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Tips to get started as a remote online Notary

Remote online notarization (RON) used to seem like a thing of the future, but the specialized technical service is growing in demand — especially in the current COVID-19 crisis — and Notaries have an opportunity to get started at a time when offering remote services will set them apart from the competition, according to Dushunna F. Scott, who has worked as a remote Notary since 2016.

Scott, owner of Lady Scott Enterprises in Richmond, Virginia, explained in an NNA 2020 Online presentation that even before the coronavirus brought about “safe at home” orders and social distancing, demand for RON services was increasing rapidly. In 2016, she took 207 assignments; in 2019, she took 899, and 2020 is looking even busier.

Notaries who have up-to-date commissions and are in good standing can become remote Notaries, but there are some additional requirements (depending on your state) that must be fulfilled, and Notaries should consider whether they’re equipped to handle the software and other technical requirements before they take the plunge.

Scott outlined the basic steps to becoming a successful remote online Notary. They include:

  • Remote online notarization basics and credentials.
  • The equipment and technology you’ll need.
  • The skills you’ll need.
  • Legal considerations.

Remote online notarization basics and credentials

In remote online transactions, the signer and Notary meet on a secure platform and conduct an audio-video recorded session. The signer’s identity is verified electronically, and then the document is signed and notarized electronically using special software.

Notaries also will need an electronic Notary commission in addition to their regular commission, a digital certificate, and a digital seal, Scott said.

The proper equipment for RON

You want to first consider where you will be conducting your assignments: from a home office or elsewhere? Wherever you choose must be quiet, private and secure, Scott said. You want space that’s free from noise and distraction, and you need a professional-looking background because your signer will be looking at it behind you.

She also explained that Notaries will need a desktop or laptop computer, a webcam, a headset, which is optional, high-speed internet and an internet browser such as Google Chrome or Safari. Finally, don’t forget about good lighting and have some scratch paper and a pen handy.

The proper skills for RON

Scott said Notaries should be up-to-date on state laws and best practices, and also be aware of what types of documents may be notarized remotely.

In addition, Notaries should be aware of any policies and procedures of their company or technology platform they use so they’re never taken by surprise.

Scott also pointed out a few soft skills that will help a remote Notary be successful. They include attention to detail and strong customer service skills, particularly if they want repeat business. Patience and understanding also are very helpful for clients who are not technologically savvy.

Remote Notaries also need to have a good understanding of the software they’re using and basic computer troubleshooting techniques.

RON Legal considerations

The remote world comes with unique considerations: If a document leaves your screen immediately after it’s notarized, how will you retrieve your video footage if needed? Does your Errors and Omissions Insurance cover remote online notarizations?

These questions and more are likely to come up, which is why Scott also recommends that Notaries find a support group with experienced remote Notaries who can help advise them and encourage them.

“Take the first step!” she said. “What better way to be an asset to your community than to be remote?”

18 Comments

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Amber

06 Aug 2020

Any advice on becoming a RON Notary in Michigan. Of the 5 approved vendors: 3 are not taking new notaries, NotaryCam has not responded to my applications in months and I regularly contact them, and Notarize is on the Michigan approved list but is not accepting MI Notaries on their system when you look at their website. This is confusing to a new Notary. All suggestions would be appreciated greatly!

National Notary Association

07 Aug 2020

Hello. We have received messages from other Notaries that some vendors may be experiencing delays due to high volume of RON applicants as a result of COVID-19. If we receive any new information updating this situation or recommendations from state Notary agencies or RON vendors, we will let our readers know as soon as possible.

Rajendrakumar Patel

10 Aug 2020

Very good and in detail and the best way to explain in simple language. I am a new signing agent had so many questions about RON. You sure did explain 90% of it. thanks, keep up the good work.

suzette austin

12 Aug 2020

Any advice on becoming a RON Notary in Texas??? Very interested and would like to know if the work is worth the time?

National Notary Association

13 Aug 2020

Good morning. You can find more information about becoming a RON Notary in Texas here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/remote-online-notary/how-to-become-a-remote-online-notary/texas

Arielle with GoWitness

13 Aug 2020

What are the general requirements fro witnesses used for RON?

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2020

Hello. Because different state RON laws and requirements vary, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in to help ensure we provide you with correct information for your jurisdiction?

Vanessa

15 Aug 2020

I would like more information on becoming a RON agent in the state of KS; to see if it is worth my time!

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2020

Hello. At present, Kansas only has emergency rules in place for remote notarizations during the COVID-19 emergency, for details please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization#FThroughK

Deborah G

16 Aug 2020

Tennessee requires notaries to keep the audio/visual content of a notarization for five years. In addition, a backup copy is required for five years. Do you have any suggestions as to companies that provide data back up for remote online notarization? I'm concerned that the cost could end up being crazy high.

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2020

Hello. We recommend you contact RON vendors you may wish to work with to ask if they provide storage for audiovisual recordings that complies with your state's requirements. Please see this article for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/08/four-questions-when-choosing-ron-vendor

Christina Pasqualetto

16 Aug 2020

Can you give me advice on how I go about putting in my seal in. I want to do until I feel comfortable. Let me know?

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2020

Hello. This video shows a sample remote online notarization being performed: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2019/12/how-to-perform-a-remote-online-notarization. You may find it helpful to get a general idea how RON works. However, please note that different states may have different RON procedures or requirements, depending on state law.

Adrienne Hannor

17 Aug 2020

How I become a RON in Georgia?

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2020

Hello. In Georgia, only Notaries who are licensed attorneys are able to notarize documents remotely. Effective March 31, 2020, if you're a GA Notary who is also an attorney, you're only permitted to perform notarizations for real estate documents at this time.

Bonnie Jean Anderson Colon

21 Aug 2020

would like to learn more about Notary work in my state of Kansas.

National Notary Association

24 Aug 2020

Hello. Kansas currently has emergency rules in place for remote notarizations during the COVID-19 emergency. For details, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization#FThroughK

DAGnotary7@gmail.com

08 Sep 2020

Good morning. I have just finished the trainings to do RON and be a signing agent in Fairfax, VA. Does anyone have any ideas on how to advertise my service? Thanks

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