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Online Notarization and Electronic Signatures: Understanding the Differences

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

As more and more transactions are being conducted online, the need for remote notarization and electronic signatures has become increasingly important. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to two distinct processes that serve different purposes. In this blog post, we'll explore the differences between online notarization and electronic signatures, and how they can be used together to make online transactions more efficient and secure.


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Online Notarization: An Overview


Online notarization, also known as remote notarization, is the process of notarizing a document over the internet, using audio-visual technology. It allows individuals to get their documents notarized from the comfort of their own homes or offices, without having to physically meet with a notary public.


The notary public verifies the signer's identity using video conferencing technology, and confirms that the signer is signing the document voluntarily and with understanding of the contents of the document. The notary then attaches an electronic seal and signature to the document, which signifies that it has been notarized.


Electronic Signatures: An Overview


Electronic signatures, on the other hand, refer to any method of signing a document electronically, whether it be with a scanned image of a handwritten signature or a digital signature. Electronic signatures are often used to sign contracts, agreements, and other legal documents, and are legally binding in many countries, including the United States.

Electronic signatures can be created using a variety of methods, including signature pads, styluses, and software programs that allow you to sign a document with your finger or a mouse. Some electronic signature software programs also allow you to create digital signatures, which are cryptographic codes that are unique to each signer and are used to verify the authenticity of the signature.


The Differences Between Online Notarization and Electronic Signatures

While online notarization and electronic signatures are often used together, they serve different purposes. Online notarization is a process that verifies the identity of the signer and the validity of the document, while electronic signatures are a way to sign a document electronically.


Online notarization is often used to notarize important documents, such as real estate documents, wills, and powers of attorney, that require the signature of a notary public. Electronic signatures, on the other hand, are used to sign a wide range of documents, including contracts, agreements, and waivers.


Another key difference between online notarization and electronic signatures is that online notarization requires the use of audio-visual technology to verify the identity of the signer, while electronic signatures can be created using a variety of methods.


Conclusion

Online notarization and electronic signatures are two distinct processes that serve different purposes. While online notarization verifies the identity of the signer and the validity of the document, electronic signatures are a way to sign a document electronically. Together, these processes can make online transactions more efficient and secure, allowing individuals and businesses to conduct important transactions without having to physically meet with a notary public.


Get your legal documents notarized from anywhere with Safehands Notary - easy, secure, and hassle-free. Sign up now and experience the convenience of remote notarization!




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