By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — U.S. savings bonds enclosed in birthday cards have been an American tradition for more than 70 years.

But from now on, purchasers will have to be computer savvy.

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As of January 1, the U.S. Treasury declared that all bonds must be purchased online through the website

The buyer can download a “gift certificate” indicating the amount of the bond, and for what occasion.

“It’s not quite the same thing as having the embossed savings bond being given to the young person,” says Bob Fragasso, CEO of the Fragasso Financial Group, downtown.

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But he says electronic investments won’t get lost as easily as paper.

“So it’s better for the consumer and it’s certainly better for the government because the government is going to save, it’s estimated, about $120 million over the first five years of this program. That’s our money. That’s taxpayer money.”

With considerably less paper to process, the Federal Reserve workforce in Pittsburgh has declined, partly through attrition and transfers.

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And the 80-year-old Federal Reserve branch building on Grant Street is up for sale.