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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Notary?

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A notary public holds a position of public trust and honesty, because power is endued upon that individual to accept responsibility for certain transactions involving the law and identification. The cost of being a notary public varies depending on the state you live in; however, there are basic charges you can expect to pay before becoming a notary.

Background Check

In most states, you don’t have to pay for a background check. On most notary applications, a person is asked if they've ever committed a felony or misdemeanor. If the person has a criminal infraction, it could disqualify or hinder him or her from being a notary public. For states that do check public records, it’s usually done so at no charge. The best rule of thumb is to check with a state notary public association or Secretary of State office for background costs and procedures in your particular state.

Application and Course Fees

In some states, you must pay a fee and attend a training class before becoming a notary. For example, the State of Nevada requires an individual to complete an 8-hour course to become a notary. This program fee is $25 for the application and $45 for the course. In many states, application and course fees vary. The National Notary Association has a list of states and their requirements pertaining to application and course fees.

Bonding Requirements and Costs

There is a cost for people in the notary public field to be bonded. This notary bond is to protect the public instead of the notary agent for liabilities as well as cover monetary value on claims lodged against the notary for any kind of negligence. According to the National Notary Association, most notaries apply for basic surety bond coverage to cover potential liabilities. The average basic surety bond coverage starts at $5,000, which can be calculated into an annual bond premium of close to $100.

Insurance Considerations

Errors and omissions insurance is mandatory for a notary public. All states require people that work in this career field to carry the appropriate errors and omissions insurance policies for their notary service with a reasonable amount of coverage. According to the National Notary Association, the average annual insurance cost for recommended coverage up to $100,000 is between $100 to $150.

Overall Costs

Costs related to becoming a notary public depend on your state of residence. According to the American Society of Notaries, an individual can expect to spend in the range of $200 to $500 to begin their notary practice. The best way to save money is to buy a “notary package” from a certified notary public organization with membership packages that cover the initial costs of being a notary public.

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  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Leonard Low