Is Online Notary Legal?
You may have heard about remote online notarization (RON) and wondered if it’s possible. Can you really get your legal documents notarized from home? Can you really do it all online with just a computer? Most important, can you trust the legality of online notary transactions?
The answer to all three questions is yes. RON is legal, and documents notarized online are 100% legal and valid. Using RON can streamline the process of creating wills, powers of attorney, deeds of trust, and other legal documents. Here’s what you need to know.
Remote Online Notarization: A Growing Trend
The push for RON has grown steadily in the past few years. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) have been enthusiastic supporters of online notarization and e-closings in home settlements.
In 2020, there was a 200% increase in the use of RON in real estate closings.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the need for online notarization is greater. Many businesses depend on notarization. The lockdown has made it almost impossible to get legal documents notarized safely with social distancing rules in place.
State and Federal Governments Pass Remote Online Notarization Laws
Several states have developed their own laws to regulate RON. It is now in place in 30 states, and other states have passed emergency legislation to allow it during the coronavirus pandemic.
In March 2020, the U.S. Senate introduced the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020 (the SECURE Notarization Act) to establish minimum standards for electronic and remote notarizations that affect interstate business transactions. The bill is currently under review.
Where Is Remote Online Notarization Legal?
Twenty-nine states have passed laws authorizing RON. They are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Other states are considering legislation to institute RON.
In some states, including Maryland and Utah, the notarization can only be performed by a notary who lives in the state. Interstate notarization is not valid. In Arkansas, both the signer and notary must be in the same state.
Is Online Notarization Safe?
Safety in an online transaction depends on two factors:
- How well the platform keeps your personal information safe.
- How secure the identity verification they use is.
Let’s examine how online notarization platforms measure up.
Online Protection: Guarding Your Information
A RON platform has strict security protocols. Your privacy and confidentiality will be safe with the most secure, updated encryption technology. With online notarization, you don’t have to worry about potentially losing your personal information or private documents. You can keep them safely at home while you conduct your business in total privacy.
Safe and Secure Identity Verification
A good online notary platform uses knowledge-based authentication (KBA), which was developed for banks and other institutions requiring high-level authentication.
In KBA, the notary verifies a person’s identity by requiring an answer to security questions. These questions come from public and private data such as marketing data, credit reports, or transaction history. They are easy for you to answer but very hard for someone who isn’t you to answer. If you’ve ever been asked questions about your past personal history during verification, you have seen KBA in action.
Online Notarization Has Advanced Safety Measures
The legality of an online notary ensures that remote online notarization gives you additional layers of security.
Required Examination of Identity Documents
A valid RON platform will only accept forms of identification that can be photographed on both the front and the back. The platform rejects any form of identification that has expired. If the person asking for a notarization can’t produce an acceptable form of identification, the notarization will not happen.
Secure Recordkeeping of all RON Transactions
Another way online notary platforms protect you is through automatic, secure record keeping. A well-designed RON platform records each transaction with a time and date stamp. In most states, the RON must keep a copy of it for 10 years. Notaries also keep online journals recording every transaction. This preserves an audiovisual record of the validation and the signing process that can be reviewed at any time. This is another layer of protection you get with RON.
How To Legally Notarize Documents Online
Are you ready to get started with RON? Start by visiting OneNotary.us. Once you’re there, follow these instructions.
- Create a free account. If you have received an email invitation from your notary, the email will include a link to the registration page.
- Arrange the payment details.
- Upload your documents.
- Upload a photograph of your driver’s license or another form of identification. Submit your social security number, individual tax identification number (ITIN), or another identifier.
- Answer a series of KBA questions.
- Electronically meet your notary.
- Sign the document digitally. Your notary then digitally signs the document and affixes a digital seal to it.
- You receive the signed, digitally notarized documents and a copy of the digital seal. Now, you can print the document. You will also receive a video recording of the session.
Do You Need Special Equipment?
All you need is internet access and a computer or tablet that has audiovisual functions. Your documents should not be larger than 25 MB.
Get Safe, Legal Notarization from OneNotary
If you need a document notarized, you can do it safely and legally online. Your identification will be safe, and your documents will be completely valid. It’s fast, affordable, and convenient.