What’S The Difference Between A Treasury Bill And A Treasury Bond?


When it comes to investing in the realm of fixed-income securities, two prominent choices that investors often consider are Treasury bills and Treasury bonds.

Treasury Bills:

Treasury bills, also known as T-bills, are short-term debt instruments issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, typically with maturities ranging from a few days to one year. They are considered one of the safest investments as they are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. T-bills are highly liquid investments, meaning they can be easily bought or sold in the market before they mature. Investors often turn to T-bills for short-term cash management or as a safe haven for their funds during uncertain economic times.

Treasury Bonds:

In contrast, Treasury bonds are long-term debt securities issued by the U.S. Treasury with maturities typically ranging from 10 to 30 years. They pay a fixed rate of interest every six months and are also backed by the U.S. government, making them relatively low-risk investments. Treasury bonds are popular among investors seeking steady income over a longer investment horizon. They provide a predictable stream of income through regular interest payments and the return of principal at maturity. Investors looking to diversify their portfolio and add a long-term fixed-income component often opt for Treasury bonds.

Key Differences:

The primary difference between Treasury bills and Treasury bonds lies in their respective maturities and interest payments. While T-bills are short-term investments with maturities of one year or less and do not pay interest before maturity, Treasury bonds have longer maturities and offer periodic interest payments. T-bills are typically purchased at a discount to their face value, allowing investors to earn a return upon maturity when they receive the full face value. On the other hand, Treasury bonds are issued at face value and provide investors with regular interest payments throughout the life of the bond.

Another critical distinction is in the way these securities are priced and traded. Treasury bills are typically sold at a discount to their face value, meaning investors purchase them for less than they will receive at maturity. On the other hand, Treasury bonds are sold at face value and pay interest until they reach maturity. Additionally, T-bills are usually issued at a discount to par value and do not pay periodic interest, while Treasury bonds pay semi-annual interest payments based on a fixed coupon rate until maturity.


Both Treasury bills and Treasury bonds are considered to be safe investments due to the backing of the U.S. government. Investors choose between them based on their investment horizon, risk tolerance, and income needs, with T-bills suited for short-term liquidity needs and Treasury bonds providing long-term income and capital preservation opportunities. Ultimately, the choice between Treasury bills and Treasury bonds depends on an investor’s financial goals, time horizon, and risk appetite. By understanding the key differences between these fixed-income securities, investors can make informed decisions to build a well-diversified investment portfolio that aligns with their individual financial objectives.