TreasuryDirect tumbles as savers try to buy 9.62% I bonds

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With a Friday With maturity approaching, savers trying to buy inflation-protected I bonds — which pay a guaranteed rate of 9.62% — crash a Treasury Department website.

You can invest up to $10,000 per calendar year in a Series I savings bond, created to protect against inflation. To purchase and own an electronic I-bond, you must create an account on the TreasuryDirect website.

To ensure people receive a confirmation email, the Treasury Department told shoppers they had until 11:59:59 p.m. EST Friday to complete their purchase and lock in the rate.

But those who managed to load the website 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 that customers will be able to make a purchase by the October 28 deadline for the current price. Our agents are working to help customers who need assistance as quickly as possible.

Get inflation-proof bonds paying 9.62% while there’s still time

So many people are scrambling to make the website deadline, to treasurydirect.govdoes not load, which frustrates buyers.

“After 3 hours I was able to create an account and log in,” wrote a commenter on IsItDownRightNow? website. “I got my emails right away (1:04 and 1:09 PT). Now I’m having trouble loading the purchase page.

This is not the first time the site has crashed. This happened in May when the near 10% rate was announced. The Treasury Department also struggled to keep up with the volume of calls from people having difficulty buying I bonds.

6 key things to know about inflation-linked bonds paying 9.62%

“Due to exceptionally high traffic, the TreasuryDirect website experienced intermittent slowdowns today,” a Treasury Department spokesperson said in an email on Wednesday. “We are in the process of increasing the service capacity of the system and taking other measures in the hope of resolving the problems quickly.”

There are two components to the yield of an I-bond: a fixed rate and an inflation-adjusted rate. The fixed rate of return and the semi-annual inflation rate are announced annually by the Treasury Department at the beginning 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.

US inflation-linked bonds crashed on TreasuryDirect website

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

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

“We encourage customers to continue to use the website, and we hope the issues will be resolved shortly,” the Treasury spokesperson said.

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