Treasury Direct overview

Tuesday, February 7th, 2006
Categorized as: Treasury Direct

 

Treasury Direct overview

Treasury Direct is an online service offered by the U.S. Treasury. Both individuals and legal entities (trusts, corporations, and so on) can use it to invest in Savings Bonds and other marketable Treasury securities, such as Treasury Bills (T-Bills), Treasury Notes (T-Notes), and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS).

Money can be transferred to Treasury Direct by payroll deduction or by an automatic transfer from the bank account you specify. Likewise, you can specify a bank account to receive interest payments or redemptions.

Electronic (or book) savings bonds purchased through Treasury Direct have these differences compared to paper (or definitive) Savings Bonds.

  • You can’t lose them and are less likely to forget them
  • Your bonds are safe from fire, floods, and other disasters; you can close that safe deposit box
  • You can determine the current interest rate and current value of your bonds simply by logging in to your account
  • The Treasury transfers money out of or into the bank account you specify – no checks to get lost

Unlike paper bonds, which have fixed amounts, electronic bonds can be purchased in any amount, to the penny, from $25 to $5,000. Also, all electronic bonds are sold at face value (paper E/EE bonds are sold at half the face-value amount).

Electronic bonds can also be paritally redeemed. Each redemption must be for at least $25 and the issue month you are cashing in must have a remaining balance of at least $25. You can use this feature to withdraw interest from Series EE or Series I Savings Bonds, which gives them the current income feature that was formerly reserved to Series H & HH Savings Bonds.

How to open a new Treasury Direct account

In order to open a new Treasury Direct account for an individual, you need the following seven pieces of information. Note that there are no citizenship requirements:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Address in the United States
  • Driver’s license – or, if don’t drive, a state ID
  • Account (checking or savings) at a bank in the United States – you’ll need to know the routing numbers to your account
  • Email address
  • Web browser that supports 128-bit encryption

The process for opening a Treasury Direct account is to enter your personal information, such as name and address, as well as the information listed above. You will also select a password, a password reminder, and additional authentication information. You will also have an opportunity to read the Treasury Direct terms and conditions and privacy and legal notices.

After you submit this information, the Treasury will email the account number of your new account to you. You will need the account number and the password you selected to log in to your new account.

For legal entities, the required information includes:

  • Entity name
  • Employer Tax ID
  • IRS Name Control
  • Account (checking or savings) at a bank in the United States – you’ll need to know the routing numbers to the account
  • Entity Account Manager information:
    • Name
    • Social Security Number
    • Birth Date
    • Email Address

  • Web browser that supports 128-bit encryption

Click here to open a Treasury Direct account. There is also a Treasury Direct enroll link in the TreasuryDirect box on our home page.

How to log in to your Treasury Direct account

Once you have opened a Treasury Direct account, you can log into it from anywhere and buy new bonds, schedule future one-time or periodic purchases, and redeem the electronic bonds you own. You can buy gift bonds and transfer them to accounts belonging to others. You can set up accounts for specific purposes, such as an education or wedding fund for your kids, that are linked to your main account. And you can check up on the current interest rate and current value of your bonds, when and wherever you like.

You can have your employer make an automatic deduction from your paycheck and have it deposited into your Treasury Direct account. The funds are initially invested in a Zero-percent certificate of indebtedness. You use that to buy Savings Bonds on the schedule you choose.

Click here to log in to your Treasury Direct account. There’s also a Treasury Direct login link in the TreasuryDirect box on our home page. If you’ve forgotten your account number or password, there are links on the login page to help you recover it.

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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:

37 Comments

On February 21st, 2006 Michael Lee said:

Is it possible for a Church (a registered, non-profit organization) to open a Treasury Direct account directly on-line? Is so, what are the steps (specifically, what should submitted as the equivalent of an individual’s social security number)?

On February 21st, 2006 Tom Adams said:

As of today, TreasuryDirect only allows registrations from individuals with SSNs. Legal entities such as churches, trusts, governmental bodies, or corporations can’t hold TreasuryDirect accounts. This may change in the future, but nothing to that effect has been announced yet.

On March 10th, 2006 Charles Cerami said:

I had E and EE Bonds that were left to me after my Aunt’s death. The Bonds were in her name as well as mine.

Can these Bonds be put in This Treasury Direct account and be put in the name of my Revocable Living Trust of 3/6/2003

On March 10th, 2006 Tom Adams said:

Charles – TreasuryDirect registrations have to be in the name of a natural person with a Social Security Number, so you can’t combine TreasuryDirect and a Living Trust.

You can, however, change the registration on the paper bonds to put them in your Living Trust. It’s a bit like wearing a belt and suspenders, as Savings Bonds already provide a Living Trust-like feature with the beneficiary designation, but it can be done. Details about the form you need to do this type of registration change are in my book.

On April 5th, 2006 Felix Guzman said:

Am having difficult time trying to delete online purchases of I Bonds scheduled throughout the year. I keep getting “Error In Processing Your Request” numerous times as if Treasury Direct doesn’t want me to delete it. I’m getting the same message when I try to edit or delete my bank account. Any advice?

On April 5th, 2006 Tom Adams said:

Felix – when this kind of thing happens, use the Contact Us link inside TreasuryDirect (it’s at the upper right) to report the problem directly to the TreasuryDirect customer support team. They’ll help you out.

On April 12th, 2008 Gloria White said:

Assume a hacker steals your secret electronic data and numbers and all your money? Will the Treasury reimburse you?

On April 14th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Hi Gloria – The Treasury says it will not reimburse you, however, among online financial institutions TreasuryDirect is one of the best in terms of security.

Tom Adams

On October 14th, 2008 Rick said:

Hi Tom. My brother-in-law has expressed an interest recently in acquiring Treasury Bills. He has already purchased his limit of Series I Bonds and wants to move funds from his credit union to a safe haven.

I have never purchased these type of instruments before but I believe that these investments are as safe as U.S. Savings Bonds although they may not prove to be as profitable and the “interest” earned from these Bills could even enter negative territory. I am also aware that there are two types of bidding for these securities but I would bet that a competitive bid might prove to be somewhat neglible as per the discounted price achieved as opposed to just placing a non-competitive bid at Treasury Direct. I wouldn’t be surprised if a bank or brokerage would even charge a commission or fee for submitting a competitive bid for these securities.

Can my brother-in-law create an account at Treasury Direct with his credit union account? When the Treasury Bill matures, do the proceeds automatically transfer back to his credit union account? I suppose that if one wants to purchase a Treasury Bill at Treasury Direct, he would have to submit a request for the Bill first and his discounted price would be set after the next weekly auction.

On October 15th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Rick – T-Bills, which have maturities of a year of less, are just as safe as Savings Bonds.

Individual investors don’t participate in auctions – like everyone else but big banks, your brother-in-law would just place an order and he’d get the best price at the auction.

Assuming his credit union supports electronic money transfers, he can open a TreasuryDirect account and transfer money between it and his credit union account. He has to tell TreasuryDirect what type of T-Bill he wants to invest in and whether he wants the proceeds to automatically transfer back to his credit union or to stay in his TreasuryDirect account.

Tom Adams

On October 17th, 2008 Ted Kass said:

What happens if I have withdrawn money from an IRA and wish to open a treasury account that retains the IRA status? How do I proceed.

Thank you,

Ted

On October 20th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Ted – An IRA has to have a trustee, which is typically an investment company or a bank. You need to find a trustee who will invest your IRA funds for you in a TreasuryDirect account. The online version of TD doesn’t allow this kind of registration, but the older “legacy” TD does.

However, this is all theoretical – as a practical matter, I’ve never heard of a trustee that does this. If you find one, be sure to come back and report it here, as others are interested, too.

Tom Adams

On October 20th, 2008 Rick said:

What happens if you order a T-Bill or other Treasury security through Treasury Direct and for some reason or another, there is a hangup when it comes time for the Treasury to collect payment for the T-Bill from the banking or credit union account that you set up?

On October 21st, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Rick – You’ve stumped the expert. My guess would be that they’d cancel the transaction, but it’s just a guess – I don’t know their policy on this.

Tom Adams

On October 23rd, 2008 MICHAEL DEPOLO said:

Question.

1. I have over $300.000 in shrot term bills with Treasury Direct, is my money insured with a organization like FDIC or NCUA, not sure if the Gov will pay you back if the Gov see hard time ahead, is my money safe with T/D, will the Gov pay you back say 5 years down the road if they see hard time or do you lose everthng?

Mike D

On October 24th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Michael – It’s the U.S. Treasury that guarantees FDIC and NCUA. It’s the U.S. Treasury that holds your money. So it’s same-same.

There are no guarantees in this world, but if the U.S. government isn’t going to pay you back, who would? Seriously, where else would you invest?

Tom Adams

On October 25th, 2008 JK Standish said:

Hi,

I’m just wondering why Rick on Octobber 18 commented that his brother-in-law wanted to move money from his credit union “to a safe place”?

Credit unions are safe places. They are required to insure just like banks. As a matter of fact, they seem to be among the safest places to do business with. For one thing, they didn’t join in the subprime lending frenzy.

On November 25th, 2008 Rick said:

Tom: Don’t you think it would be wise right now that we withdrawl virtually all of our funds out of the banks and credit unions without delay and invest the money solely in government securities such as 3 month T-Bills?

On November 26th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Rick – unless you’re over the limit on FDIC insurance for your bank account, I don’t see the point. It’s the same government that’s promising to pay you back in each case.

If we get to point where the government stops honoring the FDIC insurance on your bank account, your T-Bills aren’t going to be worth anything either.

Tom Adams

On May 28th, 2009 M Sechler said:

Tom: I have a paper EE Bond that I want to use for educational expenses, but it is a larger denomination than I will actually spend for education in one year. If I convert to paperless in a Treasury Direct Account, can I redeem only part of an EE bond to meet the educational needs to avoid creating a taxable event such as may happen if all the bond is redeemed?

On May 31st, 2009 Tom Adams said:

M – yes, TreasuryDirect is a simple way to solve your problem. It’s also possible to partially redeem a paper Savings Bond (you get some cash and a smaller Savings Bond with the same issue date) but it’s a special and rare transaction that may be difficult to accomplish.

Tom Adams

On October 5th, 2009 George Bell said:

Our son was killed in an accident nearly 2 years ago……and recently we found some old documents of his and found an E savings bond for $25, that his Aunt had given him in 1977….since I was made administer of his estate, can I cash the bond or is it no good?

Thanks

On October 5th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

George – You should be able to cash the bond using this form. The instructions are part of the form, including the address where you need to send the form and the bond.

Tom Adams

On November 12th, 2009 joel schacht said:

My mother, 84, has a mix of 160 EE and HH bonds dating back to 1983. Some of the bonds show my father’s name only; he’s deceased. Most of the bonds though have both parents’ names on them.

What’s the most efficient way to rename all of the bonds to a) show my mother’s name and mine, or b) just show my mother’s name or her revocable trust (which I’m a beneficiary of?) Our goal is to remove my father’s name, simplify the burden on my mother, and somehow facilitate transfer of the bonds to me upon my mother’s demise. Also, have the rules changed so that a revocable trust can be the owner of a TD account? Thank you.

On November 12th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Joel – For the bonds that have your mother’s name on them, see this post.

For the bonds that are in your father’s name only, see this post.

You can change the registration so that you and your mother are co-owners, or you can give ownership to your mother’s trust.

Since June of this year, Treasury Direct has allowed trust registrations.

Tom Adams

On December 6th, 2009 Donald said:

Tom,

I’m a US citizen living in a foreign country. I don’t have a valid drivers license or ID card. Is there a way for me to create a Treasury Direct account?

On December 7th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Donald – I doubt it, but you could write directly to the Treasury and ask if there are any options for you.

Tom Adams

On March 14th, 2010 Vince said:

I have many paper E,EE and I bonds that I would like to transfer to a treasury direct account. Some are in my name, some in my wife’s.

1. Can I have these paper bond tranferred into the account?

2. Does Treasury Direct allow for joint accounts so we don’t have to open 2 accounts?

On March 16th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Vince – yes; here’s more info on converting paper Savings Bonds to electronic bonds in TreasuryDirect.

There are no joint accounts so you’d need to open one for each of you. However, as with any other Savings Bond, it’s possible for each TD bond to have two names on it. However, the account itself can only have one name.

Tom Adams

On March 28th, 2010 Rob said:

Can beneficiaries be changed by the EE bond owner through the Treasury Direct account?

On March 29th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Rob – if you mean electronic EE bonds in your TD account, yes. There’s more info here. If you mean paper bonds or even paper bonds converted to electronic bonds on TD, then it requires a paper form.

Tom Adams

On April 18th, 2010 Rebecca said:

We forgot about a thousand dollars worth of paper savings bonds that were purchased by relatives for our daughter when she was born (she’s 12 now).

Is it possible to convert these to treasury direct even though she doesn’t have a drivers license or state ID? Or is there a custodial process that I need to do. The bonds will be held for college.

On April 19th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Rebecca – I don’t know the answer to your question. I’ll see what I can find out. Come back in a few days for an update.

Tom Adams

On April 22nd, 2010 Jaro said:

Is there another way to partially withraw from the TD account, than transfer to my bank account? How about a VISA debit card?

On April 23rd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Jaro – No, a debit card is not an option.

However, if you checking/savings accounts at more than one bank, you can set up more than one bank account for fund transfers to/from a single TD account.

Tom Adams

On May 11th, 2010 Mary said:

If EE Savings Bonds have been cashed in would they still be showing up on the Calculator?

On May 12th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Mary – I’m not sure what you mean by the calculator. Most Savings Bond calculators have no idea what you own unless you tell them and you also have to tell them what you’ve redeemed.

The only exception to this is the display inside your TreasuryDirect account, after you log in. Anything that shows up there has not been cashed in.

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 Savings-Bond-Advisor.com. 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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