Converting Paper U.S. Savings Bonds to Electronic Format - Rodgers & Associates

Converting Paper U.S. Savings Bonds to Electronic Format

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:

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​.treasury​direct​.gov/​R​S​/​U​N​-​A​c​c​o​u​n​t​C​r​e​ 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.

DescriptionPaper FormatElectronic Format
Lost, Stolen or DamagedAt RiskNot Applicable
Valuing BondsSavings Bond CalculatorAnytime 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-RegistrationComplete Form; Mail to U.S. TreasuryCan be done online, but may need a signed form to be mailed in
Upon MaturityRedeem at Owner’s DiscretionBonds Automat­i­cally Redeemed
Bond Purchase OptionsOnly HH Bonds, I Bonds with Tax RefundAll new purchases of Series EE, I
Redeem Savings BondsAt Local Bank or Credit Union Except HH bonds which must be redeemed through U.S. TreasuryRedeem online anytime