Notary publics (or "notaries") and notary signing agents both provide a service to the community by acting as public officers constituted by law to act as a witness to the signing of official documents. Notary signing agents have the same duties as notary publics, but due to extended specialized training, notary signing agents provide additional services outside of a notary publics' realm of authorization.
Notary publics are not typically required to undergo any specialized training or obtain insurance in their field. Notary signing agents, however, are usually required to have training in real estate, finance and the mortgage industry. Before performing their job function, notary signing agents must pass a criminal background check and obtain an errors and omissions insurance policy. Although certification is not a requirement, most companies only hire notary signing agents who are certified. Certification is offered as a membership perk for belonging to select notary public associations.
Notaries act as witnesses to the signing of documents that require a notary stamp and signature; they are also authorized to administer oaths. Notary signing agents are authorized to perform these same duties, however, they are also trained and insured to help their clients close on various types of loans, such as mortgage refinancing and selling or purchasing real estate. They also assist clients in signing the closing signature on paperwork associated with debt consolidation, loan modifications and structured annuities. In addition, notary signing agents are qualified to act as witnesses to the signing of other documents included in the loan paperwork that do not require a notary's signature.
Notaries typically work from one location, and require that individuals who need a notary signature come to them. Notary signing agents, on the other hand, can travel to their clients' location to assist them with their documents.
Notarial fees vary by state; however, according to NotaryTrainer.com, notary signing agents are entrepreneurs who can charge up to $125 for their services.