Can US Savings Bonds Be Purchased Without Refund Money?

by Jack Ori

For years, parents and grandparents have traditionally purchased savings bonds when children are born or when they reach important milestones so they will have money when they grow up. Savings bonds are an investment in the U.S. government as well as into children's futures. In December 2011, the U.S. government plans to stop offering these bonds for sale at banks and credit unions. However, taxpayers can still continue to purchase them using an online account or their tax refunds.

Online Purchases

As of December 2011, the U.S. Treasury plans to sell savings bonds only online through the Treasury Direct website. You can use your tax refund or a credit or debit card to purchase electronic copies of the bonds.

Paper Bonds

If you want to get a paper bond, you can still do so at banks until December 2011. Starting in 2012, a limited number of paper bonds will be printed. Taxpayers who use their tax refunds to purchase bonds will get a paper bond. All others will get an electronic bond. The bond will be stored on Treasury Direct's servers, and investors will not get a hard copy. Instead, investors can manage their bonds via their Treasury Direct accounts, including redeeming them when they mature.

Replacement of Bonds

If you misplace a paper bond that you purchased prior to the conversion to electronic bonds, you can still get a replacement paper bond after December 2011. You will have the option of getting either a new paper bond or an electronic bond. If the bond is older than its minimum redemption date, you may also redeem the bond rather than requesting a replacement bond.


The U.S. government is saving money by discontinuing the paper-bond program. In addition, converting to only electronic bonds reduces the risk of theft, loss or destruction, as there is no paper bond to steal, lose or damage. The Treasury Department will still offer paper bonds if taxpayers use their tax refunds to purchase them, so people who do not have Internet access can still purchase bonds.