How to Obtain a Stock Certificate

by dicky cheungcorp ; Updated July 27, 2017
A physical stock certificate proves your ownership of the company

According to Investopedia, a stock certificate is "the physical piece of paper representing ownership in a company". A stock certificate will contain information about your company's name, your name and the number of shares you own. There is also a signature acting as a seal of authenticity. Before the age of online brokers, stock certificates are the only way of proving stock ownership. Today you do not need a stock certificate to prove that you own a part of a certain company; most people use stock certificates as souvenirs or collectibles. If you opt for a physical stock certificate, there are ways you can use to get one. (see Reference 3)

Step 1

Ask your broker to get the stock certificate on your behalf. This is the easiest way to get a stock certificate. No matter what type of broker you have an account with, online broker or full-service broker, you will be able to request a physical stock certificate at an additional fee. Check with your broker for details about the process as well as the fee you will have to pay. (see Reference 1 &3)

Step 2

Contact the company which you own shares directly. If you purchase the stocks directly from the company that issues the shares then you can contact them for a physical stock certificate. If you cannot locate or contact the company directly, you may visit its state of incorporation for information. (see Reference 1 &3)

Step 3

Order the stock certificate through a transfer agent. Most companies that issue shares to the public have a transfer agent which will handle the company's securities. You can find the name of the company's transfer agent in the company's annual report. Transfer agents perform three main tasks: issue and cancel stock certificates, act as an intermediary for the company and handle lost, destroyed or stolen stock certificates. You can visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to get annual reports of any company that is listed on the stock exchange. (see Reference 1 &2 &3 and Resource 1)

Tips

  • You can use stock certificates as a funding method when you open a new brokerage account. Most brokers accept stock certificates as a way of funding. You will have to mail in your certificates to the company address and wait a few days for the stocks to be added to your trading account. The name on the stock certificates you send in must match the name on your trading account. (see Reference 4)

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