INSIDE: Earn extra money by becoming an online notary, $25 per signature!
From Ancient Egypt to the Knights Templar and from 13th century England to the United States of today, notaries have been valued and have played an important role in legal systems.
A notary public is (usually) appointed by the Secretary of State to serve as an impartial witness to the signing of legal documents or other acts of deterring fraud.
The process of getting something notarized typically involves the signer taking a document to a notary, proving their identity, and then signing that document (although a mobile notary will come to the person in need of notary services). The notary’s job is to certify that the signature is authentic by verifying the identity, witnessing the signature, and then affixing his or her notary seal (usually by stamping or embossing it) on the document.
Until recently, the notarization The process had always been face to face with physical papers. However, times are changing and the internet age has brought new developments that were previously impossible for the role of the notary public. Specifically, the groundwork for allowing electronic notarizations was laid in 1999, and now most states allow electronic notarization, using a notary’s electronic signature and an electronic notary seal. Many companies and small businesses hire online notary services or remote notary services instead of waiting for face-to-face availability.
What is an online notary?
The benefits of an electronically notarized document are greater in terms of security because the notarization process makes it much more difficult to handle the electronic document than it would be with a paper document. The process is generally the same as always, however, with the requirement that the person signing the document appear before the notary in person. The difference is that the “documents” are delivered, signed and notarized electronically via a computer or tablet.
Being commissioned as a notary public is something any typical citizen can do, and it’s one of the part-time jobs online and in small-town businesses that are available. Laws and codes related to notaries are run by states, so while there are some similarities in certification and practices among notaries from state to state, each state is different. If you are interested in becoming a notary public, the best place to start your search for information is the website of the Secretary of State in your state.
Income as E-Notary
Being a standard notary public is generally not a great source of income unless you put a lot of effort into promoting yourself. There is a limit to how much you can charge per signature that you notarize (this fee typically ranges from $5-$15). On top of that, your commission must be renewed every few years in most states, and there are typically $200-$300 in costs associated with it (for coursework, filing with the Secretary of State, and materials you’ll use: a record book and a seal).
That being said, many people need a notary, for example, when signing a loan. Other documents that often require notarized signatures include wills, trusts, advance directives, and powers of attorney. A notary signing agent works with mortgage and title companies, financial institutions, attorneys, insurance agents, churches, etc.
There is nothing that prevents you from promoting yourself and becoming the reference notary in your area. And while there are many cases where a single signature is notarized, there are also situations where multiple signatures are performed at once. These “mass notarizations” are your chance to make decent money fast.
For example, I know a notary who is the go-to person in his church. Every time a trip comes up with the need to certify documents, she goes to one of the meetings and certifies on the spot. At $5 per signature, that’s a good amount of change for a bit of your time. Think about local youth groups, college organizations, and high schools that could benefit from having an on-site notary to sign all those permission slips.
Now, however, with the remote online notary process gaining ground, there is an opportunity to make a little more money. If you are already a notary, it is worth considering charging the additional fee. And if you are going to become an electronic notary, you will also be commissioned as a “regular” notary, so you could also put both commissions to work.
Most states allow you to charge up to $25 per signature per affidavit electronically (and some states allow even higher fees). If you can establish yourself as the go-to electronic notary in your area, you can easily make up your fees within your first year.
How to become an electronic notary
Not all states allow electronic notarization, and most states that do allow it still require you to be physically present when notarizing a document. You will need to check with the Secretary of State’s office where you live for the exact guidelines for your state. But in general terms, the process is this:
- Take the Notary Course (Standard) and usually pass the exam with a minimum required score. (However, to become a Florida notary, you are not required to pass an exam. And a Texas notary is not required to take a course or pass an exam.)
- Apply to the Secretary of State and take an oath as a notary public.
- Pay a state notary commission fee, which varies widely by state, if you plan to do paper notarizations (and you might as well, at this point). The fee may include the cost of the bond required from notaries. The term of a notarial commission is four years in most states, but some states have longer terms.
- Take the electronic notary course and pass the exam with at least a minimum score, if required in your state.
- File an application with the Secretary of State and take an oath as an electronic notary public.
- Buy your equipment (electronic seal and logbook).
See the detailed steps in how to set up a notary
Most states will require you to be sworn in as a notary before you can begin the electronic notary process. But of course you’ll want to check how it works in your state.
Once you have been sworn in as an electronic notary and have your electronic seal, you can start performing electronic notarizations!
Work from home with online national notary platforms
If you are an electronic notary in one of the approximately 30 states that allow online notarization, you have additional options. These states allow their notaries to notarize documents that are valid around the world, and have also put in place a provision for “remote appearance,” which means someone can appear via webcam before a Virginia electronic notary, for example. As a result, services like Notarize and SIGNiX emerged. This online notary service is available to anyone in the US to have their documents electronically notarized.
If you are an electronic notary in Florida, Nevada, Texas, or Virginia, you can Apply to work with Notarize here to do remote notarization online. The cost of legalizing a document is $25, and the company takes care of all the technology and marketing. NotaryCam also hires independent electronic notaries.
Verifying the identity of someone seeking remote notarization typically involves credential analysis and knowledge-based authentication (where the person is asked questions that only he or she should know the answers to), as well as showing valid identification, as required for traditional notarization.
Other ways to earn extra money from home
Published in January 2017. Updated in October 2022.