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Glossary of Terms

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Accrual-type Savings Security

A savings bond or note that increases in value periodically as interest is added to the security's issue price.

Accrued Interest

The amount of interest a security earns before it is issued. In most cases, securities don't earn interest before they're issued. They do when the security is sold in a reopening or when the security's dated date falls on a weekend or holiday. In these two circumstances, an investor may have to pay accrued interest when he or she buys a security. However, if an investor pays accrued interest, he or she gets the money back in the next interest payment. (The payment to the investor covers a full six-month interest-earning period. The investor's payment to the government covers a shorter time frame at the start of that six-month period.) In this arrangement, the net interest paid to the investor is the interest earned only after the security is issued to him or her.

Accrual-Basis Tax Reporting

Reporting the interest earned each year for a security.

Administered Estate

An estate being administered or otherwise settled by a court.


A person appointed by a court to administer (or otherwise settle) the estate of a deceased person.

Announcement Date

The date the U.S. Treasury notifies the public of an upcoming auction. The auction announcement states the securities to be auctioned, date of the auction, dollar amount to be offered, and more.

Appreciation-type Savings Security

A security for which the interest earned is reported each year. See Accrual-type Savings Security.


An auction is how the U.S. Treasury sells Treasury bills, Treasury notes, Treasury bonds, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). Competitive bids submitted in an auction determine a security's interest rate or discount rate, and price. However, investors who buy securities through TreasuryDirect or Legacy Treasury Direct don't bid competitively —that is, they don't specify the rate they will accept. Rather, they agree to accept whatever terms are established by the competitive bids.

Auction Announcement

A press release that states the security to be auctioned, date of the auction, dollar amount to be offered and other information.

Auction Date

The date when the U.S. Treasury sells a Treasury bill, Treasury note, Treasury bond, or Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS). Tentative auction dates are released months in advance. A date becomes official when the auction is formally announced; usually, a few days before the auction.

Automated Clearing House (ACH)

A secure system to transfer funds that acts as the central clearing facility for Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) transactions.

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Baby Bonds

A name originally given to the Series A-1935 savings bond, but carried over to Series B-1936, C-1937 & 1938, and D-1939, 1940, & 1941 (through April) savings bonds.

Backup Withholding

Backup withholding is the amount of money withheld by the Fiscal Service to satisfy debts owed by the taxpayer to the IRS.


A depository financial institution such as a bank or credit union.

Bank Account Type

The type of bank account (e.g., checking or savings) used when a payment or debit is processed in TreasuryDirect.


The individual designated on the bond who becomes the owner of the bond upon the death of the bond’s owner. Bonds bearing the name of a beneficiary are registered, for example, "John Smith Payable on Death (POD) to Jane Smith." "Jane Smith" is the beneficiary.

Beneficiary Under a Trust

The person for whom a trust is created or who is entitled to the income from a trust.


A bequest is a gift, given to the recipient upon the death of the donor. Bequests are typically designated in wills.


See Treasury Bill.


See Treasury Bond or Savings Bond.

Bond Call

See Called Bond.

Bond of Indemnity

A bond of indemnity is a document that obligates one or more parties to perform a certain act or pay a penalty. The bond of indemnity states the specific amount of the penalty.


Securities maintained as electronic records rather than in paper form.

Budget surplus

When an individual or organization has more money than is necessary to cover its expenses.

Bureau of Public Debt

The Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD) was an agency in the U. S. Department of the Treasury which managed the borrowing of money needed to run the federal government and accounts for the national debt.  The Bureau of the Public Debt consolidated with the Financial Management Service in October 2012 into the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

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Called Bonds

A Treasury bond the U.S. Treasury redeems before the bond's maturity date. Only Treasury bonds issued before 1985 are subject to being called. When a bond is called, the U.S. Treasury states the date when the bond will stop paying interest.

Cash-Basis Tax Reporting

Reporting all of the interest earned over the life of the security in the year that it reaches final maturity, is redeemed, or otherwise disposed.

Cash Management Bill

A Treasury bill not offered according to a schedule, but offered as the government's borrowing needs warrant. Terms vary widely, from a few days to hundreds of days. Cash management bills aren't sold in TreasuryDirect. However, cash management bills originally offered as 26- or 52-week bills can be transferred into TreasuryDirect.

Certificate of Indebtedness (C of I)

See Zero-Percent Certificate of Indebtedness.


Process by which a bank or other financial institution guarantees a signature in the request for payment on a savings bond, reissue, or other request relating to savings bonds.

Certified Copy

The copy of original legal documents that contain a raised or impressed seal plus statements about the accuracy and authenticity of the document.

Certifying Officer

An officer or other employee of a bank, trust company, or credit union, who is expressly authorized by the institution to certify or guarantee signatures.

Closed Book Period

Before the payment date for a specific marketable security, the period in which an investor cannot conduct transactions for that security. In TreasuryDirect, the period is four business days. In Legacy Treasury Direct, the period is 10 business days.

Commercial Book-Entry System

The system in which banks, brokers, and dealers hold Treasury bills, Treasury notes, Treasury bonds, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) on behalf of investors. For the investor, the alternative to this system is to hold securities directly with the government through either TreasuryDirect or Legacy Treasury Direct.

Competitive Bidding

A type of bidding where the investor specifies the discount rate or yield he or she will accept for a security that will be auctioned. This type of bidding is available only in the Commercial Book-Entry System. Investors who use TreasuryDirect or Legacy Treasury Direct engage in noncompetitive bidding; this means they agree to accept any discount rate or yield determined by the auction.


A method to change your paper savings bonds to electronic securities.

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

The consumer price index (CPI) measures changes through time in the price level of consumer goods and services purchased by households. In the United States, the CPI is defined by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as "a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services." The CPI-U, or the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers is used to adjust the principal of a Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS) and to determine the inflation rate component of the I Bond interest rate.


The person named second in the registration of a Treasury security whose name is preceded by the word "OR." Both co-owners have equal rights to the security. For example, "John Smith OR Jane Smith." "Jane Smith" is the co-owner.

Coupon (or Coupon Rate)

The interest rate stated on a bond when it is issued. The coupon is typically paid twice a year.

Current Income Savings Bond

A H or HH savings bond, on which interest is paid every six months, usually via Direct Deposit, to the owner or co-owners. H and HH bonds are no longer available for purchase.

Current Value

The amount of money a security is worth at a specific point in time.

Current Redemption Value (CRV)

What a bond is worth at a specific point in time, if the holder were to cash it in.

CUSIP (Committee for Uniform Security Identification Procedures)

CUSIP is the unique number Treasury uses to identify securities maturing on a specific date.

Custom Account

This is a flexible account within a TreasuryDirect account that you may establish to meet your specific financial goals.

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Dated Date

The date when a Treasury note, Treasury bond, or Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS) begins earning interest. The dated date and issue date are usually the same. The dates are different when a security is sold in a reopening or when the dated date falls on a weekend or holiday. In both of those cases, the dated date comes before the issue date.

Debt Ceiling

The maximum amount the U.S. government is allowed to be in debt. The figure is set by Congress. As the government nears the limit, Treasury may suspend its sales of securities, as selling securities would put the government further into debt.


A person who has died.

Definitive Security

A security in paper form.


De-linking refers to moving the linked account's securities to a primary TreasuryDirect account. The only linked account that TreasuryDirect customers can de-link is a minor account.


The moving of a gift security from the TreasuryDirect account of the purchaser to the TreasuryDirect account of the recipient.

You must hold savings bonds in your TreasuryDirect account for at least five business days before you can deliver them to the gift recipient. The five-day hold protects Treasury against loss by ensuring the ACH debit has been successfully completed before the funds can be moved.


The dollar amount shown on the face of the security (also referred to as "face amount" or "face value").

Direct Deposit

The automatic deposit of payments to a checking or savings account at a financial institution. Direct deposit of interest payments on Series HH/H bonds is required on all bonds purchased October 1989 and later. HH/H bonds with issue dates prior to that date may be directly deposited.


The difference between the par amount and price of a marketable security, when the price is less than the par amount. Discount is referred to as "refund" on the Legacy Treasury Direct Statement of Account. A discount is the opposite of a premium.

Discount Rate

The rate of return, on an annual basis, on Treasury bills held until they mature. The discount rate is expressed in percentage terms and based on a 360-day year.


To transfer management or care of a TreasuryDirect account to another person or entity, such as with a Power of Attorney.

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Earnings Rate

A combination of two rates: a fixed rate of return and a semiannual inflation rate. (Series I Bonds only)

E Bond

A savings bond previously offered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. An E Bond is an accrual-type security, with interest added to the bond on the first day of each six-month accrual cycle and paid upon redemption.

EE Bond

A United States Savings Bond offered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, an EE Bond is an accrual-type security, meaning interest is added to the bond monthly or every six months (depending upon the original issue date) and paid upon redemption.

Education Feature

Interest earned on EE bonds with January 1, 1990, and later issue dates may qualify for exclusion from income for Federal income tax purposes if the owner pays his or her tuition and required fees or those of his or her spouse or legally dependent children at colleges, universities, and qualified technical schools during the year eligible bonds are redeemed. Costs of room, board, and books are excluded. See IRS Publication 550 "Investment Income and Expenses and IRS Form 8815 for details.

Electronic Deposit

A credit transaction initiated through electronic means (i.e., phone, computer network) by a financial institution or payroll office.

EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer)

The automatic deposit of payments to a checking or savings account at a financial institution. Direct deposit of interest payments on Series HH/H bonds is required on all bonds purchased October 1989 and later. HH/H bonds with issue dates prior to that date may be directly deposited.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)

ERISA is the U. S. federal law that sets minimum standards for pension plans in private industry. It also has many rules on the federal income tax effects of transactions associated with employee benefit plans. ERISA was enacted to protect the interests of employee benefit plan participants and their beneficiaries. ERISA

  • requires that plans disclose financial and other information about the plan;
  • sets standards of conduct for plan fiduciaries; and
  • provides for appropriate remedies and access to the federal courts.

Employer Identification Number (EIN, FTIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity.


This term applies to the purchase of Series HH Bonds which are no longer available. "Exchange" and "Redemption-Exchange" are interchangeable terms referring to the authorized redemption (payment) of eligible securities presented and surrendered for the purpose of applying the proceeds (what they're worth) for the purchase of other securities according to Treasury regulations.


The person designated in a decedent's will to carry out the directions and requests in the will and to dispose of property according to the provisions of the will.

External Transfer

Moving the partial or full amount of a marketable security from TreasuryDirect to a bank or broker. When requesting a partial External Transfer, you must transfer a minimum of $100 while leaving at least $100 of the current value of the security. This action automatically changes the ownership of the security to the bank or broker.

Extended Maturity Period

A period of time after a savings bond reaches face value that the bond continues to earn interest. Also referred to as an extension period.

Extension Period

A period of time after a savings bond reaches face value that the bond continues to earn interest.

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Face Amount

The dollar amount shown on the face of the security (also referred to as "face value" or "par amount").

Face Value

See Face Amount or Par Amount.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency of the federal government. The FDIC preserves and promotes public confidence in the U.S. financial system by:

  • insuring deposits in banks (keeping the money you have in the banks safe);
  • managing the deposit insurance funds; and
  • limiting the effect on the economy and the financial system when a bank fails.


A person acting primarily for another's benefit (e.g., executor, administrator, trustee, guardian).

Fiduciary Capacity

Relates to conducting business or handling property for the benefit of another person.

Financial Institution

A financial institution is an institution (public or private) that collects funds (from the public or other institutions) and invests them in financial assets.

Final Maturity

The point at which a bond stops earning interest, also known as the final extended maturity date.

Fixed Rate

An interest rate that stays the same for the entire term of a loan or the entire life of a security.

Floating Rate Note (FRN)

A Floating Rate Note is a government security that has interest payments that rise and fall based on discount rates of 13-week Treasury bills. An FRN is issued for a term of two years and pays interest quarterly.

Freedom Shares

Bonds that Treasury issued from May of 1967 to October of 1970. Freedom shares had a final maturity of 30 years from their issue date and were originally offered in combination with Series E bonds to promote public investment in government bonds.

Also known as "savings notes".

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Gift Bond

A gift bond is a savings bond that you buy for someone else. The owner or co-owner is the person to whom you are giving the bond. You, the buyer, are not the owner or co-owner.


For any type of security that you own in your TreasuryDirect account, you may give other people rights to see (View) or act on (Transact) for that security. When you do that, you are the Grantor. The person whom you allow to View or Transact is the "Grantee."


See Grantee definition above.

Guaranteed Minimum Rate

Guaranteed Minimum Rates apply to savings notes, E bonds and EE bonds issued before May 1995. A bond's Guaranteed Minimum Rate is established when the bond is issued and is subject to change at the beginning of each extended maturity period. These rates create the minimum value that a bond is worth at each interest accrual date. (On any interest accrual date, a bond may be worth more than its minimum value if its market-based rates create a higher value.)

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H or HH Bond

See Series HH Bond


One who inherits or is entitled to inherit property

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I Bonds

See Series I Bond

Incoming External Transfer

Moving a marketable security from a bank, broker, or Legacy Treasury Direct into an online TreasuryDirect account. For more information, see Learn more about Marketable Security Transfers.

Income Limits for Education Feature

The high end of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer on which the tax benefits of the interest exclusion for the Education Savings Bond Program are based.

Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA)

An IRA is a retirement plan that provides tax advantages for retirement savings in the United States. The term encompasses an individual retirement account — a trust or custodial account set up for the exclusive benefit of taxpayers or their beneficiaries and an individual retirement annuity, by which the taxpayers purchase an annuity contract or an endowment contract from a life insurance company.

Individual Retirement Bond

Accrual-type U.S. savings security sold to individuals eligible to participate in an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA). These bonds were first issued in January 1975 after enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"). The sale of these bonds ended on April 30, 1982.


Inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services.

Inflation-Indexed Security

A security whose payment or payments are tied to inflation —specifically, to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The U.S. Treasury sells two such securities: the Series I Savings Bond and the Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS).


Information about the owner/co-owner/beneficiaries that appears on the face of paper savings bonds. (e.g., social security account number or employer identification number, names, connectives ("OR", "POD", "Payable on death to"), and addresses.


Compensation at a specified rate, paid for the use of money.

Interest (Compound)

Interest upon interest, where accrued interest is added to the principal sum, and the whole treated as new principal, for the calculation of the interest for the next period.

Interest (Simple)

Money which is paid for the use of the principal (sum lent), at a certain rate.

Interest Accrual

Interest earned by an appreciation-type or accrual-type savings security, such as a Series EE bond, and added to what the bond was worth either at the time it was purchased or at some point thereafter according to applicable regulations.

Interest Income Statement (1099-INT)

The 1099-INT is an IRS form that lists the amount of interest a taxpayer earned on a specific investment or investments during the year. You need 1099-INTs for all of your investments to calculate your taxes and to send in with your tax form. If you have a TreasuryDirect account, you must go online after the first of each year to print the 1099-INT for your Treasury investments. If you have redeemed paper savings bonds, you will receive a 1099-INT in the mail.

Interest Rate (notes, bonds, and TIPS only)

The interest rate determines the amount of money that your money earns. Interest rate is a percentage used to figure out how much interest you will get. For example, if you have a $100 Treasury note with an interest rate of 5 percent; at the end of the year, you will get $5.00 (5% of $100) in interest .

Internal Transfer

With an internal transfer, you move part or all the value of a marketable security from one TreasuryDirect account to another. For a partial internal transfer, you must transfer at least $100 and leave at least $100 of the current value of the security. An internal transfer automatically changes the ownership of the security from one account holder to another.

Investing Maturing Proceeds

When you invest maturing proceeds, you use the money from a Bill, Note, Bond, or TIPS that is ending its paying period (that is, maturing) to buy a new security or securities. (See Learn more about Reinvesting Maturing Proceeds.)

Issue Date

For a marketable security, the issue date is the date when Treasury puts the security into the buyer's account. A security's issue date usually is the same as its dated date. For securities that Treasury sells in auctions, issue dates are published in the Tentative Auction Schedule and in auction announcements for particular auctions.

Issue Price

The issue price is the actual amount you pay to buy a savings bond.

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Legacy Treasury Direct

Legacy Treasury Direct is the old Treasury program for holding your securities directly with the government, rather than with a bank, broker, or dealer. Established in 1986, Legacy Treasury Direct is being phased out in favor of the similar, newer program, TreasuryDirect.

Legal Representative

A legal representative is a person appointed by a court to act on behalf of the estate of someone who has died or has been declared unable to handle his or her own affairs. Legal representative is a generic term encompassing all types of representatives, including executors, administrators, personal representatives, and guardians.

Linked Accounts

TreasuryDirect Linked Accounts allow you the flexibility of managing a securities portfolio customized to your needs. You can have several accounts that are "linked" to your main account. Holdings for each Linked account are kept separately from your Primary TreasuryDirect account and from each other. Open a Minor or Custom account, or use the Conversion account to convert your paper securities into electronic form. You access your Linked accounts through your primary TreasuryDirect account.

Long-term Rate

The long-term rate applies only to interest on Series EE savings bonds with issue dates from May 1, 1995, through April 1997 and then only to interest earnings after the date these bonds are 5 years old. (See "Short-term Rate" concerning interest earned up to the date these bonds are 5 years old.)

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When you use SmartExchange to convert your paper bonds to electronic bonds and put them into a Treasury Direct account, you get a list of those bonds. We call that the "manifest" for your bonds. You must mail the manifest with the paper bonds that are listed on the manifest.

Market-based Interest Rate

Market-based Interest Rate is relevant only to Series E and EE savings bonds and savings notes with issue dates before May 1, 1995 that earned interest on and after November 1, 1987. The official name is "market-based variable investment yield."

Marketable Securities

Treasury bills, Treasury notes, Treasury bonds, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are called "marketable" because owners can sell them.


A Treasury security reaches maturity when its term expires. The security is worth its face value when it matures. However, sometimes market conditions can make the security worth its full face value before its term even expires. Also, savings bonds have an "original maturity" period during which the bond increases in value and becomes worth at least its face amount and an "extended maturity period" during which it continues to earn interest. After Treasury securities fully mature, you do not get any more extra money (interest) if you keep the securities.

Maturity Date

For marketable securities, the date when the security becomes payable and stops earning interest.

Military Safekeeping

See Safekeeping.

Minor Account

A minor is a child under the age of 18. A parent, natural guardian, or person providing chief support for a minor may set up a Minor Account and buy, hold, sell securities for the minor.


A person who is under the age of legal competence; a person under the age of majority.

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Non-administered Estate

When someone dies, that person's estate (what the person owns) must be "settled" — distributed according to the person's will or the law. If settling the estate does not involve supervision by a court of law and no court appoints a legal representative to administer the estate, that is a non-administered estate.

Noncompetitive Bid

In a U.S. Treasury auction, a noncompetitive bid is one in which an investor agrees to buy a specified number of securities at the discount rate or yield set at the auction. The limit for noncompetitive purchases is $10 million for each security type and term, for each auction. This limit applies regardless of whether buying a bill, note, bond, or TIPS and regardless of what method used to make the purchase (TreasuryDirect, broker, or dealer).

Noncompetitive Bidding

In noncompetitive bidding, the investor agrees to accept whatever discount rate or yield is determined in an auction. This is the only type of bidding offered in TreasuryDirect. The alternative to noncompetitive bidding is competitive bidding, which is available with banks, brokers, and securities dealers.

Non-Marketable Securities

Non-marketable securities can't be transferred to another owner or traded in the secondary market (examples: U.S. Savings Bonds Series EE, I, and HH).


See Treasury Note.

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Offering Amount

The total par amount of a particular security being offered in an auction.

Original Issue Date (for notes, bonds, Floating Rate Notes, and TIPS)

Date on which a specific Treasury note, Treasury bond, Floating Rate Note, or Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS) is issued for the first time. (Securities sold in reopenings are issued more than once.)

Original Issue Holding Period

TreasuryDirect requires Bills, Notes, Bonds, Floating Rate Notes, and TIPS originally issued in an account be held for 45 days before they may be internally or externally transferred. This rule doesn't apply to securities transferred into your account from an outside bank or broker.

Original Maturity

The original (or initial) term fixed for a bond. During this period, the bond increases in value and becomes worth at least its face amount.

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Par Amount (Par Value, Face Value)

The stated value of a security on its original issue date.


The principal amount of a security.

Par Value

See Par Amount.

Payroll Savings Plan

When you enroll in the Payroll Savings Plan, you buy savings bonds automatically on a regular schedule using part of what you earn. Your employer sends direct deposits to Treasury, and the bonds are issued automatically in your TreasuryDirect account once you have enough accumulated to purchase the bond you requested. See Learn More about the Payroll Savings Plan.


If you redeem (turn in) an I bond or an EE bond in the first 5 years after the bond's issue date, you do not receive the interest for the most recent 3 months. That's a penalty.

Power of Attorney

A written and signed statement in which the person (grantor) giving the power authorizes another person (attorney-in-fact) to act on his or her behalf. The written and signed statement is called a power of attorney. The person acting under the power is called an attorney-in-fact.


The difference between the par amount and the price of a marketable security, when the price is greater than the par amount. A premium is the opposite of a discount.

Primary Account

Your primary account is your main account in TreasuryDirect. Once you have a primary account, you can set up Minor or Custom Linked accounts that you get to from your primary account.

Primary Owner

The primary owner of a security is the person who is named first in the security's registration. For example, if a security is registered as "John Doe SSN 123-45-6789 WITH Joseph Doe SSN 987-65-4321", John Doe is the primary owner. The primary owner may grant View or Transact rights to the second-named registrant Joseph Doe.

Principal Amount

Principal amount is the same as the purchase amount of a security.

Principal Co-owner

The principal co-owner is the co-owner whose funds were used to buy the savings bonds or who received the bonds as a gift, as an inheritance, or through court proceedings and had the bonds reissued to add another person as co-owner without receiving any contribution from that other person.

Purchase Limitations

The dollar amount of securities an individual can purchase in one calendar year.

Purchase Schedule

"Purchase schedule" is the phrase we use when you set up a regular schedule to buy securities in TreasuryDirect. Your purchase schedule can be monthly, quarterly, or at specific dates that you specify.

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The amount of return on an investment in a Treasury security.


In TreasuryDirect, this is the person who receives a gift delivery, transfer, or de-linked securities.


The payment of what a bond or note is worth. You turn in (redeem) the bond or note and Treasury pays you its value.


The social security number or employer identification number, names, and addresses appearing on the face of a bond. Also referred to as Inscription.

Reinvesting Maturing Proceeds

Investing funds from a maturing Bill, Note, Bond, or TIPS using Zero-Percent C of I as the source of funds to purchase a new security. (See Learn more about Reinvesting Maturing Proceeds.)


Reinvestment is when you buy a new security with the money you get from a matured security.


When you want to change the names on a bond, you must ask Treasury to reissue the bond. That means you give up the bond you hold and get a new one in its place. Treasury cancels and retires the old bond and issues a new bond. The new bond has the same series, same issue date, and same total face amount as the old bond. For more on the situations which require reissuing a bond, see Reissuing a bond may have tax consequences; that is, the original owner may need to pay taxes on interest earned before the bond was reissued. See for more detail.


The auction of an additional amount of an unmatured security. A security sold at a reopening has the same maturity date and interest rate it had when originally issued. The purchase price and yield are determined at the reopening. Investors who buy a reopened security will owe accrued interest, unless the security is sold at a discount and the discount offsets the accrued interest.


For paper savings bonds, when you report that a bond is lost, stolen, destroyed or you did not receive it, Treasury will replace it.

Reportable Event

A transaction, such as a savings bond redemption or reissue (re-registration), that requires federal income tax reporting of all interest earned from the issue date of the bond to the date of the transaction. Savings bond redemptions ordinarily are reportable events or dispositions. A reissue transaction is a reportable event if a living owner, principal co-owner, surviving co-owner, beneficiary, or other person entitled to ownership (for example, an heir upon the death of persons named on the bond) is not named owner or principal co-owner in the new registration on the bond issued in the transaction. (See IRS Publication 550, "Investment Income and Expenses.")

Request Date

The date you ask for a transaction in your TreasuryDirect account. This date may not be the date that the transaction is actually processed, based on business days, holidays, and scheduled times for transaction processing.

Retirement Plan Bonds

Sold from January 1963 to April 1982, they were an investment option for people who could make tax-deductible contributions to a Keogh retirement account. They are non-transferrable, accrued-interest bonds.

Return Code

An identifier resulting from the return of information by a designated financial institution. Return codes may limit the ability to conduct future transactions in TreasuryDirect.

Routing Number

The routing number is the nine-digit number associated with financial institutions (also known as ABA#). The number is usually located in the bottom left corner of a check.

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Safekeeping was a benefit offered to active duty military members who bought paper savings bonds through a payroll savings plan. This benefit allowed military members to have their bonds held by their branch of service instead of having the bonds issued and mailed directly to them.

Savings Bond

A savings bond is a security issued by the U.S. Treasury or an authorized agent showing that money has been loaned to the U.S. Government and is payable to the person to whom it is registered.

Savings Notes

Savings notes, also called "Freedom Shares," were issued from May 1967 through October 1970. They were accrual-type U.S. securities.

Savings Stamps

From at least the early 1940's until the program ended on June 30, 1970, savings stamps were acquired from post offices and sold in schools to students. Albums and patriotic materials were made available to schools to promote the program. A student could buy a $25 (face amount) Series E savings bond with as little as $18.75 in savings stamps. Stamps were non-interest bearing and unregistered.

Secondary Market

The financial market where securities that were previously issued by the Treasury are bought and sold.

Second-Named Registrant

The second person named in the registration of a security held in TreasuryDirect. In the example, "John Doe SSN 123-45-6789 WITH Joseph Doe SSN 987-65-4321," Joseph Doe is the second-named registrant.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

SSL is the industry-standard protocol for keeping sensitive data, such as payment information, secure as it is being transmitted over the Internet. SSL works by using a public key to encrypt data that is transferred.

Security or Treasury Security

An obligation of debt issued by the U.S. Treasury. You lend the government money when you buy a Treasury security. Treasury securities include savings bonds, Treasury notes, Treasury bills (T-bills), Treasury bonds, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS).

Series EE U.S. Savings Bond

Series EE U.S. Savings Bonds is an appreciation-type (or accrual-type) savings security issued after 1979. It is a contract between the owner or co-owners and the U. S. government. Under the contract, you, as owner or co-owner, lend money to the U. S. government, and the U.S. must repay that money with interest when the bond matures.

Series HH U.S. Savings Bond

Series HH U.S. Savings Bonds are no longer available for purchase. Because they are a 20-year non-marketable bond, some people still own HH bonds. HH bonds pay interest twice a year. The interest rate is the same (fixed) for the first 10 years after the bond's issue date. After 10 years, the interest rate is reset by the U.S. Treasury for the rest of the bond's life. Interest on HH bonds is exempt from state and local - but not federal - taxes.

Series I U.S. Savings Bonds

An inflation-indexed savings bond offered by the U.S. government. Series I bonds pay a fixed interest rate that is lower than the rate for EE savings bonds, but they also pay a variable rate that increases with inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index) and is recalculated semiannually. Series I bonds pay interest for up to 30 years, but there is a penalty equivalent to 3 months of earnings for redeeming the bond before 5 years.

Short-term Rate

The short-term rate applies only to interest on Series EE savings bonds with issue dates from May 1, 1995, through April 1997 and only to interest earnings up to the date these bonds are 5 years old. (See "Long-term Rate" concerning interest earned after these bonds are 5 years old.)

Signature Certification

Available at a bank or most financial institutions. Acceptable certifications include a financial institution's seal or stamp (such as Corporate Seal, Signature Guaranteed Stamp, or Medallion Stamp). Brokers must use a Medallion Stamp. Certification by a notary is ONLY acceptable for minor name corrections submitted without supporting evidence.

Social Security Number (SSN)

The identifying number issued by the Social Security Administration required on tax returns and other documents submitted to the IRS by an individual.

Single Owner

The person designated on the face of the bond as the only person entitled to redeem the bond during his or her lifetime. Also referred to as sole owner.

Sole Owner

See Single Owner.

STRIPS (Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities)

A fixed principal note or bond, or a Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS), whose two components, interest and repayment of principal, are separated and the principal payment becomes a separate zero-coupon security.

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Taxpayer Identification Number

A taxpayer identification number (TIN) is either a social security number or employer identification number, depending on whether the number is assigned to an individual or to an entity, such as a trust, estate, corporation, etc. The employer identification number is assigned by the IRS.

Tax Deferral

When you defer taxes, you postpone paying them until a later date. Tax law permits you to defer taxes on the interest you earn on certain Treasury securities or in certain situations.


See Treasury Bill.


See Treasury Bond.

Tentative Auction Schedule

The Treasury's multi-month schedule of upcoming auctions. Though tentative, the schedule is usually accurate.


For marketable securities, the length of time the security earns interest. A Treasury note, for instance, has a term of 2, 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. Marketable securities are identified by their term and type: 26-week bill, 3-year note, 30-year TIPS, for example.

TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities)

TIPS are securities issued by the Department of Treasury whose principal increases with inflation and decrease with deflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.


See Treasury Note.

Trace Number

A trace number is a tracking number assigned by the Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) process to identify individual money transfer transactions.

Transact Rights

In TreasuryDirect, for a security with Primary Owner registration, the first-named registrant (or grantor) may grant Transact rights to the second-named registrant (or grantee). The grantor may edit or delete these rights at any time. Transact rights do NOT apply to the Zero-Percent C of I security. Transact rights allow the grantee of a savings bond to view and redeem the security. Transact rights allow the grantee of a marketable security to transfer or sell the security, as well as change the maturity and/or interest payment destination. For tax reporting information, see Learn more about Tax Reporting.


Transfer means to move the partial or full amount of a security, consisting of principal plus a proportionate amount of interest, from one TreasuryDirect account to another.

Treasury Bill (Bill, T-bill)

A Treasury bill is a government security issued in terms ranging from a few days to 52 weeks. Investors buy Treasury bills at a discount from their par amount, then receive the par amount when the bill matures. The difference between purchase price and par amount is the interest.

Treasury Bond (Bond, T-bond)

A Treasury bond is a government security issued in a term of 20 years or 30 years. Investors buy Treasury bonds and then are paid interest every six months. When a Treasury bond matures, the owner is paid the bond's par amount. Treasury bonds and U.S. savings bonds are not the same.

Treasury Note (Note, T-note)

A Treasury note is a government security issued for terms ranging from 2 years to 10 years. Investors buy Treasury notes and then are paid interest every six months. When a Treasury note matures, the owner is paid the note's par amount.

Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS)

One type of government security whose payments are tied to inflation; specifically, to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). Investors buy TIPS and then are paid interest every six months on the security's inflation-adjusted principal. When a TIPS matures, the owner is paid the inflation-adjusted principal or, if deflation has occurred, the original principal. TIPS are issued in terms of 5, 10, and 30 years.

Treasury Reopenings

When additional amounts of previously issued securities are issued again rather than selling new issues of those securities. The reopened securities have the same maturity date and interest rate; however, as compared to the original securities, the reopened securities have a different issue date (which creates a shorter overall term), and usually, a different purchase price.


A web-based system for holding marketable securities and savings bonds directly with the U.S. government. For marketables, TreasuryDirect is an alternative to banks, brokers, and dealers. For savings bonds, TreasuryDirect is an alternative to paper savings bonds.

TreasuryDirect Account

Your personal online account where you can buy, transfer, redeem and otherwise manage your U.S. Treasury securities.


Property, real or personal, held by one person for the benefit of another.


The person appointed to administer or manage a trust estate.


The individual (in some instances, an institution or organization) who creates a trust. The Trustor may also be called the Maker, Donor, Grantor, or Settler.

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Undelivered Payment

A payment that cannot be made to your designated financial institution and is returned to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

U.S. Savings Bonds

See Savings Bond.

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Variable Rate

Any interest rate that changes on a periodic basis. Variable rates are often used for convertibles, mortgages, and certain other kinds of loans. The change is usually tied to movement of an outside indicator, such as the prime interest rate. Movement above or below certain levels is often prevented by a predetermined floor and ceiling for a given rate. Also called adjustable rate.

View Rights

In TreasuryDirect, for a security with Sole Owner registration, the first-named registrant (or grantor) may grant View rights to any individual (or grantee) with a TreasuryDirect account. On a security with Beneficiary registration, the first-named registrant may only grant View rights to the second-named registrant. On a security with Primary Owner registration, the first-named registrant may only grant View rights to the second-named registrant. The grantor may edit or delete any of these rights at any time. View rights do NOT apply to the Zero-Percent C of I security, and certain restrictions apply for converted securities.

Voluntary Guardian

A voluntary guardian is an individual who is recognized by the Department of the Treasury as authorized to act for an incapacitated person as provided in the regulations governing U.S. Savings Bonds.

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Withholding Rate

When you will owe taxes on interest on your Treasury securities, we may withhold all or part of that amount and pay it to the IRS on your behalf. The withholding rate is the percentage of interest that we send to the IRS on behalf of the account holder. In some situations, the IRS requires a certain withholding rate. In other situations, you may voluntarily ask that we withhold a certain amount for taxes. (This is similar to withholding taxes on your pay check.)

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Yield is the annual rate of return on a security.

Yield from Issue Date

Yield from issue date is a percentage expressed as an annual rate that describes the overall increase in an investment's value and is a measurement of the gain from the time the investment was made or started. Such a percentage is the result of computations using the amount of the initial investment, what the investment is worth on some later date--today or in the future--and the amount of time from when the investment was made to the later date.

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Zero Coupons —STRIPS (Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities).

The principal of a stripped security and the separate interest payments are known as "zero coupons" because there are no periodic interest payments on each piece. After stripping, each piece trades separately in the secondary securities market. STRIPS can't be held in Legacy Treasury Direct or TreasuryDirect.

Zero-Percent Certificate of Indebtedness (Zero-Percent C of I or C of I)

A Treasury security that does not earn any interest. It is intended to be used as a source of funds for traditional Treasury security purchases.

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