How to Cash In Savings Bonds

Sarah Tecla, Preferred Banking Office Assistant Manager, First Republic Bank
February 25, 2022

  • To cash in a savings bond, you will need to go to a bank, credit union or another local financial institution.
  • The process for cashing paper bonds versus electronic bonds differs.
  • Once the bond is cashed, tax considerations will need to be addressed.

Savings bonds are often given as presents in lieu of cash at holidays or birthdays, in the form of electronic bonds or paper bonds. Because such bonds are monetary gifts, you’ll want to know how to cash in savings bonds.

The process for redeeming the value of a savings bond varies depending on whether it’s a physical bond or a bond issued online. Understanding the process for cashing in savings bonds as well as some additional considerations will enable you to collect the bond’s monetary value.

Cashing in paper savings bonds

Whether you received a paper bond as a gift from your family several years ago or decided to buy one yourself, there’s a specific process for how to redeem savings bonds issued on paper.

Many people may be holding onto paper savings bonds waiting for their value to increase since they earn interest the longer you hold them. Paper bonds were initially purchased for half their face value (for instance, a $100 bond was $50) and accrue additional value as a fixed-income security. The current value of the bond will vary based on how long you’ve held it and whether it’s reached maturity.

Although bonds are still issued electronically, paper bonds are no longer sold.

Paper savings bonds stopped being sold as of January 1, 2012. The goal of ending paper bonds was to focus more on electronic transactions with citizens and businesses.

For paper bonds, the process for cashing in savings bonds is as follows:

  • Paper savings bonds can be cashed in at most banks, credit unions or other local financial institutions.
  • You should check with your local bank first to ensure it will cash savings bonds.
  • You should also inquire about redemption limits.
  • The easiest way to cash in paper bonds and the quickest way to get access to your funds is by cashing in savings bonds in person.

You must bring certain information with you in order to redeem the value of the bond.

What is required to cash in paper U.S. savings bonds?

To cash in paper savings bonds, you’ll need a few different types of information. The requirements vary depending on whether you are a customer of the bank, credit union or financial institution where you wish to cash your bonds.

Generally, you will need to bring the savings bond you are redeeming as well as proof of identity. If you’re a customer of the financial institution, having an account there may be enough identification, but it’s prudent to bring additional ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, especially if you are not a customer of the bank.

If you are cashing in the bond as a beneficiary, you’ll need to bring a certified death certification for the bond owner.

Additionally, if the name on your savings bond doesn’t match your current legal name, additional documentation may be required. For example, if your name has changed through marriage, you will generally need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate.

Cashing in electronic savings bonds

Electronic savings bonds are the current way to purchase bonds. There are benefits to holding electronic savings bonds, such as convenience and security — you don’t risk losing them like you might a paper bond. 

You can convert paper bonds into electronic bonds via this method:

Converting Paper Savings Bonds to Electronic Bonds
To convert paper bonds to electronic bonds, you will need to register with the U.S. Treasury for a TreasuryDirect account, then use a process called SmartExchange. With such an account, you will be able to manage your holdings as you like without needing to hold onto paper. Once you have an account, navigate to ManageDirect, then Manage My Linked Account, followed by Establish a Conversion Linked Account. Click on Manage my Conversions, which will walk you through a step-by-step process to guide you through the conversion.

To cash in electronic savings bonds, you also set up a TreasuryDirect account and log in on The website will offer step-by-step instructions to complete the process. The cash can be credited to a checking or savings account, which usually occurs within two business days of the redemption date.

There are special circumstances in which you may need to take special steps, including:

  • Cashing in bonds for a minor

  • Cashing in bonds as a beneficiary after the primary holder’s death

  • If you are outside of the U.S.

TreasuryDirect will have instructions to address these additional considerations.

What is required to cash in electronic savings bonds?

To cash in electronic bonds, you need to have held them for a minimum of one year. You will also need to establish a TreasuryDirect account, which requires a social security number, a U.S. address, bank account and routing numbers for a checking or savings account and an email address.

Again, special circumstances, such as location or cashing in a bond on behalf of the primary holder, may change requirements.

Tax considerations for cashing in savings bonds

Savings bonds that are cashed will be subject to federal income tax from the IRS. If you are cashing a savings bond you inherited, you will also need to consider federal estate, gift, excise or inheritance taxes.

Most people pay taxes on the interest from their bond during their yearly tax filings. If you cash your bond at a financial institution, they will provide you with a paper 1099-INT form for your tax returns; if you redeem them electronically, you will receive an electronic 1099-INT form.

Are you ready to cash in your savings bonds?

Whether you have a paper bond or an electronic bond, the process for how to cash in savings bonds is relatively straightforward. 

There are benefits to waiting to cash in bonds. Bonds have an interest-earning period in which their value increases, and you may face early redemption penalties and tax considerations if you cash your bond before its maturity date.

Before you take steps to redeem your savings bonds, make sure you think through the requirements and implications of cashing in your bonds.

The strategies mentioned in this article may have tax and legal consequences; therefore, you should consult your own attorneys and/or tax advisors to understand the tax and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this document. This information is governed by our Terms and Conditions of Use