Wisconsin Notary Public Bond: A Comprehensive Guide
At a Glance:
- Average Cost: $50 for a four-year term
- Bond Amount: $500
- Who Needs it: All notaries public operating in Wisconsin
- Purpose: To ensure the public receives compensation for financial harm if the notary fails to properly perform their duties
- Who Regulates Notaries Public in Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution
Wisconsin Statute 140.02 requires all notaries operating in the state to obtain a commission from the Department of Financial Institutions before providing notarial services. The Wisconsin 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 $500 surety bond to be eligible for a commission.
What is the Purpose of the Wisconsin Notary Public Bond?
Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Statute 140.02. 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 Wisconsin Notary Public Surety Bond?
BondExchange makes obtaining a Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Notary Public Bond?
No, a credit check is not required for the Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Notary Public Bond Cost?
The Wisconsin Notary Public bond costs just $50 for a four-year term.
Who is Required to Purchase the Wisconsin Notary Bond?
Wisconsin requires notaries to purchase a surety bond as a prerequisite to obtaining a notary commission. To paraphrase Wisconsin Statute 140.01, a notary public is a public official authorized to provide the following services:
- Take acknowledgments
- Administer oaths and affirmations
- Take verifications on oath or affirmation
- Witness or attest to a signature
- Certify or attest a copy
- Note a protest of a negotiable instrument
Notaries who wish to perform remote online notarizations do not need to purchase an additional surety bond. A remote online notary is a notarial officer approved by the Department of Financial Institution to provide notarial services where the signer appears before the notary using audio-visual communication technology.
How Do Notaries Apply for a Commission in Wisconsin?
Notaries public in Wisconsin must navigate several steps to obtain a commission. Below are the general guidelines, but applicants should refer to the Department of Financial Institution’s website or the state’s Notary Public Information Publication for details on the process.
Commission Term: All Wisconsin 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
- Be a resident of the United States
- Have at least the equivalent of an eighth grade education
- Have never been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude
Step 2 – Take the Notary Exam
Notaries public are required to pass an examination prior to being commissioned as a notary public. There is an optional training program available to help prepare for the exam. Notaries must complete the exam no more than one year prior to submitting an application for commission and must pass with a score of 90%. Once completed, notaries will obtain an exam certificate which they must include in their application.
Step 3 – Purchase a Surety Bond
Notaries public are required to purchase and maintain a $500 surety bond.
Step 4 – Submit an Application
Notaries public must submit an application to the Department of Financial Institution’s office online here or by mail at the following address:
Notary Records Section
WI Dept of Financial Institutions
PO Box 7847
Madison WI 53707-7847
Notaries must complete the application in its entirety and submit the following items with it:
- Surety Bond
- $20 filing fee
- Exam pass certificate
- Copy of notary stamp/seal
- Notarial Oath completed with a commissioned notary public
Applications typically take around two weeks to process. Once the application is approved, the Department of Financial Institution will issue a commission certificate to the notary and they may begin providing notarial services.
Remote Online Notaries
Step 5 – Select an Approved Technology Provider
After receiving their notary commission, notaries public can register to perform remote online notarizations by first selecting a technology provider to use. The system must meet the minimum criteria, and notaries may choose from the approved provider list provided by the state. After selecting a provider and successfully completing their onboarding training, the provider will notify the Department of Financial Institutions and the notary will be authorized to provide remote online notarial services.
How Do Wisconsin 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 apply for their new commissions at least two weeks before their existing ones expire to avoid a lapse in commissions. All Wisconsin Notary Public Commissions are valid for four years from the date of issuance and must be renewed before the expiration date.
What are the Insurance Requirements for Notaries Public in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin 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 $500 surety bond.
How Do Wisconsin Notaries File Their Bonds?
Notaries public should file their completed bond forms, including the power of attorney, with the Department of Financial Institution at the following address:
Notary Records Section
Department of Financial Institutions
PO Box 7847
Madison, WI 53707-7847
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 phone number of the entity/individual(s) buying the bond
- Surety company’s name and address
- Date the bond is signed
What Can Wisconsin Notaries Do to Avoid Claims Against Their Bonds?
To avoid claims on their bonds, notaries public in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin?
BondExchange offers free notary E&O insurance with the surety bond purchase for notaries in Kentucky. Unlike a surety bond, E&O insurance protects the notary rather than the public.
How Can Insurance Agents Prospect for Wisconsin Notary Customers?
Wisconsin 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.