What Is a Patriot Bond and What Can You Do With It?

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Updated on Friday, January 8, 2021

Created in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Patriots Bonds are a type of savings bond that allowed Americans to grow their money while financially supporting the country’s anti-terrorism efforts. While new Patriot Bonds are no longer being issued today, if you already own one, you can certainly redeem it.

This article covers everything you need to know about Patriot Bonds, including how to determine your Patriot Bond’s value and how to cash it in.

What is a Patriot Bond?

A Patriot Bond is a special paper Series EE savings bond that was created in direct response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Sold from December 2001 through December 2011, the bond provided a tangible way for Americans to support the country’s reaction to the attacks, as proceeds from the bonds went to an anti-terrorism government fund. A Patriot Bond can be identified by the words “Patriot Bond” printed at the top, between the owner’s Social Security number and the date the bond was issued.

While the bond may have a unique name, it functions like a standard EE paper savings bond. The bond could be purchased for amounts between $25 and $10,000. It was government-backed, making it a low-risk option for Americans to grow their money.

Each bond was assigned a fixed interest rate that guaranteed the bond would grow in value over time. And just like Series EE savings bonds today, Patriot Bonds could be purchased for a variety of uses, such as saving for retirement, growing a college fund or simply giving as a gift.

The Patriot Bond was discontinued in 2012 when the Treasury switched to electronic bonds.

Can I redeem a Patriot Bond if I have one today?

The short answer is yes. While EE bonds typically cannot be redeemed until after 12 months has passed from the date of purchase, the last Patriot Bond was printed well beyond that time frame, making it eligible for redemption.

That being said, there are some things to consider before heading to your bank to redeem it. Patriot Bonds mature in the same fashion as an EE savings bond, which means they earn interest every year for 30 years. So the longer you have the bond, the more it will be worth. Once the bond hits the 30-year mark, the bond stops accruing interest and reaches maturity, making it the perfect time to redeem.

Patriot Bonds (as well as all Series EE bonds) are guaranteed to double in value after 20 years — but you might not need to wait so long, according to Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts.com. “If someone got a Patriot Bond in 2002, interest rates were much higher back then, so [the bond] could have doubled already,” he said.

If your bond has not yet fully matured, it may be in your best interest to convert it to an electronic bond, which will be helpful if you lose or damage a paper one. TreasuryDirect.gov — part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal Service — has a feature called SmartExchange that can convert your paper bonds into electronic bonds. Electronic bonds are much more efficient when compared with paper bonds, as they can be redeemed anytime through the Treasury’s website and easily transferred to another owner.

How do I cash a Patriot Bond?

If you are interested in redeeming your Patriot Bond, you can head to almost any bank to exchange it for cash. In general, paper bonds come with no limitations on how much of the bond’s value you can redeem at once, but some banks may have their own restrictions.

You can also redeem a Patriot Bond through the Treasury Retail Securities Services. To redeem this way, you must have a certifying officer from a local bank certify your signature on the back of the bond. Once certified, you must then mail the bonds, your Social Security number and the Treasury’s direct deposit form to Treasury Retail Securities Services.

I have a Series I savings bond. Do I cash this in differently?

While Patriot Bonds were printed as Series EE savings bonds, you may be in the possession of a Series I bond. The value of a Series I bond is determined differently since part of the bond’s interest rate is based on inflation (thus the “I” in the name).

A Series I bond is first assigned a fixed interest rate that stays with the bond over its lifetime. Then, the bond is given an inflation rate. The inflation rate changes every six months in accordance with the inflation rate, which the Treasury announces on the first business day every May and November. The fixed rate and inflation rates are combined when determining the overall value of the bond.

Just like the EE bonds, an I bond can be cashed 12 months after the date of purchase. The bond also reaches full value maturity after 30 years.

How much is my Patriot Bond worth?

Determining the worth of your Patriot Bond is pretty easy. TreasuryDirect has a simple calculator that you can use to find out the value of the bond. Like other paper savings bonds, the Treasury’s calculator will determine the value of your bond based on factors like its series, denomination and its issue date.

When using the calculator, you’ll need to input your bond’s series type, denomination type, serial number (which is not required but recommended if you plan on saving the inventory of your bonds) and the month and year it was issued. As a result, you’ll learn information about your bond, such as its total price, total value, total interest earned and its final maturity.

You can also use the calendar to see the expected value of the bond in the years to come, which will help determine when you would like to redeem the bond.