Savings bond buying limits expand online

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Americans now can buy twice the amount of U.S. savings bonds they could previously, anytime they want, over the Internet.

The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt announced Thursday that the limit for buying savings bonds online was boosted to $1,000 per transaction from $500.

Since savings bonds first went on sale on the Internet a year ago, Americans have purchased roughly $81 million in bonds online.

The bureau estimated that nearly half of all individual bonds bought online at its Internet site are purchased as gifts.

The Internet site, originally called the Savings Bond Connection, was renamed Savings Bonds Direct.

"We wanted to have Savings Bonds Direct ready for the holiday gift giving season," said Van Zeck, the commissioner of the public debt.

In another change announced Thursday, people are now able to use the Discover Card to buy bonds online. Previously, only MasterCard and Visa were accepted. Bonds bought on the Internet must be purchased by credit card.

The government hopes its Internet site will boost bond sales by making it easier for people to buy them. The changes are designed to make purchases speedier and more convenient.

To buy bonds online, a purchaser goes to the Bureau of the Public Debt’s Web site — — and clicks on Savings Bond Direct under the heading of Online Services.

Online buyers provide information, including name, Social Security number and mailing address just as when they purchase bonds from banks and other financial institutions.

The bureau said that its biggest seller online is Series I, inflation-indexed savings bonds, which accounted for 92 percent of sales since May of this year.

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