Is face value as good as it gets?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005
Categorized as: Current value of a US Savings Bond

Can a savings bond ever be worth more than its face value?

Tom’s response

Yes they can. Savings Bonds held until they stop earning interest have been worth as much as nine times the original investment, although three to five times is more typical.

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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 16th, 2009 andre p said:

I recieved a bond for my daughter and it looks like the printed type. She was born 2 weeks ago and the bond say gift certicificate. Are these bonds able to be cahed immediately or is a note saying that the bond has been purchased? When can we cash it?

On April 17th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Andre – A Savings Bond gift certificate is just a notification that the person you received it from has purchased a Savings Bond for your child. It’s not worth anything.

However, assuming the giver gave your address when the bond was purchased, you should receive the actual bond in the mail within three weeks. If it doesn’t arrive, you should notify the person who gave you the gift that it hasn’t arrived.

You have to hold the bond for a year before you can cash it. If it’s a Series EE bond, the person who gave you the bond paid half of the face value for it. If you cash it a year from now that’s the amount you’ll get, plus a bit of interest, not the value printed on the bond. If it’s a Series I bond, you’ll get the full face value, which is what the giver paid for it.

Tom Adams

On May 17th, 2009 Sally Jones said:

When will Andre’s savings bond be worth the certificate value?

On May 18th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Sally – It depends on which series they’re in. Series EE bonds will be worth their face value in 20 years. Series I bonds are worth their face value now. However, in both cases, the bond has to be a year old before the owner can cash it.

Tom Adams

On May 20th, 2009 Christine said:

My kids have bonds, mostly EE — they have received them over the years since 1987 for one child and 1990 for the other. When is a good time to cash these in? Could I do it now, for use of college expenses?

On May 21st, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Christine – you should cash the bonds when you need the money. Children’s Savings Bonds are often used for college expenses. There’s more information on cashing Savings Bonds here.

Tom Adams

On June 15th, 2009 Scott said:

Am I reading it right that current I Bonds pay zero perent. I could buy one today hold it for 20 years and it would be worth exactly what I paid for it with no interest ?

On June 18th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Scott – the zero percent rate is just for the first six months. After that the rate will be higher. You can learn how Series I interest rates work here.

Tom Adams

On September 1st, 2009 Elizabeth said:

I have four $50.00 Series EE savings bonds – purchase dates are 12/1988, 12/1989, 12/1990 & 6/1994. When each bond reaches its 30th year how much will it be worth?

On September 2nd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Elizabeth – it’s impossible to give you an exact number because the rates could change. But they should be worth $85 to $100 each when they stop earning interest.

The bonds from the 1980s should do a bit better than the ones from the 1990s. And remember that each bond represents an investment of $25, so you’ll be getting back 3.5 to 4 times that.

Tom Adams

On September 16th, 2009 bob said:

My daughter has 10-$100 EE bonds from 2000 & 2001. What would make more interest? To keep them for 2 more years (she’ll be 18 then) or cash them in now and put them in a general savings account?

On September 17th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Bob – I don’t know about your bank, but mine is paying nearly nothing (0.60% to 0.85%). The Savings Bonds are paying twice that.

But even if it was the other way around, the difference in dollars over two years wouldn’t cover your gas and time to go to the bank to make the transfer.

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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