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Using a remote online notarization vendor vs. setting up your own RON system: 3 tips

Updated 11-23-21. When you're ready to perform remote online notarizations, there are two choices getting started. Many Notaries sign up with a RON vendor who will provide any required software and tools for online notarization. Some prefer to independently purchase their own identification, remote notarization, and recordkeeping solutions without relying on a vendor.

Which choice is best for you? The answer depends on three important factors.

1. Some states require the use of approved RON vendors.

Some state RON laws require Notaries to use a RON vendor. In states such as Indiana and Michigan, Notaries must use a RON vendor chosen from an approved list. Florida Notaries must use a RON vendor compliant with state law, but the state does not recommend or endorse specific companies. In these states, you can't set up your own independent RON system.

Other states may allow Notaries more flexibility to choose. In Texas, for example, Notaries may sign up with a RON vendor or use their own RON system.

However, if you decide to go independent, remember you can't just start making video calls and performing RONs however you want to. Any system you use for remote online notarization must meet all your state's requirements.

2. RON vendors are an easy way to get started — but have additional costs.

The advantage of using a RON vendor is that it allows "one-stop shopping" for Notaries starting remote online notarization services. Vendors typically set up any RON necessities for the Notary in one package, such as:

  • Identify verification software.
  • Electronic signature systems.
  • Secure storage for video recordings of remote online notarizations.

Some vendors also will provide Notaries with digital certificates, electronic seals, or training and tech support for their platform, which can be very helpful for Notaries who have little or no experience with RON or electronic documents. A RON vendor's platform is designed to be user-friendly while obeying all state RON laws, said Joshua Curry, Customer Success Manager for SIGNiX.

At the same time, this convenience comes with additional costs. RON vendors typically charge fees for using their services and some may require the Notary to split a portion of their notarization fees with the vendor.

Another factor that can affect choosing a vendor is high demand due to COVID-19. Nationwide use of RON has skyrocketed this year due to pandemic safety concerns. Some Notaries have told the NNA they experienced delays signing up with vendors in some states due to the large number of new Notaries applying to perform RONs. Because of this, if you want to use a RON vendor, you may wish to allow extra time for possible delays getting started, depending on local demand.

3. Setting up your own RON system may save money — but requires extra skill and responsibility

Phyllis Traylor of San Antonio, Texas, wanted her own state-compliant personal RON system. She found an identity-proofing service to identify her signers remotely, purchased her own digital certificate and uses Adobe software to electronically sign documents. All this required researching and purchasing different products and setting everything up herself, but Traylor said it significantly reduced her startup costs. "I probably would have paid 3 times as much to join a RON vendor," she said.

At the same time, she acknowledged that setting up her own system took more time and effort, and may not be an ideal choice for Notaries lacking experience with software installation and other tech skills.

"You need to be at least somewhat tech-savvy. Not an IT professional, but you must be comfortable working with technology," said Traylor, who said her experience teaching courses in Adobe and Microsoft business software at local colleges helped her find the right technology solutions.

"If you want to set up your own system, you need to understand the requirements for RON in your particular state and make sure you meet those state requirements," she added.

Final thoughts

Whatever path you choose to set yourself up as a RON, always be sure you comply with all state laws, protect the privacy of your signer's documents and ensure all your remote online notarizations are properly performed. If you need assistance, the NNA has state-specific RON information available to help you.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor with the National Notary Association.

Related Articles:

Tips to get started as a Remote Online Notary

Four questions Notaries should ask when choosing a RON vendor


Add your comment

A Johnson

15 Sep 2020

Prior to COVID19, Michigan had 3 approved vendors for RON. Since the crisis, however, all notary publics are able to perform notarizations, with or without an approved vendor, under the requirements listed in the latest executive order (EO#2020-173 ) while the order is in effect. This executive order is in effect through September 30, 2020. FYI: I post new executive orders related to notarizations on my Instagram page.

Barbara Patton

16 Sep 2020


Daniel Lee

20 Sep 2020

In my view RON providers and digital online services are VERY expensive to the Notary.Also noted : what stop the providers from hacking the notary client base? It’s going to end up a war to steel client and shifting the client over to another RON Notary. All the local independent notaries are bringing in contact/leads for the RON System Providers to use in the future. Also as a notary for many years I discourage client from posted social security numbers over the Internet, avoiding Identity Fraud. There is very little to NO protection to secure clients information. Regarding of any paid subscription. The Internet is World Wide access for hackers! The county of Palm Beach e mail marriage documents to client for my e signing at the time I was not RON certified or Bonded for online signing. I am now ! however , very concerned with liability and hacking issues over the Internet. Members must be careful of Fraud and misuse of client information.I understand RON will be the choice Worldwide But the Notary must be in total control of the data not shifted over to a high price provider, that in the end, never found reasonable or liable. It is the notary responsible to know and do what is safe , secure and right, EVERY TIME. Many thanks to NNA for all the Education post and updates they do set the standard here in America and are well regarded among other groups.

Diamond Travis

24 Dec 2021

So this is not helpful. I have been scrambling my brain over the internet to come up with my own RON technology. The Traylor part of this post gave no info. I'm trying to do what Traylor did. I don't know where to start.

National Notary Association

28 Dec 2021

Hello. You can look up your state's RON and technology platform requirements here:

10 Apr 2024

I paid for the platform eNotary to perform RON's. My subscription expires in July 2024. I went to log in and I received a message "no healthy upstream" which in IT terms means the website has been taken down. I called the 800 number and their message was "we are no longer offering notary services". So I guess it's safe to say they are no longer in business? I paid all the services with my company credit card, I was never notified that they were closing the platform. Needless to say, I got bamboozled. Does anyone on this platform use eNotary and has this happened to them? I am in New York. Thank you.

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