Arkansas Notary Public Bond: A Comprehensive Guide

October 19, 2022

Arkansas Notary Public Bond

This guide provides information for insurance agents to help their customers obtain an Arkansas Notary Public bond

At a Glance:

  • Average Cost: $50 for a ten-year term
  • Bond Amount: $7,500
  • Who Needs it: All notaries public operating in Arkansas
  • Purpose: To ensure the public receives compensation for financial harm if the notary fails to properly perform their duties
  • Who Regulates Notaries Public in Arkansas: The Arkansas Secretary of State

Background

Arkansas Statute 21-14-101 requires all notaries operating in the state to become commissioned by the Secretary of State before notarizing documents. The Arkansas legislature enacted this requirement to ensure that notaries engage in ethical business practices. To provide financial security for the enforcement of the commission requirement, notaries must purchase and maintain a $7,500 surety bond to be eligible for a commission.

What is the Purpose of the Arkansas Notary Public Bond?

Arkansas requires notaries to purchase a surety bond as part of the application process to obtain a notary commission. The bond protects the public from financial harm if the notary fails to comply with the regulations outlined in Arkansas Statute 21-14-101. Specifically, the bond protects the public if the notary signs any documents for persons committing fraud, fails to properly confirm the identity of parties in a contract, or does not actually witness the signatures on documents being notarized. In short, the bond is a type of insurance that protects the public if the notary violates the terms of their commission.

Arkansas Notary Public Bond Form

How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain an Arkansas Notary Public Surety Bond?

BondExchange makes obtaining an Arkansas Notary Public bond easy. Simply log in to your account and use our keyword search to find the “Notary” bond in our database. Don’t have a login? Enroll now and let us help you satisfy your customers’ needs. Our friendly underwriting staff is available by phone at (800) 438-1162, email, or chat from 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM EST to assist you.

At BondExchange, our 40 years of experience, leading technology, and access to markets ensures that we have the knowledge and resources to provide your clients with fast and friendly service whether obtaining quotes or issuing bonds.

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Is a Credit Check Required for the Arkansas Notary Public Bond?

No, a credit check is not required for the Arkansas Notary Public bond. Because the bond is considered relatively low risk, the same low rate is offered to all notaries in the state regardless of their credit history.

How Much Does the Arkansas Notary Public Bond Cost?

The Arkansas Notary Public bond costs just $50 for a ten-year term.

Who is Required to Purchase the Arkansas Notary Bond?

Arkansas requires notaries public to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a notary commission. To paraphrase the Arkansas Public Notary Handbook, a notary public is an official and unbiased witness to the identity of a person taking an oath, giving written testimony, or acknowledging their signature on a legal document.

How Do Notaries Apply for a Commission in Arkansas?

Notaries public in Arkansas must navigate several steps to obtain a commission. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to the Secretary of State’s website or the Arkansas Public Notary Handbook for details on the process.

Notaries must create an account with the state’s online notary management system in order to complete new applications, renew commissions, make changes to their commissions or apply to be an eNotary. Notaries can log in or make an account online here.

Commission Term: All Arkansas Notary Public Commissions are valid for ten years from the date of issuance.

Step 1 – Meet the Qualifications

To be eligible to apply for a notary public commission, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident
    • Be able to read and write English
    • Has not been convicted of a felony
    • Has not had a prior notary public commission revoked in the last 10 years
    • Must be one of the following:
      • A legal resident of Arkansas
      • A resident of a state that borders Arkansas but is employed in Arkansas
      • A nonresident spouse of a United States military member employed in Arkansas

Step 2 – Purchase a Surety Bond

Notaries public must purchase and maintain a $7,500 surety bond.

Step 3 – Take the Exam

Applicants are required to pass an exam administered by the Secretary of State prior to gaining access to the commission application. The exam, along with study and training resources, can be found in the online notary management system. Applicants must pass with a minimum score of 80%.

Step 4 – Complete an Application

After passing the exam, applicants will be immediately directed to the notary public application page. Notaries must complete the application online at that time or they will be required to re-take the exam. After completing the application online, notaries must print, sign, notarize and submit their original application to the following address:

Arkansas Secretary of State
Business & Commercial Services Division
1401 W. Capitol Avenue, Suite 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

Notaries must complete the application in its entirety, and submit the following items:

    • Signed and notarized application form
    • $7,500 surety bond
    • $20 application fee

Step 5 – File the Oath of Commission Certificate

Once the application is approved, notaries will receive two oath of commission certificates which must be filed prior to becoming valid. The notary must take both certificates to the circuit clerk of their county where the notary will sign both certificates with the clerk and officially swear to perform the duties of a notary public. The clerk will file one oath of commission certificate and the original bond form in their office.

Afterward, the notary public must return one of the signed oath of commission certificates to the Secretary of State’s Office. After returning the oath of commission certificate, notaries will receive a formal certificate of commission and a notary public identification card.

How do Arkansas Notaries Renew Their Commissions?

Notaries must reapply for a new commission before their existing one expires, as there is no specific renewal process. Notaries will need to purchase a new bond, submit a new application, and pay a $20 fee. Commission applications can be submitted up to 60 days prior to the current commission’s expiration date. All Arkansas Notary Public Commissions are valid for ten years from the date of issuance.

What are the Insurance Requirements for Arkansas Notaries?

Arkansas does not require notaries to purchase any form of liability insurance as a prerequisite to obtaining a commission. Notaries public must purchase and maintain a $7,500 surety bond.

How Do Arkansas Notaries File Their Bonds?

Notaries public should submit their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, to the Secretary of State at the following address:

Arkansas Secretary of State
Business & Commercial Services Division
1401 W. Capitol Avenue, Suite 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

The bond requires signatures from both the surety company that issues the bond and the notary. The surety company should include the following information on the bond form:

  • Legal name, county, and address of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
  • Surety company’s name, address, and phone number
  • Bond amount
  • Date the notary was commissioned
  • Date the bond is signed

What Can Arkansas Notaries Do to Avoid Claims Against Their Bonds?

To avoid claims on their bonds, notaries public in Arkansas must follow all commission regulations in the state, including some of the most important issues below that tend to cause claims:

  • Do not leave any notary supplies (seal and journal) in a place where they can be easily stolen
  • Do not perform notary services for entities/individuals who are engaged in acts of fraud
  • Ensure that the signers of documents are who they say they are and are not misrepresenting themselves
  • Witness the signatures of all documents being notarized
  • Record all transactions in a notary journal

What Other Insurance Products Can Agents Offer Notaries in Arkansas?

BondExchange offers free notary E&O insurance with the surety bond purchase for notaries in Arkansas. Unlike a surety bond, E&O insurance protects the notary as opposed to the public.

How Can Insurance Agents Prospect for Arkansas Notary Customers?

Arkansas conveniently provides a public database of commissioned notaries operating in the state. Contact BondExchange for additional marketing resources. Agents can also leverage our print-mail relationships for discounted mailing services.

2022-10-19T12:43:36-04:00