Treasury Announces The End Of Paper Savings Bonds

It’s the end of an era. In an effort to save cash and cut down on waste, the Dept. of the Treasury announced earlier this week that paper savings bonds will be a thing of past starting January 1.

The sale of paper bonds through payroll plans already ended at the end of 2010, so this announcement eliminates the remaining over-the-counter sale of bonds at financial institutions.

According to the Bureau of the Public Debt, eliminating paper savings bonds will save taxpayers around $70 million over the course of the first five years.

Though you won’t be able to hold them in your hand or collect them in an envelope at the bottom of your sock drawer, the Treasury will continue selling savings bonds through its TreasuryDirect.gov website.

“It’s time for us to take a 1935 model and make it a 21st century investment tool,” said Public Debt Commissioner Van Zeck. “Investors will no longer have to worry about misplacing, losing or storing paper savings bonds.”

Yes, but what about people who want to give savings bonds as gifts? You can no longer just purchase a paper bond with your nephew’s name on it. You have to put the bond in an online “gift box” that the recipient can open when they turn 18 (and open their own TreasuryDirect account). Or the minor’s parents can open their own account and create a custodial account.

“It’s complicated,” a rep for the Dept. admits to the NY Times.

Treasury to End Over-the-Counter Sales of Paper U.S. Savings Bonds; Action will save $70 million over first five years [TreasuryDirect via NY Times]