October 28 is investors’ last chance to buy I Bonds that earn a 9.62% interest rate. Yet a surge in demand for the inflation-adjusted bonds has overwhelmed the TreasuryDirect site and the Treasury Department said it cannot guarantee orders will be completed in time.
Many investors managed to beat the clock and the tech issues. As of 12 pm ET, about 52,000 accounts had been created and more than $500 million in I Bonds were purchased on Friday alone, Treasury said. Thursday, about 82,000 accounts were created totaling roughly $750 million in I Bond sales.
Others have still not been able to access the TreasuryDirect site or log on to their account to buy I Bonds.
Safe, staid inflation-adjusted Series I savings bonds don’t capture much of the investing spotlight in most years. They became breakout stars of 2022 as inflation reached a four-decade high, markets plunged, and investors searched for a safe place to park their money.
As the deadline to get the 9.62% rate approached this week, the government’s TreasuryDirect site, the only place investors can directly purchase I Bonds, became one of the most visited federal websites, officials said, and has experienced intermittent outages for several days this week .
Investors continue to run into difficulties accessing and logging on to the site.
“Due to unprecedented requests for new accounts, we cannot guarantee customers will be able to complete a purchase at the current 9.62% rate by the Oct. 28 deadline. The TreasuryDirect system has been and continues to process the payments that have been completed,” a spokesperson said.
“We have tripled TreasuryDirect’s capacity in the last day and continue to see customers successfully create accounts and purchase bonds at record levels. Any additional updates to TreasuryDirect during the final days of the rate window, such as a delay to the Nov. 1 rate change, would pose a significant risk to the operational integrity of the system,” said a Treasury spokesperson.
If a customer receives a confirmation that their purchase has been made or completed by Oct. 28 11:59:59 pm ET, then the payment will be processed, a spokesperson said.
Users regularly take to social media to complain about the TreasuryDirect website and sometimes go to great lengths to make their I Bond purchases.
“The TreasuryDirect website is not known for its user friendliness,” said Elliot Pepper, a financial planner in Baltimore.
It isn’t just people trying to buy I Bonds who are frustrated with the site’s outages.
Investors can’t buy or redeem T-Bonds, Treasury notes, or T-bills through TreasuryDirect if they can’t access the site or log in due to the high demand.
Write to Veronica Dagher at Veronica.Dagher@wsj.com
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