How to Choose a Remote Online Notarization Solution

Notarization, a historically in-person and paper-based process, has undergone a recent digital transformation thanks to remote online notarization (RON) technology. Over 35 states across the U.S. have fully authorized RON, and many others have passed executive orders or emergency legislation permitting it during the pandemic. Given the rise of RON, you may be evaluating different providers and exploring how it can help your organization save time, improve your signer experience and mitigate risk.

Before choosing a RON provider, however, it’s important to familiarize yourself with state requirements in addition to the features available for different RON solutions. Follow our RON provider checklist to find a remote notarization solution that meets your state’s regulations and organizational needs. 

Checklist for choosing a RON provider 

(Look for a provider that checks all the following boxes.) 

The solution supports all required RON features

There are several features that effective, compliant RON solutions should include to execute your remote notarization process in accordance with state guidelines.  Be sure to consider the following features: 

  • Audio-visual technology: State laws generally require all parties involved in the notarization process—the notary public and the signer(s)—to use simultaneous two-way audio-visual technology while performing the RON to meet the “personal appearance” principles. For optimal security, look for a solution with encrypted audio-visual technology. 
  • Identity proofing: In accordance with many state laws, the solution must be able to verify the signer’s identity in at least two forms of authentication, which can include validating a government-issued photo ID and knowledge-based authentication. Further, the solution should also support the option for the notary to personally attest to the signer’s identity, in states that allow this.  
  • Electronic notarial journal and seal: To meet state requirements, the solution should be capable of creating a digital record of the notarization session through an electronic journal  and electronic seal to help authorities determine whether the document was altered after notarization. 
  • Recording and storage: Most states require an audio-visual recording of the RON session to be maintained for a minimum period of time (e.g. 5 - 10 years), and some require a backup recording as well. 
  • Electronic signature: Having a RON solution with electronic signature technology built in significantly expedites the notarization process, allowing participants to send, sign and notarize in one convenient interface. The solution should also support digital certificates, a type of electronic signature that provides the highest level of assurance of identity, which are required by certain states.    

Of course, it’s important to check your state’s RON regulations for a full list of requirements. For more information about your state’s RON laws and regulations, see Docusign’s RON Legality Guide

The solution includes fraud protection and secure record-keeping technologies

The solution should include multiple features that provide for a secure notarial act and record. These include a tamper-evident seal to detect modification of the notarized documents, and a digital audit trail documenting the notarial act (e.g. encrypted electronic journal and audio-visual recording). Reputable solutions should also include tools to reduce risk of identity fraud such as the identity proofing technologies mentioned above.  

Leading providers will align their people, processes and platform to deliver the highest levels of security, privacy and validity of notarial transactions. Look for a provider that offers excellent platform-level security including infrastructure, operations, applications,  access management, and encrypted transmission and storage. 

The solution includes an API for seamless integration

Integrating your RON solution with the other tools and systems you regularly use, like your electronic signature solution, can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete tasks. By choosing a solution with an API, your team can automate workflows to eliminate manual steps like adding and removing notaries from the system or generating RON sessions. 

The provider offers training and support

Learning any new technology requires a bit of time and patience, especially one that involves new users and processes. Working with a RON provider that offers training for when you’re just getting started, and additional support as you become more familiar with the solution can shorten the learning curve—moving your team closer to a faster and more efficient business. This should include extensive customer resources and support throughout the onboarding, implementation and adoption process for your new RON solution. 

The RON provider has a strong reputation 

Finding a RON provider with a solid reputation means that your team can trust and rely on the solution you’re investing in. It also means that your customers can trust the valuable service your notaries are providing. This can help alleviate some of the concerns your signers might have when using RON for the first time.

The provider offers solutions for additional needs within your organization

By choosing a RON provider that offers solutions for multiple agreement needs across your business, you can streamline workflows for your team. Use the templates, documents and interfaces you’re already familiar with for added convenience, and benefit from having the same trusted vendor for several use cases, from contract lifecycle management to document generation. As your organization grows, you’ll have the option to integrate additional solutions into your daily routine while saving the time and money required to scout and vet new vendors. 

How Docusign Notary Works

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the features and capabilities to consider when evaluating a RON solution, it’s time to find the solution that works best for you. Docusign Notary checks all the boxes above, allowing your notaries public to conduct secure and efficient RON transactions. With Docusign Notary, you can create a more seamless, convenient signer experience, mitigate risk with a robust audit trail and reduce the risk of identity fraud with secure identity proofing technologies. Better yet, Notary is built on Docusign eSignature, making it easy for you to now prepare, send, sign and notarize agreements, all within Docusign. 

Learn more about how Docusign Notary can help you do business faster and provide a more convenient notarization experience for your employees, notaries and signers.