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Treasury Bill Bond

Treasury bills (or T-bills) mature in one year or less and they do not pay interest prior to maturity; instead they are sold at a discount of the par value. The difference between the purchase price and the face value price is considered interest, and is the price that is given when the T-bill reaches maturity and is redeemed. For instance, if a person buys a T-bill valued at $1000 at a price of $950, they get the full $1000 when the bill matures, effectively getting $50 as interest. T-bills are the least risky investment available to U.S. investors.

T-bills are well known as being very liquid because they offer the investor a return on their money in a very short time as compared to I bonds or EE bonds, which mature at a longer rate. Regular T-bills are commonly issued with maturity dates of 28 days, 91 days, 182 days, and 364 days. Treasury bills are sold weekly by single price auctions. The minimum purchase is $1000, and T-bills can be bought at any bank, through a broker, or online.

T-bills are bought with either a noncompetitive bid, or a competitive bid. By placing a noncompetitive bid, the bidder accepts that they will receive their T-bills at the discount rate determined at auction. This bid guarantees that the bidder will receive the bill they want, and in the full amount they want. Non-competitive bids are limited to no more than $5 million from one single bidder.

In the competitive bid system, the bidder specifies the discount rate they are willing to accept. The bid may be accepted in the full amount requested if the rate specified is less than the discount rate set by the auction; or the bid might be accepted in less than the full amount requested if the bid is equal to the high discount rate; or the bid may be rejected if the rate specified is higher than the discount rate set at the auction.

Because T-bills are offered only in bearer form, they cannot be registered in any legal name.

The interest on T-bills is exempt from state and local income taxes.

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Non-competitive bids are limited to no more than $5 million from one single bidder.

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