Online notarization makes sense in today’s world

Legislation would save time and provide convenience

BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, we spent years talking about the future of the internet and what the world would look like when everything we needed was online. Then the pandemic hit, and we accelerated into a digital-first economy. Massachusetts-based businesses like Drizly, Toast, and Notarize were there to help consumers and businesses transition quickly. But years before the pandemic, Notarize started work to modernize one of the nation’s oldest processes: notarizations. Now Massachusetts lawmakers have an opportunity to do the same by passing H4716, joining Massachusetts with 38 states in offering online notarization to its notaries.

Online notarization uses technology to provide a better, faster, and safer way to notarize documents online, 24/7, 365 days a year. Passing this legislation will allow the more than 100,000 notaries in Massachusetts to provide their services online, sending a clear message that the Commonwealth is still a leader in technology, modernization, and innovation.

High gas prices, time wasted in traffic, stacks of paper, meeting strangers face-to-face, and the lack of flexibility in working hours are just some of what notaries are eager to leave behind when they can take advantage of online notarization. Passing H4716 this session will give Massachusetts notaries the opportunity to expand their services to areas further than a reasonable driving distance, the cost and time savings of remote work, the flexibility to work and serve customers during the hours that fit their schedules, and most importantly, the ability to serve more people safely and securely online.

With online notarization, Massachusetts notaries will be supported by audio-video technology, proven fraud prevention tools to assist in identity verification, and secure online document storage solutions that far exceed what’s available in the paper world.

More notaries being able to serve more residents helps to ensure reliable access to services in both major cities and rural communities across the Commonwealth. This legislation also gives notaries that speak multiple languages an avenue to provide services to those across Massachusetts who do not speak English, marking a major improvement over what’s currently available.

Since our founding, Notarize has been firmly rooted in Boston as we worked with partners across the country to bring online notarization to dozens of states and ensure trust in millions of online transactions. During the pandemic, we saw how important online notary services are to notaries, businesses of all sizes, and our communities. As the country adjusted to living and working online, online notarization quickly became an essential service.

Our business grew 600% in 90 days, and we took notaries along with us, empowering them to serve their communities and connect them with leading organizations that needed them. We want to continue that momentum and forward progress, and we want to do it here in our home state.

I am proud to headquarter Notarize in Boston and reside here myself. The Commonwealth is a proven hub for innovation, bursting with new and exciting ideas from within the tech industry and beyond. I thank the leadership in both chambers of the legislature for their dedication to this issue and for taking the first step to bringing online notarization to Massachusetts by introducing H4716. Online notarization is what Massachusetts notaries need to participate in the digital economy, and I encourage the legislature to pass this legislation today.

Meet the Author

Pat Kinsel

Founder and CEO, Notarize
Our rich history foretells the future. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in Boston, forever transforming modern society. It’s been almost 200 years since Bell’s invention, and while so much of our everyday lives has transformed or been modernized, notarizations remain stuck in the past, and Massachusetts notaries remain relegated to pen and paper. Online notarization gives notaries the choice to leave the stacks of paper and pens behind. It’s time for Massachusetts to harness that same ingenuity we experienced around the turn of the century and help pull our notaries forward by making online notarization available and keeping Massachusetts at the forefront of tomorrow’s economy.

Pat Kinsel is the founder and CEO of Notarize, a Boston-based company that offers legal online notarizations, enabling online transactions.