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SmartExchange FAQs

What is the SmartExchange conversion feature within TreasuryDirect?

The feature, called SmartExchange, enables holders of paper Series E, EE, or I savings bonds to trade them in for electronic securities of the same series and issue dates in a special Conversion Linked Account within their TreasuryDirect online account.

TreasuryDirect accounts permit owners to purchase, manage, and redeem Treasury securities electronically – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – through a secure Internet connection directly with the Treasury Department. Series EE and I savings bonds, Treasury bills, notes, bonds and inflation-protected securities are available for purchase through TreasuryDirect.

Who can exchange their paper savings bonds for electronic securities?

Any TreasuryDirect account owner who is the sole owner, a co-owner, or the owner with a beneficiary. Account owners can also exchange paper bonds purchased as gifts for someone else or bonds they have obtained through inheritance or other change in ownership.

Account Managers for certain entities, including trusts, estates, and corporations, may open accounts and convert bonds in TreasuryDirect. See Learn more about Entity Accounts. All securities in an entity account carry a registration identical to the entity account name. If the submitted bonds are not registered in the name of the entity, documentary evidence may be required to support the transaction.

What are the advantages to trading my paper bonds for electronic securities in TreasuryDirect?

Electronic securities give owners a greater degree of flexibility and convenience than paper. For example:

  • Full or partial redemption of electronic bonds can be scheduled at any time – 24/7 – and the funds deposited to a savings or checking account specified by the owner. The funds should be available the next business day. There is no need to go to a financial institution, nor are there restrictions on the number of bonds or the value that can be redeemed at any one time once minimum requirements are met.
  • Online holdings and their current values can be viewed at any time. There is no paper to be accidentally lost or destroyed.
  • Account owners can change the registration of their bonds or transfer the securities to another account at any time (some ownership restrictions apply; transfers may result in a taxable event).

Am I required to exchange my bonds?

No. Owners of paper bonds are not required to open a TreasuryDirect account or convert their securities to electronic form.

What bonds can I exchange?

You can convert Series E, EE, and I paper bonds on which you are the sole owner, a co-owner, or the owner with a beneficiary. You can also convert paper bonds purchased as gifts for someone else or bonds you have obtained through inheritance or other change in ownership.

Can I convert Series H or Series HH bonds?

No, you can't convert Series H or Series HH bonds to electronic securities in your TreasuryDirect account.

Can I trade in matured bonds?

Yes, however, if you submit a matured bond, TreasuryDirect automatically redeems the bond and purchases a Zero-Percent Certificate of Indebtedness in your Primary Account with the proceeds. You can use all or some of the proceeds to purchase new securities or redeem the C of I to your bank account, in full or part. The interest earned on the bond is reportable to the IRS for the tax year in which the bond is redeemed or it matures.

Can I trade in bonds I've bought as gifts?

Yes, you can exchange bonds you've bought as gifts. We consider any bond you’ve bought in someone else’s name to be a gift. Once converted, the bonds are placed in your Conversion Linked Account Gift Box. Gift bonds are not available in entity account.

What happens to gift bonds I exchange that are matured?

TreasuryDirect automatically redeems gift bonds that have reached final maturity. Your Conversion Linked Account Gift Box will list each bond redemption under “matured gift proceeds” in the name of the owner. Similarly, if a converted gift security matures before you deliver it to the recipient, TreasuryDirect automatically redeems it and places a notation under “matured gift proceeds”. You can deliver the proceeds to the owner from the Conversion Linked Account Gift Box. To deliver the proceeds, you'll need to know the owner's TreasuryDirect account number.

When you buy savings bonds as gifts, you must hold them in your TreasuryDirect account for at least five business days before you can deliver them to the gift recipient. The five-day hold protects Treasury against loss by ensuring the ACH debit has been successfully completed before the funds can be moved.

When you deliver gift proceeds, the interest is reportable under the recipient's Social Security Number for that year. Gift bonds are not available in entity accounts.

I have bonds that I'm entitled to but my name isn't on them. Can I exchange these?

Yes, you can trade in the bonds; however, the transaction may require supporting evidence. We will contact you after we receive the bonds and provide appropriate instructions to complete the transaction. More processing time may be required in these situations.

When can I begin converting my bonds?

You can begin converting your savings bonds as soon as you create your Conversion Linked Account. To create the Conversion Linked Account:

  • Go to ManageDirect and click on the link “Establish a Conversion Linked Account” which appears in the “Manage My Linked Accounts” menu. When you click on that link, you will be presented with a page that provides some information and a button.
  • Click on the button to create your Conversion Linked Account. When you do so, the Account Info page in that account will be displayed.
  • Click on the ManageDirect tab. On the ManageDirect page you will see a menu titled “Manage my Conversions.”
  • Click on the “How to Convert my paper bonds” link. This page contains step-by-step instructions to guide you through the whole process. We recommend that you print this page to have it handy when you begin.

You should also gather your Series E, EE, and I savings bonds and sort the bonds by the names and connectors (“OR,” “POD,” or “beneficiary”) on them. Grouping your bonds by registration will simplify the steps you need to take to enter the bonds you wish to convert.

If you need to get back to your Conversion Linked Account at a later time, you'll see the Conversion Linked Account (“My Converted Bonds”) in the account listing under “Linked Accounts Information” on your primary Account Summary page.

What if the “Establish a Conversion Linked Account” link does not appear?

If the “Establish a Conversion Linked Account” link does not appear in your account, you must contact Customer Service by e-mail from within your account to request that a conversion account be established for you. To do this, access your TreasuryDirect account and click on “Contact us.” (Please note, if you have already created a Conversion Linked Account, the “Establish a Conversion Linked Account” link will no longer appear in the menu.)

When I trade in my bonds, will the interest earned be reported to the IRS?

No, if your bonds have not reached maturity, the interest earned on those bonds will not be reported to the IRS at the time of conversion.

If my bond matures after I exchange it, will it be automatically redeemed and the interest earned reported?

Yes, once your bond is in electronic form, TreasuryDirect automatically redeems it at maturity and purchases a Zero-Percent Certificate of Indebtedness with the proceeds, unless you have scheduled it for redemption. The interest earned on the security is reported to the IRS for that tax year.

Do I have to pay a fee to convert my bonds?

No. However, you are responsible for the postage required to mail the bonds to Treasury for conversion.

Should I sign the request for payment on the back of the bonds?

No, please DO NOT sign the back of your savings bonds. Your signature on the conversion manifest authorizes us to convert the bonds.

Is My Converted Bonds and Conversion Linked Account the same thing?

Yes. My Converted Bonds is the name given to your Conversion Linked Account by TreasuryDirect. You can personalize the name of your Conversion Linked Account – just go to the Account Info tab in your Conversion Linked Account, click “Edit” and enter a new name in the Personalized Account Name field.

If I change my mind, can I trade my electronic securities for paper bonds?

No, once your bonds are converted to electronic form, they can't be exchanged for paper bonds.

What happens when I convert a paper bond registered in my name alone, as co-owner, or as owner with a beneficiary?

In individual accounts, when the exchange is approved, a security registered in the same manner as the paper bond is released to Current Holdings in your Conversion Linked Account. In entity accounts, all securities carry a registration identical to the entity account name.

What transactions can I conduct with the securities I trade in?

With two exceptions, you can conduct any transaction available for electronic securities. For a security registered in the names of two persons as co-owners, a transaction to remove the name of the other co-owner requires that individual's consent and, therefore, must be handled offline by us. Similarly, removing the name of the designated beneficiary of a Series E security requires that individual's consent and, therefore, must be handled offline by us.

Can I let another TreasuryDirect account holder see or cash my converted bonds?

In TreasuryDirect you can grant View and Transact rights. If the security is registered in your name alone, you can grant, and revoke at will, View rights to another TreasuryDirect account owner. A security registered to you as owner with a beneficiary allows you to grant, and revoke at will, View rights to the designated beneficiary only. However, if it is a Series E security with a beneficiary, you can only grant View rights to the designated beneficiary, and once granted, you can't revoke the rights. Similarly, you can grant View and Transact rights to the co-owner of a converted bond, but once granted, you can't revoke these rights. Co-owner registration securities with granted View rights may be edited to grant Transact rights but not from Transact to View. View and Transact rights are not available in entity accounts.

What happens when I exchange a paper bond registered in the name of another person, including a minor?

When the exchange is approved, a security registered in the person's name is released to the Gift Box in your Conversion Linked Account (we consider any bond you've bought in someone else's name to be a gift). If the electronic security bears the Social Security Number of the owner, you can deliver it online to the recipient's TreasuryDirect account.

When you buy savings bonds as gifts, you must hold them in your TreasuryDirect account for at least five business days before you can deliver them to the gift recipient. The five-day hold protects Treasury against loss by ensuring the ACH debit has been successfully completed before the funds can be moved.

If the security does not bear the Social Security Number of the owner, we will assist you offline to complete the registration prior to delivery. Gift bonds are not available in entity accounts.

How do I deliver a converted gift security?

In order to deliver a converted gift security, the recipient must have a TreasuryDirect account. If the converted gift security bears the Social Security Number of the owner, you can deliver the security online to the recipient's TreasuryDirect account by selecting the security from the Conversion Linked Account Gift Box for delivery and following the delivery instructions.

When you buy savings bonds as gifts, you must hold them in your TreasuryDirect account for at least five business days before you can deliver them to the gift recipient. The five-day hold protects Treasury against loss by ensuring the ACH debit has been successfully completed before the funds can be moved.

If the converted gift security does not bear the Social Security Number of the owner, please contact us for assistance in delivering that security to the recipient's TreasuryDirect account. Gift bonds are not available in entity accounts.

Will my electronic securities have the same issue date as the paper bonds I turn in?

Yes, each electronic security will have the same issue date and current redemption value as the paper bond you submitted.

Will my electronic securities earn the same rate of interest as my paper bonds?

Yes, paper bonds and electronic securities earn the same rate of interest based on series and issue date.

Will my electronic securities have the same maturity period as my paper bonds?

Yes, paper bonds and electronic securities have the same maturity period based on series and issue date.

Is the minimum holding period the same on electronic securities as paper bonds?

Yes, the minimum holding period is the same for electronic securities and paper bonds. The current minimum holding period is one year.

How do I redeem my bonds after they are exchanged?

You can schedule a full or partial redemption through your TreasuryDirect account in the same manner you request redemption of an electronic security originally purchased in TreasuryDirect.