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U.S. Savings Bonds go paperless

Consumers wishing to go to their local financial institution to purchase paper U.S. Savings Bonds will need to do so prior to December 31, 2011. The U.S. Department of Treasury will discontinue the sale paper savings bonds through financial institutions and will only offer savings bond purchases electronically.

They are doing this for a number of reasons: this change will save taxpayers an estimated $70 million over the next five years in paper, mail and processing costs; electronic bonds aren't easily lost or misplaced as paper bonds; and the bonds will be manageable securely online, anytime.

Consumers will be able to purchase savings bonds through a secure website from the Department of Treasury at Consumers will need to establish an account to purchase, hold and manage Treasury securities.

Consumer tips include: Purchase paper bonds by the end of the month; visit your local financial institution for alternate options for gift-giving such as gift cards or savings products such as CDs if you aren't interested in ordering bonds online.

Existing paper bonds are still valid and will earn interest for 30 years from the issue date, or until redeemed. Paper bonds can still be redeemed at local financial institutions.