Auction Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Treasury securities auction?
- How do I start?
- How do I find out when an auction will take place?
- Where can I find long-range information on upcoming auctions?
- How can I participate in an auction?
- How do I find out the results of an auction?
- What is a single price auction?
What is a Treasury securities auction?
Treasury bills, notes, bonds, Floating Rate Notes (FRNs) and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are sold at public auctions. In Treasury auctions, all successful bidders are awarded securities at the same price, which is the price that corresponds to the highest rate, yield, or discount margin of the competitive bids we accept. You can find a complete explanation of the auction process in our Uniform Offering Circular, which is in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 31 CFR Part 356.
How do I start?
Individual Investors and various types of entities including trusts, estates, corporations, partnerships, etc.*: You may wish to establish a TreasuryDirect account. Upon establishing your account, you may purchase Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds, FRNs, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). You can also purchase and hold savings bonds in this same account.
*See Learn More about Entity Accounts for full information on the registration types.
Institutional Investors: To bid directly in Treasury auctions, you must first establish a TAAPS account. Upon establishing your account, you may submit electronic tenders in any of Treasury's public securities auctions.
How do I find out when an auction will take place?
Generally, public auctions are announced several days in advance; on rare occasions, Treasury may make an announcement on the same day as the auction. Investors may subscribe to receive these announcements via e-mail. Additionally, you may view current and past announcements on the TreasuryDirect web site. You may also obtain auction information by calling 800-722-2678 or writing to a Treasury Retail Securities Site.
Where can I find long-range information on auctions?
The Treasury Department holds press conferences, which usually occur on the first Wednesday in February, May, August, and November to discuss marketable security auctions and tentatively announces the auction schedule (PDF) for the upcoming six month period. These tentative dates are subject to change, but seldom do. In addition to this schedule, we provide a general pattern of when auctions are held; this information is available by type of security and by month.
How can I participate in an auction?
Simply submit a tender with a bid for the security you would like to purchase. You can bid either noncompetitively or competitively, but not both ways in the same auction. In TreasuryDirect, you can only bid noncompetitively.
If you bid noncompetitively, you'll be awarded the full amount of the bid at the high rate, yield, or discount margin determined at the auction close. Therefore, you don't have to specify the discount rate, yield, or discount margin with your bid. Noncompetitive bids are limited to $5 million per auction. Most individual investors bid noncompetitively.
If you bid competitively, you have to specify the return - the discount rate for bills, yield for notes, bonds, and TIPS, or discount margin for FRNs - that you wish to receive. Depending on the high rate, yield, or discount margin determined at auction compared to your bid, you may be awarded the full amount, a portion, or none of the security for which you bid. Competitive awards are limited to 35% of the total offering.
How do I find out the results of an auction?
The results of all public auctions are released after each auction. Investors may subscribe to receive these results through e-mail. Additionally, you may view the results on the TreasuryDirect website. In addition, some newspapers report auction results.
In your online TreasuryDirect account, you should look at your Current Holdings, Pending Transactions Detail after 5 pm Eastern Time on auction day and check the price per $100 to determine the total price of the security. Next, make sure the source of funds you selected has sufficient funds to cover the total price.
What is a single-price auction?
Treasury bills, notes, bonds, FRNs, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are sold at single-price auctions. In a single-price auction, all successful competitive bidders and all noncompetitive bidders are awarded securities at the price equivalent to the highest rate, yield, or discount margin of accepted competitive tenders.