Why do I need a surety bond for my Arkansas Notary Public commission?
In order to obtain an Arkansas Notary Public commission, you are required to file this surety bond with the Secretary of State.
A surety bond is a three-way agreement between a Principal (the individual applying for an Arkansas Notary Public commission), an Obligee (Arkansas Secretary of State), and a surety company (the company backing the surety bond). A surety bond does not operate like an insurance policy for the Principal; instead it protects the Obligee and the Arkansas public against any damages resulting from negligence or fraud by the Principal. The bond is a guarantee that the Principal understands and agrees to comply with all guidelines set forth for their commission (as specified by the Arkansas Notary Public and eNotary Handbook and Act 304 of the 1989 Regular Session). Per the Arkansas Secretary of State: “A Notary Public verifies the identity on an individual who appears before them. The Notary acts as an official and unbiased witness to the identity of a person whether the person be taking an oath, giving oral or written testimony, or acknowledging his/her signature on a legal document.”
This bond is written for the amount of $7,500 for a 10-year term, and must run concurrent to the Notary Public commission. The cost is $100 for the 10-year term ($50 premium + $50 fee), and does not include E&O insurance. If you would like to add Errors & Omissions Insurance, indicate this in your application.
In the event that the Notary Public violates their commission or terms of the surety bond, there will be a claim filed against the bond, which the surety company will pay any damages for out of the bond. The Principal is legally required to repay the surety company the entire amount paid for any damages. In addition to repayment, the surety company may revoke the surety bond, at which point the Notary Public commission is invalid until a new bond is filed with the Secretary of State.
Understand that a claim against your bond will negatively impact any future surety bond applications, as they indicate a failure to comply with the terms. If you are unable to acquire a surety bond, you will be unable to receive your commission.
Please indicate if you would like to add E&O, please indicate so in your application.
Your bond will be issued within 1-3 days after you submit a completed application and payment.