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Updated: Jan 20, 2022

When I first started as a notary I was not sure what the difference was between and notary stamp or a notary seal embosser. So what's the difference?

What is a Notary Stamp?

Notary stamps are mostly small sized rubber stamps which contain state required information. When these stamps are pressed against an ink pad, they soak up ink and leave a mark of that ink on top of the paper being stamped. They can come in a circle or rectangular size.

What is a Notary Seal Embosser?

A notary seal embosser is a mostly small, hand-held metallic clamping tool which uses two metallic plates with indentations to raise the surface of paper to give an impression. These plates contain the notary’s commission information.

Difference between Stamp and Embosser

1. Embossers give an impression by raising the surface, therefore, from underneath the page whereas, stamps give the impression by leaving ink on top of the page.

2. Before the introduction of notary stamps, embossing was the traditional way of notarizing and all documents were notarized using seal embossers. Many still opine that embossment gives a more legitimate and official look to documents in comparison to the now common ink stamps.

3. Embossment is still the preferred way of the two for notarizing documents intended to be sent or used in a foreign country.

4. Embosser’s print is not producible through photo copying. Therefore, it is mandated by many state’s laws to add ink to embosser print so that copies could be produced otherwise the notarized document copies would be rendered invalid. For this reason, embossing is not as convenient as rubber stamps.

5. Both Stamps and Embossers come in different types and sizes however, every state’s notary seal requirements differ in terms of dimension, shape, or even ink color of the seal. For instance, some states may require rubber stamps to be circular or rectangular, or have set sizes and dimensions for an embosser seal. Regarding ink color, one condition which fits all state seal laws is to use a dark ink color in order for the seal print to be clearly visible on the document. If these seal conditions are not met, the notarial act can be deemed invalid and legal action may be taken on the notary.

Which of the two should you use?

Now that you are aware of the difference between the two types of seals, our recommendation is that you should understand your state laws about notary seal requirements and based off that make your decision.

In recent times, rubber stamps have become more popular due to their lower cost and maintenance. However, if you are embossing enthusiasts, you can opt for it as your full time seal till the time it fulfills the requirements of your state.

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