2020 hasn’t been an ordinary year and it isn’t something that we would forget easily in years to come. Our life has been restricted, and by now each of us would surely be someone among our friends, family, or a person we know by his/her first name who has fallen to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here in the United States, we have seen the worst of the pandemic. With the highest number of cases, the highest number of deaths, and a health system stretched to the limit, there hasn’t been much for us to write about this year. Seldom have we ever wished a year could end sooner. As we count days for this surreal year to end, we also know that our life won’t be the same anymore.
With travel restrictions in place and the need to break the chain of this virus, we all have learned to avoid physical contact with people. Wherever possible, people are looking to access products and services remotely without coming in contact with others. The sale of groceries online has gone up phenomenally this year, people are busy watching virtual concerts and reunions are happening over video chat platforms. The mantra this year has been to maintain social distance. Like other spheres of life, people are making use of online notary services instead of meeting a notary public in person to get their documents and signatures notarized. Visits to the office of a notary public seem to have become a relic of the past for many as remote online notarization has become the norm this year.
What is Online Notarization?
To understand online notarization we need to first recall the first time each of us required a document to be notarized. We would have visited the office of a notary with our paper documents, got the signatures with pen and ink followed by the notary putting their rubber stamps and notary seals. What complicated the matter was the need for the signer to be physically present in front of the notary to get his/her signature notarized. Online notary service allows you to get your document or signature notarized without the need to visit the office of a notary in person. The entire process happens online over a phone call or video chat with the signing happening electronically and the notary putting in an electronic seal over the document.
It was in 2011 that Virginia legalized online notarization and becoming the first State to take this major step forward. While there wasn’t much of buzz around this historic step, today we can surely claim it to be a watershed moment in history. Since then dozens of other states have legalized this which has added to the convenience of the citizens and led to cost-savings. Today close to 30 states in the country accept online notarization and it has become legal for you to present the notarized document for all legal needs. The Covid-19 pandemic has just proved shown the importance of using digital platforms as a means of service delivery that can benefit millions of people.
OnlineNotary Service in Post Covid World
Over the past decade, we have seen enough naysayers as far as the benefits of online notary service are concerned. But this group of naysayers who have woken up to the benefits that have been doubted for years is now busy convincing themselves and others regarding the popularity of remote online notarization waning away once things get back to normal and there are no restrictions in traveling or meeting people. The truth is on the contrary and we believe that online notary service is here to stay in the post-Covid world and we have good reasons for believing in the same. So here are they are –
People live convenience
One of the driving forces behind the use and growing popularity of digital services is convenience. We shop for books, gadgets, and apparel online as it is far more convenient than visiting a retail store. The same holds true for making hotel reservations or buying flight tickets. Though online notary services were always billed for being convenient over the traditional meet and greet type of delivery, it is for the first time that the masses have woken up to the benefits. It would be hard for the traditional notary public to win them away from this convenience.
Cost of notarization
There wasn’t a standard benchmark in terms of getting your documents notarized in the traditional system. This often meant that most people especially in the remote locations in the country had very little choice and would have to give in to the demands of that one public notary that everyone recommended. Online notarization by its very nature is price competitive and given the fact that the notary public doesn’t need to spend too much time with their clients the cost of getting these services online is far more competitive than doing so in a physical meeting environment. Going forward clients would benefit more from online notarization.
Apprehension of fraud is over
From mortgage lenders to title underwriters, the majority of the naysayers had always raised concerns about potential fraud with online notarization. While some of this fear can be attributed to people loving the status quo and fearing the use of technology, a lot of it was born out of a vested interest among a group of people. Over the past several months these fears have been put to rest and we have seen thousands of people accessing these services remotely without any major issues coming to light regarding fraud in the system. While there may be isolated instances of fraud, the same was true for documents and signatures being notarized in person.
To conclude, online notary service is expected to thrive in a post-Covid world. Most people who have enjoyed the convenience of these services in these trying times would act as the brand ambassadors to this service and the day isn’t far when all the States and territories in the United States of America would legalize Online Notary Services.