Savings bonds are really easy to buy. Traditionally you would walk into almost any bank, credit union, or savings and loan to buy savings bonds. Starting in 2012, things changed: you can now only buy savings bonds online or with your tax refund. However, you can still redeem paper savings bonds at many banks and credit unions.
TreasuryDirect.gov – Buy Savings Bonds Online
The Treasury Department has a nice website for buying savings bonds. The process is easy and fast. If you’re internet-savvy, you can be the proud owner of a savings bond in less than 10 minutes. If you’re still figuring things out online, it may take 20 minutes.
Honestly, I was amazed at how easy the site is – in fact I’m a little concerned about it.
First you’ll create an account which they verify via email. You just type in some basic personal information. You also link a bank account to your TreasuryDirect account (no verification required). It seemed like they aren’t taking security as seriously as many of the online banks when you set up a link. Of course, it is the government so presumably they have the power to fix any mistakes.
Once you’re logged-in, you can buy a variety of Treasury securities. There is even a “Purchase Express” form on the welcome page. You can simply enter a bond-type and dollar amount and you’re off.
In my opinion, the Treasury should do a better job of verifying orders to purchase these securities. You have to do a lot of digging to find the fine print that details minimum holding periods and cash-out penalties. Be sure you understand what you’re getting into before you do anything on that site.