Simplifile E-notary FAQ

What is the difference between in-person electronic notarization (IPEN) and remote online notarization (RON)?

In-person electronic notarization (IPEN) requires the signer and notary to be in the same location but allows them to apply electronic signatures to documents. Depending on the state, there are additional rules around IPEN. Some states require the technology vendor to register with the secretary of state and a separate registration may be required for the notary. Your notary vendor should be able to assist in fulfilling these requirements. Simplifile’s Document Builder fulfills these requirements for servicers in applicable jurisdictions.

Remote online notarization (RON) is a newer option and is less widely accepted than IPEN. RON doesn’t require the signer and notary to be in the same location and can typically be done via webcam. RON requires an identity verification process and secure video communication that is stored for a specified duration. Depending on the state, there may be additional rules. Many states require the RON technology vendor be registered with the secretary of state.

The county recorder ultimately makes the decision to record, so it’s important to understand the acceptance at a jurisdiction level.

Do all counties accept documents notarized by remote online notarization (RON) for recording?

No. While 23 states have adopted RON legislation, and several more have authorized RON during the coronavirus emergency, there are varying degrees of acceptance at the county. Simplifile’s research shows that less than half of our counties will accept RON-signed documents. Of course, this a changing situation under the current emergency. 


Does Simplifile offer RON and IPEN services?

Simplifile does not offer a RON service, but does offer IPEN in certain circumstances. Document Builder customers use Simplifile IPEN services to e-notarize servicing documents, such as lien releases and assignments, that are sent to the counties electronically for recording. Simplifile notaries and agents can also use Simplifile IPEN to e-notarize applicable closing documents on e-closing transactions originated through our e-closing partners. Simplifile doesn’t offer e-notarization of non-partner-originated e-closing transactions.


What do I need to know about e-notary acceptance?

Understanding whether a jurisdiction will accept e-notary is complicated. Some considerations:

  • The determination is made at the county level regardless of any state legislation. Don’t assume a county will accept e-notary because the state has an e-notary rule in place. The county recorder has the ultimate authority to determine recordability.
  • Whether the county accepts e-notarization and what type: in person (IPEN) or remote online notary (RON).
  • If the county accepts e-notary from in-state notaries, out-of-state e-notaries, or both.
  • Which specific document types the county accepts e-notarization.
  • If there are e-notaries trained and ready to e-notarize under the state's administrative rules.


Can Simplifile provide a list of counties that accept e-notary?

Simplifile doesn’t provide a list of e-notary counties as:

  1. The list becomes stale quickly. In light of COVID-19, the acceptance criteria are changing almost daily
  2. The list requires interpretation to understand, making a master list unhelpful without knowing the use cases. (E.g. Can you e-notarize a security instrument? Are there notaries ready to e-notarize? What’s the criteria for in/out-of-state transactions?)

At Simplifile, e-notary determination is made at the time the loan transaction is started with the lender in Simplifile and based on the most recent knowledge for the jurisdiction. We insure if e-notarization is performed, it will be accepted by the county.


I want to e-close and need to know where I can e-notarize safely. How can Simplifile help?

Simplifile works with its lenders and servicers to provide e-notary information as they create transactions in Simplifile, based on the details of the loan or servicing event.

For our e-recording customers, e-eligibility needs to be made before e-notarization. It’s not information that the recording submitter should be expected to provide. With the increased interest in e-closing, the determination needs to be made before document draw.


I’m using a different e-closing provider than Simplifile’s e-closing partners, how can I get e-notary information?

Simplifile provides its e-closing partners and their lenders and agents e-notary information on a workflow basis. We expect that competitive solutions are also providing e-eligibility criteria to their customers. We recommend reaching out to those e-closing providers for information. For Simplifile joint customers, Simplifile will guarantee recordability.


As a servicer, are there differences in acceptance of e-notarization of lien releases and assignments versus closing documents?

The county’s willingness to accept e-notarized lien releases may be different from their acceptance of e-notarized closing documents (security instruments). The decision to e-notarize will take place before the time to record. This is one of the reasons Simplifile has dedicated resources to tracking county policy decisions quickly.

There are many factors to consider with e-notary, e.g. where it takes place, document types accepted, and the destination county. Consult with your technology vendor on e-notary eligibility or use Simplifile’s Document Builder, which helps servicers produce documents and provides a customized workflow based on e-notary eligibility.

Other Resources

Mortgage Bankers Association: Remote Online Notarization - https://www.mba.org/audience/state-legislative-and-regulatory-resource-center/remote-online-notarization

Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO): Digital Mortgage Resource Center - http://www.mismo.org/digital-mortgage-resource-center