How Much Does a Medallion Signature Guarantee Cost? Answered

Banker stamping a document with a medallion signature guarantee

Owning stocks and bonds can give your long-term financial security a real boost, but maybe you’re ready to sell some of these assets for a nice return on your investment.

To avoid pricey commissions, you can keep brokers out of the selling process. However, before making a deal with a buyer on your own, you must have a medallion signature guarantee.

Below, we explain what a medallion signature guarantee is, how to get one, and what it costs.

What Is a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

A medallion signature guarantee is an official stamped certificate that proves your identity beyond a reasonable doubt for financial transactions involving securities. Before you can safely buy, sell, or transfer bonds, stocks, and other financial assets without using a broker, you’ll need to show that you’re doing so in good faith. The medallion signature guarantee protects all parties in the transaction from fraud.

Medallion signature guarantees are separated into three different programs, and depending on which financial institution you visit, you’ll be given one type or another. Fortunately, all of them accomplish the same goal for your purposes, so it may not matter which one you end up with. Still, it helps to know the name of each certification program, in case you are asked about them by a clerk or manager.

  • Securities Transfer Agents Medallion Program (STAMP): This program is open to all professionals serving as guarantors and is widely used in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Stock Exchanges Medallion Program (SEMP): This program is widely used by financial firms associated with major stock exchanges, clearing, and trust companies.
  • New York Stock Exchange Medallion Signature Program (MSP): Used mainly for transactions associated with the New York Stock Exchange.

How Are Medallion Signature Stamps Different From Notary Signature Stamps?

Medallion signatures and notary signatures both involve the use of stamps and require the expertise of a knowledgeable professional. While some notary publics may also provide medallion services, it’s important to note that these two signatures are totally different, and require different training. Notary public services are used for all sorts of legal documents, while Medallion services are strictly focused on securities.

Professionals offering this service at financial institutions are trained and certified by stock and security exchange organizations. In addition to special certification, different types of stamps and ink are used to distinguish one from the other. Only green ink is used for medallion guarantee stamps, while legal notaries typically use black ink. Design of the stamps, ink color, and official signatures are all done a certain way to protect you, and financial companies, against fraud.

Where Can You Get a Medallion Signature Guarantee?

Banks, credit unions, and brokerage firms are the only places that provide medallion signature guarantees. The good news is that you can usually obtain one for free or for a small fee at several well-known financial institutions. The one snag you may run into is finding a location that offers this service. Additionally, you’ll need to have a current account with that bank or brokerage to take advantage of the service. If you don’t have an account with any of these institutions, consider opening one for the convenience of verifying your identity, which allows you to make an important financial transaction on your own. Keep in mind that there are no legal shortcuts or alternatives for medallion signature guarantees.

What to Bring When Getting a Medallion Signature

All owners of the financial assets involved must be present when signing documents in front of the signature guarantor. This may require you to arrange schedules to make sure everyone can be there at the same time.

You must bring the following items with you:

  • Proof of transaction value and ownership for stocks, bonds, or other assets: This may be a stock certificate or a current financial statement detailing the number of shares you own and their value.
  • Photo Identification: This must be a valid and current driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID.

You may also be required to provide:

  • Death certificate
  • Proof of certified power of attorney
  • Probate will appointment letters

How Much Does a Medallion Signature Guarantee Cost?

Despite its fancy name, you don’t need to have a bundle of money to afford this valuable signature guarantee. In fact, many financial institutions offer this medallion signature guarantees as a free service for customers. That’s right. You can get one absolutely free.

Some banks choose to charge a fee for medallion signature guarantees to cover costs arising from the complex nature of securities. These fees cover the time and effort required for personnel to process paperwork correctly and following strict financial rules and regulations. Among places that charge a fee, the average fee ranges from $10 to $50.

Places That Provide Free Medallion Signature Guarantees

Start your search by checking out these firms that provide free medallion signature guarantees. Not all local branches offer medallion signature guarantees, so you may have to call or visit one or more locations to find one that does. We obtained this information by contacting customer service representatives.

Ameriprise logo

Ameriprise Financial

Bank of the West logo

Bank of the West

Capital One logo

Capital One

Charles Schwab logo

Charles Schwab

  • Requirements: Must be an account holder
  • Where: All local offices will provide information on how you can submit required documents to the Orlando or Phoenix operation centers for processing
  • Find a Charles Schwab location

Chase Bank logo

Chase

  • Requirements: Must be an account holder
  • Where: Locations with Private Client services
  • Find a Chase location

Citibank logo

Citibank

Citizens Bank logo

Citizens Bank

Digital Credit Union logo

Digital Credit Union (Massachusetts and New Hampshire)

Dollar Bank logo

Dollar Bank (Ohio and Pennsylvania)

Edward Jones logo

Edward Jones

Fidelity Investments logo

Fidelity Investments

First Midwest Bank logo

First Midwest Bank

Key Bank logo

KeyBank

Merrill Lynch logo

Merrill Lynch

Morgan Stanley logo

Morgan Stanley

  • Requirements: Must be an account holder; you must be transferring assets into a Morgan Stanley account.
  • Where: Most locations
  • Find a Morgan Stanley location 

Navy Federal Credit Union logo

Navy Federal Credit Union

PNC Bank logo

PNC Bank

Raymond James logo

Raymond James

TD Bank logo

TD Bank

US Bank logo

U.S. Bank

Wells Fargo Advisors

Wells Fargo Financial Advisors

Places That Charge a Fee for Medallion Signature Guarantees

Some financial institutions charge a fee for medallion signatures. If you already have an account with one of these banks, paying the fee may be easier than opening a new account elsewhere. We obtained this information by contacting customer service representatives.

In-Person

Great Western Bank

Union Bank & Trust

Online

You can also get a digital medallion signature guarantee online. This option is the most expensive by far; however, you can use the online option without opening a new bank account or even leaving your house. The digital medallion signature guarantee works the same as the ones provided at physical locations; the only difference is that digital signatures replace ink ones.

Signature Guarantee Group


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