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Image-enabled Savings Bond Processing Frequently Asked Questions

Federal Reserve Financial Services is committed to providing the answers and information you need. Answers to many of the most frequently asked questions can be found using the links below.

If your question is not answered by the information provided on the site, the Contact page provides a comprehensive list of service and support contacts that can assist you.

Background

  1. What are the benefits of image-enabled savings bond processing?

    Financial institutions can leverage the efficiencies of electronic processing to help eliminate some manual processes, redirect staff resources to other activities, lower the number of lost bonds and reduce postage and handling costs.

  2. Do paper bonds need to be encoded with image-enabled processing?

    No. Physical encoding of imaged savings bonds is not required.

  3. Is there anything special I need to do to image capture an eligible savings bond?

    No. If your systems currently capture an image of a commercial item, they should be able to image a savings bond.

Image-enabled Redeemed Savings Bonds

  1. What types of savings bonds are eligible for image-enabled processing?

    Series E, Series EE, Series I, and Savings Notes are eligible for image processing. Some of the series E bonds are War Bonds. War bonds come in two sizes: full sheet (8"W X 10"H) and half sheet (8"W X 5"H). Half sheet War Bonds can be included in image deposits, but full sheet paper savings bonds and Facsimile paper savings bonds must be deposited in paper form.

  2. Am I required to send eligible savings bonds as images?

    No. Image-enabled savings bond processing is strongly preferred, but paper savings bond deposits continue to be accepted. In addition to the types of bonds that must be submitted in paper form, Series E, Series EE, Series I, and Savings Notes continue to be accepted in paper form.

  3. Can I include savings bonds in a mixed FedForward® ICL?

    Yes. Savings bonds can be deposited in mixed image cash letters (ICLs) (Worktype “C” capital letter only) or in separately sorted ICLs (Worktype “J” capital letter only).

  4. What are the deposit deadlines for savings bonds in ICL deposits?

    Deadlines for savings bonds deposited in ICLs are the same as the FedForward deadlines, which are: 9:00 p.m. ET; 1:00 a.m. ET; 5:00 a.m. ET; and noon ET.

  5. What is the availability and posting time for eligible savings bonds in ICLs?

    Immediate credit will be granted for image-enabled savings bonds deposited in FedForward ICLs.

    The posting times vary depending on the time of deposit and whether the items are separately sorted or included in mixed ICLs. Credits for separately sorted savings bonds deposited at the 9:00 p.m. ET, 1:00 a.m. ET, and 5:00 a.m. ET deadlines will be posted at 8:30 a.m. ET. Credits for separately sorted savings bonds deposited at the noon ET deadline will be posted at 5:30 p.m. ET. Credits for savings bonds included in mixed ICLs will follow the posting times established for commercial check deposits. These can be found on the Payment System Risk (Off-site) page.

  6. What is required for an image deposit?

    The savings bond routing number (0000-9000-7) and redemption amount are required for all savings bond deposits. The serial number, as it appears in the MICR line, should also be included for all pre-printed MICR bonds.

  7. Do I need to apply physical check indorsements to bonds sent as images?

    Physical check indorsements for bonds are not required. Paying agents must continue to apply the paying agent stamp on the front of the savings bond and complete the owner and paying agent information on the back of the bond.

  8. Do I need to indorse a savings bond sent as an image?

    Physical check indorsements for bonds deposited as images are optional, but electronic check indorsements are required. Paying agents must continue to apply the paying agent stamp on the front of the savings bond and complete the owner and paying agent information on back of the bond.

  9. Where should l send my ICLs?

    Mixed ICLs and separately sorted savings bond ICLs should be sent to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (destination RT 0610-0014-6).

  10. Will fees be charged for savings bonds deposited as images?

    There will be no fees for savings bonds sent in separately sorted ICLs (Worktype “J” capital letter only). Fees will be assessed for savings bonds sent in mixed ICLs (Worktype “C” capital letter only). Consistent with the pricing for Treasury items and Postal Money Orders included in mixed ICLs, these items will be priced at the Electronic Tier 1 fee. Review the FedForward fee schedule for more information.

  11. What are the retention requirements for paper savings bonds that have been sent as ICL files?

    To ensure that all savings bond redemption transactions are properly validated, paying agents must retain paper savings bonds for at least 30 calendar days following the date that the ICL of the paid security was submitted to the Federal Reserve Bank. ICL files should be retained at least until you are sure the file has been received and processed, and that your credit is reflected on your Statement of Account.

  12. Are there requirements for storing paper savings bonds that have been imaged?

    Paper savings bonds must be stored in a secured location with sufficient controls in place to ensure that access to the securities is restricted to authorized personnel and that the securities are protected from loss, theft, destruction, and unauthorized or inadvertent viewing.

  13. Are paying agents required to destroy paper savings bonds following the retention period?

    At the end of the retention period, paper savings bonds must be destroyed in a manner that adequately destroys any personally identifiable information (PII) beyond recognition and reconstruction. Detailed information on the statutes and regulations governing the U.S. Savings Bond Program is provided in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Department Circulars (Off-site). Department Circular 750 provides regulations governing the payment of U.S. Savings Bonds and Notes.

  14. Can paying agents use a virtual stamp on the imaged bonds?

    Yes. Instead of physically stamping each bond, you can place an electronic overlay on the image of the redeemed bond with approval from Fiscal Service. A signed agreement is required to test the virtual stamp at your institution, and the waiver begins once that process is complete. For more information, please contact Customer Support for Redeemed Savings Bond Clearing at (844) 284-2676.

  15. Where can I find information related to procedures for depositing savings bonds in an ICL?

    Operating Circular 3 (OC 3) applies to the handling of all cash items that we accept for forward collection and all returned checks that we accept for return. Also, the Check 21 Special Sort Deposit and Receipt Option Guide (PDF) has set-up information.

  16. Where can I find resources to assist in redeeming savings bonds?

    For resources to assist in redeeming savings bonds, visit the Savings Bonds News You Can Use page. We encourage you to bookmark the page and check back often for updated content.

Paper Savings Bonds

  1. Can I still deposit paper savings bonds in mixed paper cash letters?

    No. Paper savings bonds will be accepted in separately sorted paper cash letters only. Paper savings bonds included in mixed paper deposits may be returned to the depositor.

  2. Where should I send my paper savings bonds?

    Paper savings bonds are accepted only at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The mailing address is:

    Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
    Attn: RPO Check Services -
    Savings Bond Processing
    1000 Peachtree Street NE
    Atlanta, GA 30309-4470

  3. What is the deposit deadline for paper and facsimile savings bonds?

    The deposit deadline for paper and facsimile savings bonds is 7 p.m. ET Sunday through Thursday.

  4. What is the availability and posting time for paper and facsimile savings bonds?

    Credit for paper and facsimile savings bonds will be based on when the savings bonds reach the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Paper and facsimile savings bonds received at the Atlanta office by 7:00 p.m. ET will receive immediate credit. All paper and facsimile savings bonds received at the Atlanta Office after 7:00 pm ET will receive one-day deferred credit.

    Credits for separately sorted paper and facsimile savings bonds deposited at the 7:00 p.m. ET deposit deadline will be posted at 8:30 a.m. ET.

  5. What is the process for submitting facsimile (photocopy) savings bonds?

    Complete the Indemnification Statement (form 700A) (Off-site). Prepare required documentation: On the front side of a single 8 ½” by 11” sheet of paper, copy the indemnification statement followed by images of the front and back of the bond. Complete a Facsimile Cash Letter Deposit form (XLS). Submit the Facsimile Cash Letter Deposit form as well as all required documentation to:

    Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
    Attn: Check Department –
    Savings Bond Processing
    1000 Peachtree Street NE
    Atlanta, GA 30309-4470

  6. I plan to use a private courier to deliver Savings Bonds directly to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Where should they be delivered? Do I need to make special arrangements?

    Private couriers should deliver savings bonds to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta at 1000 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, GA. 30309-4470.

  7. Is there a specific place where I need to place the paying agent physical stamp?

    All institutions are required to affix the paid stamp on the front of the bonds in the unused space to the left of the issue date, trying not to stamp over any of the inscription information. The paid stamp must include the date of redemption and the redemption amount paid to the bond owner as well as the name, location, and routing number of the institution and the initials or identifying code of the employee who approved the payment.

    The paying agent physical stamp should not interfere with any of the information in the MICR line nor should it in any way interfere with the serial number reflected on the front of the savings bond.

Accounting and Adjustments

  1. What will I see on my accounting statement?

    Credits for image-enabled savings bonds included in mixed ICLs will be included with the credits for all other items in the cash letter. These credits will be reflected on the Statement of Account from the receiving Federal Reserve Bank. Credits for separately sorted savings bond ICLs will originate from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (0610-0014-6). The transaction code for separately sorted savings bond ICLs received by the 5:00 a.m. ET deposit deadline will be 1587, and the transaction code for separately sorted ICLs received at the noon ET deposit deadline will be 1588.

    Credits for paper and facsimile savings bonds will originate from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (0610-0014-6). The transaction code for these items will be 1557.

    Mixed ICLs: Credit for savings bonds included in mixed ICLs will be included with the credits for all other items in the cash letter. Credits will be reflected on the Statement of Account from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

    Separately Sorted ICLs, Paper and Facsimile Savings Bonds: Credits for separately sorted ICLs, as well as paper and facsimile savings bonds, will originate from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

  2. How are pricing and quality errors handled?

    Depositors will see adjustments for savings bonds deposited in ICLs handled consistent with other imaged check deposits. You can submit an adjustment using the investigation type (I-Type) for pricing error adjustments (I-Type PEA). This I-type was initiated by the Federal Reserve Banks at the direction of the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

  3. Whom do I contact with questions about adjustments?

    For assistance with questions related to adjustments, processing, image file transmission status, image quality rejects, verification of cash letter credits and availability, file acknowledgements, customer communications, and operational updates, please call Customer Support at (877) 372-2457.

  4. Where should I send paper adjustment requests?

    Paper adjustment requests should be sent to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta at the following address:

    US Mail, FedEx, UPS and other couriers
    Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
    Attn: RPO Check Services
    P.O. Box 79347
    Atlanta, GA 30309-4470

Getting Started

  1. I am already a FedForward depositor. Do I need to send a test file before sending savings bonds in a FedForward cash letter?

    Savings bond processing and deposit requirements will be consistent with image check deposit requirements. As a result, testing is at the sole discretion of each institution and is not required for current FedForward Services depositors.

    If you choose to test a file with savings bonds, files can be sent to the Federal Reserve’s pre-production (TEST) environment at any time. The test files must be identified with a “T” in the file header record. If savings bonds are included in the file (designated by 0000-9000-7 as the RT in the Type 25 item detail record), the files will be validated and the standard Check 21 file acknowledgement will be generated.

  2. I do not deposit ICLs with the Federal Reserve Banks. What do I need to do to get started?

    If you do not currently deposit FedForward ICLs with the Federal Reserve Banks, we encourage you to contact your account executive or Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 to begin the process of signing up for these services. The FedForward Services Setup page provides step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process to become a FedForward Services depositor.

  3. Where can I obtain more information?
  4. Where can I find resources to assist in redeeming savings bonds?

    For resources to assist in redeeming savings bonds, visit the Savings Bonds News You Can Use page. We encourage you to bookmark the page and check back often for updated content.

  5. Whom do I contact if I have questions?

    For information on image-enabled savings bond processing, contact Customer Support at (877) 372-2457 or your account executive.

General Savings Bond Questions

  1. Can I redeem savings bonds only for my customers?

    No. Title 31 CFR Section 321.10a states “…a paying agent is required to redeem eligible securities during regular business hours for any presenter, whether or not a customer, who can establish his or her identity as the owner or co-owner named on the security….”  This requirement has not changed.

  2. How does a paying agent go about terminating a paying agent agreement?

    A paying agent must send a signed letter on the institution's letterhead that indicates it wishes to terminate its paying agent status, and the date it wishes to make the change. The signature does not need to be notarized in any way, and there is no requirement that the individual signing the letter hold any specific title at the institution. The letter should be sent to:

    Treasury Retail Securities
    Attn: Qualifications
    Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
    PO Box 214
    Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214

  3. Can a paying agent charge postage for savings bonds that need to be redeemed as paper?

    No. Customers cannot be charged for any of the costs incurred by paying agents associated with processing redeemed savings bonds. Title 31 CFR Section 321.23(b) states, "Charges to presenters. A paying agent shall not make any charge whatever to persons entitled to request payment of securities, for redeeming them under the provisions of this part."

  4. Can a paying agent accept only bonds that can be cleared as images for redemption?

    By agreeing to act as a paying agent, a paying agent agrees to handle all bond types eligible for redemption by a paying agent, including older series bonds.

    From Title 31 Section 321.10(a):"Payment of securities. A paying agent is required to redeem eligible securities during its regular business hours for any presenter, whether or not a customer, who can establish his or her identity as the owner or co-owner named on the securities, in accordance with the provisions of this part, and the appendix to this part, and the Treasury Identification Guide for Cashing United States Savings Bonds. An agent is encouraged, but is not required, to redeem eligible securities during its regular business hours for a surviving beneficiary, a legal representative designated in the registration of securities presented, or a legal representative of the last deceased registrant's estate who can provide acceptable evidence (see § 321.7 (d) or (f)) and establish identity in accordance with this part."

  5. Where can I find additional information on the statutes and regulations governing the U.S. Savings Bond Program?

    Detailed information on the statutes and regulations governing the U.S. Savings Bond Program is provided in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Department Circulars (Off-site). Department Circular 750 provides regulations governing the payment of U.S. Savings Bonds and Notes.

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