Registering a Savings Bond: Series I

NEWS: The initial interest rate on new Series I savings bonds is 9.62 percent. You can buy I bonds at that rate through October 2022. Learn more.

How you register a savings bond determines who owns the bond and who can cash it. The registration also determines what happens with the bond if the owner dies.

This page addresses ways individuals can register Series I savings bonds.

(Savings bonds also may be owned by entities, such as trusts, estates of deceased persons, living estates [where a court has appointed a guardian for a person, such as one who is incompetent], corporations, and partnerships. For information on this, see “Learn More About Entity Accounts.”)

On this page:

Registrations for Individuals

Three basic registrations exist for individuals.

One owner

Only one person is named as owner. Only that person may make transactions. If he or she dies, the bond becomes part of his or her estate.

For electronic bonds, this is called sole ownership. For paper bonds, single ownership.

Example of registration: JOHN DOE

Owner and beneficiary

Only the owner may make transactions. If he or she dies, the beneficiary becomes the only owner. The beneficiary can’t be an entity.

The registration says “PAYABLE ON DEATH,” or “POD.”

Example of registration: JOHN DOE POD TO JANE DOE

Two owners

Electronic bonds (in TreasuryDirect)

The first-named owner is the primary owner; the second is secondary.

The registration uses “WITH.”

Example of registration: JOHN DOE SSN 987-65-4321 WITH JANE DOE SSN 123-45-6789.

Paper bonds

Either owner may cash without knowledge or approval of the other; but for most other transactions, both owners must sign.

The registration uses “OR.“

Example of registration: JOHN DOE OR JANE DOE.

If one owner dies, the other becomes sole owner.
If one owner is a person, the other can’t be an entity.

Children under 18

Adults can buy savings bonds for children under the age of 18 and register the bonds in the name of a child or children, using a registration above.

How to buy:

  • Electronic bonds.If you are the parent or other adult responsible for the minor’s support, you can set up for the minor an account that is linked to your TreasuryDirect account. The only way to go to the minor’s account is through your account. Securities registered in the minor’s name can be bought through or transferred to the minor’s account. Learn More About Linked Accounts
  • Paper bonds.As an adult, you can buy a paper Series I bond for a minor through the tax-time bond program, using proceeds from your federal tax return. If you don’t know the minor’s Social Security Number, you must give yours. However, you will not have income tax liability for a bond that you give to a minor as long as the bond does not bear your name.

Persons Paying for Higher Education

If you use interest from a Series I bond to pay for higher education, you may not have to pay federal tax on the interest. You may use any of the three basic registrations above under “Registrations for Individuals,” but only within these guidelines:

  • If you want to use the bond for your education, you must be the owner of the bond.
  • If you want to use the bond for your child’s education, then you or your spouse, or both, must own the bond. Your child may be a beneficiary but not a co-owner.