The process used to cash a savings bond normally requires understanding how the bond matures and what type of return can be realized at each point in that maturity. In most nations, the bonds can be redeemed at a number of financial institutions, or even by submitting them to a government agency that is responsible for overseeing the bond program. While the actual processes will vary based on the laws and regulations that apply in the jurisdiction in which the bonds are issued, there are a few characteristics that are likely to be relevant to any attempt at bond redemption.
In many nations, including the United States, it is possible to cash a savings bond at just about any type of banking institution. This includes banks, credit unions, and even savings and loan associations. The value of the bond will be based on the type or series of the bond, along with the current maturity of the bond. Depending on how the savings bond is structured, it may be possible to receive the full face value if the bond has reached maturity. Most banking institutions have access to the current value based on the issue date and the maturity date associated with the bond, making it easy to determine if choosing to cash a savings bond now rather than later is really a good idea.
Another possible strategy to cash a savings bond is to approach the government entity responsible for the issue and maintenance of the bonds. Typically, this will mean surrendering the bond for evaluation. Once the bond is verified, the entity will usually prepare a check that is forwarded to the individual who is named as the bond holder, at the address associated with the bond. This process can take several weeks, and is not available in many nations around the world.
With either strategy used to cash a savings bond, it is important to provide valid identification. Typically, this means identification that will match the name of the individual listed on the savings bond proper. Many nations also include some sort of identification number on the bond that is directly associated with the bond holder. For example, savings bonds issued by the United States government normally include the Social Security number of the bond holder on the face of the document. This makes it possible to accurately ascertain the identity of the presenter and make sure the proceeds from the bond do in fact go to the right person.
While there are exceptions, it is usually not possible to cash a savings bond that has not been in effect for at least once calendar year. In addition, there are often penalties if the bond is cashed within five years of issue. A local bank can assess the type of savings bond involved and advise the holder of how much cash will be received as part of the cash in, and what type of penalties may be involved for cashing in the bond before the maturity date.