Tracking the U.S. savings bonds

older series of savings bonds cannot be redeemed directly at the bank

Savings Bond

The family was looking to calculate the value of some United States Savings Bonds we’ve unearthed. I have about 30 of them, $100 Series EE, from the mid-1990s. I went to the TreasuryDirect site, Calculate the Value of Your Paper Savings Bond(s). The earliest one is gaining interest at a robust 4%, the last one at a paltry 1.08%.

When I leafed through them recently, I noticed that I was missing one! I could tell because I was buying them every eight weeks but there was a gap in the summer of 1995. Fortunately, I can send info to the Treasury Department and get an electronic replacement. Savings bonds these days are only issued in an electronic version of either bond, also trackable at TreasuryDirect.

Here’s a useful feature on the website. You can create a list of your paper bonds. BUT “if you’re using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your browser, the Calculator won’t save your inventory.” Nope. You can use Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape Navigator or Communicator, MSN Explorer, Opera, or Safari. Now I have used IE and Netscape. To my surprise, I DO have Firefox on my current computer, though I don’t recall actually using it.

As a librarian, I had often discovered that there are some obscure state and federal websites that simply don’t use certain popular browsers. Some note this right on-site — and some DON’T. About a decade ago, I realized that if I wanted to download a file from a certain Census page, IE was the only way to go.

Series EE, Series I… 

This FORBES article explains the different types of U.S. Savings Bonds. Bankrate notes that “in general, holding any savings bond beyond 30 years is essentially pointless as this is when bonds stop earning interest. So if this is your situation, it’s time to cash in that bond.

Forbes: “If you have a paper savings bond, you can often redeem this bond at a local bank or credit union. According to the Treasury Department, more than 95% of savings bonds are cashed at local banks and credit unions.

“But some older series of savings bonds cannot be redeemed directly at the bank or credit union. In that case, you will need to fill out a special form FS Form 1522, and send the bond to the Treasury Department’s Treasury Retail Security Services team with a certified signature and direct deposit instructions.

“Even if your bank or credit union cannot cash an older bond for you, or if you have special circumstances like needing to redeem a bond that was inherited as part of a deceased person’s estate, the bank will typically be able to help you understand the process for redeeming the bond and can certify your signature on the Treasury form. So, when in doubt, start by going to the bank.”