How to Find a Notary Public to Notarize Documents

Do you need to find a notary public?

A notary public is a “public official” that has been given the right to “administer oaths and affirmations” by the state. In practice, that means they’re able to act as witness to the signing of important documents.

Sometimes, when you need to sign a document and “prove” you were the one signing it, you a notary public to act as witness. You show them your government ID, you sign, and they press their embossed stamp on the document to indicate they witnessed it.

For example, if you’ve ever looked for Missing Money (I recommend you give it a look if you haven’t in the last few years), the claim forms will require notarization.

When I worked at a company, all the administrative assistants were notary publics. It made finding a notary for my home purchase documents simple.

After leaving corporate America, finding a notary has become slightly harder but it’s not too bad.

Here are the easiest places to find a notary:

Where to Find a Notary Public

Anyone could be a notary public. So just start stopping people on the street and asking!

I’m just kidding, here are the best places to look:

  • Online – The most flexible way to find a notary is to get one online. A service like Notarize offers it but it’s very expensive, $25 per document. This is higher than what most other notaries are able to charge but is the most convenient.
  • Your company – It’s very likely that administrative assistants can notarize documents and will likely do it for free (they can usually charge a few dollars per signature, in Maryland it’s $2).
  • Your bank – Your bank usually has notaries as well. They are also able to provide Medallion Guarantees, which are similar to notary publics except with more stringent requirements. Years ago, when I converted a paper Series I bond into an electronic bond, I needed to get a medallion guarantee. If you need one, call your bank to find out when someone with it will be present (usually the branch manager)
  • Your pharmacy – Many pharmacies, including Walgreens/CVS, may offer notary services too. The independent pharmacies are more likely to have them than a CVS but call to find out and you may be surprised.
  • Your library (maybe) – Sometimes your local public library may have a notary and it might even be for free (or very inexpensive, like a dollar versus $2-3). If they do offer it, confirm their hours because not every library offers this and they may only offer it on certain days.
  • AAA – AAA branches usually offer these for free as a member benefit for free (included in your membership) and to non-members for a fee.
  • UPS Store – Did you know that almost every UPS Store owner is a notary? It’s a nice little side hustle and you can find out if your local UPS Store offers Notary Services.
  • Ask a friend – Seriously, if you have a friend who you think deals with documents often – like a lawyer – find out if they’re a notary. Many lawyers are notaries, especially if they do estate planning, so reach out to one of those first before other groups.
  • Search Google for “Notary Public” – If all else fails, you can Google for a local notary public.

It’s best to find someone who you know you can find again, like the bank or UPS store, because you may need to reach out to them again in case there’s something wrong with the document. 99.9% of the time it’s unnecessary but precautions are usually to make sure those rare 0.1% occurrences are less impactful, right?

Why Not Become a Notary?

It’s not difficult to become a notary and it would be a fun little side hustle. Also, you can become just a little more useful to your friends. 😀

In Maryland, you can apply with the Maryland Notary Public Division and the application fee is $25. You have to pay for various supplies too, like the record book. A commission lasts four years and renewals cost $25 as well.

I thought about doing this but there’s one problem – you can’t notarize your or your family’s own documents!

You can’t notarize anything where you have a vested interest or could benefit from it. I have a vested interest in my family and in saving time, so I suppose that’s out!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Physician on FIRE
7 years ago

I’ve always used a local bank branch. Since I have an account, they provide the service free of charge. It’s not often that I need one, but once I closed on a property from a distance, and there were dozens of papers to be notarized. So much stamping.

Cheers!
-PoF

I’ve generally used a notary at my bank, but the catch is that they will not provide witnesses, and many documents need to be both notarized and witnessed. If this is the case, be sure to bring your own witnesses with you.

7 years ago

It is always surprising when you find out that some of your closest friends, family, or colleagues are notary publics! Sometimes it is easy to find and sometimes it isn’t! Thanks for sharing ways to find one if we ever need one!

7 years ago

My Town Hall has two people who are certified, so at least seems to be there at all times. I’ve had to have 5 or 6 things notarized in the last year and I’m in an out in 5 minutes or so.

7 years ago

I have used my credit union and banks to get documents notarized for the most part. Sometimes, I have reached out within my company. In both cases, it was free.

I wasn’t aware of AAA and the public library. I am going to find out if our local public library provides notary services.

Susan Gaffney
7 years ago

Things are a bargain on the East Coast compared with here in Orange County, CA. UPS charges $10 per signature. AAA charges $15 for business transactions. Classic Members pay $10 a signature at AAA, Plus Members, $6. Premier Members get free notary services, up to five signatures a day, for personal documents. Deal!

I have used a notary twice, and used my local bank for the last one. It was free since I had a checking account there. Otherwise, they would have charged me $2.

Another time, an admin person at my office was a notary, and did it for free ( it was for a professional certification that the company needed).

I have also been surprised how cheap it is to become a notary. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of money to be made there.

DGI

Caden Dahl
5 years ago

I really didn’t know that you could find a notary at that many places. I had always thought that you could only find one online or by searching around. I am actually seeing about buying my first home in the summer of next year so I think that having a notary on hand would be a good idea.

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