How to Cash in Savings Bonds

You can not cash in savings bonds that are less than one year old.  After holding a savings bond for 1 year you can cash it in at anytime, however there are some additional factors to consider.  Here is a video overview of how to cash in savings bonds, the text version of which is below the video.

Open an account with Treasury Direct

How to convert paper savings bonds into electronic bonds

  • When cashing in savings bonds within the first five years of purchase, you will have to forgo the previous 3 months interest payments.
  • U.S. Savings Bonds fully mature in 30 years, meaning they stop earning interest at that point.
  • You can cash in savings bonds at anytime after the 30 year maturity date, but you do not earn any additional interest when holding for longer than 30 years.

Who can cash in savings bonds?

In order to cash in a savings bond you must be the owner, co-owner or have power of attorney over the owner or co-owner.  If you are the legal guardian of either that is also sufficient.  If the owner of the bond has died, then the bond goes to the beneficiary listed when the bond was purchased.  If there is not a beneficiary listed, the bond passes to the estate of the deceased owner.  The primary owner and co-owner listed have equal rights over the bond, meaning the co-owner can redeem the savings bond without the owner’s consent and vice-versa.  Be sure to take careful consideration over whom you list as the co-owner!

How do you cash in a savings bond?

There are two ways that you can cash in a savings bond, electronically through TreasuryDirect or through a participating local bank. However, it’s unclear how many banks will provide savings bond redemption services now that the government has stopped selling paper savings bonds.  You can convert  paper I and EE/E bonds into electronic bonds through the Treasury’s SmartExchange program. The first step to using this program is opening a account with Treasury Direct, which you can do here.

To help you with that process there is a list of detailed Instructions on how to convert paper savings bonds to electronic bonds here.  When using Treasurydirect, you can cash in an unlimited number of savings bonds for an unlimited amount of money. The funds will arrive in your checking or savings account within one business day of making the request. When you cash in savings bonds with a bank, the maximum cash amount that you can immediately receive is $1,000.

1099-INT Form

When you cashing in a savings bond, you will be issued a 1099-INT form on any interest earned.  Make sure you file your form with your taxes, the government already has a copy and if you do not file this form the IRS will withhold your federal return.  That being said double taxation of savings bond income happens quite often.  If you elected to report the interest income each year, the 1099-INT will not be reduced by the amount of interest income that was reported in previous years.  It is your responsibility to keep track of this information and properly file your return.

This lesson is part of our Free Guide to Buying Savings Bonds.  You can find more free guides here.
  Want to learn how to generate more income from your portfolio so you can live better?  Get our free guide to income investing here.

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Comments

  1. Len in Silver Spring says

    Please note that the following statement is true only with respect to paper savings bonds:

    “The primary owner and co-owner listed have equal rights over the bond, meaning the co-owner can redeem the savings bond without the owner’s consent and vice-versa.”

    With electronic savings bonds, the “secondary owner” (no longer designated as “co-owner”) cannot redeem the bond while the “primary owner” is alive; the secondary owner must wait for the death of the primary owner before he/she can redeem bond.

  2. doris straley says

    primary owner,co-owner {my husband and mother-in -law respectively} are deceased. I have pod over my husband`s affairs. How do I redeem these bonds? Bonds are from June and July of 1964. My mother-in-law has been dead for 20 years,my husband died June 7,2012 HELP

  3. Rikki says

    My ex’s mother had given my son savings bonds. The bonds are in her name with my ex’s name too. I am the soul guardian of my son. Will I be able to cash in the bonds or does my ex?

  4. David Waring says

    Hi Rikki,

    Unless your son is listed as a co owner on the bonds then you will not be able to cash them in, either your ex’s mother or your ex will have to do it. Hope that helps.

    Best Regards,
    Dave

  5. dina says

    My mother has bought bonds for my daughter a few times a year.She is now 18.After my father died,shes been getting into her bonds.She is the main person on the account,until my daughter turns 18,I think.My daughter wants to know how she can get them,or where do we start?Thank u

    • David Waring says

      Hi Douglas thanks for the comment. If I am understanding correctly your mother is cashing in the bonds that were meant for your daughter. If thats the case then unfortunately I am not exactly sure how you would deal with that. I recommend contacting savingsbonds.com however whose speciality is dealing with situation such as this. Sorry I culd not be of more help on this one. Best Regards, Dave

  6. Kay says

    I am the co-owner of (2) EE Savings bonds, I do not have the original bonds but have photo copies of them & would like to cash them in. What steps do I need to take to do this? Thanks for your help.

    • David Waring says

      Hi Kay, If you goto treasuryhunt.gov you can find the bonds and they will tell you how to redeem them using Treasurydirect.gov. Hope that helps! Best Regards, Dave

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