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An Introduction to Remote Online Notarization


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Remote online notarization empowers consumers and businesses to have their documents notarized by a remote notary public from anywhere at any time. This presentation will highlight the remote online notarization movement, its benefits, and the processes that ensure a safer, simpler, more convenient notarization experience.

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An Introduction to Remote Online Notarization

  1. 1. Remote Online Notarization A Crash Course in How New Laws, Technologies, and Consumer Demands are Reshaping the Notarial Act and the Future of Trust in the Digital Age An Introduction to
  2. 2. Andrew MacDougall Editor and Content Strategist, Notarize @Andy_MacDougall Author, The Complete Guide to Remote Online Notarization
  3. 3. Notaries date back to Ancient Egypt
  4. 4. But there’s been little innovation over 4,000 years
  5. 5. We're talking the ballpoint pen
  6. 6. Government- issued IDs
  7. 7. and the laser printer
  8. 8. Until photo IDs the notary either knew the signer...
  9. 9. … or knew someone who knew the signer
  10. 10. IDs mean notaries can now identify a signer without personal knowledge of the signer or a credible witness
  11. 11. But modern threats mean we must update the notarial act to protect its integrity
  12. 12. The answer?
  13. 13. Remote Online Notarization
  14. 14. FREE EBOOK The Complete Guide to Remote Online Notarization How New Laws, Technologies, and Consumer Demand Are Reshaping the Notarial Act and the Future of Trust in the Digital Age Grab your FREE COPY 👉👉
  15. 15. What is Remote Online Notarization? A notary public is a public servant commissioned to certify the integrity and authenticity of contracts, deeds, and other documents by engaging with the signers to ensure: 1) Signers are who they claim to be; 2) Signers understand the contents of the document(s); and 3) Signers are seeking a notarization under their own free will.
  16. 16. What is Remote Online Notarization? For thousands of years, the notarial act was conducted in-person using paper, ink, and a stamp or seal. Electronic signatures gained popularity in the early 2000s, allowing a signer to use an electronic sound, symbol, or process to replace their written signatures on digital records. However, while signatures no longer had to be physical, notarizations still had to occur in the physical presence of a notary.
  17. 17. What is Remote Online Notarization? In 2011, Virginia became the first state to pass Remote Online Notarization (RON) legislation. RON allows documents to be notarized in an electronic form where the signer uses an electronic signature and appears before the notary using online audio- video technology.
  18. 18. Be Careful! Remote notarizations A notary public or an electronic notary public A remote notary public Electronic notarizations are performed online in the physical presence of a notary. Remote online notarization is performed online over a secure, two-way audio/video feed. States that have in-person electronic notarization laws also call their notaries electronic notaries. Electronic notaries may only perform online notarizations if their state has enacted RON legislation. Electronic notarizations or Face-to-face electronic notarizations
  19. 19. So what makes RON better than the traditional notarial act?
  20. 20. 1) Identity Verification
  21. 21. In 2014, the National Notary Association surveyed 2,900 notaries as part of an ID-matching quiz.
  22. 22. The quiz presented 18 pairs of photos One photo was of a real driver’s license The other photo was either the driver or an imposter
  23. 23. The quiz presented 18 pairs of photos Half of the pairs were of imposters
  24. 24. Notaries were able to identify the imposter...
  25. 25. … only 68% of the time...
  26. 26. … and only matched the person to their ID 69% of the time
  27. 27. And the National Institute of Health said ID verification remains a challenge even with years of experience.
  28. 28. When it comes to mortgages powers of attorney estate planning minor travel consent sworn affidavits We need greater than 69% certainty
  29. 29. 2) Modern Securities
  30. 30. We hear about it time and again... Unfortunately, people abuse the notarial act for personal gain.
  31. 31. … and again...
  32. 32. … and again. And these are only the ones that made the news. These are only from the first few months of 2019.
  33. 33. Millions of people are affected by fraud each and every year.
  34. 34. If we have the technology to curb fraud, why wouldn’t we use it?
  35. 35. 3) Safety for All
  36. 36. We focus a lot of time and energy on the safety and security of signers
  37. 37. … but what about notaries?
  38. 38. 25% of notaries have felt threatened during a notarization
  39. 39. Of those 25%, only 4% ever alerted the authorities
  40. 40. That’s one out of every 100 notaries.
  41. 41. There are over 4 million notaries in the US That means over 1 million have felt threatened And only 40,000 have done anything about it
  42. 42. We can do better
  43. 43. We must do better
  44. 44. And on top of everything, we must offer the efficiency, speed, and convenience the public has come to expect from digital transactions
  45. 45. Do you work in real estate, or own a business that needs documents notarized? Contact our sales team at to learn more about how we can super-charge your customer experience!
  46. 46. About that... RON sounds awesome! Is it available everywhere?
  47. 47. Virginia’s RON bill enables anyone with a Social Security Number to get their documents notarized by a commissioned Virginia electronic notary from anywhere at any time. The interstate recognition of notarial acts means remotely notarized documents hold merit everywhere (except Iowa, which we’ll get into shortly). HOWEVER While the law empowered consumers and businesses nationwide, it only benefits notaries commissioned in Virginia. Notaries are state officials, so each state must enact RON legislation before their notaries can conduct online notarizations.
  48. 48. It’s a tall task, but we’re building momentum.
  49. 49. Through 2010, documents could be notarized in a face-to-face electronic notarization (via a desktop, tablet, etc.)
  50. 50. But the notarization still needed to occur in the physical presence of a notary
  51. 51. 2011 Virginia signed House Bill 2318/Senate Bill 827 into law ● First bill in the country to allow commissioned Virginia electronic notaries to notarize documents online via audio-video technology. ● The law was grounded in long-time audio-video appearance experience from court proceedings along with well-developed, heightened online identity validation techniques widely used across the federal sector.
  52. 52. This is the birth of Remote Online Notarization
  53. 53. 2012 Iowa enacts Iowa Code Chapter 9B ● Despite centuries of universal interstate recognition, Iowa legislators expressly conditioned the state’s acceptance of out-of-state notarizations by requiring they be performed in the physical presence of a notary. ● As such, documents to be used for business in Iowa may not be remotely notarized.
  54. 54. 2015 Montana adopts RON; CFPB eClosing pilot ● Montana becomes the second state to adopt RON, four years after VA. ● The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau eClosing pilot reports that: ○ RON technologies offer greater borrower convenience and satisfaction than paper closings. ○ RON adoption and implementation is an impediment to the digital mortgage process, and it’s being slowed by an absence in broad statutory acceptance and uneven standards.
  55. 55. 2017 Texas, Nevada adopt RON; First Fully Digital Mortgage ● Texas (second-largest state for homeownership) and Nevada adopt RON. ○ Nevada legislation allows for Wills to be electronically signed and remotely notarized. ■ Opened door for first fully digital Will in Jan. 2019. ● First Fully Digital Mortgage (July 2017) ○ From the comfort of their home in Illinois, a couple bought a Texas property in under 30 minutes using a Texas title company (Stewart Title), a Michigan lender (United Wholesale Mortgage), and a Virginia notary (Notarize).
  56. 56. 2018 Six new states pass RON legislation ● Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota, Vermont, Michigan, and Ohio jump on the bandwagon, bringing the number of RON-approved states to 10.
  57. 57. 2019 Eleven new states pass RON bills; First fully digital Will ● As of June 1, 12 state legislatures have approved RON in 2019 ○ North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Kentucky, Utah, Arizona, Maryland, Washington, Iowa, Oklahoma, Florida, and Nebraska. ○ Iowa Code Chapter 9B to be repealed, making RON available nationwide July 1, 2020. ○ Montana also updated its RON legislation to more closely align with national standards. ● First fully digital Will conducted by Notarize and Trust & Will in Jan. 2019.
  58. 58. Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution (1789) “Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”
  59. 59. Interstate Recognition ● The authority and validity of a notarized document have been honored in America for nearly four centuries. ● The trust tied to a notarized document is critical to both consumers and businesses, across state lines and abroad, and rests on the idea that: ○ Notarizations are Portable: A duly notarized document is accepted as such essentially anywhere in the United States without further proof of the notary’s authority; and ○ Notarizations are Durable: A duly notarized document retains its value over time.
  60. 60. The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) ● UETA was approved by the ULC in 1999, giving electronic signatures related to business, commercial, and government transactions the same legal effect as traditional handwritten signatures. ○ 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam have adopted UETA as of 2018. ● Three states have enacted comparable electronic signature legislation in lieu of UETA: ○ Washington: Electronic Authentication Act (1997) ○ Illinois: Electronic Commerce Security Act (1999) ○ New York: Electronic Signatures and Records Act (2000)
  61. 61. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) ● The E-Sign Act is the legislative complement to UETA, allowing electronic records to replace paper documents involved in interstate or foreign commerce that require a written signature, so long as the signer consents. ● UETA and the E-Sign Act only address business, commercial, and government needs. Neither applies to Wills, Trusts, or a number of other transactions managed by the courts. ○ Those instances require legislative adoption at the state level.
  62. 62. The Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA) ● URPERA was created by the ULC in 2004 and authorizes land records officials to accept, store, and organize electronic real property land records. ○ Equates digital documents and signatures with paper documents and manual signatures. ● URPERA adoption is not required to electronically record real property land records, but offers a measure of certainty about the legal authority to do so. ○ 31 states, the District of Columbia, and the USVI have adopted URPERA as of 2018. ● URPERA does not require a recording office to accept digital documents. ○ Offices may base their decision on available technology, resources, and market needs.
  63. 63. The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) ● RULONA was created by the ULC in 2010 to provide requirements and provisions to perform notarial acts using electronic records and signatures. ● RULONA was updated in 2018 to further recognize electronic notarial acts and put them on a par with notarial acts performed on tangible media. ○ The new amendments allow notaries public to conduct remote online notarizations through identity-proofing and audio-video communication technologies.
  64. 64. According to the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) + The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign Act) + The Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (URPERA) = “... a basic legal foundation for notaries to utilize an electronic signature and seal when notarizing an electronic document.” -- PRIA Position Statement on Electronic and Remote Notary
  65. 65. Let’s address the in the room
  66. 66. There’s a perception that your state must pass a RON bill before you can get a document remotely notarized.
  67. 67. “I’m excited for my state to pass RON so I can finally do business online.” OR “My state hasn’t introduced a bill, so this stuff isn’t relevant to me.” We hear from folks all the time who say:
  68. 68. You can use RON today in a state that doesn’t have a RON bill RON bills only apply to notaries Notarizations are portable and durable ⇩ ⇩ All you need is a county clerk that will accept eRecordings* * If your notarizations are for home closings, you will also need an underwriter that is willing to insure the transaction.
  69. 69. As of May 2019, only half the jurisdictions in the United States accept eRecorded documents
  70. 70. but those jurisdictions account for 85% of the U.S. population
  71. 71. That being said… Always check with your intended recipient to confirm they are able to accept electronically signed and notarized documents.
  72. 72. Remote online notarization offers a safer, simpler, more convenient notary process that’s built for the 21st century. Want to learn more? Visit
  73. 73. FREE EBOOK The Complete Guide to Remote Online Notarization How New Laws, Technologies, and Consumer Demand Are Reshaping the Notarial Act and the Future of Trust in the Digital Age Grab your FREE COPY 👉👉