Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

This post is for the fellow Bogleheads who are on the fence about opening a Treasury Direct (TD) account because of all the negativity surrounding TD website. Since I Bonds are an attractive investment at the moment, this has come up in many recent posts. The biggest concern is of being "locked out" of the account. My spouse and I opened new Treasury Direct accounts within the last month and I will share our experience below.

Opening New Accounts. When we filled in all our information on the TD website, a hold was placed on our account immediately and we were asked to complete the Account Authorization form (FS Form 5444) and mail it to Treasury Retail Securities Site.

I was under the impression that we needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) for such forms, which is not always easy to obtain. However, if you check the second page of this form, a Signature Guarantee is sufficient. It can be obtained easily from the local branch of your bank. Even though we had to go to a nearby city to obtain this, I don't think this was such a hassle. Before we made the trip, we called the bank and told them exactly what we needed. They asked us to come at a specific time and we were out of the bank in less than 5 minutes (they just checked our photo ID and stamped the form). We mailed the forms and the hold was lifted within a week or so after that.

Adding a New Bank Account. Although this is not something we have experienced personally, some folks have reported that they were locked out of the system when they tried to add a new bank account to their existing TD account. They were then asked to send FS Form 5512. If you see "Acceptable seals and stamps" on page 5 of this form, a simple "Signature Guarantee" works for this form too.

Using Treasury Direct Website. It needs a bit of getting used to but the website is not as bad as it may appear from some of the posts. There is a detailed list of FAQs (How do I...?), which covers many of the questions that may arise when you first use the website.

Once you understand the process, it takes less than 5 minutes to purchase I bonds and grant view/transact rights (if you wish to).

Virtual keyboard. When you log in for the first time, you will notice that you need to use a virtual keyboard to enter your password. If you are using a Mac and save your passwords in Keychain, you do not need to enter this password manually every time. Keychain will fill it automatically for you. Based on some of the posts that I have seen here, the same is true for some other password managers as well.

In summary, my experience of dealing with the TD website has not been bad. In particular, creating an option of purchasing at least $20K worth of I Bonds every year (MFJ) to park our EF outweighed all the hassle for us.
Last edited by HasHas on Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
samsoes
Posts: 1713
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:12 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by samsoes »

I still have my TD secret decoder card. Remember those?
Alas, someday TD will join the 21st century and allow the use of an authentication app.
(When pigs fly.)
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

samsoes wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:27 pm I still have my TD secret decoder card. Remember those?
I did not know about them. Just checked. TD has come a long way :D
aristotelian
Posts: 9789
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by aristotelian »

I dislike having to enter the crazy long account number instead of a normal username. Almost makes having a password manager a necessity to be able to use the site.

Also am I the only one that checks the box to register your computer every time and every time I have to log in again?
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

aristotelian wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:34 pm I dislike having to enter the crazy long account number instead of a normal username. Almost makes having a password manager a necessity to be able to use the site.
Fair point. Not an issue for me since I was already using a password manager.
aristotelian wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:34 pm Also am I the only one that checks the box to register your computer every time and every time I have to log in again?
I just logged in again to check and I was not asked to register my computer. I am not sure if that is because I have not turned off my computer since I last registered/authenticated.
tibbitts
Posts: 15812
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by tibbitts »

aristotelian wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:34 pm
Also am I the only one that checks the box to register your computer every time and every time I have to log in again?
That problem hasn't happened for me in the past few months. Before then I always had to wait for the confirmation email.
tibbitts
Posts: 15812
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by tibbitts »

My recent experience involved adding a bank account, which required a signature guarantee. It took about a month after mailing in the form for the account to be added. I had forgotten about it actually and just now logged in for the first time after the account had been added (I had received an email saying my account had been updated a few days ago), and happily there have been no surprises (access blocked, etc.) so far.
User avatar
telemark
Posts: 3002
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by telemark »

If I understand correctly what TD means by a signature guarantee, any notary public should be able to provide one. They're just witnessing that they checked your ID and watched you sign the document.

Edit to correct: notaries are not accepted.
Last edited by telemark on Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
aristotelian
Posts: 9789
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by aristotelian »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:50 pm
aristotelian wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:34 pm
Also am I the only one that checks the box to register your computer every time and every time I have to log in again?
That problem hasn't happened for me in the past few months. Before then I always had to wait for the confirmation email.
Lol, what confirmation email???
MileKing
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:14 pm
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by MileKing »

I was considering opening a Treasury Direct account to rid myself of the paper I-bonds I hold and make things easier when I eventually redeem the bonds, but am having second thoughts after reading this thread. Requiring a signature guarantee on a form just to open an account and then a second signature guarantee on another form to add a bank account seems like a hassle to me. Particularly if one does not have a brick and mortar bank. Someone mentioned a notary, but that is listed as unacceptable on the forms referenced by the OP.
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

telemark wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:04 pm If I understand correctly what TD means by a signature guarantee, any notary public should be able to provide one. They're just witnessing that they checked your ID and watched you sign the document.
No, I don't think notaries will work. Here is what the form says:
Acceptable seals and stamps:
  • The financial institution’s official seal or stamp, including: Signature Guaranteed seal or stamp; Endorsement Guaranteed seal or stamp; Corporate seal or stamp (a corporate resolution isn’t required); or Issuing or paying agent seal or stamp (including name, location, and four-digit identification number or nine-digit routing number).
  • The seal or stamp of Treasury-recognized Signature Guarantee Programs or other Treasury-approved Medallion Programs.
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

MileKing wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:15 pm I was considering opening a Treasury Direct account to rid myself of the paper I-bonds I hold and make things easier when I eventually redeem the bonds, but am having second thoughts after reading this thread. Requiring a signature guarantee on a form just to open an account and then a second signature guarantee on another form to add a bank account seems like a hassle to me. Particularly if one does not have a brick and mortar bank. Someone mentioned a notary, but that is listed as unacceptable on the forms referenced by the OP.
Just to be clear, you don't need to send the second form if you have already added a bank account when you opened the account. This is likely needed when you want to add a second account.
jajlrajrf
Posts: 178
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:15 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by jajlrajrf »

I opened a Treasury Direct account a few years ago and I am 100% sure I did not need anything notarized or Medallion-guaranteed.
User avatar
telemark
Posts: 3002
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by telemark »

HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:18 pm
telemark wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:04 pm If I understand correctly what TD means by a signature guarantee, any notary public should be able to provide one. They're just witnessing that they checked your ID and watched you sign the document.
No, I don't think notaries will work. Here is what the form says:
Acceptable seals and stamps:
  • The financial institutions official seal or stamp, including: Signature Guaranteed seal or stamp; Endorsement Guaranteed seal or stamp; Corporate seal or stamp (a corporate resolution isnt required); or Issuing or paying agent seal or stamp (including name, location, and four-digit identification number or nine-digit routing number).
  • The seal or stamp of Treasury-recognized Signature Guarantee Programs or other Treasury-approved Medallion Programs.
Thanks, I stand corrected.
User avatar
jason2459
Posts: 1048
Joined: Wed May 06, 2020 7:59 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by jason2459 »

So far I have had no issues with the TD website or account setup. I never got a hold or lock on my accounts etc. I have not had to add a new bank account since first opening my TD account so that may trigger some action.

For login with windows based PC I found in another TD thread on here someone mention this quick hack

Create a bookmark and edit the URL to be
javascript:(function(){$(".pwordinput").attr("read-only","")})()

My username now autofills as normal and when getting to the next password page I click on that custom bookmark and I can then autofill my password too and not have to use that virtual keyboard.
"In the short run, the stock market is a voting machine; in the long run, it is a weighing machine" ~Benjamin Graham
RubyTuesday
Posts: 1132
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:24 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by RubyTuesday »

It took some fiddling around, but I was able to get 1password to autofill password rather than using virtual keyboard.
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” – Lao Tzu
tibbitts
Posts: 15812
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by tibbitts »

aristotelian wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:08 pm
tibbitts wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:50 pm
aristotelian wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:34 pm
Also am I the only one that checks the box to register your computer every time and every time I have to log in again?
That problem hasn't happened for me in the past few months. Before then I always had to wait for the confirmation email.
Lol, what confirmation email???
Until recently, even if I checked the box for my computer being my own, I'd have to wait to receive a code via email before I could log in.
tashnewbie
Posts: 2262
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:44 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by tashnewbie »

MileKing wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:15 pm I was considering opening a Treasury Direct account to rid myself of the paper I-bonds I hold and make things easier when I eventually redeem the bonds, but am having second thoughts after reading this thread. Requiring a signature guarantee on a form just to open an account and then a second signature guarantee on another form to add a bank account seems like a hassle to me. Particularly if one does not have a brick and mortar bank. Someone mentioned a notary, but that is listed as unacceptable on the forms referenced by the OP.
I opened a TD account this month, and I didn't have to fill out any form to open the account or add my initial bank account. YMMV.
User avatar
Tubes
Posts: 797
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:33 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by Tubes »

jajlrajrf wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:22 pm I opened a Treasury Direct account a few years ago and I am 100% sure I did not need anything notarized or Medallion-guaranteed.
My too. I opened mine before the "secret decoder card" days. Then they converted us to the secret decoder, then finally the virtual keyboard.

It seems to me that they had issues with security and have gradually upped the ante on opening accounts. The website works once you get used to it. It kind of feels like driving a Studebaker. Lacking proper airbags and seat belts, they clearly have lazy paranoia in place. The "back" button on the browser always throws you out. You have to learn to use "cancel", which can be counter intuitive.

I converted a big old stack of paper EE bonds to a linked account. No medallions required for that. The process was a bit nerve wracking in that you just send them in with a manifest. But it worked, and really simplified my life in that area (these were bonds acquired before 2000 for various reasons). Over the years, they are all rolling off at maturity and it is automatic. I like that a lot -- although I do have to be aware of the income consequences.
LittleMaggieMae
Posts: 1235
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:06 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

I was under the impression that we needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) for such forms, which is not always easy to obtain. However, if you check the second page of this form, a Signature Guarantee is sufficient
Google medallion signature guarantee vs signature guarantee
They are the same thing. You still need a human being to be authorized to do it and I'm guessing to have the special stamp thingy and to have that person at the bank/whatever so they can do what they need to do. Kind of like a Notary....

This isn't a complaint about the process or that this needs to be done... it's just a clarification.
You still need to go somewhere and get some paperwork done in person. :)

I don't think the TD stuff is so awful - and once you get the hang of their website you are good to go.
(FWIW: you have to get the hang of a lot of things these days the interfaces keep changing.... and you have to relearn how to do stuff over and over and over.... at least the TD site barely changes. )
HomeStretch
Posts: 7168
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HomeStretch »

I don’t find the TD website difficult to log onto, navigate or transact. I find holding I-Bonds in my portfolio worthwhile and am willing to use TD online accounts to purchase them. Like most things YMMV but my past experiences with TD are fine and their knowledgable reps answer the phone promptly. My experiences:

1) Spouse and I opened two TD entity accounts for our trusts online 2 months ago and linked our bank account. No paper forms or bank signature guarantees required. We already had TD individual accounts.

2) Spouse helped parents open two individual TD accounts this week online. These are their initial TD accounts. One parent’s account is open. The other requires a form with signature guarantee (this is the parent with very little primary credit history).

3) I was locked out of my TD account about two years ago for using the browser back button. My call to TD was promptly picked up and the rep unlocked the account (no paper form needed).

4) A couple months ago, sent in a manifest and paper I-Bonds received from my tax refund. Within a couple days of mailing via USPS certified mail I received an acknowledgment of receipt via email from TD. Within another week, the paper bonds were converted to electronic holdings.

5) Redeemed EE Bonds earlier this year. Money was in my linked bank account within 2 days.
teamDE
Posts: 418
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:16 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by teamDE »

Two days ago I bought some I Bonds. It literally took me 5 minutes to create an account, add my bank, and buy the bonds.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 14097
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

HomeStretch wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:18 pm 5) Redeemed EE Bonds earlier this year. Money was in my linked bank account within 2 days.
Chuckle.

If I went in my car to my credit union right now (it's 4:24) with either iBond or EE paper Bond, I would have cash in my account, available for withdrawal before 5 pm today. The drive there is 15 minutes.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
superbobbyg
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:20 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by superbobbyg »

Opened 2 treasury direct i-bond accounts on 8/18 and 8/19 for me and wife. Very easy, though many steps to complete. The virtual keyboard is a good security measure to protect against "keylockers".

Overall, no compalaints.
HeelaMonster
Posts: 298
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:46 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HeelaMonster »

jajlrajrf wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:22 pm I opened a Treasury Direct account a few years ago and I am 100% sure I did not need anything notarized or Medallion-guaranteed.
I opened our accounts (x2) five years ago, and don't remember needing any signature guarantees. Perhaps I simply forgot that step, but that in itself might suggest it was no big deal, and there have been no continuing hassles. Once per year I access to purchase another pair of I-bonds, requiring approx 5 minutes for mine, and 4 minutes for my spouse (because first pass dusted off whatever cobwebs there were, reminding me what buttons to push!). TD website may be a bit clunky, as websites go.... but certainly not enough to influence whether (or not) I purchase I-bonds.
suewolf
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:15 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by suewolf »

Just like several others here - I opened my account on line in about 5 minutes. No need for a signature guarantee - just a bank account from which to fund the purchase of the bonds.

I just signed on to the Treasury Direct web site. They ask you to answer the same 3 security questions you answered when you first signed on - but they list all nine security questions! I forgot which questions I answered and so got locked out. I called they number provided and after going through several prompts, spoke to a real person that fixed my problem in a bout 2 minutes. I have now recorded my questions and answers on my Last Pass so remember the next time.

Overall the website is easy to navigate and I was impressed with the service (much better than either Vanguard or Fidelity) regarding password security. No one should NOT buy a treasury bond because of the website.
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

LittleMaggieMae wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:02 pm
I was under the impression that we needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) for such forms, which is not always easy to obtain. However, if you check the second page of this form, a Signature Guarantee is sufficient
Google medallion signature guarantee vs signature guarantee
They are the same thing. You still need a human being to be authorized to do it and I'm guessing to have the special stamp thingy and to have that person at the bank/whatever so they can do what they need to do. Kind of like a Notary....

This isn't a complaint about the process or that this needs to be done... it's just a clarification.
You still need to go somewhere and get some paperwork done in person. :)

I don't think the TD stuff is so awful - and once you get the hang of their website you are good to go.
(FWIW: you have to get the hang of a lot of things these days the interfaces keep changing.... and you have to relearn how to do stuff over and over and over.... at least the TD site barely changes. )
To the best of my knowledge, "medallion signature guarantee" and "signature guarantee" are not the same. I believe the key difference is in whether the guarantor accepts liability or not. Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Medallion signature guarantee.
In the United States, a medallion signature guarantee is a special signature guarantee used primarily when a client transfers or sells US securities. It is an assurance by the financial institution granting the guarantee that the signature on the transaction is genuine and that the guarantor accepts liability for any forgery.
I don't think the guarantor accepts liability in case of a simple "Signature Guarantee". Not surprisingly, it is quite straightforward to get a signature guarantee but not so much if you want an MSG.

I do agree that you need to go to the bank in person to get either of these :D
HomeStretch
Posts: 7168
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HomeStretch »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:26 pm
HomeStretch wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:18 pm 5) Redeemed EE Bonds earlier this year. Money was in my linked bank account within 2 days.
Chuckle.

If I went in my car to my credit union right now (it's 4:24) with either iBond or EE paper Bond, I would have cash in my account, available for withdrawal before 5 pm today. The drive there is 15 minutes.
Chuckle. :D

< 5 minutes and I didn’t have to leave my house! No need for immediate cash.
User avatar
Steelersfan
Posts: 3970
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:47 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by Steelersfan »

HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:58 pm
LittleMaggieMae wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:02 pm
In the United States, a medallion signature guarantee is a special signature guarantee used primarily when a client transfers or sells US securities. It is an assurance by the financial institution granting the guarantee that the signature on the transaction is genuine and that the guarantor accepts liability for any forgery.
I don't think the guarantor accepts liability in case of a simple "Signature Guarantee". Not surprisingly, it is quite straightforward to get a signature guarantee but not so much if you want an MSG.

I do agree that you need to go to the bank in person to get either of these :D
I agree, a Signature Guarantee is not the same as a Medallion Signature. I needed to get a Signature Guarantee to convert some paper bonds to electronic form and got one at my local bank branch in 10 minutes or less.
tibbitts
Posts: 15812
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by tibbitts »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:26 pm
HomeStretch wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:18 pm 5) Redeemed EE Bonds earlier this year. Money was in my linked bank account within 2 days.
Chuckle.

If I went in my car to my credit union right now (it's 4:24) with either iBond or EE paper Bond, I would have cash in my account, available for withdrawal before 5 pm today. The drive there is 15 minutes.
The problem with paper bonds is the inability to change registration without converting them to electronic form.
User avatar
anon_investor
Posts: 9487
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:43 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by anon_investor »

HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:18 pm This post is for the fellow Bogleheads who are on the fence about opening a Treasury Direct (TD) account because of all the negativity surrounding TD website. Since I Bonds are an attractive investment at the moment, this has come up in many recent posts. The biggest concern is of being "locked out" of the account. My spouse and I opened new Treasury Direct accounts within the last month and I will share our experience below.

Opening New Accounts. When we filled in all our information on the TD website, a hold was placed on our account immediately and we were asked to complete the Account Authorization form (FS Form 5444) and mail it to Treasury Retail Securities Site.

I was under the impression that we needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) for such forms, which is not always easy to obtain. However, if you check the second page of this form, a Signature Guarantee is sufficient. It can be obtained easily from the local branch of your bank. Even though we had to go to a nearby city to obtain this, I don't think this was such a hassle. Before we made the trip, we called the bank and told them exactly what we needed. They asked us to come at a specific time and we were out of the bank in less than 5 minutes (they just checked our photo ID and stamped the form). We mailed the forms and the hold was lifted within a week or so after that.

Adding a New Bank Account. Although this is not something we have experienced personally, some folks have reported that they were locked out of the system when they tried to add a new bank account to their existing TD account. They were then asked to send FS Form 5512. If you see "Acceptable seals and stamps" on page 5 of this form, a simple "Signature Guarantee" works for this form too.

Using Treasury Direct Website. It needs a bit of getting used to but the website is not as bad as it may appear from some of the posts. There is a detailed list of FAQs (How do I...?), which covers many of the questions that may arise when you first use the website.

Once you understand the process, it takes less than 5 minutes to purchase I bonds and grant view/transact rights (if you wish to).

Virtual keyboard. When you log in for the first time, you will notice that you need to use a virtual keyboard to enter your password. If you are using a Mac and save your passwords in Keychain, you do not need to enter this password manually every time. Keychain will fill it automatically for you. Based on some of the posts that I have seen here, the same is true for some other password managers as well.

In summary, my experience of dealing with the TD website has not been bad. In particular, creating an option of purchasing at least $20K worth of I Bonds every year (MFJ) to park our EF outweighed all the hassle for us.
Did you happen to have any of your credit frozen when you created your TD account. I heard that often triggers the paper form request.
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:21 pm
HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:18 pm This post is for the fellow Bogleheads who are on the fence about opening a Treasury Direct (TD) account because of all the negativity surrounding TD website. Since I Bonds are an attractive investment at the moment, this has come up in many recent posts. The biggest concern is of being "locked out" of the account. My spouse and I opened new Treasury Direct accounts within the last month and I will share our experience below.

Opening New Accounts. When we filled in all our information on the TD website, a hold was placed on our account immediately and we were asked to complete the Account Authorization form (FS Form 5444) and mail it to Treasury Retail Securities Site.

I was under the impression that we needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) for such forms, which is not always easy to obtain. However, if you check the second page of this form, a Signature Guarantee is sufficient. It can be obtained easily from the local branch of your bank. Even though we had to go to a nearby city to obtain this, I don't think this was such a hassle. Before we made the trip, we called the bank and told them exactly what we needed. They asked us to come at a specific time and we were out of the bank in less than 5 minutes (they just checked our photo ID and stamped the form). We mailed the forms and the hold was lifted within a week or so after that.

Adding a New Bank Account. Although this is not something we have experienced personally, some folks have reported that they were locked out of the system when they tried to add a new bank account to their existing TD account. They were then asked to send FS Form 5512. If you see "Acceptable seals and stamps" on page 5 of this form, a simple "Signature Guarantee" works for this form too.

Using Treasury Direct Website. It needs a bit of getting used to but the website is not as bad as it may appear from some of the posts. There is a detailed list of FAQs (How do I...?), which covers many of the questions that may arise when you first use the website.

Once you understand the process, it takes less than 5 minutes to purchase I bonds and grant view/transact rights (if you wish to).

Virtual keyboard. When you log in for the first time, you will notice that you need to use a virtual keyboard to enter your password. If you are using a Mac and save your passwords in Keychain, you do not need to enter this password manually every time. Keychain will fill it automatically for you. Based on some of the posts that I have seen here, the same is true for some other password managers as well.

In summary, my experience of dealing with the TD website has not been bad. In particular, creating an option of purchasing at least $20K worth of I Bonds every year (MFJ) to park our EF outweighed all the hassle for us.
Did you happen to have any of your credit frozen when you created your TD account. I heard that often triggers the paper form request.
Nope, I did not. Not sure what triggered it for us. However, based on the posts that I have read in the other threads, this is not uncommon.
User avatar
anon_investor
Posts: 9487
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:43 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by anon_investor »

HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:23 pm
anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:21 pm
HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:18 pm This post is for the fellow Bogleheads who are on the fence about opening a Treasury Direct (TD) account because of all the negativity surrounding TD website. Since I Bonds are an attractive investment at the moment, this has come up in many recent posts. The biggest concern is of being "locked out" of the account. My spouse and I opened new Treasury Direct accounts within the last month and I will share our experience below.

Opening New Accounts. When we filled in all our information on the TD website, a hold was placed on our account immediately and we were asked to complete the Account Authorization form (FS Form 5444) and mail it to Treasury Retail Securities Site.

I was under the impression that we needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) for such forms, which is not always easy to obtain. However, if you check the second page of this form, a Signature Guarantee is sufficient. It can be obtained easily from the local branch of your bank. Even though we had to go to a nearby city to obtain this, I don't think this was such a hassle. Before we made the trip, we called the bank and told them exactly what we needed. They asked us to come at a specific time and we were out of the bank in less than 5 minutes (they just checked our photo ID and stamped the form). We mailed the forms and the hold was lifted within a week or so after that.

Adding a New Bank Account. Although this is not something we have experienced personally, some folks have reported that they were locked out of the system when they tried to add a new bank account to their existing TD account. They were then asked to send FS Form 5512. If you see "Acceptable seals and stamps" on page 5 of this form, a simple "Signature Guarantee" works for this form too.

Using Treasury Direct Website. It needs a bit of getting used to but the website is not as bad as it may appear from some of the posts. There is a detailed list of FAQs (How do I...?), which covers many of the questions that may arise when you first use the website.

Once you understand the process, it takes less than 5 minutes to purchase I bonds and grant view/transact rights (if you wish to).

Virtual keyboard. When you log in for the first time, you will notice that you need to use a virtual keyboard to enter your password. If you are using a Mac and save your passwords in Keychain, you do not need to enter this password manually every time. Keychain will fill it automatically for you. Based on some of the posts that I have seen here, the same is true for some other password managers as well.

In summary, my experience of dealing with the TD website has not been bad. In particular, creating an option of purchasing at least $20K worth of I Bonds every year (MFJ) to park our EF outweighed all the hassle for us.
Did you happen to have any of your credit frozen when you created your TD account. I heard that often triggers the paper form request.
Nope, I did not. Not sure what triggered it for us. However, based on the posts that I have read in the other threads, this is not uncommon.
Yeah, definitely YMMV. My spouse and my TD accounts were locked shortly after opening but we were both able to unlock our accounts by phone. But this was in 2019/2020.
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:26 pm
HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:23 pm
anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:21 pm
HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:18 pm This post is for the fellow Bogleheads who are on the fence about opening a Treasury Direct (TD) account because of all the negativity surrounding TD website. Since I Bonds are an attractive investment at the moment, this has come up in many recent posts. The biggest concern is of being "locked out" of the account. My spouse and I opened new Treasury Direct accounts within the last month and I will share our experience below.

Opening New Accounts. When we filled in all our information on the TD website, a hold was placed on our account immediately and we were asked to complete the Account Authorization form (FS Form 5444) and mail it to Treasury Retail Securities Site.

I was under the impression that we needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) for such forms, which is not always easy to obtain. However, if you check the second page of this form, a Signature Guarantee is sufficient. It can be obtained easily from the local branch of your bank. Even though we had to go to a nearby city to obtain this, I don't think this was such a hassle. Before we made the trip, we called the bank and told them exactly what we needed. They asked us to come at a specific time and we were out of the bank in less than 5 minutes (they just checked our photo ID and stamped the form). We mailed the forms and the hold was lifted within a week or so after that.

Adding a New Bank Account. Although this is not something we have experienced personally, some folks have reported that they were locked out of the system when they tried to add a new bank account to their existing TD account. They were then asked to send FS Form 5512. If you see "Acceptable seals and stamps" on page 5 of this form, a simple "Signature Guarantee" works for this form too.

Using Treasury Direct Website. It needs a bit of getting used to but the website is not as bad as it may appear from some of the posts. There is a detailed list of FAQs (How do I...?), which covers many of the questions that may arise when you first use the website.

Once you understand the process, it takes less than 5 minutes to purchase I bonds and grant view/transact rights (if you wish to).

Virtual keyboard. When you log in for the first time, you will notice that you need to use a virtual keyboard to enter your password. If you are using a Mac and save your passwords in Keychain, you do not need to enter this password manually every time. Keychain will fill it automatically for you. Based on some of the posts that I have seen here, the same is true for some other password managers as well.

In summary, my experience of dealing with the TD website has not been bad. In particular, creating an option of purchasing at least $20K worth of I Bonds every year (MFJ) to park our EF outweighed all the hassle for us.
Did you happen to have any of your credit frozen when you created your TD account. I heard that often triggers the paper form request.
Nope, I did not. Not sure what triggered it for us. However, based on the posts that I have read in the other threads, this is not uncommon.
Yeah, definitely YMMV. My spouse and my TD accounts were locked shortly after opening but we were both able to unlock our accounts by phone. But this was in 2019/2020.
I also thought of resolving it over phone but then decided to visit our bank in the nearby city. I am glad to hear that a phone call worked for you.
User avatar
anon_investor
Posts: 9487
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:43 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by anon_investor »

HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:33 pm
anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:26 pm
HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:23 pm
anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:21 pm
HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:18 pm This post is for the fellow Bogleheads who are on the fence about opening a Treasury Direct (TD) account because of all the negativity surrounding TD website. Since I Bonds are an attractive investment at the moment, this has come up in many recent posts. The biggest concern is of being "locked out" of the account. My spouse and I opened new Treasury Direct accounts within the last month and I will share our experience below.

Opening New Accounts. When we filled in all our information on the TD website, a hold was placed on our account immediately and we were asked to complete the Account Authorization form (FS Form 5444) and mail it to Treasury Retail Securities Site.

I was under the impression that we needed a Medallion Signature Guarantee (MSG) for such forms, which is not always easy to obtain. However, if you check the second page of this form, a Signature Guarantee is sufficient. It can be obtained easily from the local branch of your bank. Even though we had to go to a nearby city to obtain this, I don't think this was such a hassle. Before we made the trip, we called the bank and told them exactly what we needed. They asked us to come at a specific time and we were out of the bank in less than 5 minutes (they just checked our photo ID and stamped the form). We mailed the forms and the hold was lifted within a week or so after that.

Adding a New Bank Account. Although this is not something we have experienced personally, some folks have reported that they were locked out of the system when they tried to add a new bank account to their existing TD account. They were then asked to send FS Form 5512. If you see "Acceptable seals and stamps" on page 5 of this form, a simple "Signature Guarantee" works for this form too.

Using Treasury Direct Website. It needs a bit of getting used to but the website is not as bad as it may appear from some of the posts. There is a detailed list of FAQs (How do I...?), which covers many of the questions that may arise when you first use the website.

Once you understand the process, it takes less than 5 minutes to purchase I bonds and grant view/transact rights (if you wish to).

Virtual keyboard. When you log in for the first time, you will notice that you need to use a virtual keyboard to enter your password. If you are using a Mac and save your passwords in Keychain, you do not need to enter this password manually every time. Keychain will fill it automatically for you. Based on some of the posts that I have seen here, the same is true for some other password managers as well.

In summary, my experience of dealing with the TD website has not been bad. In particular, creating an option of purchasing at least $20K worth of I Bonds every year (MFJ) to park our EF outweighed all the hassle for us.
Did you happen to have any of your credit frozen when you created your TD account. I heard that often triggers the paper form request.
Nope, I did not. Not sure what triggered it for us. However, based on the posts that I have read in the other threads, this is not uncommon.
Yeah, definitely YMMV. My spouse and my TD accounts were locked shortly after opening but we were both able to unlock our accounts by phone. But this was in 2019/2020.
I also thought of resolving it over phone but then decided to visit our bank in the nearby city. I am glad to hear that a phone call worked for you.
Did TD tell you to submit a form or make a call? I remember when I tried to login, it said my account was locked and to call a number. Haven't had issues since that first unlock, but all I do is buy I Bonds once a year and check my account the first of every month.
Topic Author
HasHas
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:16 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by HasHas »

anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:37 pm
HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:33 pm
anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:26 pm
HasHas wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:23 pm
anon_investor wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:21 pm

Did you happen to have any of your credit frozen when you created your TD account. I heard that often triggers the paper form request.
Nope, I did not. Not sure what triggered it for us. However, based on the posts that I have read in the other threads, this is not uncommon.
Yeah, definitely YMMV. My spouse and my TD accounts were locked shortly after opening but we were both able to unlock our accounts by phone. But this was in 2019/2020.
I also thought of resolving it over phone but then decided to visit our bank in the nearby city. I am glad to hear that a phone call worked for you.
Did TD tell you to submit a form or make a call? I remember when I tried to login, it said my account was locked and to call a number. Haven't had issues since that first unlock, but all I do is buy I Bonds once a year and check my account the first of every month.
Yes, TD told us to send a form. We received (auto-generated) emails as soon as we created our accounts. A link to the pdf version of the form (included in the OP) was given in those emails.

I am also hoping that we will not be asked to send this form ever again. We will also be buying I Bonds once a year and I do not anticipate making any changes to the linked bank account. I may just have to change our address in TD when we move but I hope that won't trigger any holds.
Kensington
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:07 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by Kensington »

tashnewbie wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:49 pm
MileKing wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:15 pm I was considering opening a Treasury Direct account to rid myself of the paper I-bonds I hold and make things easier when I eventually redeem the bonds, but am having second thoughts after reading this thread. Requiring a signature guarantee on a form just to open an account and then a second signature guarantee on another form to add a bank account seems like a hassle to me. Particularly if one does not have a brick and mortar bank. Someone mentioned a notary, but that is listed as unacceptable on the forms referenced by the OP.
I opened a TD account this month, and I didn't have to fill out any form to open the account or add my initial bank account. YMMV.
This is true for me too. I opened an account last month for the first time and didn’t have to do any of that.

I will report that on a PC, LastPass won’t auto fill on the virtual keyboard
TDwle
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2021 7:26 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by TDwle »

I opened an Account and scheduled a transfer and also automatic purchases from checking in about 10 minutes on my mac laptop it is set to save passwords. There was never anything about signatures needed or snail mail. I purchased I bonds electronic.
cacophony
Posts: 794
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:12 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by cacophony »

Anyone know a way to get bitwarden to auto fill the password? I see there is an existing bitwarden bug on this and it seems related to the password field being marked as readonly, but I'm hoping there's some sort of clever workaround. Typing in a long password via the virtual keyboard is pretty annoying.

edit: this definitely helps: viewtopic.php?p=4549149#p4549149
Downbike
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:17 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by Downbike »

I have the exact opposite experience at my bank to fill the form to open the TD account!
My account is currently locked because I cant get the signature guaranteed stamp. I too was required to fill out the form to verify my identity when I first created the treasury account. I went to my local Chase bank and was told they don’t have “signature guarantee” stamp but they do have the Mendallion one. They also dont have the seal or official stamp. But they (the branch manager) only provide the Mendallion stamp to transfer or redeem security. They are adamant that they don’t provide the Mendallion stamp for just opening an TD account. I went to another branch and again was told the same thing. I filed a complaint to the executive office and the executive employee told me that the bank manager should be able to provide the stamp for my form to open the account. Went back to the branch and again was told NO! The manager basically said the executive person has no idea what she was talking about. So now I’m stuck!! Wasted a lot of my time, feeling frustrated and account is still locked!!
I don’t have an other brick-and-mortar bank at the moment. Any idea?


Update 10/8/21
I went nowhere with Chase after 3 months. Gave up with Chase. Did some googling and found out that my local Union Bank offer the Signature Guaranteed stamp for account holder.
I walk over to my local Union Bank branch (if you are in the West Coast), open an account in 15 min and they gave me the Signature Guaranteed stamp right away on the same day (no charge and no waiting period). My account is unlocked in about a week after i mailed the form. Needless to say I'm switching my bank!
Last edited by Downbike on Fri Oct 08, 2021 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
rtt22
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:45 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by rtt22 »

I opened a TD account online and set up a checking account linkage a few months ago without having to send in any paperwork whatsoever. I made sure I unlocked/unfroze all credit freezes, including CheckSystems, before creating this TD online account. Maybe that made a difference.
AnnetteLouisan
Posts: 1292
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2021 10:16 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

jajlrajrf wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:22 pm I opened a Treasury Direct account a few years ago and I am 100% sure I did not need anything notarized or Medallion-guaranteed.
Same here this year.
AnnetteLouisan
Posts: 1292
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2021 10:16 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

rtt22 wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:24 pm I opened a TD account online and set up a checking account linkage a few months ago without having to send in any paperwork whatsoever. I made sure I unlocked/unfroze all credit freezes, including CheckSystems, before creating this TD online account. Maybe that made a difference.
I didn’t unfreeze and it was fine.
Deontic
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:19 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by Deontic »

Most of the topics on this thread deal with initiating an account. On the back end, the Treasury Direct site's Research Center has a page titled "Death of a Savings Bond Owner", see:

https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/re ... edeath.htm

but it details actions for PAPER bond owners and unfortunately has only one instruction line for Electronic Bond owners:

(Electronic bonds: If the person who died has an online TreasuryDirect account, contact the Bureau of Fiscal Service directly. We will put a hold on the account and give specific instructions for the situation.)

If both electronic bond owner and their designated person who can transact are both deceased, then the estate is faced with dealing with the above-named bureau. Any suggestions to deal with this situation?
User avatar
anon_investor
Posts: 9487
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:43 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by anon_investor »

Deontic wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:44 pm Most of the topics on this thread deal with initiating an account. On the back end, the Treasury Direct site's Research Center has a page titled "Death of a Savings Bond Owner", see:

https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/re ... edeath.htm

but it details actions for PAPER bond owners and unfortunately has only one instruction line for Electronic Bond owners:

(Electronic bonds: If the person who died has an online TreasuryDirect account, contact the Bureau of Fiscal Service directly. We will put a hold on the account and give specific instructions for the situation.)

If both electronic bond owner and their designated person who can transact are both deceased, then the estate is faced with dealing with the above-named bureau. Any suggestions to deal with this situation?
I think that really is just Treasury Direct customer service, and they are very good. I have called before.
User avatar
Harry Livermore
Posts: 959
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:32 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by Harry Livermore »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:26 pm
HomeStretch wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:18 pm 5) Redeemed EE Bonds earlier this year. Money was in my linked bank account within 2 days.
Chuckle.

If I went in my car to my credit union right now (it's 4:24) with either iBond or EE paper Bond, I would have cash in my account, available for withdrawal before 5 pm today. The drive there is 15 minutes.
Yes, I was going to ask about this. I have a stack of paper iBonds from years ago, and figured when I wanted to redeem I'd simply walk into the branch of my bank (5 minutes away)
IMO, this is one of the great things about paper bonds, and the obsolete manner in which you used to buy and redeem them. Banks (who deal with cash, checks, traveler's checks, etc.) issued paper bonds on behalf of the Treasury. Whether it was a routine purchase, or a gift for a birth or graduation, you walked out of the bank with a bond. When you needed to redeem, you presented the bond to the bank, as good as cash. Now, we have gone from the secret decoder card to a "keyboard" on your screen, to being locked out, to having to send in Medallion Guarantees (don't get me started on that) Even And you no longer get to tuck a cool little paper bond in the kid's card.
I might be old fashioned. Yes. But sometimes a "system" or "process" is perfected in its original, old-fashioned form.
Cheers
newinvesting2021
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2021 3:22 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by newinvesting2021 »

good morning!

last month I moved all my paper savings bonds there (67)....personally don't like the site, would have rather kept the paper bonds

Mila
User avatar
beyou
Posts: 4290
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by beyou »

Downbike wrote: Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:26 pm I have the exact opposite experience at my bank to fill the form to open the TD account!
My account is currently locked because I cant get the signature guaranteed stamp. I too was required to fill out the form to verify my identity when I first created the treasury account. I went to my local Chase bank and was told they don’t have “signature guarantee” stamp but they do have the Mendallion one. They also dont have the seal or official stamp. But they (the branch manager) only provide the Mendallion stamp to transfer or redeem security. They are adamant that they don’t provide the Mendallion stamp for just opening an TD account. I went to another branch and again was told the same thing. I filed a complaint to the executive office and the executive employee told me that the bank manager should be able to provide the stamp for my form to open the account. Went back to the branch and again was told NO! The manager basically said the executive person has no idea what she was talking about. So now I’m stuck!! Wasted a lot of my time, feeling frustrated and account is still locked!!
I don’t have an other brick-and-mortar bank at the moment. Any idea?
Go to a branch of another bank and ask if they do it for customers and how long after account opening. If yes, then open an account, march back to Chase and tell them stamp or close account, now.

Note tell them “bonds” are securities.
Show them a printout of a list of your bonds, with maturity dates and rates. Technically they are not “marketable securities” but they are non-public private securities. You need ability to sell and transfer proceeds, similar to a brokerage account holding bonds.
User avatar
samsoes
Posts: 1713
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:12 am

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by samsoes »

newinvesting2021 wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 5:30 am good morning!

last month I moved all my paper savings bonds there (67)....personally don't like the site, would have rather kept the paper bonds

Mila
Then why did you move them?
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)
newinvesting2021
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2021 3:22 pm

Re: Recent Experience with the Treasury Direct Website

Post by newinvesting2021 »

samsoes wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 5:54 am
newinvesting2021 wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 5:30 am good morning!

last month I moved all my paper savings bonds there (67)....personally don't like the site, would have rather kept the paper bonds

Mila
Then why did you move them?
I moved them because where I live it is very difficult to get "paper bonds" cashed-I couldn't find places to cash them...have to mail in the bond individually to be cashed to the treasury direct etc. Possibly I could have researched other places to cash paper bonds....knowing what I know.
Post Reply