How Remote Online Notarization is Driving the Future of Identity Verification

March 12, 2019

By Andrew MacDougall

Prior to 2011, a physical driver’s license and the last four digits of your Social Security number were how you verified important transactions online.  That’s why nearly 75 percent of companies have cited fraud as a growing concern to their business over the last year. And even with the added security measures many public companies have taken, it’s hard to verify the identity of a foreign actor on Facebook leveraging political ads, oe\r someone signing the offer to your new job via Docusign if they have access to your inbox.

There’s a clear opportunity to reinvent identity verification and data security for the better.

In 2011, Virginia took the first step in this direction, passing the Virginia Electronic Notaries Act of 2011. Aside from allowing notaries to notarize documents online, the law provided additional authentication requirements to verify identity.

Remote online notarization (RON)—the ability to get documents signed and notarized online—was born.

Hundreds of thousands of people have used this technology. In the real estate industry, it’s helped a homebuyer purchase a home remotely, entirely online, in 2017. Since then, online closings have happened around the country, including a couple who closed on their home on an iPad from the Grand Canyon.

With remote online notarization, we’re seeing the next evolution of the driver’s license.

Consumers upload their license, enter the last four digits of their social security number, answer knowledge-based authentication questions, and confirm their identity through audio-video communication with a commissioned remote notary. The process delivers a multi-layered, multi-faceted approach to security and identity verification to ensure the person on the other end of the transaction is who they say they are. The transaction is recorded, and provides a fully encrypted audit trail.

Remote online notarization supports notaries, yes, but it is also laying the foundation for how we deliver trust and ensure the validity of transactions that occur online.

In the future, the majority of transactions for America’s most important economic sectors will occur online. How we ensure the security and trust of those transactions will shape the future of trust in the Digital Age.

Andrew MacDougall is the editor and content strategist at Notarize, which provides an online platform for signing and notarizing documents. He can be reached at Notarize recently published a book about remote online notarization.


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