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Notary Journal Entries And Efficiency Stamps

efficiency-stamps-resized.jpgA detailed Notary journal helps protect you from claims of negligence and potential lawsuits. But, journal entries are one of the most time-consuming parts of any notarization because of the amount of information that must be recorded.

Some journal entries Notaries make are the same for each notarization they perform. Depending on the nature of a Notary’s business or employment, examples of repetitive entries might be the type of notarial act, name of signer, location, document title or fees charged.

For example, writing the date or “acknowledgment” in dozens of journal entries a day can become tedious and even painful. One way to eliminate this is to use “efficiency stamps” — rubber stamps with pre-printed wording that can be used to record often-repetitive words in your journal.

Efficiency stamps will save you time, make you more effective and help you keep a neater journal. 

Types Of Efficiency Stamps

Some efficiency stamps have inscriptions such as acknowledgment or jurat. An adjustable-date efficiency stamp can be used in a journal entry as well.

Customized stamps can be manufactured with the name of a specific person for whom you regularly notarize (a boss or supervisor, for example) , a specific address where you typically perform notarizations, and information related to the identification of repeat signers.

Care should be used if you decide to use a stamp that contains the identification information for a regular signer. For example, in Texas, efficiency stamps indicating the type of ID (e.g., Texas driver’s license or U.S. passport) and omitting the signer’s ID number can be used.

As with all notarizations, if you use an efficiency stamp with the type of ID the signer still must present you with that ID for every notarization.

Restrictions On Stamps

No state prohibits the use of efficiency stamps. However, as with hand-written entries, there are some restrictions regarding the type of information that can be entered. 

Rubber stamps that simulate a thumbprint impression cannot be used in journal entries.

The NNA Hotline often gets calls asking it is acceptable to use adhesive labels with required journal information. We do not recommend this practice because the adhesive used on labels will often dry-out.  As a result, the labels simply roll up and fall off the page. 

You may wish to use shortcuts in your journals. These include abbreviations, ditto marks or a signature written on a diagonal line spanning multiple entries. States have different rules on the use of these shortcuts. For example, California and Hawaii do not allow journal shortcuts. 

In Texas, when you perform multiple notarizations for the same signer within a single document, you may abbreviate the entry of those notarizations in the journal; however, you must make a separate entry for each type of notarial act.

In Montana, the Secretary of State has said: “…in some situations, more than one document signed by the same person may be grouped in one entry.” However, the Secretary of States does not specify what those situations are. 

If you are a Notary in states that do not require Notaries to maintain a journal, you should make a full and complete journal entry for the first notarization you perform for a signer on the same date and then you may use shortcuts for any additional entries.

If you are using the NNA’s Official Journal of Notarial Acts and the number of entries requires you start a new page in your journal, make sure to make a full entry on line 1 of the page before utilizing any shortcuts for making the remaining entries.

If you have questions about Notary journal requirements in your state, you can call the NNA Hotline for further guidance.

John Jacobson is a Notary Consultant with the Information Services team at the National Notary Association and regularly answers questions from Notaries on the NNA Hotline.