Notary seal vs. stamp: What’s the difference?

PandaDoc Notary knowledge center

If you’ve ever needed a document notarized, you’ve most likely heard the terms “notary seal” and “notary stamp” used almost interchangeably. Depending on your state, there may be laws requiring one over the other or stipulating what information must be included. So, what’s the difference between a notary seal vs. stamp?

In this article, we run through everything you need to know about notary seals and stamps and how Remote Online Notarization (RON) makes it easy to receive fast and secure notarization services online when you need them. 

Notary embossing seal definition

A notary embossing seal is a tool used by notaries to authenticate a signature and apply their unique notary credentials. An embossing seal typically uses a metal crimping device that applies a round, permanent imprint to the document.

Though each state has its seal requirements, the imprint will generally include information such as:

  • Name of notary
  • The words “Notary Public”
  • The date the notary’s commission expires
  • The state seal

The downside to using a notary embossing seal is that the imprint the seal makes, while permanent, is not necessarily easy to see and does not copy well. For this reason, embossed seals are also frequently darkened with ink or used alongside an inked stamp in case document copies need to be made.

Notary embossing stamps are considered a more “traditional” method of notarizing documents since you need to meet with a notary in person to receive a notarized embossed seal. While notary embossing seals are trusted and even give a document an elevated “official” feeling, they can be limiting for several reasons.

Embossing seals provide minimal security against fraud for the most part, and they require you to spend time and money scheduling a session with a notary. Remote Online Notarization (RON) solves both issues by allowing you to meet with a state-commissioned notary virtually, online from the convenience of your home or office. 

Documents notarized with RON are not only fast and convenient, they include a level of security against fraud and error that traditional notarization simply cannot.

Notary stamp definition

Notary stamps are inked rubber stamps that are used to notarize a document and provide the notary public’s credentials for authentication.  

Notary stamps can come in various colors, shapes, and sizes and are usually round or rectangular. Each state has its own requirements for what must be included in a notary stamp. These stamps typically contain the same information as a notary embossing seal. 

Similar to notary embossing seals, notary stamps are accepted as a traditional form of notarization across the country. However, they provide limited flexibility or protection against fraud and mistakes. As more states work towards enacting RON law, it has become increasingly easy to access fast, secure, and affordable notarization services exactly when you need them.

Digital notary stamps vs. traditional stamps

Traditional seals or stamps are created with an embosser or inked rubber stamp and applied in-person to the document that is being notarized. 

Digital notary stamps serve the same purpose as traditional stamps, but they are applied electronically to a document using an online notarization platform. Digital notary stamps are used to verify that a RON transaction has been completed in accordance with state requirements, and are legally enforceable. 

Digital notary stamps provide greater security to your notarized document because they track every single change made to the document, preventing tampering and fraud. Digital stamps also use complex algorithms that work to ensure the authenticity of the document, the signer’s identities, and validity of information contained within the document. 

Rather than requiring you to schedule a time and place to meet up with a notary to receive a stamp, Remote Online Notarization (RON) has made it easier to create, edit, eSign, and notarize documents, making it easy to apply a legally binding digital notary stamp.

Create your free digital notary stamp with PandaDoc Notary

While there is not much difference between a notary seal vs. stamp (other than how they are applied), it’s important to know the difference between the two as your state may have specific requirements in that regard. 

Though traditional notary stamps and seals required you to appear before a notary to apply their seal, digital notary stamps and Remote Online Notarization (RON) makes it simple and easy to notarize documents while ensuring their security.

PandaDoc Notary is an industry-leading RON service that allows notaries to create their own unique digital notary stamp online for free! The PandaDoc Notary platform also provides a user-friendly and secure Remote Online Notarization platform that helps you cover all your notarization needs.

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