Check For Unredeemed, Matured Government Bonds

A PR person just contacted us on behalf of the U.S. Treasury Department to point out that there are $16 billion in unredeemed bonds that are no longer earning interest. “Specifically, there are 40 million Series E savings bonds purchased between 1941 and 1978 that are over 30 years old and therefore have fully matured. They can be cashed out today for at least four times their face value.”

The U.S. Treasury Department has a site called TreasuryDirect where you can enter a person’s SSN and see if there’s any record of unredeemed bonds issued since 1974 under that name.

If you don’t want to go that route, check out this page for deatils on when each series matured.

TreasuryDirect [U.S. Treasury Department]
(Photo: tao_zyhn)

Comments

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  1. Inail says:

    Wow! Thanks for posting this. I’ll bet anything it’s an old birthday present.

    Your Search on:

    SSN/EIN: xxxxxxxxxxx
    Has found possible matches in following area(s):

    Savings bond(s) no longer earning interest

    To assist you with the search, we need you to fill out the contact information below, and c

  2. NightSteel says:

    I redeemed an E or EE bond (forget which) the day of its final maturity late last year. Almost $110 for a $20 bond that I got as a gift when I was born in ’78. Was pretty cool, and it gave me something to chat with the teller about. If you’ve got old bonds lying around, dig them up!

  3. Laura Northrup says:

    I dug up some bonds from when I was born, First Communion, etc, last year when I lost my job. My parents were moving and happened to find them. They had at least doubled their face value.

  4. Radi0logy says:

    Normally I’m not a fan of giving “money” gifts, but these would be pretty cool to get I think.

    • b.k. says:

      @Radi0logy: I got one every year on my birthday from my Grandfather. The first one fully matures this year and I’m still debating whether I want to cash it in or not. I suppose I will if I really desperately need the money, but it’s sentimental value for me is pretty great.

  5. Tiber says:

    I could’ve sworn my Grandma gave me a bond as a birthday present one year that I forgot about, but this didn’t turn anything up. Oh well.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      @Tiber: If you didn’t have your own SSN yet, it may have been issued under hers or your parents’. If you were born before 1987, you probably didn’t have an SSN until you were much older, or until 1987.

  6. Kamidari says:

    I have a bond from when I was born… I keep it for sentimental reasons, and it’s not like the interest on $100 is going to make or break me. Sadly, I’m too old to even look it up in their system. ;)

    • Kamidari says:

      @Kamidari: Although typing that made me think… Do you actually surrender the piece of paper when you redeem it? If not, I suppose there’s no reason not to.

    • H3ion says:

      @Kamidari: I had one with Disney characters on it from when I was born (it was a war bond if that tells you anything). I still have it. They paid it off but I kept the piece of paper.

  7. cmdrsass says:

    My wife received a small bond when she was born. It reached maturity just before the birth of our first child, so we used the money to buy a crib. When we told the relative who bought the bond 30 years ago she was thrilled.

  8. morlo says:

    Why is the Treasury Department trying to lose more money?

    • Mr_Human says:

      @morlo: But this money’s never come into play in a budgetary sense, so they’re not “losing” it as such.

    • azntg says:

      @morlo: Perhaps it might sound counterintuitive, but it could just be that the Treasury Department is trying to save money.

      See, if people redeem old bonds, that’s one less piece of accounting that the government has to worry about. (I don’t think we’re at the point where the federal government will start confiscating funds from bonds and where the vast majority of the state governments confiscating funds from escheatment.)

    • S-the-K says:

      @morlo: The people replying don’t know what they are talking about.

      That’s $16 billion in Federal debt that the taxpayers don’t have to pay for. And since they are not accruing interest, it is not increasing the Federal debt.

      If all those people redeemed their bonds, that’s $16 billion that the Federal gov’t will have to pay out, either using tax revenue or (more likely) issuing more interest-accruing bonds thus making things worse.

      As for the cost of maintaining the bonds, it would depend if the records are still in paper format in a filing cabinet or imaged onto microfiche or into a computer database somewhere. The cost of the latter is just the maintenance of the server storing the database.

  9. TechnoDestructo says:

    So how do you go about redeeming a bond?

    I’ve got a 50 dollar savings bond from 1978 or 1979 I’ve been meaning to do something about.

    On the one hand the physical document is kind of a keepsake from my recently deceased grandmother…on the other hand, a new savings bond actually accruing interest kind of would be, too.

    • calquist says:

      @TechnoDestructo: If I spent money on a bond for someone, I think I would be kinda pissed that they never cashed it in. If I wanted to give you a keepsake, I would have spent $0.75 on a greeting card. Cash that sucka in and buy a photo frame to remember her by and then use the money to make you happy in some way.. that is what Grandma intended it for in the first place :)

      • b.k. says:

        @calquist: True. My brother cashed all his in to help pay for college, and I’m sure my grandfather would have loved that (especially since they ended up in the same line of work.) The other 17 bonds that I have I don’t hesitate cashing in, but the one my grandfather bought for me the day after I was born is pretty cool. If there was a way to cash that in but redeem the piece of paper — even if it meant stamping “VOID” on the back or something — it would mean a lot to me.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @TechnoDestructo: lol on that dig at the end.

      you can redeem I/E/EE bonds at most banks/credit unions (only if you have an account there), or absent of that, your conveniently located FRB savings bond processing site. & by convenient, i mean there’s 4 that serve all of the united states. H/HH bonds must be forwarded to the FRB to be cashed.

      • oblivious87 says:

        @mac-phisto: I cashed in some bonds about a month ago and my bank didn’t take them, so I went to another to see if I could just open a checking account, cash the bonds, and be done with it and they didn’t even force me to have an account with them.

        Just call your local banks and see who will cash them if your bank doesn’t.

  10. Powerlurker says:

    Man, I have a big pile of savings bonds lying around thanks to a payroll deduction program at my mom’s employer. Figuring out the annual interest for that many bonds to pay the taxes on an accrual basis is a major pain.

    • mtaylor924 says:

      @Powerlurker: I thought savings bonds were tax-deferred, meaning you don’t pay tax on the accrued interest (above face value) until the year you cash them in.

      • Powerlurker says:

        @mtaylor924:

        You can, or you can choose to pay them on an accrual basis. However, if you pay taxes on an accrual basis, you can’t claim the tax benefits when paying for higher education. Since by the time I went to college my parents made too much money to qualify for the tax exemption, it made more sense to pay the taxes on an accrual basis since, as an unemployed minor, I didn’t have much other taxable income. And once you start paying the taxes on an accrual basis, you can’t stop.

  11. H3ion says:

    The government of Nigeria wishes to redeem your savings bonds and pay you triple the face value. Please contact our banking administrator at the following number…

    • FLEB says:

      @H3ion: Oh, please… what a scam. I’d send mine to someone legitimate, like Cash4Bonds.com. The appraisal’s even free!

  12. theblackdog says:

    What’s really convenient now is the feds are issuing bonds electronically so you don’t necessarily have to keep a piece of paper anymore. In fact, if you get an account on TreasuryDirect, you can actually convert your paper bonds to electronic ones. Then when you need money, you just cash them in on the website and it’s direct deposited to your checking account.

    BTW, the security to login is insane, but I’ll assume it works ;-)

  13. BPD_pro says:

    @TechnoDestructo: On behalf of the Bureau, we wanted to thank you for your interest and comment about redeeming bonds that are no longer gaining interest.

    Once the value of the bond has been determined by using our bond calculator: http://www.treasurydirect.gov, you can cash your bonds and savings notes at most local financial institutions. When you present the bond(s), you’ll be asked to establish your identity. You can do this by presenting a valid ID, such as a driver’s license, or being a customer with an active account open for at least 6 months at the financial institution that will be paying the bonds.

  14. BPD_pro says:

    On behalf of the Bureau, we wanted to thank you for your interest and comment about redeeming bonds that are no longer gaining interest. We wanted to respond to your comment directly. Although Treasury Hunt only has bonds searchable from 1974 on, if you have a bond that was issued before that year, you can write a letter with as much information you have on the bonds, including the registration information (names[s]) and address and approximate issues date[s]) to:

    Bureau of the Public Debt
    P.O. Box 7012
    Parkersburg, WV 26106-7012

    If bonds records are found, the Bureau will provide you with information on how to claim the redemption value.

    • Kamidari says:

      @BPD_pro: Thanks for the info! Do I need to do that to establish the value before taking it to my bank, or can they look it up themselves if I just bring it on in?

  15. wcnghj says:

    Nice!!