Demand for inflation-linked savings bonds crashes TreasuryDirect website

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People looking to ease inflation flooded Treasury phone lines and websites to try to buy Series I savings bonds, resulting in much longer-than-usual wait times. It’s the latest example of how outdated government computer systems are causing pain to Americans.

On May 2, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that inflation-protected I bonds would earn at least 9.62% interest until the end of October. after one day, Ministry of Finance directlythe website people had to use to buy bonds crashed.

“With increased interest in Series I securities and increased traffic to the TreasuryDirect website and call center, we have recently experienced issues affecting some user experience,” a Treasury spokesman said in an emailed statement.

The department has shifted staff to manage higher call volumes, the spokesman said.

People have questions about the rules for buying I bonds. Some people contact me by email or by calling my toll-free number: 1-855-ASK-POST (1-855-275-7678).

You can purchase up to $10,000 in I Bonds per calendar year. But there are ways to increase that amount, such as using your federal tax refund to buy an additional $5,000 in paper I-bonds. You want to make sure you do it right, as over-limit purchases will be refunded, and refunds can take up to 16 weeks.

Susan H. Nadler, a CPA in New York, said she tried contacting the Treasury Department by email and phone to see if her business could buy the I bonds. She was put on hold for two hours before she gave up trying to get an answer. (The department later emailed her to say, yes, her business entity could buy the I bonds.)

“There are also websites, and while they may answer every or almost every question you might have, it’s very clunky and hard to find and operate,” Nadler said. “They just kept adding some very old stuff.”

Some people are locked out of the accounts they set up to buy I Bonds — like this guy who called my toll-free number. You can listen to him below.

Others were told that the Treasury never executed the purchase request even after verifying all the circumstances Their The bank information is correct – like the caller below.

along with Stocks continue to slide Banks are paying pitiful interest rates on checking, savings and money market accounts, and people are fleeing to Series I bonds created to keep pace with inflation.

I-bonds are one of the safest places to keep your money right now. It makes sense that people are flocking to savings bonds, where you can get a guaranteed return of nearly 10%. Why was the haste not expected?

If inflation remains high, the next rate adjustment in November is likely to continue to spark great interest in bonds.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Public Debt first introduced the Digital Series I Savings Bond in 2002, available for purchase online. TreasuryDirect at: Treasury Direct Website, launched in 2004. The site feels like a blast from the past. It needs to be updated soon, starting with making it easier for people to edit their banking information.

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The department said that for extra security, people had to print out bank change requests — Form FS 5512. People must then sign the form in front of an “authorized certifying officer of the bank, trust company, or credit union.”

The form must have some type of stamp or seal.

in a Youtube videoTreasury said: “Please note that notary public, circular 888 and bank address stamps are not acceptable. Acceptable stamps include the institution’s corporate seal or seal, a Treasury-approved commemorative seal, endorsement guarantee seal or signature guarantee seal.”

Now is a good time to buy this inflation-indexed savings bond

Been to a bank branch recently?

I have got. I just need the bank to notarize the mortgage documents. I had to call around to find a branch with a notary. I had to make an appointment. Upon arrival, I waited about 10 minutes to ring the doorbell and then one of the few people working at the branch let me in.

Once the TreasuryDirect form is properly printed, signed and stamped, you must mail it to the office in Minneapolis and wait for a response from the Department of Treasury.

what in the world? Is this the prince’s year 1999?

What about those who can’t navigate the online process or go to a bank branch?

“My husband and I know nothing about the world of electronics,” a Florida woman wrote in an email. “I’m having a hard time with email, that’s all. We want to know if you or someone else can help us. We don’t know, challenged like electronics, if we’re going to be weeded out of investing in them.”

Yes, it’s important to make sure scammers don’t compromise online systems, and we know they’ll try. But this process is too laborious.

“We are committed to ensuring that TreasuryDirect users have a positive customer experience, which is why TreasuryDirect is developing an updated, modern replacement for the current TreasuryDirect system,” the department statement said.

When will this happen?

It doesn’t provide a timetable.

The Treasury is dealing with a lot of things. It’s dealing with the technical mess of the IRS. Millions of tax returns are still being processed. As of May 6, the IRS said it had 9.8 million individual returns outstanding, including those for the 2021 tax season.

The IRS online account system is also in dire need of an update, state taxpayer advocate Erin M. Collins recently stated in blog post.

“In today’s digital environment, consumers have come to expect the convenience of completing account operations without the need for in-person or phone assistance,” Collins wrote, adding: “Imagine what the IRS can accomplish and how much time it takes. And if taxpayers could easily access their tax information online, it could save a lot of effort. I don’t want to just imagine that anymore.”

Not only the IRS needs robust online accessibility. The same can be said about TreasuryDirect. In the computer age, the site was practically primitive.

TreasuryDirect needs an update before the next rate announcement, as the I-bond’s popularity isn’t going to wane — especially if the market continues to run wild.

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