As of January 1, 2012, financial institutions stopped issuing paper versions of Series EE and Series I savings bonds. While any bonds purchased after this date are stored electronically, many of us still hold bonds in paper form. Since the U.S. Treasury disabled the Savings Bond Wizard in May 2018, there are two ways to obtain information about your paper savings bonds:
- Use the Savings Bond Calculator at www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/tools/tools_savingsbondcalc.htm
- Convert your paper savings bonds to electronic savings bonds
Converting your U.S. savings bonds to an electronic format allows you to see their current rate and value, along with interest earned and the tax impact of cashing the bonds now or at maturity, which is important as you plan for retirement.
You can convert your paper bonds to electronic bonds through a program called SmartExchange. After you gather your paper bonds and sort them by registration, you can set up an account online at www.treasurydirect.gov/RS/UN-AccountCreate.do. Once you open your online account, mail your paper bonds to the U.S. Treasury. You can convert Series E, EE or I paper bonds. You cannot convert Series H or Series HH bonds, which must be redeemed through the U.S. Treasury and cannot be redeemed at your local financial institution.
There are several reasons why converting paper bonds to an electronic format is advantageous:
- You will be able to access the account 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Current values will be easily displayed.
- There is no need for safekeeping or worrying about lost, stolen or damaged bonds.
- You can change the registration of bonds; however, some bonds will require a signed owner release.
- By converting your bonds, you can revisit the registration and make any necessary changes to beneficiary designations.
- Proceeds from bond sales upon maturity can be automatically deposited into your bank account or deposited to a Zero-Percent Certificate of Indebtedness for future TreasuryDirect online purchases. Keep in mind that the bonds will be automatically redeemed upon maturity. Interest due will be reported in the year of maturity and the owner will not have discretion on when to redeem the bonds and pay tax on the accumulated interest. This can be an advantage to prompt you to reinvest the proceeds or a disadvantage if the tax consequences are unintended.
While converting bonds to an electronic format requires some extra time, the investment is worth the effort. Safely storing and managing your savings bonds is important at any stage of life, and particularly as you plan for and enter retirement.
|Description||Paper Format||Electronic Format|
|Lost, Stolen or Damaged||At Risk||Not Applicable|
|Valuing Bonds||Savings Bond Calculator||Anytime by logging in to your account|
|Minimum Purchase Series I with Tax Refund||$50||$25|
|Maximum Purchase Series I with Tax Refund||$5,000||$10,000|
|Re-Registration||Complete Form; Mail to U.S. Treasury||Can be done online, but may need a signed form to be mailed in|
|Upon Maturity||Redeem at Owner’s Discretion||Bonds Automatically Redeemed|
|Bond Purchase Options||Only HH Bonds, I Bonds with Tax Refund||All new purchases of Series EE, I|
|Redeem Savings Bonds||At Local Bank or Credit Union Except HH bonds which must be redeemed through U.S. Treasury||Redeem online anytime|