Close Close
Popular Financial Topics Discover relevant content from across the suite of ALM legal publications From the Industry More content from ThinkAdvisor and select sponsors Investment Advisor Issue Gallery Read digital editions of Investment Advisor Magazine Tax Facts Get clear, current, and reliable answers to pressing tax questions
Luminaries Awards
A stack of bonds

Portfolio > Economy & Markets > Fixed Income

I Bond Buyers Irate Over Website Outages as Deadline Nears

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

What You Need to Know

  • People vented frustrations online about their efforts to log onto or navigate
  • Some suggested the government should extended the deadline for buying I bonds at 9.62% interest rate.
  • Treasury can't guarantee all customers will be able to buy the bonds by the Oct. 28 deadline, a message posted on the site said.

Some investors aiming to secure an attractive 9.62% interest rate on Series I Savings Bonds before a Friday purchase deadline are reporting having trouble doing business on, the website where the government sells the securities.

A message posted Wednesday afternoon to the TreasuryDirect login page said:

“We are currently experiencing unprecedented requests for new accounts and purchases of I Bonds. Due to these volumes, we cannot guarantee customers will be able to complete a purchase by the October 28th deadline for the current rate. Our agents are working to help customers who need assistance as quickly as possible.”

Is It Down Right Now?, a site that monitors website status, reported Wednesday afternoon that was down for at least a few minutes before going up, and then down, again.

“It is not just you. The server is not responding,” the monitoring site said.

Attempts to open the website produced error messages in multiple browsers Friday morning. Is It Down Right Now? again reported that TreasuryDirect was down.

People posted more than 200 comments on Is It Down Right Now? about their experiences trying to navigate TreasuryDirect; some go back a few weeks or longer but most were posted in the last two weeks— the vast majority since Wednesday.

“It’s been up and down and laggy for days now. Doesn’t seem to be sized/resourced for the type of traffic it’s getting near the deadline. You’d think they would have planned….nah….it’s the government,” one poster (Chris Yarborough) commented.

“Down all morning. Cannot get anywhere past login,” another person (Bruce Lanter) reported.

“Not working Minneapolis 11:00 am Wednesday. They need to extend the Friday buying deadline,” wrote another (Laurie Rasmusson), a view that others also expressed. And another customer (Doug Glasgow) said the site “stops responding throughout transaction.”

One parent (Susan Hogan) posting last week on Is It Down Right Now? was trying to buy a gift I bond for her son. “I’ve registered him but when I try to purchase I get an error message saying I have already met the $10,000 max. He has none, only me. I thought it was $10K per person, even the recipient of a gift. … Not cool if it isn’t fixed before the 10/28 deadline.”

People took to Twitter as well to share their frustrations with the TreasuryDirect website.

Those hoping to get in on the 9.62% rate, which will apply for six months from the purchase date, must buy their I bonds and receive a confirmation email by 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern time, Oct. 28, according to TreasuryDirect. The Treasury Department adjusts the rate every six months based on inflation data.

Bonds purchased on Oct. 29 or later will receive the new interest rate covering Nov. 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023, which the Treasury Department plans to announce on Nov. 1. The new rate is expected to be set at 6.47%, unless the government boosts the fixed rate, currently 0%, that also figures into I bond interest calculations, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

“I’ve tried for weeks to set up my account. Website is always down!!!! Help! I want the higher Ibond rate this week!! Help!!” @lizcomer tweeted today.

“I actually made it through after 2.5hrs but of course the website crashes while I am getting helped. I am now waiting for a call back,” @kpmarz tweeted this afternoon, apparently referring to TreasuryDirect’s long telephone hold times.

Another tweeter, @sujankapadia, wrote: “Trying again today – waited another 2.5 hours, still on hold. This is absolutely ridiculous. Why can’t you unlock your account online?”

“These ibond rates are juicy, but is soooo painful to use,” tweeted @IFudym.

Some tweeters asked if the website was down.

Treasury Department media representatives did not immediately respond to an email from ThinkAdvisor seeking information about the situation.

I bond and would-be I bond buyers may be frustrated no matter how they try to reach TreasuryDirect’s customer service representatives.

The government website notes that “higher than usual call volumes” are resulting in long phone wait times, which, according to a recording at the customer service number, are two hours or more.

Email isn’t necessarily an option, either.

“Due to heavy volume, we are temporarily limiting communication by e-mail. For us to respond to your e-mail, it must concern a pending case and it must state your case number in the subject line of your e-mail,” the website says.

Recorded messages played in a loop on the phone hold also noted that heavy volume is slowing processing times.

People whose accounts were locked when they created them need to download an account authorization form and sign it in the presence of a certifying officer at their bank or a notary public and mail it to the Treasury Department, where it could take the agency a 13-week processing time to remove the hold, one message says.

Another recorded message cites the same potential processing time for cases that customers have submitted.

Those whose TreasuryDirect accounts are locked because of problems with passwords or problems answering security questions can wait on hold to talk to a representative.

During this high-inflation year, financial experts have recommended I bonds as a way to get an appealing guaranteed interest rate that would be difficult to find elsewhere.

Individuals may buy up to $10,000 in electronic I bonds per calendar year through TreasuryDirect and $5,000 in paper bonds per year through income tax refunds. I bonds earn interest for 30 years or until cashed. Holders may redeem bonds after 12 months, but if they cash them in before five years they’ll forfeit the last three months’ interest.

At least one high-profile investing expert has run into trouble over the years in trying to buy I bonds through A. Gary Shilling, economist and investment advisor, recently told ThinkAdvisor the site had frustrated his efforts, through an in-house accountant, to purchase I bonds for himself and his children.

One financial advisor, in a CNBC article, likened the website to visiting the DMV. The site recently received a makeover and the Treasury Department plans future upgrades, CNBC reported recently.


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.