Remote Online Notarization – RON – a Positive Update

I have positive news to share regarding remote online notarization (RON).  It is now more affordable for notaries to enter the RON arena!

Last year, I reported that DocVerify was the only company willing to work with independent notaries who want to perform remote online notarization (RON).  At the time, I had talked with several platform companies, none of whom offered seats to individual independent notaries.  So, that left one company for us to choose from and there was no competition. 

SIGNix is Now Available to Independent Notaries!

Before I wrote the previous RON article (Should you become a Remote Online Notary?), I called SIGNix  because I genuinely liked the people I had met from SIGNix.  In fact, I had the opportunity to meet Pem Guerry, a principal of SIGNix in Nashville where the online platform demonstrated RON at the 2016 annual conference of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS.org).  I was disappointed that their platform was not yet supporting individual notaries. 

Recently, I learned that SIGNix is now able to on-board independent notaries and, best of all,  the pricing structure is reasonable! I have had several phone calls and email exchanges with SIGNix and here are the facts as I understand them. 

  • Cost to start – to set up your account is $250 per year.  That’s your complete initial outlay. 
  • Per notarization fee – $10 for the first notarial act, $5 for acts thereafter.
  • Charge for KBA – $0
  • Training – every Friday, SIGNix holds a training session to show newly on-boarded notaries how to use the platform.  
  • Support – if you need support or help you will receive assistance from a domestically located person who understands your needs. 
  • Audio/Visual recording is included.
  • Storage – notaries will need to set up a method of storage for their recordings. 

If you decide to go this route, you may reach out to Joshua Curry at jcurry@signix.com.  Be aware that neither I nor Notary.net receive compensation for providing this information for you about SIGNix. However, I would appreciate it if you would tell Joshua that you read this information in an article on Notary.net (and if you remember, please mention that I wrote it).  I am asking you to do this because Joshua (who is the person you’ll need to talk to) and John Harris, the chief technology officer of SIGNix, spent several hours with me patiently answering questions about the SIGNix platform so that I could provide this information for you. I would like for them to know that I kept contacting them because I truly was investigating what they could do for notaries who desired to perform RON notarizations.  I wanted to get the word out to you as soon as I could. 

Full Disclosure – Status of My RON Commission 

Currently, I am not an online notary.  My traditional notary commission just renewed in January of this year. I decided to let my online notary commission lapse, but I will reapply for it before June 1, 2020; until then, I have other commitments. However, SIGNix has provided a great deal of training and information to me that has allowed me to see first hand that this platform works and that the support staff is helpful. I have been assured that it meets the requirements of my state — so, I will be signing up with them.  Additionally, a notary friend has signed up with this platform; and by his use of the SIGNix platform, he has taken my oath of office online (thank you Jake Burkhalter).  Therefore, I have also seen the platform in action as a consumer/signer. It was smooth!

My Views on Remote Online Notarization (RON)

Before I go further, I want to say that I don’t like RON from a selfish standpoint–it will affect the way that loan packages (especially residential refinance loans and seller packages) are notarized in the future.  In other words, it will likely mean less traditional loan signing work for notary signing agents who are in the loan signing business. The reduction in loans we handle won’t be immediate, but I look for RON to grow in the loan signing world over the next 5 to 10 years.  Of course, I don’t like that. Neither do you!  But, it is the way things will be done in the future.  So, having said that, I also want to say that I am glad that my state allows its notaries to have RON commissions, otherwise, other states’ notaries would be providing RON services to the citizens of my state. 

RON ID Technology Does Not Worry Me.

I’m convinced that the technology used for RON to identify signers is as safe as the in-person method. Both the in-person and online identification methods have their drawbacks. Those who disagree probably haven’t actually conducted an online notarization or invested in the technology to try it and observe the process first hand. 

When a notary uses remote online technology to notarize documents, knowledge-based authentication (KBA)  is used to identify signers as well as a form of authenticating a driver’s license. Rather than go into the weeds with tech jargon describing KBA and how driver’s licenses are authenticated, I will just say that there are drawbacks to both of these for our signers. 

My belief is that there will be as many signers turned down as there will be notarizations performed because of ID issues.  Here are three problems with RON ID technology that jump out at me.

  • My personal experience is that I can’t always pass KBA.  In 1997-1999 I lived in the same small town with another woman of my age and having the same name and close birth date.  We were aware of one another because our prescriptions got mixed up all the time at the pharmacy. I’m sure that other people have the same issue.  When the KBA questions pop up, I have no idea what color her car was or the street she lived on in 1998. I’ll bet she has the same problem as I do.  But, how can I approach her and say “Can you tell me a few things about your car-buying history and where you lived so I can pass KBA?” That would concern most people!
  • People without two years of credit history and “adult life” in general, so to speak, won’t have much KBA information to pull from. They may not be identifiable by KBA.
  • U.S. Passports can’t be used to identify a person.

More RON Information to Come!

In a couple of weeks, expect an article that further explores RON and answers these questions. 

  • If RON is so great, why is it catching on so slowly?
  • How much RON business are notaries getting?
  • Is there a reason for notaries to become RON commissioned? 
  • What did one state do that made me like their RON laws the best?
  • Who were the big influencers of the passage of RON laws?
  • Who had very little influence at all?

Until then, enjoy the spring weather!  

And, remember to think about how to promote your notary services at every opportunity. Don’t forget to send out well wishes to your customers and clients to remind them you are around.  For instance, here are two great openers. 

-Happy spring!  I appreciate your business!

and

-Have a restful Memorial Day.

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Comments (12)

  • robert1

    Thank you for another great article full of great information! I can’t wait to read the next one!

    March 10, 2020 at 10:08 am
  • Mbraun

    Ahem… I am going to chime in on here. I have silently been sitting back and watching this unfold (RON). I live in Florida and I am in tech (also in real estate). I have talked to all the providers personally, on the technology and sales side. SIGNx is a nice company, and the sales people are very good too. However, a word of advice for everyone on here… the key word is ‘integrations’, which from my knowledge SIGNx doesn’t have. I have been living in the technology world for over 10 years, and everyone needs to realize this now… You are no longer a Notary company. You’re a technology company. And technology companies run in different business models. And companies like notarize figured it out from day one. You need to realize this immediately. The primary goal of these companies is to get you on a ‘gig business model’. Basically hire you part time, pay you $20 an hour (which Notarize pays that), no benefits, and they are holding your RON license. You can’t build your own brand or reputation, and if you decide to leave, good luck figuring out setting up the system. So, unless the industry figures out how to stop this, our credibility is degregated, and we are just call center Uber drivers.

    I’m all for RON, but organizations like NAR should not be able to help invest into a technology provider for over $20 million dollars. ( https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180517005992/en/Notarize-Raises-20-Million-Fuel-Enterprise-Real )

    You need to understand what’s happening behind the curtain. The state of Notary is in trouble.

    -Mike

    March 12, 2020 at 9:28 pm
    • Brenda Stone

      Mike, thanks for your insight.

      From their site: “SIGNiX offers a full range of integration options from very lightweight API usage for document disposition, to usage of the SIGNiX platform (Signature Engine™) as a way to get forms filled and signed on customer portals, to a full re-skinning and seamless embedding of the SIGNiX user interface into the customer’s systems.”

      March 13, 2020 at 8:23 pm
      • Mbraun

        Sorry I misspelled your Organizations name. “SigniX”. As much as I want you guys and everyone to thrive, we have to make an equal playing field for everyone. With that said, I was wrong about integration, however, there are some systems that dont support ‘Ajax’. (Remember guys, heres a little tip, make sure you want to integrate the product/service into a system. It is all about documentation, user experience, and cutting down on time.) Is there any plans for WebHooks? Or how about SOAP and REST based E-Signature API’s? Are you guys allowing to use your service as a hybrid e-signature system as well when physically visiting a client/customer? Do you guys have any authentication IDs? How about digital Certificates? I like what you guys have, but I think the price point is too high for your average Notary, who most (no offense) may not understand the technology features, and it does not allow them to ‘get ahead’, given heavy costs. We could be facing a down market, then what? Signing agents will have to fork over too much expenses and not reap enough to cover a living. Sorry for being critical, but I have done some heavy research thus far. I can be wrong as well, but I just would hate a profession which is technically designed for the public (and should be an honor) have to struggle. I want competition, but I dont want anyone having to suffer and loose out on things that could detour them.

        March 13, 2020 at 9:01 pm
        • Mbraun

          And I also forgot, big one. Branding… can you white label ‘SigniX’? Thats another issue as well if you cant.

          March 13, 2020 at 9:07 pm
          • Brenda Stone

            Hi Mbraun. Thanks for your thoughtful remarks and questions. Just so there is no misunderstanding, Notary.net is a company separate and apart from SIGNiX. One has nothing to do with the other.

            I do not feel you are being critical. I feel you are being generous with your knowledge and want to help everyone understand your position.

            You have many questions that would probably be better addressed to the company who can answer them for you: SIGNiX. I personally recommends this company to notaries, but Notary.net hasn’t indicated their thoughts.

            I’m honored that you read these articles. Thanks so much. Sincerely, Brenda S.

            March 23, 2020 at 5:36 pm
    • 216Notary

      Thank you for your informative comments on the subject. It just made me rethink my notary business.

      March 22, 2020 at 1:20 am
  • terrilee

    Great article, Brenda, as always! Still not a fan of RON, but pleased to hear about another option for a platform. Is Signix available to Florida notaries? Currently we have only one choice, Doc Verify and it is really expensive. Even with Signix’s reasonable pricing, I don’t see a ROI anytime soon. RON was created for the backers of RON: title companies and RE companies, not for notaries. I even had an educator from one of the big national Title companies tell me that I would not be doing RON closings as an individual, independent notary. If I want to do RON closings, she told me I would have to be employed by Notarize or Notary Cam or another platform that may come along. They will not use independent notaries. They will hire the platform and the platform will hire the notaries. And as individual, independent notaries, I don’t see enough GNW work coming our way to make the ROI worth it. I am not planning on applying for my RON commission in Florida anytime soon (if at all)!
    Terri

    March 14, 2020 at 6:33 am
    • 216Notary

      I have to agree with you on this. I do feel independent business owners will not get fair play on the RON without having a title company to back you up. I have already received an email stating that I should signup with Pavaso or Nextsys to get RON work. SMH.

      March 22, 2020 at 1:18 am
  • fouttsnotary19

    Very informative. I am going to check into this.

    March 16, 2020 at 6:01 am
  • 216Notary

    Thank you for the update on the RON platforms for independent LSAs. I truly thank you for your honest feedback on your experience with RON. I just certified with my state, OHIO, and I already see the issues. I do agree that RON will be the wave of the future and with everything that is currently going on it may start sooner.

    March 22, 2020 at 1:15 am

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