Treasury creates site on the Web for selling bonds

The Treasury Department will begin selling Treasury bills, notes and bonds over the
Internet next week under a new service called Buy Direct.


To buy bonds online, users must already have an account with the department, said Peter
Hollenbach, spokesman for Treasury’s Bureau of the Public Debt.


The Treasury site will ask for proprietary information to identify buyers.


Investors will key in a personal identification number and taxpayer identification
number and select an investment by clicking on a menu.


The process will take about two minutes.


“There is very little information they have to put in, and the rest is just making
selections,” Hollenbach said.


Once the investor chooses his buys, the bureau will automatically transfer funds from
the purchaser’s bank account and send the investor a confirmation.


The transaction will be protected by Secure Sockets Layer Version 3, which can utilize
128-bit encryption, Hollenbach said.


When an SSL session is started, the browser sends its public key to the server so that
the server can send a secret key to the browser. The browser and server exchange data via
secret key encryption during that session.


As a further precaution, no customer data will be stored on the server but will be
stored on another server behind a firewall and SSL, Hollenbach said.


He would reveal no more details about the security system.


To launch an account, investors must first buy securities the conventional way,
Hollenbach said.


Once this is done, the investor can visit the Public Debt’s site at http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov.


The software for Buy Direct was custom-written by Treasury programmers, Hollenbach
said.


Buy Direct will be available, beginning Sept. 16, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through
Friday, except federal holidays.


The bureau also plans to let investors buy over the phone starting next month.  
 

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