Notary Signing Agent Rhode Island

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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Notary Signing Agent Rhode Island

Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Rhode Island? We’ve got you covered.

In order to become a notary signing agent, you will need to:

  • Be commissioned as a notary public
  • Take a loan signing training course
  • Become Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) compliant
  • Purchase your notary supplies

This Notary Signing Agent Rhode Island article breaks down everything you need to know in easy-to-follow, succinct steps, and should help you commence your loan signing career with as little difficulty as possible.

Recommended: Interested in becoming a notary signing agent? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which come with everything you need to get started including your background screening, certification training, and exam.

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What is a Notary Signing Agent

Notary signing agents (NSAs) are crucial in the real estate sector as they act as a guide for borrowers through loan document signings, acknowledging their signatures, and returning documents to the lender.

On the surface, the role of an NSA might seem identical to that of a notary public, but the distinction lies in the level of expertise required for each task.

While a notary public primarily verifies the identities of signatories and acknowledges signatures, an NSA possesses a deeper understanding of loan documents and has been trained to provide unbiased explanations of each document’s purpose.

Although no extra legal qualifications are required to become an NSA in Rhode Island, undertaking specialized training is strongly recommended for a couple of reasons. Namely, because it:

  • Makes you a more appealing candidate to lenders, title companies, and other industry recruiters — who typically prefer NSAs with specific training due to the complexity of loan signings
  • Ensures that you’re actually capable of competently fulfilling all of the responsibilities associated with being an NSA

Note: For more information on this specialized training, see Step 2: Take a Loan Signing Training Course below.

How to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Rhode Island

If you’re interested in the idea of becoming a notary signing agent in Rhode Island, you can get started today by completing the following steps.

Step 1: Become a Notary Public

In order to become a notary signing agent, you will first need to be commissioned as a notary public in Rhode Island.

In order to do this, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Meet the basic eligibility criteria: You must be at least 18 years old, a citizen or permanent legal resident of the US, a member of the Rhode Island State Bar (or have an endorsement from a city official/town clerk confirming you’re a Rhode Island registered voter), and meet the requirements found under RI’s §42-30.1-16
  • Take the notary knowledge assessment: In Rhode Island, you must take the Notary Knowledge Assessment and achieve a score of 80% or higher to pass. This will demonstrate your understanding of the powers and duties of a notary public in Rhode Island
  • Complete and file an application form: Once you pass the notary knowledge assessment, you’ll need to fill out the notary application form online before sending it to be notarized by a Rhode Island notary public and take your Oath of Office. The application fee is $80 
  • Purchase your official notary stamp: You must use a rubber stamp ink seal or an embosser for notarial acts for paper documents. Though not mandatory, the Rhode Island Department of State also recommends keeping a permanently bound notary journal for your records
  • Take a notary training course: Taking a notary signing agent training course is beneficial as it provides essential knowledge about notarial laws, procedures, and ethics, ensuring you perform notarizations accurately and lawfully

For a more in-depth overview of the process of getting commissioned as a notary public in Rhode Island, we recommend having a look at our How to Become a Notary in Rhode Island overview.

Step 2: Take a Loan Signing Training Course

After you receive your notary commission and are ready to begin operating as a notary public, you will likely want to undertake a specialized loan signing training course.

Even though this is not a requirement in the state of Rhode Island, it is highly recommended as it offers the following benefits:

  • In-depth understanding: A specialized course can allow you to dive deep into the complexities of mortgage loan signings, improving your overall understanding and capabilities as an NSA. It can also help you become well-versed in how to handle unexpected situations with professionalism
  • Boosts employability: Your certificate signifies commitment and a specialized skill set, both of which greatly increase your marketability. Candidates with additional qualifications are also very attractive to hiring companies
  • Confidence builder: A course can provide you with a certain degree of “hands-on experience,” which will inevitably make you more comfortable and confident during actual signings. This confidence can translate into improved service and positive client experiences

Did you know? A loan signing training course can also prepare you to pass the Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) exam.

Recommended Course

Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which come with everything you need to get started including your background screening, certification training, and exam.

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Step 3: Become SPW Compliant

Even though this step is optional, it is generally recommended.

SPW compliance enhances your credibility as a certified notary signing agent. It shows that you have undergone specialized training and are committed to maintaining high professional standards.

SPW training equips you with the skills and knowledge to handle these documents accurately, particularly in the real estate and finance industries which involve complex documents and transactions.

Getting compliant involves undergoing a background check, passing an exam, and purchasing errors and omissions (E&O) insurance (with a minimum of $25,000 in coverage).

Step 4: Purchase Signing Agent Supplies

After you’ve been commissioned as a notary public and have spent time in order to become qualified as a loan signing agent, you will need to purchase your notary supplies.

Loan signing agents use a notary seal or stamp and a notary record book or journal to perform their duties and maintain a record of their notarial acts.

When conducting a loan signing, you will use your official notary seal or stamp to notarize various loan documents required in the transaction.

You will also need to record each notarial act performed in your notary journal or record book. Keeping a comprehensive and accurate record in your journal keeps you protected in case of any future disputes or legal issues related to the notarizations.

Step 5: Obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance

As a final step, you may want to secure an E&O insurance policy to provide professional liability coverage for potential errors, omissions, or negligence during notarizations.

This insurance protects you from financial losses and legal expenses in case of claims, offering you peace of mind as well as increased credibility to your clients.

Examples in which an E&O insurance policy would be useful include:

  • You’re overseeing a busy loan signing and, in a rush, you accidentally miss a signature. The loan process stalls, the borrower incurs late fees, and you’re hit with a compensation claim
  • While going through a home loan document, you wrongly notarize a signature. The mortgage approval is lost and the client files a claim against you
  • During a loan signing, you skip a page inadvertently. The document is void, leading to delays and extra work. In this case, the lender could choose to file a claim against you in order to be compensated for any additional expenses

Note: Purchasing E&O insurance is actually a requirement for becoming SPW compliant.

Notary Signing Agent Rhode Island FAQ

How do I become a notary signing agent in Rhode Island?

To become a notary signing agent in Rhode Island, you must first be commissioned as a notary public. After this, take a loan signing training course to ensure you are qualified and equipped to handle loan signings. For more information on the process of becoming an NSA, check out our guide on How to Become a Notary Signing Agent.

How much do loan signing agents make in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island notary signing agents make between $41,000 and $53,500 a year. However, a loan signing agent’s income will depend on their experience and the fees they charge for their services. To find out more about the factors influencing how much you can earn as an NSA, see our Notary Signing Agent Rhode Island article.

How much can you charge as a notary in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, notaries are only permitted to charge up to $5 for their services. Remote online notarization is the only exception to this rule, as notaries are able to charge up to $25 for this. While Rhode Island notaries can charge travel fees, it must not be more than the standard mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service.

How do I become a mobile notary in Rhode Island?

After becoming a notary public in Rhode Island, which involves passing a knowledge assessment, completing an application form, purchasing an official notary stamp, and taking a notary training course, you’ll be able to offer mobile notary services. This allows you to travel to clients’ locations to notarize documents.

Does Rhode Island accept online notaries?

Yes. Rhode Island notaries have been able to register to perform remote online notarizations (RON) since June 2022. This allows notaries public to notarize documents electronically via the internet using audiovisual technology, without the need for them to be physically present at the signers’ location.

For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent page.