Goodbye to the Paper Savings Bond

Stocks & Bonds

Goodbye to the Paper Savings Bond

The e-version saves taxpayers money but complicates gift-giving.

The teller window is closing for buying paper savings bonds. Come January 1, your only option will be to purchase the bonds online at the Treasury Direct Web site. The Treasury Department has been moving toward an all-electronic program since December 2010, when Uncle Sam stopped selling paper bonds through payroll plans. The Treasury estimates that eliminating the paper bonds will save taxpayers approximately $70 million over the first five years.

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To buy a bond online, you need a Treasury Direct account, which is free and takes about ten minutes to open. Giving a bond to someone under 18 is more cumbersome. For now, both you and the recipient’s parent must have a Treasury Direct account, and the parent must open what is known as a minor-linked account in the child’s name. You will need the parent’s Treasury Direct account number as well as the child’s Social Security number. The Bureau of Public Debt acknowledges that all the rigamarole may lessen the appeal of a gift that’s been a favorite of grandparents for ages. “We’re looking to make it easier for our customers,” says a spokesperson.