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The official rule is that they have to get the cash in hand and then the date is locked in. I just received the following mail today with the special exception for those who bought it online in the last few days of October.
For any question you may have regarding the issue date of a purchase made today, please read the following:

Regulations state that the issue date of the bond is based on the date we receive funds from the card issuer. Usually, it takes 2-3 business days to receive the funds. If you buy a bond near the end of the month, your bond's issue date may be the following month. For example, if you buy a bond on November 29, 2001, your bond's issue date will be December 2001.

At the end of October a number of unique circumstances coincided creating a situation where a large number of customers were unable to complete their orders. We were unable to notify these customers of alternative ways to purchase bonds in a timely manner.

Based on the extraordinary circumstances, we waived the regulations determining issue dates for the month of October. All online orders received in October will receive the issue date of 10/01.

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