Like many things these days that are made of paper, paper U.S. Savings Bonds are quickly becoming obsolete. When buying bonds the traditional way through a financial institution, you will still get a paper bond you can hold in your hand. However, if you buy a bond through the U.S. Treasury website (treasurydirect.gov), your electronic bond will be held in a TreasuryDirect electronic account for you.
While you may like having a paper bond because it feels real, there are advantages to keeping your bonds in a TreasuryDirect electronic account:
Electronic bonds are safer because you don’t have to worry about them being lost, destroyed or stolen. Though paper bonds can be replaced, it can be a hassle especially if you don’t have all the bond’s information written down. With an electronic account on treasurydirect.gov it is easier to manage you bonds.
Just a few clicks and you can see how much your bonds are worth and keep track of when they are set to expire. And perhaps the best part of going electronic is that when your bond has matured and stop earning interest, you can easily cash out the bonds. Instead of going to a financial institution where you will need ID, proof of ownership and an account with the institution, you can cash out your electronic bonds in the comfort of your home through a secured online account.
Opening an Account
The U.S. Treasury has made it convenient for anyone with paper U.S. Savings Bonds to convert their bonds to electronic savings bonds through treasurydirect.gov.
First you will need to open an account if you don’t already have one.
Simply go to treasurydirect.gov during their business hours and sign up for an account. It will take a few days for them to confirm your account and provide you with an access card. This may seem like a hassle, but it is the government’s way of protecting you and your account from fraud. So it is worth the wait.
Converting Your Paper Bonds
Once you have your account set up and can access it, you will need to go to treasurydirect.gov and log in to your Individual Account using your account number and access card. (Make sure you have access to a printer.)
Click on ManageDirect in the blue access bar, then go to “How to Convert My Paper Bonds” and follow directions to create a conversion account. With your paper E, EE and I-Bonds in front of you, key in the appropriate information into your conversion account.
As long as the bonds are still earning interest and haven’t matured, you can convert them as bonds. When you convert a bond that has reached maturity, TreasuryDirect will automatically redeem it and purchase a Zero-Percent Certificate of Indebtedness in your primary account.
After entering all your bond information, just follow the instructions to create and print a manifest of your bonds, and mail your paper bonds to the Dept. of the Treasury. Once your paper bonds have been received by the U.S. Treasury, your online bonds will be active and available for you to manage. This takes about three weeks.
As long as you have your access codes, you will be able to access your account from any computer with Internet access. With your new account you can now buy new electronic bonds, manage current bonds and cash out old bonds.
As with any online accounts, be sure to keep your access information safe and secured.