Missouri Notary Public Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
At a Glance:
- Average Cost: $50 for a four-year term
- Bond Amount: $10,000
- Who Needs it: All notaries public operating in Missouri
- Purpose: To ensure the public receives compensation for financial harm if the notary fails to properly perform their duties
- Who Regulates Notaries Public in Missouri: The Missouri Secretary of State
Missouri Revised Statute 486.605 requires all notaries operating in the state to obtain a commission from the Secretary of State before performing notarial acts. The Missouri 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 $10,000 surety bond to be eligible for a commission.
What is the Purpose of the Missouri Notary Public Bond?
Missouri requires notaries to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a notary commission. The bond protects the public from financial harm if the notary fails to comply with the regulations outlined in Missouri Revised Statute 486.615. Specifically, the bond protects the public if the notary signs any documents for persons committing fraud 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.
How Can an Insurance Agent Obtain a Missouri Notary Public Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Missouri 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? Gain access 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.
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Is a Credit Check Required for the Missouri Notary Public Bond?
No, a credit check is not required for the Missouri 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 Missouri Notary Public Bond Cost?
The Missouri Notary Public bond costs just $50 for a four-year term.
Who is Required to Purchase the Missouri Notary Bond?
Missouri requires notaries to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a notary commission. To paraphrase Missouri Statute 486.640, a notary public is a public official authorized to provide the following services:
- Take acknowledgments and jurats
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Perform copy certifications
- Serve as an impartial witness to the signing of documents
Notaries who wish to perform electronic or remote notarizations do not need to purchase an additional surety bond. An electronic notary is a notary public approved by the Secretary of State to provide notarial services in-person via an electronic document. Likewise, a remote online notary is a notary public that provides notarial services electronically by means of communication technology.
BondExchange now offers monthly pay-as-you-go subscriptions for surety bonds. Your customers are able to purchase their bonds on a monthly basis and cancel them anytime. Learn more here.
How Do Notaries Apply for a Commission in Missouri?
Notaries public in Missouri must navigate several steps to obtain a commission. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to the Secretary of State’s website and the Missouri Notary Handbook for details on the process.
Commission Term: All Missouri Notary Public Commissions are valid for four 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
- Live or work in Missouri
- Be able to read and write English
- Be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States
- Have not had a commission revoked in the last five years
- Have not been convicted of a felony in the last five years
Step 2 – Complete a Training Course
Notaries are required to complete either an online training course or a written training course on notary laws and procedures prior to obtaining a notary public commission. Notaries should use the Missouri Notary Public Handbook to prepare for the training course, and once completed, notaries may submit their completed training online here or by mail to the Secretary of State at the following address:
P.O. Box 784
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Notaries will receive a certificate of completion from the training course which they must include in their application.
Step 3 – Complete an Application
P.O. Box 784
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Notaries must complete the application in its entirety and include a $25 fee along with a certificate of completion of training when submitting. Once their application is approved, notaries will receive a commission letter from the Secretary of State with instructions on how to purchase their bond and qualify with the county clerk.
Step 4 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Notaries public are required to purchase and maintain a $10,000 surety bond.
Step 5 – Qualify at the County Clerk’s Office
Notaries must appear at the clerk’s office of the county they reside in to present their surety bond and take the oath of office. Notaries can find their local county clerk here, and must ensure they bring the following items with them:
- Photo ID
- Commission letter
- Surety bond form
- Payment method for a small registration fee
After signing their bond form and oath, the county clerk will return these forms to the notary who will be required to mail both to the Secretary of State within seven days from the date of the oath. Afterward, notaries will receive an official commission certificate which will authorize them to start providing notarial services on the start date of their commission.
Electronic/Remote Online Notary
Step 6 – Complete the Online Registration Form
After receiving their notary commission, notaries public can register to become an electronic notary and/or a remote online notary by first completing an online registration form. If performing remote notarizations, notaries will need to select the software provider that they intend to use. Notaries that select a software provider will be registered as both an electronic notary and a remote online notary.
Step 7 – Complete an Online Training Course
After completing the form, notaries will be prompted to start an online training course. The training consists of 20 multiple-choice questions, and notaries must pass with a score of 80%. After completing the online training, the notary will be registered as an electronic and/or remote online notary and may begin performing the notarial services applied for.
How Do Missouri Notaries Public Renew Their Commissions?
Notaries must apply for a new commission before their existing one expires, as there is no specific renewal process. Notaries are encouraged to renew their commissions before the expiration date to avoid a lapse in commissions. All Missouri Notary Public Commissions are valid for four years from the date of issuance. Electronic notary registrations run concurrently with existing notary public commissions and notaries must register with the Secretary of State again before continuing their electronic notarial services.
What are the Insurance Requirements for Notaries Public in Missouri?
Missouri does not require notaries to purchase any form of liability insurance as a prerequisite to obtaining a commission. However, notaries public must purchase and maintain a $10,000 surety bond.
How Do Missouri Notaries File Their Bonds?
After getting their bond signed by their county clerk, notaries public should file their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, with the Secretary of State at the following address:
P.O. Box 784
Jefferson City, MO 65102
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, address, and county of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name
- Start date of the commission
- Bond amount
- Signing date of the bond
What Can Missouri Notaries Do to Avoid Claims Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims on their bonds, notaries public in Missouri must adhere to all state regulations, 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 Missouri?
BondExchange offers free notary E&O insurance with the surety bond purchase for notaries in Missouri. Unlike a surety bond, E&O insurance protects the notary rather than the public.
How Can Insurance Agents Prospect for Missouri Notary Customers?
Missouri 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.
What Other States Require Notary Bonds?
29 states and the District of Columbia require notaries to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a commission. Insurance agents should utilize our Main Notary Bond Page for a detailed analysis of the Notary Bond requirements nationwide.