What Is A Notary Public?

Jan 22, 2024 | Notarization

Ever wondered about the individual behind the notarization process? Enter the Notary Public, a state-appointed official entrusted with the task of verifying and validating signatures through a process known as “notarization.” In this article, we delve into the responsibilities, qualifications, and essential information surrounding Notary Publics, shedding light on their crucial role in minimizing fraudulent activities related to important documents


What is a Notary Public? 

A Notary Public is a state appointed official who witnesses and verifies signatures for certain documents (this signature process is known as “notarization”). A Notary Public is registered, trained, and certified to do so. They are trained to verify IDs, ensure the parties understand what they are signing, and keep an eye out for any fraudulent behavior. Notary Publics must qualify to become one, but generally, if you meet the state mandated requirements, anyone can do it. 


What does a Notary Public do? 

A Notary Public verifies IDs, ensures people are signing a document willingly and knowingly, watches people sign the document, and finally, stamps off and counter-signs the same document themself. Every Notary Public is assigned a certain commission number and they must include such number on their signature/notary stamp. The Notary Public’s purpose is to minimize any fraudulent behavior in regards to signing important documents, such as a prenup or a marriage certificate. 


How much does a Notary Public cost? 

To get a document or other official paperwork or contract notarized, you’ll typically have to pay a fee for the Notary Public to do their job. There are some Notary Publics that may do this service free of charge, such as the notaries at your bank, however you’ll have to check and see. Getting your documents notarized online virtually typically costs anywhere from $25 to $50, depending on the company you go with and the service you’re looking for. If you opt for an in-person Notary Public, such as at a UPS store, the cost may be around $15 to $50, again, depending on the company and location of the business. The most expensive option for a Notary Public is a mobile notary, who comes to you to notarize documents. This means the fee you pay not only covers the notarization service, but also the gas, mileage, and labor of driving to you. Mobile notaries typically cost around $100 to $150. 


How to become a Notary Public 

There are certain steps one must take to become a Notary Public. First and foremost, they must qualify. There are certain things you need to qualify, such as being at least 18 years of age. The requirements vary by state. Next, you’ll need to fill out an application and take a training course. After that, you’ll be required to pass a state Notary Public exam. Once you’ve passed, you must complete additional steps, such as providing your fingerprints, getting a background check, and securing a surety bond. Finally, you’ll receive a certificate and take an oath, and be on your way to notarizing those documents! Some Notary Publics also opt (or may be required) to get certain insurance to cover them in the case there is an error when notarizing someone’s documents. 

How much does a Notary Public get paid? 

The nationwide average salary for a Notary Public is $64,777. They may also be paid hourly. For example, there are some job postings for UPS store notaries that pay $20-$25 per hour in California, as you can see in this job posting here. Of course, the amount a Notary Public gets paid will depend on the cost of living in the area they are located in and what type of notary company they work for. For instance, mobile notaries may make more than someone who is a notary at a UPS store. Further, Glassdoor estimates that virtual notaries, such as on Notarize.com, make between $24 and $45 per hour. 


How to verify a Notary Public’s legitimacy

Notary Publics are assigned a commission number as provided by the state that they are registered in. Each commission number is unique to the Notary Public. The best way to verify that their status as Notary Public is valid is to check with your state. To get the commission number, all you have to do is ask the Notary Public and then log onto your state’s notary website to look them up. For instance, if you want to look up a California Notary Public’s status, you can go to this page here


The bottom line 

In conclusion, Notary Publics stand as guardians of the authenticity and integrity of signatures on important documents, such as prenups or marriage certificates, providing a vital service to the public. From verifying IDs to affixing their unique commission number on documents, these professionals play a key role in preventing fraudulent activities and ensuring the smooth execution of agreements and official documents.

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