Everything you need to know about what is a notary stamp

what is a notary stamp x

Today, a notary signature has become vital for different types of notarized documents. Sooner or later, you will have to notarize a document, which is why understanding the basics of a notary stamp makes perfect sense. Businesses and individuals opt for notary public services to take care of their legal requirements.

Usually, court documents and banking transactions require mandatory notarization. The information revolving around notary stamps can be overwhelming. Just remember that the notarization process, at its core, boils down to vetting, certifying, and then record keeping. 

In this blog post you’ll learn more about:

  1. What is a notary stamp?
  2. What is the purpose of notary stamps?
  3. The difference between notary stamp, notary seal embosser, and digital notary stamp
  4. Perks of a digital notary stamp
  5. Seven steps to create a notary stamp online

1. What is a notary stamp?

Technically, a notary stamp refers to the circular or rectangular shape stamp that covers information like name, state, expiration date, and commission number of the notary. And whether it’s a typical notary stamp, seal embosser, or digital notary stamp, the idea is to prevent fraud and ensure transparent notarization of transactions. It is important to understand that notarization can involve significant milestones in your life.

2. What is the purpose of notary stamps?

Notary stamps minimize or altogether prevent fraud in banking and legal documents. With notary stamps, you can attest and authenticate signatures. And without notary stamps, you wouldn’t be able to certify the authenticity of a legal document.

Whether it’s vehicle ownership, lien notice, handgun permit, death benefit policy, or life insurance policy, the use of a notary stamp is mandatory to assign beneficiaries and authenticate documents. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that all notarized documents need a proper notary stamp in the U.S.

Fundamentally, a notary stamp affirms that the contents of a document are correct. The use of notary stamps also comes into play when clients have to present proper identification and when a witness to the notarized signing becomes.

3. The difference between notary stamp, notary seal embosser, and digital notary stamp

Notary stamp

You can find notary stamps in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Typically, notary stamps are designed in round and rectangle shapes throughout the world. Some notary stamps also come with an ink pad that releases the ink onto the stamp automatically.

You may not be aware of it but you can also reink a notary stamp. From legal offices to banks, modern-day notary stamps are designed to last for a long time. You can also choose notary stamps that come in small sizes. For instance, if there is no room for a large notary stamp, you can use a small notary stamp that can fit into your pocket easily.According to the American Association of Notaries, you should opt for a dark color ink if you plan to get a notary stamp to make a notary stamp impression. It is the best way to make sure the ink stamp will clearly show up on the documents.

Notary seal embosser

As the title suggests, a notary seal embosser refers to a metal clamping device. You can use a seal embosser to create a round or raised identification on any document with engraved information stamped on the seal embosser plate. Long before inked notary stamps became mainstream, notaries used to depend on seal embosser devices to take care of notarial acts.

With seal embossers, documents get an official and sleek look. In fact, the use of seal embosser devices is quite popular throughout the world. But despite the nature of a document, a notary seal embosser requires significant pressure to make a clear impression. On top of pressure, these devices need raised impressions through a separate inker.

Notary stamp or notary seal embosser: Which one should you choose?

There is more than one type of notary stamp that often makes it difficult to make the right call. Objectively, when it comes to a notary stamp or traditional notary stamp embosser, it depends on the state you plan to notarize the document.

After all, each state has its own notary public laws on stamp devices. The right course of action would be to get familiar with “your” state’s stamp and notary embosser requirements. Oftentimes, the requirement may state that you need just an ink stamp or embosser.

But some states require you to have an ink stamp as well as an embosser. Whether it’s Florida or Arizona, look for dimensions, ink color, shape, and other required specifications of the notary stamp. Ideally, you should compare your notary stamp and notary seal embosser options as per state requirements.

In comparison, notary stamps are simple and easy to use. Not to mention, the notary stamp impressions pop up clearly on documents. Unlike notary stamps, seal embossers have a more official look to them and can be difficult to use. But a seal embosser makes more sense if you want to use it throughout the commission time.

Digital notary stamp

Digital notary stamps are independent and virtually verifiable electronic images like a handwritten notary signature. You can retain digital notary stamps and attach them to any type of document in the blink of an eye. You can also link a digital notary stamp to specific data.

With digital notary stamps, it is easy to observe and review any changes in the document. You can look at a digital notary stamp through the lens of a virtual fingerprint scan on a virtual document. Unlike a traditional notary stamp, a digital stamp can be more unique to the document you want to notarize.

Contrary to naïve misconception, digitally notarized documents are legally binding just like inked notary stamps. In fact, digital notary stamps are more secure than conventional notary stamps. Digital notary stamps use algorithms to make sure the authenticity and validity of the information in the document is not compromised. Digitally notarized documents don’t have to deal with tempering.

4. Perks of a digital notary stamp

One of the best aspects of digital notary stamps is that it allows you to deliver and maintain end-to-end workflows online. Besides, Remote Online Notarization (RON) has become easier than ever. The main perk of a digital notary stamp is that it offers a seamless and interactive digital experience to users.

You can integrate a digital notary stamp to notarize and initiate other online notarizations. At the same time, you can monitor the status of each digitally notarized document in real-time. In 2021, you can use a voice-enabled or digital video assistant device to track digitally notarized documents.

Whether it’s paper journals, travel logs, legal documents, or bank transactions, there is a good chance digital notary stamps will replace a good chunk of traditional notary stamps in the foreseeable future. The truth is that the idea of digital notarization of documents in a few minutes continues to gain more attraction. After all, digital notary stamps cut out the need for people to leave their offices or homes.

Digital notary stamps offer a flexible and interconnected process. For instance, digital notary apps now support integration that makes it easier to conduct online notarization of many files efficiently. You can even avail on-demand notary services that can verify notaries through dedicated notarization platforms. In fact, with each passing year, the digital notary space has become more competitive.

Despite the complex mechanics of a digital notary stamp, it opens up doors to a variety of use cases. On the other hand, digital notary stamps can get confusing when it comes to electronic notarizations. And that’s because a digital notary stamp is still not as widely accepted and used as paper-based notarization.

5. Seven steps to create a notary stamp online

1. Check eligibility

First, make sure you’re qualified as a notary public with commission identification. If you’re not eligible, you will have to wait a month or four weeks.

2. State approval

Second, you will need to get your state approval before moving forward. In short, make sure your state grants Remote Online Notarization (RON) status for documents.

3. Receive RON certificate

Your next move should be to receive a Remote Online Notarization or RON certificate. Some states ask the notary public to take an exam and then notarize documents through RON. The exam is simple and usually covers processes and the technology required to notarize an online document successfully.

4. Get a digital notary stamp

Like a physical notary stamp, you will need to create an electronic notary stamp to notarize documents. This is the main requirement to notarize documents digitally. You should also go through up-to-date and resourceful information on Remote Online Notarization. It will help you understand how to notarize documents online. 

5. Buy a Federal Bridge certificate

You may have to get a Federal Bridge certificate for notarizing documents online. And that’s because some states mandate the notary to get a Federal Bridge digital certification. Through this certificate, governments can trust and verify digitally notarized documents.

In layman’s terms, a Federal Bridge certificate works like a digital identity. You can seek out a reliable and certified notary partner who can help you get the “right” certificate that meets your state’s requirements.

6. Choose a RON vendor

Despite the software or platform you choose, make sure to opt for one that allows Remote Online Notarization with modern technology. Also, make sure the vendor is compliant with your state’s mandated requirements.

Typically, make sure your vendor offers identity proofing, digital stamp compatibility, and digital notary journal. Oftentimes, the vendor may need to get approval from the State Secretary. The trick is to conduct basic research and research your options before choosing a vendor. Secured digital stamps are acceptable in most states.

7. Get ready to notarize online

Once you have an approved Remote Online Notarization status, you can start to notarize documents in the digital space. But follow official state guidelines without haste and make sure you’re compliant. 

Ideally, you should opt for all-in-one digital notarization software. The RON platform you choose should be able to notarize documents in a secure fashion. Still, the process to purchase and use a dedicated RON platform may vary and come down to state laws.

Remember, not every state allows notaries to conduct Remote Online Notarization. For instance, Unlike Arkansas, California doesn’t allow notaries to perform remote online notarizations, whereas, South Carolina doesn’t even have digital notarization laws.


How long notary stamps can last?

It depends on the state you want to notarize a specific document. But usually, your stamp can be valid from three to four years in the U.S. After the expiration period, you will have to renew your stamp.

What is the process of getting a new notary stamp?

Each state has its own notary association where you can purchase stamps from a wide range of suppliers. But before you buy a notary seal with a specific shape, size, and color, you should check the requirements of your state.

For instance, the Florida notary stamp includes the notary’s name, commission expiration, and commission number in the text. You will also have to purchase black ink as per your state requirements. 

Can you replace a notary stamp?

In short, yes. You can replace your notary stamp from your state’s notary association. In fact, you can replace a notary stamp at a fairly affordable fee in the U.S. 

What happens when you lose your notary stamp?

Lost and stolen notary stamps get reported to the State Department. It is better to keep a record of lost, stolen, and replaced notary stamps to avoid discrepancies later on.

Final Thoughts

A notarized document with a stamp makes it easier to verify. As digital notary stamps become more mainstream and online fraud reaches an all-time high, it is crucial to notarize documents with stamps to avoid any type of fraud or identity theft. Without notary stamps, you may have to deal with endless court proceedings and even exploitation. Think of notary stamps as a proven measure that safeguards citizens’ rights.

Notarize with PandaDoc Notary

PandaDoc Notary helps businesses who need to notarize documents with a digital notary stamp in an instant. With PandaDoc Notary, electronic notarization of documents is no longer complex. Our hassle-free approach makes remote notary seamless for businesses to opt for proper digital notary stamps for their documents. If you want to learn more about notary stamps and how to get Remote Online Notarization, reach out to us.

Guy Pearson has been a commissioned notary for more than seven years. He also runs one of the most established Facebook groups for Remote Online Notarization (RON), with more than 7000 members nationwide. Guy is the co-founder and product leader of PandaDoc Notary. His team drives product initiatives in key verticals, such as Legal, Financial, and Real Estate.

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