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The advent of remote online notarization (RON) promised to revolutionize the way documents are notarized, offering a convenient, digital alternative to the traditional in-person process. While the concept was met with enthusiasm, the reality has been less than stellar for many who have tried it. Behind the allure of digital convenience lies a multitude of challenges that have tarnished RON’s reputation.

The Problem Unveiled

Central to the dissatisfaction is not the technology itself, which, despite occasional glitches or compatibility issues, represents a forward step. The crux of the matter lies in the knowledge and expertise of the notaries. Unbeknownst to many users uploading documents for notarization, they are at the mercy of a vast, unpredictable queue of notaries. This system, akin to a digital “whack-a-mole,” leaves documents—and their signers—in limbo, waiting for preparation and hoping for a notary competent enough to handle their specific needs. The result? A significant portion of notarizations were executed incorrectly, undermining the trust and efficiency that RON set out to build.

The Notary Knowledge Gap

A widespread knowledge gap among notaries exacerbates the challenge. Many are unprepared for the nuances of different documents and industries, leading to errors and delays. This lack of expertise not only frustrates clients but also poses risks to the integrity of the notarization process itself.

Remote Online Notarization Explained

To understand how RON should work when executed correctly, it’s essential to break down the process into simple, understandable steps.

Preparation:

The process begins with the document signer creating an account on a RON platform. This involves submitting personal information that the platform will use to verify their identity.

Identity Verification:

Credential Analysis and Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA)

The signer undergoes a multi-factor authentication process. This may include answering knowledge-based authentication (KBA) questions, providing a government-issued ID for review, and undergoing biometric verification if necessary.

Document Upload:

Once verified, the signer uploads the document(s) to be notarized to the platform.

Notary Selection and Review:

A notary public, trained and certified to perform RONs, is assigned to the session. The notary reviews the document(s) and prepares for the live video session with the signer.

Live Video Session:

RON Live Video Session

The notary and signer connect via a secure live video link. The notary verifies the signer’s identity again, witnesses the signing of the document, and applies their digital notary seal and signature.

Record Keeping:

The RON platform securely stores a video recording of the session, along with the transaction logs and the final notarized document, ensuring compliance with state laws and regulations.

Document Access:

The signer receives the digitally notarized document, which can then be downloaded or shared directly from the platform.

Vulnerable Adult Screening:

An integral part of the Remote Online Notarization (RON) process is the additional safeguarding measures for vulnerable adults (VA). This includes a tailored set of screening questions and a mandatory notice at the start of the session, aimed at detecting and preventing coercion or undue influence. Notaries are trained to recognize signs of distress or manipulation, ensuring that all participants engage in the notarization process freely and with full understanding. This commitment to protecting vulnerable individuals highlights the dual role of RON technology: streamlining notarization while fortifying the defenses against abuse and exploitation, marking a significant step forward in ethical and responsible notarization practices.

Full Demos

Acknowledgment – Medical Release | Single Signer

Jurat – Affidavit | Single Signer

Acknowledgment – Healthcare Directive | Single Signer | Remote Witnesses

Jurat – Charitable Trust | Single Signer | Remote Witnesses

Acknowledgment Durable POA | Single Signer | Remote Witnesses

Jurat – Family Trust | Multiple Signers | Remote Witnesses

Limited POA | Single Signer | Witnesses in Physical Presence

The Path Forward

Improving the RON experience hinges on closing the notary knowledge gap through rigorous training and certification processes. Notaries must be well-versed in the specific requirements of various document types and industries. Furthermore, RON platforms need to enhance their user interfaces to make the process as intuitive as possible for both signers and notaries.

Conclusion

Remote online notarization holds the promise of a more efficient, accessible notarization process. By addressing the current challenges and focusing on education and user experience, RON can fulfill its potential, transforming notarization into a seamless digital service that meets the needs of the modern world.

At NotaryNode.com, we provide proprietary training in the form of “PRO Academy,” where our notaries role-play and refine their notarization and online customer service skills, leaving a lasting positive impression.

Schedule a consultation today at notarynode.com/consultation to see how we can be a valuable extension of your service offerings.