Do Banks Offer Notary Services? Is It Free?
At some point in time, you might need to get a document notarized.
To do so, you will need to find a notary public.
A notary public is a person that’s publicly commissioned to act as an impartial witness. A notary’s duty includes verifying your identity and then witnessing the act of you signing a document.
Different types of documents might require a notary.
These include a quit claim deed, a power of attorney, a rental agreement, a deed of trust, and certain types of contracts.
If you need an important document notarized, where do you find a notary public?
Often times, you’re advised to go to a bank.
Here’s what you need to know about getting notary services at a bank, as well as other notary options available to you.
Do Banks Offer Notary Services?
Yes, most banks and other financial institutions do offer notary services.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that services are available to everyone who walks through the door.
You might head to the nearest bank thinking that you can get a document notarized in a few minutes.
And yes, the service is swift for some people. But it isn’t for others.
It’s important to note:
Banks will usually have a policy of notarizing documents for existing customers only. In this case, getting notary services is typically free—a perk offered to bank customers.
Many banks, on the other hand, will not notarize documents for non-bank customers. Or if they do, they might charge a nominal fee, as much as $15 to $20 per document.
Notary public may not be available readily
If you find a bank that offers notary services, keep in mind that you might have to wait a bit.
You can’t walk up to a teller to get a document notarized.
To offer this service, the bank must have an employee publicly commissioned to act as a non-partial witness.
So, not every employee within a branch can notarize your document.
This task might be limited to the branch manager and a select number of staff members.
And unfortunately, if you arrive to have a document notarized and the notary public is unavailable, you may have to wait or return at another time.
May need to try a few branches
While some banks offer notary services, they might not offer this service at every single branch.
This is often the case when there isn’t a notary public employed with a particular branch.
So before heading to your closest bank, call to see whether the branch offers this service. Also, ask about requirements for having your document notarized.
What Are Different Types of Notarization?
It’s also noteworthy that there isn’t a single type of notarization.
Having a third-party witness signing a document is probably the most common type.
But you can use a notary public for other services, too.
For example, you might need an acknowledgement notarization for a trust, a property deed, or a power of attorney.
Some documents don’t require signing in the presence of a notary, but you might have to declare that you signed the document willingly.
In which case you can bring the signed document to a notary, and then acknowledge that the signature on the document is yours and that you voluntarily signed it.
Sometimes, a notary public will make a duplicate or copy of an original document, and then verify or confirm that the photocopy is true and accurate.
This might be the case if you need to get a copy of a diploma, lease, contract, Social Security card, or your driver’s license.
Another type of notarization is known as a jurat. This is often required with affidavits and depositions.
You’ll sign a document in front of the notary public, and then take an oath promising that all statements in the document are accurate.
This is a serious oath. And if you falsify information, you could be charged with perjury.
Depending on where you live, you’ll need a photo ID as proof of identity for this type of notarization.
Notary vs. Medallion Signature Guarantee
When getting a document notarized, the notary public not only witnesses you signing the document, they’ll also stamp the document with a notary stamp or seal.
A notary stamp makes the notary act official. But sometimes, signing a document requires more than a seal. You might need a medallion signature guarantee.
To put it plainly, the difference between the two:
- A notary stamp is usually reserved for legal documents.
- A medallion signature guarantee, on the other hand, is for financial documents.
So if you’re transferring securities or money to another individual, and you’re required to sign paperwork regarding this transfer, you can seal the deal with a medallion security guarantee.
Getting this type of guarantee will also require photo ID verification.
Another difference between a notary stamp and a medallion security guarantee is the color of the ink.
If you’re having a document notarized, the ink is often black. But if you have a medallion signature guarantee, the ink is often green. This makes it difficult to duplicate or forge.
Getting a medallion signature guarantee
To get a medallion signature guarantee, you’ll need to go to a financial institution such as a bank or a credit union.
These financial institutions may offer the service free for existing customers, or charge a nominal fee.
Contact your personal bank or the nearest bank to see if there’s someone qualified to provide a medallion signature guarantee.
What Are Other Options for a Notary Public?
But what if your bank doesn’t offer notary public services?
The good news:
Your bank isn’t the only place to get the service.
Many locations throughout your city will notarize documents, sometimes for free or for a low fee.
- Smaller banks in the area may provide notary services for non-accountholders.
- Insurance companies and tax preparation companies tend to have a notary public on staff.
- Speak with your city’s Clerk Office to have a document notarized.
- Some public libraries even employ notary publics.
- AAA members could also contact the local AAA office to see if it has a notary on staff.
- Contact your local UPS or FedEx store.
Sometimes, you’ll have to mail important documents after having them notarized. So, some shipping locations may have someone trained and qualified to notarize documents, too.
Keep Requirements in Mind
For some documents, it isn’t enough to sign your name—you’ll need a witness to your signature.
This person can verify your identity, and/or confirm that all statements within a document are true and that you haven’t been coerced.
Keep in mind, too, if you have a document that requires a third-party witness when signing, do not sign the document before meeting with the notary.
If you sign the document before the meeting, the notary will not notarize it.
You’ll need to return with another copy to be signed in their presence.