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TreasuryDirect crashes as savers try to buy 9.62 percent I-bonds


With a Friday deadline approaches, 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 into a Series I Savings Bond, created as a hedge against inflation. To purchase and own an electronic I-bond, you must create an account on the TreasuryDirect website.

To ensure people get a confirmation email, the Treasury Department has informed buyers that they have until 11:59:59 PM ET on Friday to make the purchase and lock in the price.

But those who could get the site 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 that customers will be able to complete a purchase by the October 28 deadline for the current price. Our agents work to help customers who need help as quickly as possible.”

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

So many people are struggling to make the website deadline, at treasurydirect.govfails to load, leaving buyers frustrated.

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

This is not the first time the site has crashed. It happened in May when the rate of almost 10 per cent was announced. The Treasury Department has also had trouble keeping up with the volume of calls from people having trouble buying I-bonds.

6 important things to know about inflation-linked bonds that pay 9.62 percent

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

There are two components to the yield for an I-bond: a fixed interest rate and an inflation-adjusted interest rate. The fixed rate of return and the half-yearly inflation rate are announced annually by the Ministry of Finance at the beginning of May and November. While the fixed rate remains the same over the life of the 30-year bond (and is zero right now), the inflation rate adjusts every six months.

Inflation-linked US bonds crashed TreasuryDirect website

Although inflation remains at historically high levels, the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a slight decline. So the inflation index portion of the I bond could see a rate drop in November.

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

“We encourage customers to continue using the site and we hope to resolve the issues soon,” the Treasury spokesman said.

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