No. of Recommendations: 2
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.

So much for "regulations!"

I logged on on 10/30 and I saw the big sign at the top of the page that said "Your purchase may receive a November date" or words to that effect. I wonder what the "exceptional" circumstances were that made it impossible for people to read all of a sudden.

Well, anyway I took the advice posted right there on that same website: "go to any bank." So I got out of my chair and actually left my computer <gasp!> and walked three blocks to my local bank. There I was able to write a check, buy some bonds, and get a receipt with the date 10/31, signed and stamped and processed. Now I just wait to get the bonds in the mail.

BTW the bank didn't offer to take a credit card, but they did hand me a copy of my official purchase order, with the October 31 date and time stamped right on it. I've been reading for days about people worrying over the date thing and the credit card thing yadayadayada. Next time this happens, if it ever does, I strongly advise people who are worried about the security and timing to simply stroll into a bank. If you make sure to have the money up front you won't have any rude shocks when the credit card bill arrives.

(I'd be fascinated to know how many Americans went to that site, bought with a credit card, then missed the deadline on the next month's payment -- or couldn't afford to pay it down to zero -- thus incurring credit card interest that could wipe out 2 or 3 months worth of earnings on the bonds. Also curious whether people who float the money for two or three weeks actually *invest* that money for the intervening time, thus taking advantage of the float, or instead just wait for the bill and waste the opportunity.)
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