seal” on the document that records any attempts to change it after the signature is in place. 

    For a signer to use e-Notary services, the document must be in a digital format, such as a .pdf or .doc. Notaries can also scan and convert paper documents. (www.laserdocmd.com)  

    Traditional notary

    A traditional notary meets with their clients face-to-face to sign paper documents with ink. 

    During your meeting, the notary checks their client’s identity, watches them sign the document, then uses a stamp and certificate to affirm that the process was completed as legally required. 

    One variant is the mobile notary. Clients can book an appointment to meet with a notary public at their home, workplace, or other pre-arranged site at their convenience. 

    While mobile varieties do not offer the same level of flexibility as remote notaries, they make accessing these services easier for those who do not have the time or ability to travel to the notary’s location. 

    Wrap up

    Modern notarization offers more accessibility and flexibility for even the busiest schedules.  However, RON is yet to be available in every state. With the passage of H.R.3962, the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2022, all states would be required to accept e-Notary and remote notary signatures. 

    Still, it’s best to review your local laws or speak with a trusted notary service about your jurisdiction. 

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