TreasuryDirect is crashing as savers try to buy 9.62 percent I bonds


With a Friday deadline approaching, savers trying to buy inflation-protected I bonds — which pay a guaranteed 9.62 percent — are crashing a Treasury Department website.

You can put up to $10,000 per calendar year in a Series I Savings Bond, created as a hedge against inflation. To buy and own an electronic I bond, you must establish an account on the TreasuryDirect website.

To ensure people get a confirmation email, the Treasury Department has been informing buyers that they have until 11:59:59 pm Eastern time on Friday to make their purchase and lock in the rate.

But those able to get the website to load late Wednesday were greeted with this message: “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.”

Get inflation-proof bonds paying 9.62 percent while there is still time

So many people are scrambling to make the deadline the website, at treasurydirect.govis failing to load, leaving buyers frustrated.

“After 3 hours, I was able to create an account and log in,” one commenter wrote on the IsItDownRightNow? website. “Got my emails right away (1:04 and 1:09 PT). Now having a hard time with getting the buying page to load.”

This isn’t the first time the site has crashed. It happened in May when the nearly 10 percent rate was announced. The Treasury Department has also had problems keeping up with the volume of calls from people having trouble buying I bonds.

6 key things to know about inflation-indexed bonds paying 9.62 percent

“Due to exceptionally high traffic, the TreasuryDirect website has experienced intermittent slowdowns today,” a Treasury Department spokesman said in an email Wednesday. “We are in the process of adding to the system’s service capacity and taking other steps in the hopes of resolving the issues quickly.”

There are two components to the return for an I bond: a fixed rate and an inflation-adjusted rate. The fixed rate of return and the semiannual inflation rate are announced annually by the Treasury Department at the start of May and November. While the fixed rate stays the same for the life of the 30-year bond (and is zero right now), the inflation rate adjusts every six months.

Inflation-linked US bonds crashed the TreasuryDirect website

Although inflation is still at historically high levels, the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a slight slowdown. So the inflation-index part of the I bond could see a rate drop in November.

But investors who buy I bonds before Nov. 1 will still get the 9.62 percent rate for the first six months they hold the bonds.

“We encourage customers to continue to use the website, and we’re hopeful to have the issues addressed shortly,” the Treasury spokesman said.

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