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Electronic Notarization vs. Remote Notarization vs. Mobile Notarization: the Key Differences You Need to Know


If you want your legal documents to stand up to a stiff breeze, you’ll need a notary to verify the signatures. When looking to hire a notary, you have a few options: electronic, remote, and mobile, as well as the traditional services found at legal offices, banks, and some small business service providers.

Understanding the difference between remote, electronic, and mobile notaries helps you make the best choices for your vital documents. 

What is a notary public?

A notary public is a person who has the power to witness signatures on official documents. Notaries usually have a unique stamp that they sign and date to prove they witnessed the people named on an official record sign it. These professionals tend to work during regular business hours, so if you need a notarized signature outside of the nine-to-five, you may need to get creative in your search.

What is a mobile notary?

A mobile notary can travel to different locations to provide their services. These providers serve as freelance notaries who can visit various sites for important signing events. Some title companies hire mobile notaries when they have closings. Mobile notaries can also travel to homes when people require notarization but cannot leave for various reasons.

If you need to hire a mobile notary, you might be asked to pay travel expenses, and you will pay for their services by the hour or by the document. Mobile notaries are especially useful for people who have mobility issues or in communities with limited public transportation. 

What is an electronic notary? 

In some situations, using an electronic notary makes sense. While the notary is in a remote location, they watch a group of people sign a document. Rather than using the official stamp on the actual paper, the electronic notary applies an electronic tamper-evident seal. Anyone who attempts to alter the document will spoil the seal.

If you need to send a document electronically, an electronic notary is the best choice. Otherwise, notarized paper documents benefit from traditional or mobile notaries.

What is an online notary?

People who need a document notarized but cannot all be together simultaneously can turn to online notaries. The notary watches the signatures happen through an online video conferencing app. With travel restrictions limited from COVID-19, this type of notary has grown in popularity. 

To use an online notary, you’ll need to upload the document to the notary. You’ll also need a printer so you can eventually have a paper copy of the completed document with the notary’s official stamp. It is an easy way to notarize a signature, but traditionalists might question its validity.

Conclusion: Which notary to choose?

The best notary for your purposes will depend on various factors, such as your urgency, flexibility, and whether your signing parties are homebound or not. Whichever option you choose, ensure that your notary public has all the proper licensing to prove your documents are ironclad. The signatures on your official records may never face a court challenge, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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