Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

How to Buy Treasury Bills

T-Bills are short-term debt obligations with maturities of less than one year. Here’s how to buy treasury bills.

Treasury Bills are considered some of the safest investments available, but that safety comes at a cost. Here’s what to know before adding them to your portfolio.

What are Treasury Bills?

A Treasury Bill (T-Bill) is a type of short-term US debt security with a maturity of one year or less. They’re one of five types of Treasury marketable securities, which are securities that can be transferred or sold before they reach the end of their term. The US government sells T-Bills to raise money to help fund its debt and its day-to-day operations. When you buy a T-Bill, you are giving the US government a short-term loan. In return, you receive an interest payment when the bill matures. The Treasury Department sells T-Bills in $100 increments with a maximum purchase of $10 million in noncompetitive bids.

T-Bills are widely regarded as a safe investment, as they’re backed by the full faith and credit of the US government.

Term options4, 8, 13, 17, 26 and 52 weeks
Interest rateFixed at auction
Interest paidAt maturity
Minimum purchase$100 to $1,000
Maximum purchase$10 million in noncompetitive bids
  • Federal tax due on interest earned
  • No state or local taxes

How to buy Treasury Bills

You can buy T-Bills one of two ways:

  1. Through TreasuryDirect. Investors who purchase T-Bills through TreasuryDirect are required to hold the bill for at least 45 days before transferring or selling it.
  2. Through a bank or broker.

How to buy Treasury Bills through TreasuryDirect

  1. Create a TreasuryDirect account if you do not already have one.
  2. From the main menu, click on the BuyDirect tab.
  3. Select the type of Treasury securities you want to buy (in this case, Treasury Bills) and choose your desired term length.
  4. Enter the dollar amount you want to invest and click Buy Now.
  5. Confirm your Treasury Bill purchase.
  6. Fund your TreasuryDirect account by transferring funds from your bank account or by payroll direct deposit.

Once you have purchased Treasury Bills through TreasuryDirect, you can access and manage them through your account. You can also choose to reinvest or redeem your holdings when they mature, or sell them before they mature.

How to buy Treasury Bills through a bank or broker

While the exact process will vary slightly, the following are general steps to buy T-Bills through a broker:

  1. Navigate to the bonds section of your broker’s trading function.
  2. Locate US Treasuries and select a term of one year or less to access available T-Bills.
  3. Consider the maturity, price and yield of the available T-Bills, and select Buy for whichever T-Bill you want to trade.
  4. Enter an order quantity, review your order and select Buy.
1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Available asset types Stock trade fee Minimum Treasury Bills investment Signup bonus
Vanguard Personal Advisor
Stocks, Mutual funds, ETFs, Treasury Bills
Financial advice powered by relationships, not commissions.
JPMorgan Self-Directed Investing
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Treasury Bills
Get $50 - $700
when you open and fund an account with $10,000 - $250,000+
TD Ameritrade
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Currencies, CDs, Futures, Forex, Treasury Bills
or $25 broker-assisted
TD Ameritrade features $0 commission for online stock trades. Online options fees are $0.65/contract.
Interactive Brokers
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Cryptocurrency, Futures, Forex, Treasury Bills
Winner of Finder’s Best Overall Stock Broker award.

Paid non-client promotion. Finder does not invest money with providers on this page. If a brand is a referral partner, we're paid when you click or tap through to, open an account with or provide your contact information to the provider. Partnerships are not a recommendation for you to invest with any one company. Learn more about how we make money.

Finder is not an adviser or brokerage service. Information on this page is for educational purposes only and not a recommendation to invest with any one company, trade specific stocks or fund specific investments. All editorial opinions are our own.

Gain exposure to Treasury Bills through ETFs

In addition to purchasing T-Bills directly from the Treasury Department or via a bank or broker, it’s possible to gain exposure to the price and yield performance of T-Bills through exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Some T-Bill ETFs include:

  • SPDR Bloomberg 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL)
  • SPDR Bloomberg 3-12 Month T-Bill ETF (BILS)

Treasury Bills vs. Treasury Notes vs. Treasury Bonds

Treasury Bills, Treasury Notes (T-Notes) and Treasury Bonds (T-Bonds) are all types of fixed-term debt products issued by the US Treasury Department. The main difference between these debt instruments is the time to maturity and when interest is paid.

  • Treasury Bills are short-term obligations that mature anywhere between a few weeks to one year.
  • Treasury Notes are medium-term securities issued with maturities of between two and 10 years.
  • Treasury Bonds have the longest time to maturity, with terms of 20 or 30 years. Both T-Notes and T-Bonds pay a fixed rate of interest every six months until they mature, while T-Bills pay interest only once at maturity.

Treasury Bills vs. bonds

Treasury Bills are a type of short-term debt security issued by the US government, while bonds are a long-term debt security issued by governments and corporations.

Pros and cons of Treasury Bills


  • Near zero-risk since T-Bills are backed by the US government
  • Low investment minimum of $100
  • Fixed interest rate means stable income
  • No state or local taxes on interest income
  • Purchase T-Bills through the Treasury Department or through a bank or broker


  • T-Bills pay no interest leading up to maturity, only at maturity
  • Fixed interest rate means interest rate risk, so their rate could fall out of favor during periods of rising interest rates

Bottom line

With a low risk of default, low investment minimum and short time horizon, T-Bills may be an appealing place to invest. In an environment where shorter-term yields are higher than longer-term yields, T-Bills may be even more attractive. But they don’t come without disadvantages. Periods of rising interest rates may make existing T-Bills less attractive, but this won’t matter if you plan to hold the bill until maturity.

Frequently asked questions about T-Bills

More on investing

What happens if a brokerage firm fails?

What happens if a brokerage firm fails?

Here’s what happens to your securities if your brokerage fails, and how your assets are protected by SIPC and FDIC.

Read more…
Silicon Valley Bank collapse: Which ETFs and stocks are impacted?

Silicon Valley Bank collapse: Which ETFs and stocks are impacted?

Several ETFs have exposure to Silicon Valley Bank, but it appears minimal.

Read more…
How to Buy Treasury Bills

How to Buy Treasury Bills

Treasury Bills are fixed-income assets with maturities of less than one year. Here’s what to know before investing.

Read more…

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site