When grandparents send holiday or birthday cards in 2012, stuffed with a U.S. savings bond, the certificate may look a bit different.
As of the close of business Dec. 30, banking institutions will no longer be able to issue paper savings bonds.
Citing statistics from the U.S. Treasury's Bureau of Public Debt, Julie Schultze, with The Farmers Bank of Spencer, said, "It is estimated that end the sale of over-the-counter paper U.S. savings bonds will save over $120 million over the next five years in printing, mailing and storing of savings bonds."
Schultze noted currently there are 670 million paper bonds worth more than $181 billion in the hands of the public.
"Financial institutions will continue to cash bonds, they just can't issue them," Schultze said. "After Dec. 31, People are going to have to order bonds themselves on the computer from www.treasurydirect.gov.\"
Issuing the bonds has been a long time responsibility of lending institutions.
"We all do a ton of savings bond," Schultze said. A lot, especially this time of year."
Beginning in 2012, all bonds will be ordered, payed for and received directly from the TreasuryDirect website.
"Once you get on the site, it's pretty self explanatory," Schultze said, but cautioned, "Don't go to the library and use a public computer."
She continued, "You have to set up an account with the treasury and set up an email with passwords and such. They have to reply to you by email, you don't want to use a public website."
When going online to order a savings bond, the purchaser should be prepared with a social security number or tax ID number, a drivers license or state ID number, an email address, and a bank account and routing number for the account which will be used for payment purposes.
Once the transaction has been completed, a document will be emailed from the treasury which will serve as a record of the bond purchase. The document, once printed, should be stored in a safe place.
Schultze suggested anyone with questions contact their local financial institution.