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October 3, 2012

The Pros and Cons of eNotarizations

The Pros and Cons of eNotarization

As the technological world continues to evolve on a regular basis, more and more industries are looking to go from the paper route to the electronic route, allowing them to save time and money while providing more convenience to their customers.

One such industry that is following the technological advancements is the notary industry, which is looking to utilize eNotarization on a more frequent scale.

For those who are not up to speed on exactly what an eNotary does, they are quite simply a Notary Public who notarizes documents electronically. One of the means to do this is through utilizing a digital signature and notary seal to notarize electronic documents and validate with a digital certificate.

With electronic notarization, a notary puts an electronic signature and notary seal in place using a secure public key to an electronic document (such examples would be a PDF or Word document). When the signature and seal are affixed, the piece is looked upon as being tamper evident, meaning that any unauthorized attempts to alter the
document would be noticeable to relying parties.

eNotarization Focuses in on Security

In taking a look at the short history of electronic notarization, the National Notary Association (NNA) saw the need to put rules and standards in place for a workable, accessible, and, most importantly, secure system of electronic notarization.

As a result, the NNA came up with Enjoa (the Electronic Notary Journal of Official Acts), which allows both electronic and paper-based notary acts to be recorded—and that record should be free from tampering in an electronic database.

With Enjoa, notaries can electronically gather both a holographic signature and a fingerprint of each document signer, also providing the added choice of capturing within its database the signer’s facial image via a Web camera. Whether it be recording eNotarizations or paper-based transactions, Enjoa offers proof of a signer’s personal
appearance, a detailed database of the notarial act, and a level of security that is not available in a paper-based recordkeeping system.

It was some six years ago that the NNA partnered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in unveiling the nation’s initial Electronic Notarization Initiative, a comprehensive eNotarization program. All Pennsylvania notaries participating in the initiative utilized a digital certificate to perform electronic acts that were subsequently
made available for recordation in the four original participating counties. Other counties throughout Pennsylvania were quick to enroll in the program.

So, what can be seen as some of the pros and cons of eNotarization?

On the plus side:

* Electronic versatility offers benefits for both the notary involved and the business and legal communities. One of the more notable benefits is the time in which documents can now be notarized via a computer. Such documents include power of attorney paperwork, affidavits, deeds, title loans, wills, and prenuptial agreements, among
others.

* eNotarization makes it easy for the notary to adapt to changes in the document in just
minutes.

* eNotarization allows notaries to stay on top of cutting-edge technology, meaning they can compete with others in their business who are also using this manner to notarize documents. For those who choose not to, it could mean losing potential or current customers who opt for the more technologically advanced means to notarize paperwork.

On the negative side:

* eNotarization is not available everywhere, meaning you may or may not have it as an option where you live.

* Some worry that security could be compromised when using eNotarization. If that happens, the notary could lose business from customers who fear their private information leaking out. Whether with traditional notary usage or eNotarization, both the notary and customer should make sure private data is as protected as possible.

* eNotarization is still evolving, meaning some parts of the process are not entirely up to speed. As the process evolves more, eNotarization will become commonplace for both notaries and customers.

With more and more processes going the electronic route, is eNotarization in your plans?

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73736449@N02/6649009139/

About the author: With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave Thomas covers a wide array of topics from office cubicles to starting a small business. http://www.arnoldsofficefurniture.com/

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=217

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