How to convert paper Savings Bonds to electronic bonds at TreasuryDirect

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005
Categorized as: Treasury Direct

When will we be able to convert paper bonds to electronic?

Tom’s response

TreasuryDirect has this capability now, but it hasn’t been activated for all TreasuryDirect accounts. If you’re interested, log on to your TreasuryDirect account and use the Contact Us button at the upper-right to send TD a message.

Tell them you’d like to have the conversion feature activated for your account. They’ll take care of it and let you know when the feature is ready.

If you’d like to have some idea how the conversion process works, my Savings Bond Alert #10 has a good description of the process for converting paper savings bonds to electronic bonds at Treasury Direct.

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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 September 30th, 2006 baselle said:

I’ve done this twice – I inherited 2 savings bonds from my grandfather. Got the conversion feature in my account in a day, filled out my forms and made my manifest. All told it took about 3 weeks from mailing to seeing the bonds in my account. TD’s tracking feature didn’t track – that was the only fault I had with the whole thing.

On March 10th, 2008 Jim said:

I have purchased 5k of I-bonds through Treasury Direct in 2008. If I also purchase 5k of paper I-bonds this year, may I convert these to electronic form?

On March 10th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Jim – yes, you can do that. Weird, eh?

Tom Adams

On July 30th, 2008 Irish said:

I would note that one cannot purchase $5,000 of a given bond type (I, EE) via Treasury Direct and then convert paper bonds of the same type purchased in the same year to electronic via TD. I was just denied the conversion of $1,000 worth of paper I bonds (purchased in 2008) by TD because I had already purchased $5,000 worth of electronic I bonds via TD in 2008. Even though I had correctly completed the manifest online and mailed my paper bonds to TD per the conversion process, they were returned to me with the explanation that converting the paper bonds to electronic would put me over the annual $5,000 electronic limit. I could wait until 2009 to convert, but they would count against my 2009 electronic limit. Seems like TD has tightened up and are now counting paper conversions purchased in a given year against that year’s $5,000 electronic limit. I suppose they are trying to prevent people from buying paper and then converting those to electronic and then buying more paper in order to circumvent the overall $5K + $5K = $10K limit. So, the result is I’ll just have to hold the paper bonds and wait to convert them in a year I’m not hitting the $5K electronic limit.

On July 31st, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Irish – Have you ever worked in a large organization? You know how sometimes the boss wants things to work one way and the employees refuse to do it that way? That’s what’s going on here. There’s a client services group at TreasuryDirect that keeps refusing conversions like this, even though the folks higher up say they should do them.

Tom Adams

On January 3rd, 2009 Eddy said:

The above post by “Irish” caught my attention:

” …Even though I had correctly completed the manifest online and mailed my paper bonds to TD per the conversion process, they were returned to me ….”

I’ve done the SmartExchange steps in the past with a Treasury Direct linked account with no problems. This seems like a serious error in TD policy if you can create a “Manifest”, …. and then it’s tossed back to you. This conversion issue with Uncle Sam’s software, …. and client services group, … seems un-productive & messy.

Oh Well, I’ll just do what “Irish” is doing, …. wait for a year when the $5K limit is OK to do the Smart Exchange.

On January 5th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Eddy – Read my response to Irish: this isn’t official policy and the renegade client services group may have learned that by now.

Tom Adams

On January 19th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mark reports on Jan 16, 2009 in a comment on this post that the TD client services group is still refusing to do a conversion in this situation.

Tom Adams

On August 25th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Robi reports in an August 24, 2009 comment that the Treasury no longer is requiring paper bonds to be held a year before conversion.

Tom Adams

On August 27th, 2009 Mike said:

The saga continues:

Response on 8/26/09 to my question on this from TreasuryDirect –

If the paper bonds were not purchased in the same calendar year as the electronic bonds they can be converted.

I responded that I knew that and I was asking about paper bonds purchased the same year.

Email on 8/27/09 to me from TreasuryDirect –

You would need to wait one year to convert the paper bonds or this would create an excess.

On November 3rd, 2009 Mike said:

Any new reports or info on TreasuryDirect limiting conversion of paper bonds in the same year as a TreasuryDirect purchase?

On November 3rd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mike – There haven’t been any comments on this issue since August, when Robi reported the Treasury converted his and you reported the Treasury told you they wouldn’t convert yours.

The Treasury’s press office has insisted all along that same-year conversions were ok; maybe that message has gotten to the processing staff by now.

Tom Adams

On December 19th, 2009 Ed said:

Thanks Tom for all your useful US Savings Bond information.
I have been an active fan of the “Smart Exchange” bond conversion option.
The paper-bond to electronic-bond conversion seems secure &
is great for people like me who misplace things ….(eg: where’s the car, where’s the TV remote, … etc.),
& redemption is a few mouse clicks.
Anyways, …. I noticed Uncle Sam’s “Smart Exchange” is not very popular.
Assuming that worldwide Bond Conversion Manifest Numbers are sequential,
you would think they would be in the millions by now.
That is not the case.
Here’s my Conversion Manifest Number History:
…. 0295xx …. Sept 2006
…. 0793xx …. June 2008
…. 0952xx …. Jan 2009
…. 1183xx …. Dec 2009 ..,, ( That’s today ! .. Only 118+ Thousand Conversions in 5+ years )
OK, this seems as an insight into the Savings Bond – Treasury Direct relationship.
Question: Why is the no-brainer Smart Exchange Conversion program an unpopular flop ? ? ? ?

On December 21st, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Ed – thanks for the numbers. Very interesting. I found the article I wrote in 2004 on paper to electronic conversions and it says that at that time there were only 250,000 TreasuryDirect accounts. I don’t remember where I got that or I’d look up how many there are now. But as a percentage of TD accounts these numbers may not look so bad.

Which would change the question to why more people don’t use TD…

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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