By C. Richard Triola
With the stroke of a pen, Texas stands poised to throw open the door to an innovative global job market and take a stronger stride toward increasing online security.
A bill being considered in Austin will make online notarization legal in the state of Texas. If this sounds like a no-brainer, it is. If this sounds inconsequential, it is anything but.
Documents notarized by an online notary public are legally recognized in every state. But only two states so far, Virginia and Montana, have passed laws allowing their notaries to perform online notarizations. This means those few notaries in those two states have cornered the market on an international business of notarizing documents for Americans traveling or living abroad, including thousands of military personnel.
These online notaries have found more work and higher earnings than ever before. Meanwhile, expats, service men and women, and American travelers finally have a convenient and cost effective way to settle estates, buy and sell homes and boats and notarize other legal documents while abroad.
The technology is not just useful abroad. Every aspect of the home buying market – from house-hunting apps to online loan applications–is now online and paper-free. Notarization stands as one of the final hold-outs, a frustrating anachronism for the Millennials who are now purchasing homes. Online notarization provides 21st century tools to assist professional notaries, prove ID and provide assurance that the signer is who they say they are.
The real estate industry and customers alike have praised online notarization for bringing an archaic service into the 21st century.
“NotaryCam has opened up a whole new revenue stream for me as a notary public,” said Henry Smith, a notary in Chesterfield, Virginia, who has been working with NotaryCam since 2013. “I am able to work more flexible hours for a higher hourly rate.”
More importantly, online notarization is being recognized by law enforcement throughout the country for its ability to prevent fraud and identity theft – issues so vexing that other industries, including major health systems, have adopted and adapted the technology of identity verification to protect their sensitive files from criminal activity.
For instance, the global notarization platform NotaryCam aggregates 33 billion records from 10,000 different sources, providing a third-party identity verification tool unmatched by even in-person notarization. It is amazing how detailed the data is, and law enforcement officials on both state and federal levels now embrace the technology as a better way to securely identify people.
Americans want this – and increasingly they’re getting it. Massachusetts and Hawaii are considering bills to establish online notarization.
Once Texas lawmakers see the improved security tools online notaries offer and the ease and convenience of this innovation, I am confident that they will see the potential in online notarization and sign the bill.
So, watch out, Virginia and Montana. Texas is about to give you a run for your money.