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Notarize Year in Review: Here’s What Was Notarized in 2021

Notarize
January 13, 2022
5 min

At Notarize, we believe every notarization is a small but important moment in someone’s life. Notarizations are often the last step in a lengthy, complicated process – like buying a home or adopting a child. We’re proud to serve as a footnote to a story much bigger than ourselves.

As we look back on 2021, we think the year told a pretty remarkable story. The pandemic made 2020 the year online notarization became a necessity. But 2021? That was the year online notarization took root.

As the world began to establish some sense of normalcy in 2021, Notarize saw a 108% year-over-year transaction growth. That’s because convenience and efficiency are increasingly important values to businesses and consumers.

Here are some observations we’ve made about online notarization and our changing world in 2021.

Online notarization is here to stay

Earlier this year, we announced a $130 million Series D round of funding on the back of 600% year-over-year revenue growth from spring 2020. It was our privilege to bring trust to life’s most important moments in a year as important as 2020.

But online notarization isn’t some pandemic-fueled fad. As businesses welcomed back customers for in-person interaction this past year, online notarization continued to be a part of the customer experience.

Here are Top 10 documents we handled on the Notarize platform over the last year:

List of top 10 documents Notarize on the platform

The following shows the top 10 states where transactions were requested from in 2021 (for non-real estate transactions). It’s worth noting that of the top 20 cities, four are from the state of Texas alone.

Map of United States highlighting non-real estate transactions

And while we saw the largest number of transactions requested in the states mentioned above, we serviced transactions in all 50 states and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

Trust in digital transactions is growing

Transactions are increasingly digital, but how do consumers feel about completing such important documents online?

Notarize recently commissioned a survey with Harris Poll to examine consumer attitudes and experiences around making financial transactions online, including the role technology plays in making consumers feel safe.

We found that 4 in 5 U.S. adults surveyed felt secure making financial transactions online. Respondents also overwhelmingly wished there was an easier, faster way to get a document notarized, and 59% of respondents believed the traditional way of getting a document notarized hadn’t kept up with the times.

Industries have caught on to these consumer sentiments, as we’ve seen sizable digital growth in the financial services, legal, and automotive industries in the past year. Many are reimagining their operations and relationships with consumers through the digital services they provide and accept – including online notarization.

According to our transactional data, here are the (non-real estate) documents that saw the greatest growth in online notarization, year over year:

  • Electronic Wills and Trusts: +554%
  • Registry of Motor Vehicle forms: +220%
  • Powers of Attorney: +166%

The transactions tied to these documents are part of some of life’s most important moments, and it’s clear that consumers and businesses alike have growing trust in technology as a safer and more convenient way to do the things that were once required to be done in person.

“The Great Relocation” continues

As we noted in our 2020 Year in Review, the pandemic had a dramatic impact on our understanding of work.

Almost overnight, millions of Americans were no longer tied to a fixed office location. Instead, most jobs simply required a stable WiFi connection – which changed the talent pool for businesses and the lifestyle choices of their employees.

With no office to report to 40 hours per week, many Americans opted to leave densely-populated urban hubs for something different – quieter; cheaper; maybe with more land or some extra square footage.

It’s no surprise then, that online notarizations tied to real estate transactions grew by more than 215% on our platform in 2021, with many occurring in the states seeing the greatest influx of residents coming or going.

Map of United States highlighting real estate transactions

There was also a 74% year-over-year increase in the number of notarizations for the PS Form 1583 completed on our platform. These documents enable individuals to obtain a virtual mailbox, which allows them to have a permanent mailing address, regardless of where they choose to live. The increase in notarizations for this document is hardly surprising — with many people moving homes (as the booming real estate market indicates) or even opting for a nomadic lifestyle.

“The Great Resignation” is spurring new small businesses

The last two years have not only changed how we work, but also our general understanding of our value in the workplace. 

In what has been called “The Great Resignation,” more than four million Americans quit their jobs in April 2021, and another 3.9 million followed in June. The trend is believed to be due to stagnant wages, burnout, and a general lack of workplace protections in response to the pandemic.

In response to these workplace frustrations, we have seen the resurgence of the small business. The Notarize platform saw a 172% increase in small business lending applications in 2021. This monumental increase from 2020 indicates that consumers are perhaps more comfortable completing important transactions online than they were previously.

Conclusion and predictions

The last two years have changed our personal and professional lives in unexpected ways. The early days of the pandemic were focused on “finding a new normal” — the crossroad between how we once did things and how they (practically overnight) needed to be done differently.

Now we are living in our new normal, and remote solutions have come to play a critical role. The barriers to fully digital processes are melting away, creating lanes for streamlined business operations, satisfied customers, and transactions that meet the demands of 21st century business. Based on the growth of transactions completed on our platform this year, we predict online notarization will continue to gain momentum in 2022 and beyond, as consumers continue to become accustomed to replacing technology with processes they once did in person.

Notarize knew in 2015 what the entire world now knows: digital transactions will continue to replace paper transactions as a more convenient and secure alternative. And eventually consumers won’t just favor doing business online – they’ll come to expect it.

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