Signature Guarantee Vs. Notary Seal

When signing financial or legal documents, it is sometimes necessary to obtain a signature guarantee or a notary seal next to your signature. While both of these stamps or seals provide a guarantee that you were the person who signed the documents, signature guarantees and notary seals are not interchangeable and have several differences between them.


Signature guarantees are used for validating the signature on documents that relate to financial instruments or securities, which are types of investments. Notary seals are used to validate the identity of a person for the purpose of legal documentation.

Types of Documents

Signature guarantees are used when you wish to sell or change the name on a financial instrument or investment, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or life-insurance policies. Notary seals are used for a variety of documents like mortgages, for legal testimonies, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, affidavits or transferring the title of a vehicle from one person to another.


Signature guarantees are affiliated with one of three financial securities groups: the Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Program, Stock Exchanges Medallion Program and New York Stock Exchange Medallion Signature Program. Notaries seals are affiliated with state or county governments, depending on the state where you live.


Signature guarantees are only available at financial institutions like banks or credit unions and are performed by an authorized officer of the company. Notary seals can only be given by people who are sworn in as a notary public for their state and are found in a variety of locations like title companies and messenger services.


Signature guarantees use a self-inked stamp that typically has a special green ink that cannot be forged or reproduced, and a notary seal is traditionally an embossed or textured imprint made on a document. Increasingly, states are doing away with embossed notary seals in favor of self-inked stamps that typically use black ink.