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Opening a TreasuryDirect Account

Written by Nickel - 16 Comments

Last night, I finally got around to opening a TreasuryDirect account. For those that aren’t familiar with TreasuryDirect, it’s the web portal for investing in Treasury securities. As I noted a few weeks back, I’m interested in buying some Series I Savings Bonds – this was the first step.

Stuff you’ll need

Before you begin, be sure that you have the following at your disposal:

  • Your Taxpayer ID number (TIN). For individuals, that’s your Social Security Number (SSN), for entities that’s your Employer ID Number (EIN).
  • Driver’s License or State ID number and expiration date
  • Bank routing and account number
  • IRS Name Control – Whatever that is… Only required for legal entities

Three easy steps

Once you’re ready, there are three basic steps:

  1. Choose your account type
  2. Fill out your personal and banking information
  3. Choose a password, password reminder, and security questions/answers

Once you’re done, they’ll send you an account number via e-mail as well as an “Access Card” via snail mail. You’ll actually need that Access Card to login, so plan ahead.

I had planned on doing screenshots of the process, but it was so easy that it didn’t warrant them. They say it will take ten minutes, but it was more like three. I actually set up two accounts, one for me and one for my wife (you can’t do a joint account), and the confirmation e-mail showed up within seconds.

I’ll update once the Access Cards have arrived and we’ve had a chance to poke around a bit.

Published on December 9th, 2009 - 16 Comments
Filed under: Saving & Investing

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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16 Responses to “Opening a TreasuryDirect Account”

  1. 1
    Investor Junkie Says:

    At least in my case, I had to visit a local bank (JP Morgan Chase in my case) to validate me.

    Their security is a little bit a pain:
    - the access card, I wish they had RSA based keys, but I suppose this is cheaper to offer
    - the random keypad to enter your password. You must use a mouse to enter your password (to prevent keyloggers to monitor what you type)
    - be careful of double clicking twice on any link as it will error out
    - don’t use the back button in your web browser

    As someone who deals with security I think overall these things are good but be warned.

  2. 2
    thad (my2fish) Says:

    I’ve had a treasury direct account for about 5 years now. The access card was started (I think) shortly after I opened my account. I think in theory, it’s nice that they’ve made the extra layers of security, but in practicality, it’s kind of a PITA. I don’t carry the access card, so I can then only log on at home. Plus, the back button problem can be really frustrating, having to log back in multiple times. Plus, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t log on that frequently, so every few times, I’ll forget my password or make a typo, and it shuts you out of the system, and you have to call to reset everything. It’s happened to me twice!

    Once you’ve got the account set up, though, it’s pretty easy to buy the I-bonds. You can also title them differently, so I’ve bought them for me, and for me, with kids as the secondary, too.

    They don’t mail any statements, either, so at year end and tax time, you have to print all your own information.

    Good luck! my2fish

  3. 3
    madeleine Says:

    Funny to see you investing in I-Bonds. I just cashed out on all of mine b/c I plan to convert from a traditional to a Roth IRA,and plan to use that money to pay whatever taxes are due. Once things settle down with the tax payments, I’ll probably be back investing again, only this time I’ll go paperless.

  4. 4
    Michael Harr @ Wealth...Uncomplicated Says:

    The access card is a pain in the arse! I like the added security, but I’m not sure if it’s necessary.

    However, for those that are in need of linking these accounts to an aggregator (think Mint), it CAN be done. You will need your access card and all of the other login credentials, but if you put the information into an aggregator (I know Cash Edge and their retailers like Geezeo have it), you can keep tabs on it without having to keep dealing with the added security steps. Just a little something to make monitoring these accounts easier.

  5. 5
    thad (my2fish) Says:

    I also use Mint.com – but I don’t use it to access Treasury Direct. I read that it can cause TD to lock you out of your account (I don’t need any more of that!).
    http://forums.mint.com/showthread.php?t=6194

    my2fish

  6. 6
    Michael Harr @ Wealth...Uncomplicated Says:

    I wonder if it’s a Yodlee thing (Mint’s acct agg data supplier). I’ll be doing some testing after Christmas and will update you then.

  7. 7
    Eric Says:

    Omg..as someone who has done this, please please please do not forget all of your log in information.

    It’s such a pain! Access card, customer number, log in, password….there are just a ton of stuff to enter (by far the most secure (zealous?) website I’ve ever seen). Resetting is also a pain if you forget.

    This is why I hardly ever log in. Yikes!

  8. 8
    Nickel Says:

    Hmm, I just looked how the Access Card works. What a pain! For those that are curious, go to this tutorial and click through the steps:

    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/.....torial.htm

    The good things is that my encrypted password keeper (SplashID) appears to allow attachments, so I should be able to scan it and keep the image in there.

  9. 9
    Investor Junkie Says:

    @Nickel Great idea! I never thought of doing that. That way you can’t lose the card.

  10. 10
    dof Says:

    The web acct is the biggest PITA ever!! Does one seriously need to login in with the acct#, password that has to have a special character, use of a virtual keyboard,a physical key-card and 3 security questions out of 12!?!?! I have already had to reset my acct. that required calling in, leaving detailed voice msgs to prompts and then waiting for a return call from a rep.

    I am really discouraged from using the acct to make purchases!

  11. 11
    Cara Says:

    Hi; i just stumbled upon fivecentnickel.com and starting reading these comments. As a total moron in financials, why are you lovely people investing in these bonds? Is their return better that a cd or other vehicles? Or is it the safety of treasury? And why buy online? why not go to bank to buy them? Better return?
    I don’t get it!
    Thx, Cara

  12. 12
    Investor Junkie Says:

    @Cara: Well with I-bonds they are part fixed and part tied to inflation. Current I-bond rate is 3.36% and is adjusted twice a year. To buy online convenience and plus you have $5k from a bank and $5k online limit yearly. As far as safety of the US Govt, no comment on that.

    Hope this helps..

  13. 13
    Lola Mei Albert- Lucas Says:

    I would Like to open an account.

  14. 14
    Willie Mae Tenison Says:

    Did not receive an account number and I applied two weeks ago. What steps do I need to take now. No reply on e-mail and no mailed account informtion. Had been out of twon.
    Would apprecate an immediate reply.
    Thanks

  15. 15
    Christina Says:

    Well, here we go again, it is saturday night and I am locked out until their Monday office hours because apparently I did something wrong – Foolish me, I was exploring my new account and I went to FAQ and could not go beck to my account. I thought I could use this password for 24 hours but I got to use it for a whole 10 minutes and cannot use it again because I am locked out. What a PITA. I am very worried about making deposit not because of security but because of my inability to access my account without constantly getting locked out. Why isn’t this user friendly, geez, doesn’t our government need monies? I was saving well with payroll deduction and liked it much better. This has really derailed me for about a year now. It was nice if you wanted to give a bond as gift and it was nice getting bonds in mail – felt like you were actually getting something to treasure. Much easier the other way at least for me – I guess this way is easier for them…………

  16. 16
    Nay Says:

    What a Gov. PITA!!! Treasury Direct may be as complex as filling out loan papers, rediculous! Just trying to gift a simple bond is bout impossible. Will take a couple hours of frustration.

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