The Difference Between an In-person vs Online Notarization

Mar 25, 2019
| Updated
Aug 16, 2023
 | BY
Ryan Macinnis

If you have ever needed something notarized, you understand that the process is a hassle. Finding a notary to visit is growing difficult; finding the time to visit a notary might be even harder.

Since millions of documents are now being notarized online, many are now asking the question: What's the difference between an in-person notarization and an online notarization?

An In-Person Notarization

Traditional notary services are available through your local bank or UPS. FedEx does not offer notary services today. Life ends up putting itself in the way of finding a notary during business hours, especially during last minute events or if you're traveling.

And it’s not like you can just wait around. Notarized documents are often the last thing between a mortgage for the home of your dreams, establishing power of attorney for a family member, or a travel consent form for your little one.

What is a Mobile Notary?

The industry’s answer for a more convenient notary process is the mobile notary. But what is a mobile notary? How are they different from the notaries you might find in a bank or office park, and how do they ease the headache of getting documents notarized?

Unlike an in-office or online notary, a mobile is a notary public who travels to meet clients in-person. Usually, you must make an appointment and wait to meet a mobile notary at a specified time and location.

These notaries are typically used as part of the mortgage closing process where multiple parties' signatures need to be collected. They are particularly useful with mortgage closings conducted across state lines. Other areas where it is typical to see a mobile or traveling notary used is in third-party mail services, power of attorney, leases, and lease guarantor forms.

Introducing the Online Notarization

Depending on the state, mobile notaries may charge additional fees for mileage and convenience on top of the standard fee for notarization. When all said and done, your minor travel consent form could be a pretty costly piece of paper.

Online notarizations take the physical scheduling, and scale of sliding costs and bring the power of convenience to you. You connect with a commissioned, electronic notary using your computer or mobile device 24/7. The process takes, on average, less than five minutes to complete.

Get your document notarized online, from anywhere across the globe using Notarize, the first platform where you can get something notarized online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on your iPhone, Android device, or on the web.

And if you’re a business seeking a notary public, we developed Notarize for Business to help you collect documents from your customers quicker than in person.

The Difference Between a Standard Notarization and an Online Notarization

Online notarization benefits the entire notarization industry. It is safer, more secure and has a more thorough record than in a traditional notarization.

A standard notarization requires individuals to appear physically before a commissioned notary public where they must demonstrate proof of identity, sign (or acknowledge their signature on) a document, and, if their document requires a sworn statement, be placed under oath.

Online notarizations are very much the same, with the following additional benefits for the digital environment:

1) Your requirement to appear in-person before the notary is accomplished via a live audio-video call between you and a commissioned notary.
2) You and the notary complete your respective portions of the document electronically
3) In lieu of a physical stamp, the notary’s electronic seal and digital certificate are attached by the notary to your document. When complete, you may print your notarized document or share it via electronic means, and you may access a video recording of the transaction.

Notarization enabled by Notarize offers other significant advantages that validate and secure your document. The notarial session is recorded to protect against identity theft and to create a secure record of the entire process.

How Does Notarize Work?

We work with your schedule, not the other way around. To get your document notarized by a notary public, simply Download the Notarize Mobile App, or Connect with a Notary Public Online and follow these steps:

  1. Upload any document, but do not sign it before uploading it. You must sign before the notary public.
  2. Fill out the document using Notarize’s digital tools.
  3. Validate your identity.
  4. When ready, you’ll be prompted to connect in a live video call with a commissioned electronic notary public. You have access to a notary 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  5. Sign using your computer, iPhone, or Android device as the notary public watches over live video.
  6. Wait as the notary public notarizes your document online. The average wait time is about 60 seconds.
  7. You’re done! Download your notarized PDF.

Tired of waiting for the notary process to come to you? Visit Notarize to get started.

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Ryan Macinnis

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