Working with a Remote Online Notarization Platform

  • Do the online service providers provide training on how to use the online signing platform?
    Yes. Due to the high demand for online notarization, you may experience a wait for the start of training.
  • What sort of hardware will the signers and online notary need conduct an online signing session?
    The signers and online notary will need a laptop, tablet or PC with a camera and microphone. The signer will also need a smart phone. Strong internet service will also be necessary for everyone involved. No special hardware is needed by the online notary.
  • I’m concerned about fraud. How does the online signing process confirm the signer’s identity?
    Florida’s statutes require that the signer’s identity be proven through ID credentialing and KBA. ID credentialing is a process whereby the platform confirms the validity of the signer’s ID, typically a passport or driver’s license. This process should reduce instances of the use of fake IDs. In addition, the signer will be obligated to answer a series of Knowledge Based Authentication questions (“out-of-wallet” questions), such as “which of the following addresses did you reside at?” or “which of the following cars did you once drive?” This should reduce instances of stolen ID claims. In addition, the entire notarial session must be videotaped and the recording retained for 10 years.
  • I’m concerned that the signer will have difficulty accessing the platform. Any advice?
    Many platforms allow for a pre-signing session test of the signer’s hardware. For persons not comfortable with technology, it may be best to have a family member assist the signer with the hardware test and with the log-on process.
  • I’m concerned that the signer may not be able to answer the “KBA” questions. What will happen if that occurs?
    The signer will be given five KBA questions and must answer four correctly within 2 minutes, failing which the signer will be given one additional opportunity. If the signer cannot pass after two attempts, the signer may be locked-out for 24 hours. Please speak with your service provider for more details in this regard.
  • I am the online notary and I have personal knowledge of the signer. Can I bypass the ID credentialing and KBA processes? We at The Fund are hearing that more and more service providers are allowing the online notary to bypass ID credentialing and KBA if the online notary has personal knowledge of the signer and indicates as such within the notarial certificate. Please speak with your service provider for more details in this regard.
  • What’s that about the notary log?
    Florida’s new online notary laws require that the online notary maintain a log of all remote online signing sessions. Please speak with your service provider for more details in this regard.
  • Is there a “start” and “stop” button on the recording of the session?
    The mandatory recording of the online signing session typically commences once the signer’s ID is credentialed and the signer has passed KBA. The recording typically concludes once the online notary affixes his or her electronic seal. Please speak with your service provider for more details in this regard.
  • Where’s the recording saved of the signing session? Do I get a copy? Who else gets it?
    Although Florida’s statutes impose the obligation to save and maintain the audio-visual recording of the online signing session on the online notary, many service providers are offering this service. Please speak with your service provider for more details in this regard. Florida’s statutes also set out the persons who are entitled to a free copy of the recording.  State law also sets out who is entitled to a copy of the recording but may be required to pay a fee. See Sec. 117.255(5), F.S.
  • How long must the recording be saved? Who pays for the storage?
    The recording need be saved for 10 years. Note: different time periods may apply as to recording sessions of the online signing of wills and trusts. In addition, the GSE’s have stated that the lender must maintain the recording of the online signing session for the life of the loan.
  • What’s the typical cost to the signer to use an online notary?
    Prices vary but seem to be comparable to the cost of utilizing a mobile notary service.
  • What’s that about $25? I’m hearing it cost $200-$400 per signing session.
    Florida’s statutes speak to the notary charging $25 per notarial act. The cost of the notarial act is typically included in the overall service fee charged.
  • Can the charges related to the execution of documents through a RON service provider’s platform be separately itemized on the closing statement and/or CD?
    Generally, the answer to this question is “yes” because the remote signing of closing documents would be at the specific request of the buyer or the seller. However, it would be advisable that you indicate the cost of signing remotely online in any promotional materials that contain closing cost estimates (including a quote to a particular party) so it is clear to anyone who might choose the RON option what the additional cost will be. Here is a statement from the Department of Financial Services website on this topic:

    Title agencies are permitted to charge the third-party fees as separate line items as long as the consumer has been notified these fees represent responsibilities of the agency, which were contracted to a third party. The consumer must also understand these fees will be charged to them either as part of the closing services fee total, or in addition to the agency's closing services fee. However, in no case should a third-party fee be charged to a consumer in a deceptive or misleading manner. Yes, it may be included in the Settlement Fee.