Rules for Cashing U.S. Saving Bonds

The U.S. government makes cashing savings bonds relatively easy.

savings bonds image by Stephen VanHorn from

U.S. residents might take advantage of the conservative and safe investments offered by the U.S. government. The Treasury Department guarantees that EE bonds held for 20 years will at least double in value. When you’re ready to cash in your investment, check out the rules for cashing U.S. savings bonds. The federal government has strict rules for how financial institutions can cash bonds. A financial institution can get into hot water for issuing payments if they fail to follow requirements.

Step 1

Check the issue date in the upper right corner of the bond – this will be a numerical month and year. Use this date to determine the value of the bond. You can redeem EE bonds when they are at least 12 months old.

Step 2

Visit the U.S. Treasury’s savings bond calculator to determine the value of Series I, E and EE savings bonds according to the issue date. Click the blue “Get Started” button. Choose the type of bond and the denomination. Enter the bond serial number and the issue date. Click “Calculate” to find out the value.

Step 3

Check the name as it appears on the front of the bond. You may see one owner’s name, two co-owner names joined with the word “or” or an owner and beneficiary name joined with the acronym “POD.” If your name is on the front of the bond, you should be able to cash it. If you are the legal custodial parent of a minor child whose name is on the bond, you should be able to cash it. If you are a beneficiary on the bond, you must furnish a certified death certificate of the bond owner before you can cash the bond.

Step 4

Visit your bank to cash the bond. If you don’t have your own bank, visit any bank with your passport, photo employee ID card, state-issued ID card or driver’s license to prove your identity. The federal government limits cash values of savings bonds to $1,000 or less in this situation. A third option is to visit a friend’s bank where the friend has an account. The friend can identify you verbally to the bank representative so you can cash the savings bond.

Step 5

Sign the request for payment when you are at the bank so the representative witnesses your signature. Allow the representative to compare your signature with the name on the front of the bond. Write your Social Security number by your signature if isn’t on the front of the bond. If your current address isn’t on the front of the bond, write it on the back of the bond near your signature.

Step 6

Report accumulated interest from cashed I, E and EE savings bonds on your income tax return. You’ll receive Form 1099-INT from the IRS before you have to file your taxes. This form will have the interest figure you need to report on your income tax return.