How to buy or invest in US Savings Bonds

Sunday, January 1st, 2012
Categorized as: Buying US Savings Bonds

You can invest in Savings Bonds two ways.

The primary way to buy a US Savings Bond is to invest electronically using an online account at TreasuryDirect. You can find out more about buying Savings Bonds this way in my post, TreasuryDirect overview.

Your can also use IRS Form 1040 to designate that some or all of a tax refund be invested in paper I bonds, which will be mailed to you.

As of today (Jan 1, 2012) you can no longer invest in paper Savings Bonds at a bank, however, you still need a certified signature from a bank for other transactions, such as changing the registration or redemption, involving paper savings bonds that you received in the past. Alternatively, you can convert your existing paper Savings Bonds to electronic bonds at TreasuryDirect.

There are several other posts here that would be of interest to people making their initial Savings Bond investment, including:

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FDIC Insured Certificates of Deposit can pay 1 or 2% more than savings bonds when held for a similar length of time. See top CD Rates Below:


On April 21st, 2008 Ted Hughes said:

We live in England & need to know if there is a tax-free Savings Bond for children in the US as there is in the UK. If so how would we purchase for out grandchild in California?
Many thanks,
Ted Hughes

On April 22nd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Ted – No, there isn’t a tax-free Savings Bond. Moreover, you have to have a US Social Security Number to purchase a US Savings Bond (although you don’t need one to be an owner; non-US citizens become owners of Savings Bonds through inheritance and gifting).

Tom Adams

On April 28th, 2008 Steve Santer said:

Hi: What banks sell i-bonds? Tried 3 banks. All say no. Thank you

On April 29th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Steve – in most states, most banks handle Savings Bonds. Your problem may be the words you’re using. Ask if they handle “US Savings Bond” transactions. The tellers may not know what an “I-bond” is.

If you’re in one of the states where most banks don’t handle Savings Bonds, you just have to call around; there’s no list anywhere. Other financial institutions, such as credit unions and savings associations, also often handle Savings Bond transactions.

Tom Adams

On September 19th, 2008 Troy Smith said:

Why are you showing an Obama ad and not a John Mcain ad? This should be a non-biased website

On September 22nd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Troy – I’m showing the Obama ad because I support his candidacy.

There are a number of reasons why, but today’s reason is that Obama gets most of his money from small potatoes supporters like me rather than lobbies.

Why is it bias for me to have a political viewpoint?

Tom Adams

On June 16th, 2009 Chirag Patel said:

Hi I want to know best tax saving bond. Investment period is 1 year and should expect more interest than bank account.


On June 18th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Chirag – This site is about U.S. Savings Bonds. “Tax Savings Bonds” are offered in other countries, but I don’t know anything about them. There are no U.S. Savings Bonds that can currently compete with bank interest on a one-year basis.

Tom Adams

On March 29th, 2010 Art Reed said:

A few days ago I attempted to purchase a $100 ($50 cash) series EE bond for my niece’s birthday. I was in a Harris bank (where my checking account is). I was paying cash ($50) the cashier would not “sell” me this bond unless I presented her with a state (Illinois) issued ID/Drivers licence with my photo. I refused, she conferred with the cashier at the next station, who agreed with her. I left and went to Northern Trust Bank and purchased bond with absolutely no restrictions. Yes, the application was completely filled out.

On April 26th, 2010 Rick said:

Tom: If a married couple decides to purchase ten $1,000 Series I Bonds before the end of April 2010, what is the best way for them to do so? Should they just be co-owners of those ten bonds or should each of them purchase half in his name and the other half in her name? Moreover, their daughter will be attending college in the fall so I’m sure that they are eyeing the education tax exclusion too.

On April 27th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Rick – since there is a $5,000 annual limit per Social Security Number, they will have to buy half in his name and half in her name. They can make each other co-owners.

The bonds can’t be cashed for a year, so if they want to use this money for their daughter in the fall I bonds may not be the best investment for them.

Tom Adams

On April 27th, 2010 Rick said:

Tom: Thanks for the advice. Would it make any difference if the husband purchased the first five $1,000 I Bonds in his name while selecting his wife as the beneficiary (instead as co-owner)—and vice versa? As far as the couple’s daughter, I think that they are aware that the bonds can’t be redeemed for one year. I believe that they may cash those bonds in before next year’s fall semester.

On April 28th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Rick – whether the second person named is beneficiary or co-owner makes no difference in terms of the purchase limits.

However, a co-owner designation would allow either one of them to cash the bonds, while a beneficiary designation would not.

Tom Adams

Comments Closed

June 1, 2010

After six years, over 400 posts, 3,680 real comments, and over 90,000 spam comments (thank you, Akismet, for making managing a blog with comments possible), I am closing public comments on I will contine to update the main articles on this site, but not the comments.

Virtually every question about Savings Bonds has been asked and answered on this site multiple times. Use the search feature (see the box in the gray area near the top of this page) or the detailed menu on the lower part of the home page to find the information you're looking for. If you have a copy of Savings Bond Advisor, you can ask me a question here.

Tom Adams

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