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Buying EE Bonds

Buying EE Bonds has transitioned into the electronic age by eliminating paper bonds. Learn more about buying EE Bonds online through TreasuryDirect and about annual purchase limits.

EE Bonds can be purchased as either paper or electronic bonds. Individuals can purchase savings bonds if they have a Social Security number and are a US resident (including minors), a US citizen living abroad, or a civilian employed by the United States. Entities such as trusts, partnerships, estates, corporations, associations, and fiduciaries are also able to buy paper savings bonds.

EE Bond Purchase Limits

There is a $10,000 limit per year per person (Social Security number) for electronic EE Bonds. In January 2012, the U.S. Treasury stopped issuing new paper EE Bonds. Existing paper bonds can be converted to electronic bonds through TreasuryDirect's SmartExchange feature. Bonds purchased as gifts do not count towards your individual limit. There was a $30,000 limit at one time, but the Treasury reduced the limit to $5,000 for paper and electronic bonds each in 2008 indicating the reduction would help focus the savings bond program on individuals with less money to save than others. With the decision to remove paper bonds completely, the limit for electronic bonds was raised to $10,000.

Americans invested $1.47 billion in savings bonds in fiscal 2011, down from $6.6 billion in 2001. That 78 percent drop was under way even before the government cut the maximum annual purchase to $5,000, from $30,000 [in 2008].


Paper and Electronic EE Bonds

Paper EE Bonds -Paper EE Bonds are no longer issued and must be purchased electronically. Paper EE Bonds were available in $50, $75, $100, $200, $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 denominations. Paper EE Bonds were purchased at most local banks, through mail-in-order from the U.S. Treasury, or from certain banks through online access. Paper EE bonds were bought at half the denomination of the bond (a $50 denomination EE Bond were sold for $25). If a paper savings bond is lost, stolen, or destroyed, it can be replaced by the Treasury.

As of January 1, 2012, paper EE Bonds will not be sold directly to the consumer. The Treasury phased out paper bonds in a cost-savings measure, forcing individuals to use TreasuryDirect for all direct EE Bond purchases. Paper bonds can be replaced or reissued as paper, but newly purchased bonds will be electronic. Series I Savings Bonds also fall under the new policy, with the exception of purchasing I Bonds with a tax refund.

Electronic EE Bonds - Electronic EE Bonds are available in any denomination to the penny with a minimum value of $25. Unlike paper bonds, the electronic EE Bonds mature immediately, so you do not have to hold the bond to maturity to receive the face value. Although the maturity times are different, a paper bond and electronic bond will be worth the same at all times given identical issue dates and initial purchase sizes. Electronic EE Bonds are available through the TreasuryDirect website and as part of the payroll savings plan program through TreasuryDirect. Paper bonds can be converted to electronic bonds using the SmartExchange program in TreasuryDirect.

Page last modified 1/31/2012