This is a guest post for Skills You Need.
Want to contribute? Find out how.
Essential Skills You Need to Become
an Electronic Notary
Remote Online Notarization (RON) has proved to be a lifesaver for both individuals and businesses wishing to continue conducting business during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns. An electronic notary’s job is similar to that of a conventional notary. However, with a critical difference - you’ll perform the notarization online using audio-video tools. The parties requesting authentication do not need to be present in the same room as you.
When you search for information on how to become an online notary, you’ll learn that it is a lucrative career option and only basic skills are needed.
According to the National Notary Association, more than 1.25 billion documents are notarized each year. Statistics gathered in 2017 estimate that there were 4.4 million notaries in the US alone, and this number has been on the rise in 2020. One notary per 72 people can authenticate loan documents (not mortgages), affidavits, powers of attorney, child adoption papers, and wills.
Why Notarization Is Required for Certain Contracts
Notarizing documents helps eliminate the possibility of fraud and ensures that the agreement stands up in a court of law if any disputes arise. As an electronic notary, you’ll authenticate contracts and agreements for clients after verifying their identities and confirming that they have understood the terms and contents outlined in the documents. Once the parties sign, you’ll add your signature and affix the official state-assigned seal. Finally, you’ll record the transaction in the official journal and maintain a copy of the documents for the record.
In the US, electronic notaries can expect to invest anywhere from less than $100 to a few hundred dollars to get their certification, depending on the state laws. You can charge $25 for each document you notarize and another $10 for each copy of the certificate. This charge can vary according to the location where you live and the type of authentication you perform. For instance, a notary loan signing agent might charge between $75 and $125 per signing appointment. Your total annual earnings vary according to the number of clients you help, but a side hustle could earn you around $72,000.
Check for the Applicable Laws in Your State
If you’re considering a career as an electronic notary, you will want to check with the laws and regulations in the state or location where you live. For instance, Puerto Rico and Louisiana require that applicants have some legal training since their services involve acting as civil law notaries. Typically, standard regulations expect you to complete the online notary training course and sit for the exam to demonstrate your knowledge of the state notarial procedures. Once you clear the test, you’ll receive certification, licensing, and the tools to provide services.
Other nationwide key requirements specify that you should be a citizen of the country or live or work in the state where you wish to work as a notary. Additional qualifications include fluency in writing and reading the English language. You should also have an understanding of the state notary laws and know how to comply with them.
The applicant should not have a criminal record or prior convictions for fraudulent activities and dishonesty. The NNA conducts a background check dating back ten years for every applicant when scanning their request to become a notary. Additional checks are done every year. Further, you’ll need to provide proof that you are over the age of 18.
Soft Skills Are a Part of the Qualifying Factors
A certified notary public will have to train in the different kinds of notarizations and documents that can be authenticated. Applicants should learn soft skills like effective communication to answer customer questions relevant to the papers they are getting notarized. The notary should be able to identify unusual documents that may require unfamiliar handling routines. They have the right to refuse to notarize documents if they suspect discrepancies.
Above all, the notary must provide good customer services to their clients. While it is not mandatory that you should be familiar with legal intricacies and terminology, knowing the basics will help you prevent fraud. As a rule, notaries are not permitted to provide advice to clients. You will see plenty of repeat customers by having a friendly demeanor and patience with clients who struggle with technology.
Training in these skills can help you perform your job efficiently.
- Technical knowledge and training on how to use the software and audio-video apps
- Navigating troubleshooting and dealing with basic snags
- Small business marketing and management since you’re running a business
- Maintaining records and making accurate journal entries
- Attention to detail to avoid the risk of critical errors and omissions that can result in losses to clients and potential lawsuits and penalties for the notary
- Ability to create your website and blog, including developing SEO skills to promote your business
- Excellent writing skills to maintain credibility
- Understanding of how accounting works to keep track of receipts and taxes
- Taking an official oath where signees swear to the accuracy of the information in the documents
- Interpersonal and communication skills
- Working with Microsoft Office and typing
Essential Notarial Skills May Depend on the Setting Where You’ll Work
Essential electronic notarial skills can also depend on the particular position and capacity you wish to work. It is becoming increasingly commonplace for banks, legal teams, educational institutions, and community offices to hire the services of an in-house notary to take care of all the cases that may come up. If you work for an employer, you may need additional qualifications to work in their organization. Being familiar with company policies and procedures will help you do your job more effectively. Knowing the difference between an “Acknowledgement” and “Jurat” and how to conduct an oath are other skills you should have. Working from home as a self-employed notary is also an option. To perform your duties efficiently, you may need to develop additional freelancing skills.
Advancing Your Career as an Electronic Notary
Getting certification and licensing to offer services as an electronic notary can prove to be an asset when you’re looking for employment. You can continue to freelance and help clients out of regular working hours or notarize documents as part of your job deliverables. Although an accredited notary does not need any minimum educational qualifications, acquiring college degrees will advance your career prospects. For instance, if you wish to work in a legal firm, having an associate’s degree in political science, paralegal studies, or criminal justice can assure you of gainful job opportunities all through your career.
Working as an electronic notary does not require extensive skills. As long as you complete the course successfully and get the necessary certification, you can work as a notary, full-time or part-time. Check with the laws and regulations of the state where you live and work for more information about how to qualify. You’ll also find the necessary tools and apps online to connect with clients, complete the procedures, and receive payments.
About the Author
DocVerify was founded with the mission of helping companies of all sizes conduct business effectively and reliably with digital documents. Today, DocVerify has become a trusted leader and innovator in digital document verification, developing solutions that manage secure e-signatures, prevent transaction fraud, and safeguard intellectual property.