When the U.S. Treasury stopped issuing paper bonds in January 2012, the days of stashing embroidered certificates in desk drawers and shoe boxes became a thing of the past. But there are many advantages that come with switching to an electronic savings bonds system. It saves the government money on printing and mailing paper certificates to bond investors and it eliminates the risk of the certificates being lost, stolen or damaged. The electronic savings bond system also gives investors the option to transfer savings bonds from their government accounts to individual brokerage accounts.
Investors can purchase savings bonds directly from the U.S. Treasury through its TreasuryDirect website. The government charges no commission for the bond purchases and the website eliminates the need for brokers or dealers to complete the transaction. Digital savings bonds can be purchased for any value, starting at a minimum $25.
There is a 45-day holding period on any savings bonds purchased through TreasuryDirect. Investors who wish to put the savings bonds into a brokerage account must wait 45 days before they transfer the bonds. After the holding period, you'll need the routing number for the brokerage firm where you have an account, the name on the account and the account number.
Sometimes investors will have to jump through a few extra hoops when trying to transfer savings bonds out of TreasuryDirect into a brokerage account. These are security measures. Treasury officials may ask investors to fill out a Transfer Request Form (PD F 5511 E), which must be signed in the presence of a bank official and mailed back to the Treasury for processing. The Treasury won't accept a notary public certification for this particular form.
Because of the 45-day holding period, savings bonds with a four-week (28-day) maturity are an exception. Savings bonds with a maturity of four weeks cannot be put into a brokerage account.
Tim Grant has been a journalist since 1989 and has worked for several daily newspapers, including the Charleston "Post & Courier," the "Savannah News-Press," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal," the "St. Petersburg Times" and the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette." He has covered a variety of subjects and beats, including crime, government, education, religion and business. He graduated from The Citadel with a Bachelor of Science in business administration.