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TreasuryDirect Payroll Savings FAQs

What is TreasuryDirect?

TreasuryDirect is a Web-based system that allows investors to establish accounts to purchase, hold, and conduct transactions in Treasury securities online. You can purchase electronic Series EE and I savings bonds as well as Treasury bills, notes, bonds and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) through TreasuryDirect. Paper savings bonds are not sold through TreasuryDirect.

How does TreasuryDirect work with payroll savings?

There are two options for payroll savings in TreasuryDirect:

TreasuryDirect Payroll Savings Plan for Purchasing Savings Bonds

TreasuryDirect offers a Payroll Savings Plan feature that allows employees to make recurring purchases of electronic savings bonds by having money from each pay sent automatically to a TreasuryDirect account.  The process is simple:

  1. If you don’t already have a TreasuryDirect account, open an account in TreasuryDirect.
  2. Go into your TreasuryDirect account and set up a Payroll Savings Plan.  Here, you'll decide what type (Series EE or I) and dollar value of savings bonds you want to purchase.
  3. Ask your employer to send the amount you choose to TreasuryDirect every time you get paid.  This is just like sending your pay to a bank by direct deposit.

The amounts you have direct deposited from your pay are used to buy a Payroll Certificate of Indebtedness (C of I) which is a non-interest-bearing security that is used as the source of funds for your savings bond purchases.

Amounts you keep in your Payroll C of I earn no interest and remain there until used.  The Payroll C of I can be redeemed at any time.  The funds are usually deposited to your bank account within one business day. That's all there is to it.

Once your Payroll Plan is set up in TreasuryDirect the system will automatically purchase the type and dollar value of bond you want every time you have accumulated enough money in your Payroll C of I to make the purchase.  For example:  If you want to buy $50 Series I Savings Bonds and you ask your employer to withhold $25 from each pay, TreasuryDirect will purchase a $50 bond for you every other payday.  You don't have to think about it again or do anything else.  The purchase is automatic until you change it or end the payroll funding. TreasuryDirect Payroll Savings for Marketable Securities and Savings Bonds.

TreasuryDirect Payroll Savings for Marketable Securities and Savings Bonds

The Payroll Savings Plan option described above allows you to select a single series of savings bond in a single registration (name(s) on the bond) at a time.  If you want to purchase marketable securities or multiple series or registrations of savings bonds, you need to use the payroll savings option described in this section.

You'll provide the same direct deposit instructions shown above to your employer without adding the letter "P" to your account number.  This places the funds in another Certificate of Indebtedness (separate from the Payroll C of I) where they will remain until you use them to make a purchase.

When you use this option, you do not set up a Payroll Savings Plan in TreasuryDirect.   However, you can set up a recurring schedule for the purchase of Treasury securities.  For more information see http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/products/instructionsrecurringpurchases.pdf.

What are the advantages of TreasuryDirect?

TreasuryDirect is an easy way for you to save on a regular basis by purchasing electronic Treasury securities. With TreasuryDirect:

  • You can buy, manage, and redeem Treasury securities online 24/7, all from the convenience of home or work, wherever you have secure Internet access.
  • You can diversify your holdings since TreasuryDirect offers Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and Treasury inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), in addition to savings bonds.
  • You can establish multiple registrations in one account.
  • You can set up a simple payroll savings plan to invest automatically in savings bonds.
  • You can schedule recurring purchases for savings bonds and marketable securities.
  • Savings bonds purchased through TreasuryDirect are generally added to your account in just one business day.
  • When the funds are needed, after the minimum term of ownership has been reached, you can redeem part or all of a savings bond or savings bonds. The payment will be deposited to the checking or savings account you choose. Redemption funds should reach your bank or credit union in just one business day.
  • Details such as issue date and current value are tracked for you.
  • Since the securities are electronic, there is no paper to lose, nor do you need to go to your local bank to redeem savings bonds.
  • You can even set up accounts for minor children, as well as custom accounts for specific purposes such as education or a vacation, within your TreasuryDirect account.
  • A summary of account activity, including recent purchases, payments, and account balance is always available to you online.

What is the minimum term of ownership for savings bonds?

Savings bonds must be held for a minimum of 12 months before they can be redeemed. Also, if you cash a savings bond within the first five years after it is issued, you give up the last three months' worth of interest.

Why would my employer offer TreasuryDirect?

With TreasuryDirect your employer can provide you with the benefit of automatic savings with minimal work. Your employer sends each direct deposit to TreasuryDirect each payday payday and then you manage your purchases in your TreasuryDirect account.

I used to participate in a traditional payroll savings plan. Can you automatically convert me to TreasuryDirect?

No, to participate in TreasuryDirect you must first open a TreasuryDirect account at www.treasurydirect.gov. The process of opening an account includes your selection of a password to safeguard your investments. With your account established, you submit a request – an instruction sheet is available in TreasuryDirect, under Manage Direct, View My Funding Options – to your payroll office for a direct deposit, providing your TreasuryDirect account number and the amount you want deposited from each pay.

What information do I need to open an account?

In order to complete our easy, online application, you will need the following items on hand:

  • Your Social Security Number (Taxpayer Identification Number),
  • Your Driver's License Number or State ID and expiration date,
  • Your bank or credit union routing number and account number of the checking or savings account you'd like to use,
  • A valid e-mail address, and
  • A browser that supports our technical requirements. If you would like to download the latest browser versions available, visit http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/help/128bit.htm. Once you have all this, you are ready to open your TreasuryDirect account.

Why must I enter a bank or credit union account when I open my TreasuryDirect account?

Your bank or credit union account information is part of how TreasuryDirect confirms your identity when you open your account. Also, if you redeem a security, TreasuryDirect will deposit the payment to the bank or credit union account you select.

How does TreasuryDirect confirm my identity?

TreasuryDirect confirms your identity while you wait, using information you provide online.

How long will it take to verify my information?

Your personal information will be verified within one (1) minute after your TreasuryDirect account information has been submitted.

What if you are unable to verify my information?

If we are unable to verify your information, we will offer you the opportunity to complete a convenient, printable authentication form. You complete the form according to the instructions and submit it to the address we provide.

Is it safe to send all this information over the Internet?

Yes, the infrastructure TreasuryDirect resides on is well protected and the TreasuryDirect system uses several features to ensure the safety of the information you provide and the transactions you perform. For example:

  • Secure Sockets Layer Technology (SSL): TreasuryDirect uses SSL which is a common protocol for sending payment information securely over the Internet. SSL works by using a private, mathematical key to encrypt (or scramble) data transferred between your web browser and the website you're visiting.
  • Personalized image and caption: You select an image and caption that will help you identify the account as yours when you login.
  • Virtual Keyboard: TreasuryDirect uses a virtual keyboard to help protect your password.
  • Password: You choose your own password and can change it any time.
  • Customer Hold: As an added security feature, TreasuryDirect allows you to place a hold on your account if you feel your account access information has been compromised.
  • Paper Forms: For your protection, changes to your bank information and certain security transfers require the submission of a signed and certified paper form.

If I buy securities in multiple registrations, how does this work in TreasuryDirect?

You establish each registration in your TreasuryDirect account. Registration refers to the name and Social Security Number (SSN) of the person(s) associated with a security and maintained on record. When you schedule a purchase or recurring purchase, you select the amount of the purchase and the registration desired. You can schedule one or more purchases with the same registration or multiple purchases with various registrations. For example, you can schedule a purchase on the 15th of each month for a daughter and on the 30th for a son or schedule a purchase for each on the 15th and 30th of each month. You can't buy mulitple registrations at one time with the Payroll Savings Plan, but you can buy multiple registrations with the other method of TreasuryDirect payroll savings described above.

Is there a minimum amount for a direct deposit?

No, you can request a direct deposit of as little as a penny; however, your payroll system may have a minimum dollar amount on direct deposits from your pay.

When is the issue date established on a savings bond I buy in TreasuryDirect?

Savings bonds purchased in TreasuryDirect are posted to your account one business day after they are purchased. The issue date of the savings bond is the first day of the month in which the savings bond is posted. For example, if the purchase is made on May 31 and the savings bond posts on June 1, the issue date is June 1; but if the purchase is made on May 26 and the savings bond posts on May 27, the issue date is May 1.

What happens if I forget to schedule a purchase?

If you are using the second method of TreasuryDirect payroll savings described above, the C of I will remain in your TreasuryDirect account and will not earn any interest.  If you have established a Payroll Savings Plan, purchases will occur automatically as you directed when there is enough money in your Payroll C of I.

What happens if I stop my direct deposit, and the value of the C of I is not enough to buy a savings bond or other Treasury security?

You can redeem the C of I at any time, directing the payment to a checking or savings account at your bank or credit union.

What happens if I stop my direct deposit, but forget to stop scheduled future purchases of savings bonds or other Treasury securities?

When the C of I is insufficient to cover the purchase of a savings bond, the purchase will not take place. TreasuryDirect will notify you by e-mail.

To use TreasuryDirect, do I need to have Internet access and an e-mail account?

Yes, to use TreasuryDirect, you must have Internet access to log in to your TreasuryDirect account and an e-mail address to receive important messages from TreasuryDirect, including the receipt of your account number.

Does my employer need to provide Internet access to TreasuryDirect?

No, although we encourage employers to consider providing access to TreasuryDirect at the employee's workstation, in a break room, or through the payroll and benefits office, they are not required to do so.

How do I get started with TreasuryDirect?

Open your TreasuryDirect account. Instructions on setting up payroll direct deposit can be found in "View my Funding Options" under the Manage Direct tab within the application. It's that simple.

Can I participate in TreasuryDirect without using payroll direct deposit?

Absolutely! You can open a TreasuryDirect account and make purchases having TreasuryDirect debit your savings or checking account.

Are there other ways to contribute to the C of I besides payroll direct deposit?

Yes, you can contribute to the C of I from pension funds, annuities, and even your checking or savings account. If you need to add to your C of I balance in order to purchase a savings bond or other Treasury security, you can contribute directly to the C of I from your checking or savings account. If you choose to use one of these methods to contribute to your C of I, contact the relevant institution. Also, you can redeem securities in your TreasuryDirect account to the C of I instead of to your bank account.

How do Federal employees sign up electronically for payroll direct deposit?

To change your payroll information electronically, consult your payroll data system to determine the correct option. Some systems may refer to the direct deposit as a financial allotment or similar term.