Which is the best online notary to use to notarize US documents, especially if you live abroad?
With COVID-19 restrictions, finding and going to a notary was out of the question, so I dipped my toes into the new world of 24/7 online notaries to try and find a good one. I tried a few out when I had to have an affidavit notarized for use in the United States. Here's my unbiased opinion, and top two choices plus a runner up. My top choice is far ahead of the other two.
I was a bit skittish using an online service because one has to upload and submit copies of one's driver's licence, passport etc., all of which can be a recipe for hackers who want to steal your identity. I did a lot of research for a few days, to satisfy myself of their authenticity, including searching domain registrations and looking for newspaper articles and the LinkedIn profiles of their staff and management.
Notarylive.com based in the state of New York was heads and shoulders above the rest. Their online support was responsive and well informed, and answered most of my questions before I actually went into the site and started the process.
The service was straightforward, very easy to use, inexpensive (US$25), helpful and barely took 3 minutes to complete. This service also allows individuals with non-US ID to use it, if there is someone with a US driver's licence who can verify your identity. None of the others have that flexibility. This gives the site global reach and utility for anyone abroad needing to get a document notarized for use in the US.
The other reasons I liked them and felt safe using them was the large number of verified, positive reviews on Trustpilot.com and that my research into their CEO also has a long history in records verification and management, as well as positive stories about them in (non-fake) media.
Also good, but relatively less easy was eNotaryLog.com. This Florida-based company's main business seems to specialize in providing notaries software to use online, but they also do online notarization. The little chatbot at the bottom left of the screen is actually a notary who is online, so the answer you get is the right one. This site was also very easy to use, and safe. When you register you receive a code in your email to use, and they do not collect unnecessary information.
I rank it second to NotaryLive.com because the site isn't focused on the individual customer and they will not notarize a document if you are not a US resident with US ID. They weren't lacking in any way and are an excellent second choice, and charge a similar US$25. The two co-promoters seem legit too.
Also Ran: Notary.com
Notary.com seems to be the Uber of the online notary world. Maybe it's just too big and popular, but they didn't really care. I was #12 in line waiting for chat support, and it took them about 30 minutes to get to me. They seem to be doing just fine, and the person on chat didn't care about my questions or business. if I didn't have a US social security number, I couldn't use their site, regardless of what other ID I had. I'd give them a pass.
There are a lot of services out there, so use with caution. Some of these may be fronts for websites looking to grab your personal information and identity, so be careful which ones you use. Check out online reviews, including on Trustpilot and Google, look up their addresses, call them if you need to, and make sure most importantly that the business or organization you're getting the document notarized for will accept an online notary.