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How Online Notarization Can Give Digital Dealerships a Competitive Edge

Online car buying is on the rise. Here’s how online notarization can give dealers a competitive edge in a tight market.
Andrew Macdougall
May 10, 2022
3 min

The auto industry has seen a dramatic shift towards online car buying in recent years. In 2020, nearly 30% of car purchases were made online. Prior to the start of the pandemic, that number was around 2%.

This seismic shift in buying habits isn’t exclusively due to the pandemic. However, the pandemic accentuated the benefits of online car buying – which offers the ease, efficiencies and time savings that more closely mirror how the modern consumer wants to shop and complete transactions.

As dealers continue their march to a fully-digital purchase experience, online notarization has become a must-have offering. Online notarization has already benefited some of the nation’s most important economic industries – and the auto space is surely next.

Here’s how car dealers can gain a competitive edge with online notarization.

Customers are prioritizing convenience

These days, convenience is king. Two-thirds of all vehicles bought online in 2020 were done so with convenience in mind. Prospective buyers want a car buying experience that fits their increasingly digital lifestyle. That includes everything from vehicle research straight through to the delivery of the car.

Online notarization brings technology to the traditional notary process and offers signers the modern conveniences they’ve come to expect. Through a vendor like Notarize, dealerships can offer 24/7 access to notarial services online, allowing signers to complete important documents when and where it is most convenient for them.

Remote solutions like online notarization are increasingly becoming a market differentiator, as 75% of prospective buyers would consider taking their entire car-buying process online for the sake of convenience. That includes financing, price negotiation, back office paperwork and home delivery. 

Online notarization gives dealers greater certainty

Part of gaining a competitive edge is warding off fraud, which is ever-present in the modern dealer landscape. One oversight could have as much as a six-figure impact on the dealer’s bottom line.

Dealers have their tried and true identity verification processes – like ID scanners and building a “fraud prevention culture” – but fraud is relentless. By the time dealers evolve their strategies to protect their business, thieves have already moved onto new and more complicated tactics.

Fending off fraud begins with basic security measures, and as a dealer, there’s nothing more basic than understanding who you’re doing business with. That’s why online notarization is a worthwhile addition to any technology and security stack.

Signers completing an online notarization through the Notarize platform are typically identified using three types of authentication factors:

  • Knowledge-based authentication (KBA) relies on signer information to ping public record databases and generate knowledge challenge questions.
  • Credential analysis captures the front and back of a valid government-issued ID and analyzes those images through an automated system to verify their authenticity.
  • Notarial review involves the notary vetting the KBA and credential analysis results and completing their own assessment to confirm signer identity, understanding and intent.

After each signing, dealers have access to a comprehensive suite of security documents, including the tamper-evident closing package, a full recording of the signing session, and a detailed audit trail that captures every action taken by the signer on the platform.

Implementing online notarization allows dealers to bolster their existing security measures with dynamic processes that add an extra layer of certainty and confidence.

Dealers can do more without spending more

Typically, notaries employed by a dealership are responsible for more than just notarizations. It’s likely one of many hats that they wear – along with the role of salesman, office manager or customer service representative.

There’s a long list of to-dos when it comes to back office paperwork. Selling the car involves printing, tagging and organizing the document package ahead of the signing. For the notary, they need to stop what they’re doing to tend to the customer and guide them through the closing process.

Once everything is signed and notarized, there’s a second life to those documents. They need to be photocopied, organized, and then filed away. Some may be shipped to the DMV as part of the vehicle’s registration. 

This process is repeated for every sale completed by a dealership. These manual steps take employees away from their revenue-generating activities and burdens them with time-consuming tasks. 

Online notarization and other digital transaction management solutions help dealerships unlock their human capital by automating and expediting the most mundane components of each sale. Employees can then focus on the efforts that can help build even more of a competitive edge: building out their online presence, elevating their customer experience and developing new partnerships that help the dealership gain market share.

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Andrew Macdougall

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