The Difference Between Electronic Notarization, Remote Notary, and Mobile Notary

  • By NotaryCam

  • 27 December, 2023

So, what’s the difference between electronic notarization, remote notary, and mobile notary? In an era marked by rapid technological advancements, notarization is not immune to transformative changes and today there are many options for notarization.

Traditional pen-and-paper notarizations are gradually making way for more efficient, convenient, and secure alternatives. Electronic notarization, remote notary services, and mobile notaries have emerged as modern solutions that redefine the way we authenticate documents.

As we stand at the crossroads of innovation and tradition, understanding the nuances between these distinct notarial methods becomes crucial for individuals and businesses.

This article aims to unravel the difference between electronic notarization, remote notary, and mobile notary, shedding light on their unique features, benefits, and implications. Join us on a journey through the evolving landscape of notarization, where the intersection of technology and tradition paves the way for a more streamlined and accessible authentication process.

Understanding the Difference Between Electronic Notarization, Remote Notary, and Mobile Notary

The world of notarization is more complex than it may initially appear. There are traditional notaries, mobile notaries, electronic notaries, and online or remote online notaries – each with their own unique roles and procedures.

Traditional Notaries and Their Role

A traditional notary public, often simply called a ‘notary’, acts as an impartial witness to the signing of documents. They use a physical stamp or seal to authenticate signatures on paper forms like loan documents. This makes sure that the signers are who they say they are, protecting against fraud.

In addition to checking identity through personal knowledge or credible witnesses, traditional notaries keep detailed records in a paper journal for future reference if disputes arise about specific signings. Although this centuries-old technique has been effective, it necessitates all involved to be physically present when signing, which can sometimes be an issue.

Mobile Notaries: Convenience on Wheels

If you’re looking for convenience, then look no further than mobile notary services. Mobile notaries offer much-needed flexibility by traveling directly to clients wherever needed – homes, offices, even coffee shops.

This service caters especially well to those needing urgent assistance outside normal business hours, making the process easy and streamlined, just like ordering pizza but with official documentation instead of toppings.

Before engaging the services of a mobile notary, it is wise to check local laws for any applicable regulations concerning activities and fees.

Electronic Notarization: Security Enhanced

With the shift to the digital era, electronic notarization (or e-notarization) has emerged. E-notaries replace physical stamps with digital certificates, letting them authenticate electronic documents using an electronic signature. While this still calls for the signer’s physical presence, it brings in a bonus security layer by linking each document with a unique identifier.

Key Takeaway: 

Diving into the world of notarization, we uncover three key types. Traditional notaries validate paper documents with a physical stamp and demand all parties present. Mobile notaries offer convenience by traveling to clients, perfect for urgent needs outside normal hours. Electronic Notarization introduces digital certificates in place of stamps but still requires signers’ presence.

The Rising Popularity of Online Notarization

With the advent of technology, traditional practices are rapidly transforming. Among them is the notary service, which has experienced a significant shift towards digital platforms. One such development that stands out is online notarization.

Online notaries have made it possible to perform remote online notarizations from anywhere in the world. This practice caters particularly well for remotely located individuals who need documents authenticated without having to travel long distances or make unnecessary appointments.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Online Notarization

The onset of the global pandemic saw an unprecedented rise in demand for remote online services. In fact, according to Key Stat 7, there was a sharp increase in users opting for remote solutions across industries and sectors during this period.

This trend can be largely attributed to social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders enforced globally as preventive actions against COVID-19 spread. It created an immediate need for safe and secure methods like remote online notaries that allow important transactions involving legal paperwork over virtual channels while maintaining integrity and authenticity at par with physical procedures.

The Convenience Factor in Online Notarization

In today’s fast-paced society where convenience reigns supreme, getting documents signed by an authorized signing agent without leaving your home sounds almost too good to be true. But thanks to innovative technologies backing up these services—like communication technology enabling real-time interaction between signees—it’s now possible.

A major selling point here is time efficiency: No more scheduling hassles or commuting woes when you opt for remote notaries—a game-changer indeed. Technological progress has made remote notarization more accessible by providing mobile device-friendly platforms.

According to Key Stat 9, a significant percentage of users have reported high satisfaction rates from using online notarization services. This can be attributed to their convenience and user-friendly nature that enables anyone with an internet connection and a digital device access these services seamlessly.

Online Notaries: Pioneering Digital Trust

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Key Takeaway: 

Online notarization is revolutionizing traditional practices, making it easy to authenticate documents from anywhere. This trend skyrocketed during COVID-19 as people sought safe ways to handle legal paperwork remotely. The convenience of signing papers without leaving home and the rise of mobile-friendly platforms are key factors in its growing popularity.

Distinguishing Between Electronic and Online Notarization

Electronic notary and online notary might sound like interchangeable terms, but they are different in a few key ways. Both utilize technology to enhance the traditional process of notarizing documents, yet their procedures differ notably.

Physical Presence in Electronic vs. Online Notarization

In electronic notarization, physical presence is crucial because it’s an integral part of this procedure. The signer must be physically present with the electronic notary during document signing – just like traditional face-to-face notarial acts. The difference lies in how these signed documents get sealed: instead of a pen-and-paper method, an electronic seal is used.

This means that if you’re signing loan documents or any other type of legal paperwork that needs to be electronically stamped by a certified public servant – say hello to your local electronic notaries. They’ll verify your identity using valid identification methods before applying their digital stamp on your e-documents.

The remote presentation factor kicks into play when we discuss online or remote notaries. A live video link replaces physical presence here.

Online (or remote) notaries use communication technology for performing remote presentations which allow them to remotely authenticate and acknowledge signatures from virtually anywhere around the globe. The term “remote presentation”, refers specifically to displaying ID credentials over live video feed rather than in person.

It’s like having a Facetime or Zoom call with your notary. You’re able to sign documents electronically while the online notary observes. This process ensures both parties are present and agreeable to the terms of the document – without being physically located together.

So, if you’re dealing with an electronic notarization, it means that you have had face-to-face interaction with a Notary Public who applied their seal digitally on your e-document. But when it comes to online notarizations, they can be performed for remotely located individuals using digital tools such as video conferencing software.

The Evolution from Paper Document to Electronic Record

Switching to digital processes has transformed many old-school practices, especially when it comes to legal paperwork. But that’s not all. It’s also sparked a revolution in how we manage and organize documents – making everything more efficient and accessible.

Key Takeaway: 

Convenience to the process: Electronic and online notarization bring a modern touch, making document verification smoother and quicker. Whether you’re in person with an electronic seal or connecting through live video chat for remote validation, these methods are ideal for those far-reaching deals. They transform traditional procedures into efficient operations, adapting to today’s fast-paced world.

Understanding the Process of Online Notarization

Online notarization, also known as remote online notarization (RON), is a process that allows a signer to appear before a commissioned notary using audio-visual technology instead of in-person. It’s like having a live notary at your fingertips.

This modern take on traditional services has three main stages: document preparation, identity verification, and finally, affixing the digital seal.

The Document Preparation Stage

In this stage, you get your electronic documents ready for the procedure. This might include loan documents or other important paperwork requiring validation. The magic here? You don’t have to worry about losing any paper forms; everything is stored safely in an electronic record.

The best part? You can use mobile devices or computers – whatever suits you better. And if you’ve got questions during this phase – no worries. Exceptional customer service from signing agents can help guide you through it all.

Identity Verification: Say Cheese.

Moving onto identity verification – it’s crucial but made easy with technology. Remember how we used to rely on credible witnesses or personal knowledge of signers back in the day?

No more. Now, RON platforms employ tools such as credential analysis and knowledge-based authentication (KBA) for verifying identities remotely located. Check out these state-by-state guidelines, which outline remote notarization requirements per jurisdiction regarding identification methods used.

Digital Seal Time: Bringing Out The Big Guns

Last but definitely impactful step involves putting an official stamp—or rather—sealing the deal with a digital certificate. Notary signing agents perform remote online notarizations using this public key certificate to affix an electronic signature and seal on the document.

Think of it as the modern, tech-savvy version of applying a notary seal in wax or ink. Just like old-school seals, these digital ones carry all necessary details – including your commission number.

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Key Takeaway: 

Online notarization, or remote online notarization (RON), gives you the convenience of a live notary at your fingertips. The process includes preparing electronic documents, verifying identities using advanced tech tools like credential analysis and KBA, and finally sealing the deal with a digital certificate. All this from anywhere using your preferred device – no more lost paper forms.


Let’s sum it all up. We’ve journeyed through the changing landscape of notary services, diving deep into the difference between electronic notarization, remote notary, and mobile notary.

We uncovered how traditional notaries have evolved to become more flexible as mobile ones. But technology didn’t stop there – we now have electronic and online (remote) versions too!

The digital shift has made life simpler for remotely located individuals needing these services. With just a few taps, you can get your paperwork validated without ever having to step outside of your place of residence or workplace.

This transformation is certainly here to stay with COVID-19 fast-tracking its adoption even further.


Commonly Asked Questions About the Difference Between Electronic Notarization, Remote Notary, and Mobile Notary?


What are the benefits of remote online notarization?

Remote Online Notarization (RON) offers several advantages. First, it provides convenience as documents can be notarized from any location at any time, eliminating travel and scheduling hassles. Second, RON ensures a secure transaction through advanced identity verification methods such as knowledge-based authentication and biometric data analysis. Thirdly, it facilitates document management by storing electronic copies securely which can be easily retrieved when needed. Finally, RON is efficient for businesses as it streamlines processes like real estate closings or legal proceedings that require multiple notarizations.

What does digitally notarized mean?

Digitally notarized, also known as online or remote notarization, refers to a process where documents are legally certified in an electronic format. This involves the use of digital tools and internet technology. A commissioned Notary Public performs the notarial act over a secure video call, verifying identities and witnessing signatures electronically. The document is then sealed with a unique tamper-evident digital seal. It provides the same legal standing as traditional physical notarization but offers added convenience by eliminating geographical constraints.

What is the difference between remote and electronic notarization?

Electronic notarization, also known as eNotarization, involves documents being notarized in electronic form. The Notary and document signer meet physically to sign digital documents within a secure software platform using electronic signatures.

In contrast, Remote Online Notarization (RON) allows the entire process – identity verification, document signing and notarial act – to be done remotely via audio-video technology. The Notary doesn’t need to be in the same physical location as the signer; they can interact through an approved virtual platform.