1. Money Market: Introduction
  2. Money Market: What Is It?
  3. Money Market: Treasury Bills (T-Bills)
  4. Money Market: Certificate Of Deposit (CD)
  5. Money Market: Commercial Paper
  6. Money Market: Banker's Acceptance
  7. Money Market: Eurodollars
  8. Money Market: Repos
  9. Money Market: Conclusion

Treasury Bills (T-bills) are the most marketable money market security. Their popularity is mainly due to their simplicity. Essentially, T-bills are a way for the U.S. government to raise money from the public. In this tutorial, we are referring to T-bills issued by the U.S. government, but many other governments issue T-bills in a similar fashion.

T-bills are short-term securities that mature in one year or less from their issue date. They are issued with three-month, six-month and one-year maturities. T-bills are purchased for a price that is less than their par (face) value; when they mature, the government pays the holder the full par value. Effectively, your interest is the difference between the purchase price of the security and what you get at maturity. For example, if you bought a 90-day T-bill at $9,800 and held it until maturity, you would earn $200 on your investment. This differs from coupon bonds, which pay interest semi-annually.

Treasury bills (as well as notes and bonds) are issued through a competitive bidding process at auctions. If you want to buy a T-bill, you submit a bid that is prepared either non-competitively or competitively. In non-competitive bidding, you'll receive the full amount of the security you want at the return determined at the auction. With competitive bidding, you have to specify the return that you would like to receive. If the return you specify is too high, you might not receive any securities, or just a portion of what you bid for. (More information on auctions is available at the TreasuryDirect website.)

The biggest reasons that T-Bills are so popular is that they are one of the few money market instruments that are affordable to the individual investors. T-bills are usually issued in denominations of $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 and $1 million. Other positives are that T-bills (and all Treasuries) are considered to be the safest investments in the world because the U.S. government backs them. In fact, they are considered risk-free. Furthermore, they are exempt from state and local taxes. (For more on this, see Why do commercial bills have higher yields than T-bills?)

The only downside to T-bills is that you won't get a great return because Treasuries are exceptionally safe. Corporate bonds, certificates of deposit and money market funds will often give higher rates of interest. What's more, you might not get back all of your investment if you cash out before the maturity date.

Money Market: Certificate Of Deposit (CD)

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    The Basics Of The T-Bill

    The U.S. government has two primary methods of raising capital. One is by taxing individuals, businesses, trusts and estates; and the other is by issuing fixed-income securities that are backed ...
  2. Investing

    The History Of The T-Bill Auction

    Learn how the U.S. found the perfect solution to its debt problems and ended up creating one of the largest markets in the world.
  3. Investing

    Introduction to Treasury Securities

    Purchasing bonds that are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government can provide steady guaranteed income and peace of mind. Knowing the characteristics of each type of treasury ...
  4. Investing

    The Differences Between Bills, Notes And Bonds

    Treasury bills, notes and bonds are all marketable securities sold by the U.S. government to pay off debts and to raise cash.
  5. Investing

    Buy Treasuries Directly From The Fed

    If you want government securities, go straight to the source. We'll show you how.
  6. Investing

    How Risk Free Is The Risk-Free Rate Of Return?

    This rate is rarely questioned - unless the economy falls into disarray.
  7. Investing

    How To Compare Yields On Different Bonds

    Find out how to equalize and compare fixed-income investments with different yield conventions.
  8. Investing

    Why You Should Stick with Stocks over the Long Term

    Over the long term, it pays to stick with stocks, despite the inevitable bouts of volatility that wrack stock markets from time to time.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What are the Differences Among a Real Estate Agent, a broker and a Realtor?

    Learn how agents, realtors, and brokers are often considered the same, but in reality, these real estate positions have different ...
  2. What is the difference between amortization and depreciation?

    Because very few assets last forever, one of the main principles of accrual accounting requires that an asset's cost be proportionally ...
  3. Which is better, a fixed or variable rate loan?

    A variable interest rate loan is a loan in which the interest rate charged on the outstanding balance varies as market interest ...
  4. What is the 1003 mortgage application form?

    Learn about the 1003 mortgage application form, what information it requires and why this form is the industry standard for ...
Trading Center