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The increase in stock market volatility and political uncertainty is driving an increasing number of investors to precious metals as a way to diversify their investment portfolios. Gold, in particular, has historically maintained its value even during significant stock market fluctuations and has proven to be an effective hedge against inflation.
For long-term investors, owning physical gold is often preferred over gold receipts, gold mining stocks, or gold ETFs. Now, with the advent of online gold dealers, it has never been easier to purchase high-quality physical gold and have it shipped home or stored in a secured vault. However, there are occasional reports of counterfeit metal coins or fake gold being sold online, which is why you need to ensure you are purchasing from an established and reputable dealer.
Best Overall : Money Metals Exchange
The combination of highly competitive prices, low shipping costs, vast product selection, and an exceptional customer experience lands Money Metals Exchange on our list as the best overall online gold dealer.
Free shipping on orders of $500 or more
Prepackaged starter portfolios for beginning investors
Automated monthly savings plan
Low purchasing limits for check and PayPal payments
Shipping can be slow
Founded in 2010, Money Metals Exchange has quickly amassed a customer base of more than 250,000 customers. Its customer-centric focus has translated into highly competitive pricing, personalized service, a pathway for new investors, and one of the best online reputations, making Money Metals Exchange our choice as the best overall online gold dealer.
Customers can easily navigate its website to shop for coins and bullion by category and weight. Beginning investors can get their feet wet in gold investing with an automatic monthly savings plan starting at $100 a month or by purchasing a prepackaged portfolio. Otherwise, its pricing is highly competitive, with its Gold Eagle 1 oz. coin selling for $1,977 as of Dec. 1, 2021, a 10.9% mark-up from the $1,782 spot price at the same time period.
Money Metals locks in your price for 10 minutes to allow you to finish entering your information and payment method, which can be bank wire transfer, bitcoin, credit or debit card, money order, PayPal, or check. There is a 4% processing fee and $1,500 purchase limit when using a credit or debit card or PayPal.
Shipping is free on all orders over $500, which is not such a high bar considering the cost of gold. For orders up to $149, the fee is $6.97, and it's $7.97 for orders between $150 and $499. Money Metals offers a three-day return policy and may apply a 5% restocking fee on credit card orders. The dealer also offers a buyback program claiming to pay the highest price among its competitors.
Money Metals offers vault storage in Idaho, Delaware, and Massachusetts in Class 3 vaults. Your metals are fully segregated and fully insured by Lloyd's of London. They also provide responsive customer service during business hours via live chat, phone, or email. Its website also has an extensive resource library to help new investors learn and experienced investors stay on top of the market. Money Metals also provides price alerts for investors waiting for their price to buy.
Best Comprehensive Offering : APMEX (American Precious Metals Exchange)
With more than 10,000 products to offer, APMEX (the largest online precious metals dealer globally) makes our list as the online gold dealer with the best comprehensive offering.
Extensive product selection
7-day return policy
Robust customer service
Solid online reputation
Long track record
Shipping can be slow
Prices tend to be higher than top peers
American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX) has built itself into a global precious metals powerhouse since its founding in 2000. It's not surprising that it has the largest selection of precious metals products, making it our choice as the online gold dealer with the best comprehensive offering.
In addition to a wide range of gold and silver bullion and coin products, APMEX also has an extensive selection of platinum, palladium, and copper products. Its coin selection is a virtual United Nations, representing coins from the U.S., Canada, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, and beyond. APMEX is also one of the best sources for collectors, offering a wide variety of coins and old banknotes.
While APMEX doesn't have the lowest prices around, its significant sales volume allows it to be competitive. Using the Gold Eagle coin as a barometer for pricing competitiveness, APMEX is offering the 1 oz. coin for $1,889 as of Dec. 1, 2021. That's just 6% above the spot price of gold at $1,782, which is reasonably competitive. APMEX also offers bulk discounts on bullion and coins on purchases up to 19, 20 to 99, and 100 or more.
Ease-of-use is also a strength of APMEX, with easy navigation to browse products and a quick three-step checkout process. Once you place an order, you have 10 minutes to finalize the purchase to lock in current pricing. APMEX updates its pricing every 60 seconds.
Another key advantage is APMEX's free shipping on any order over $199. There is no minimum order requirement. Orders under $199 are charged a $9.95 shipping fee. Insurance is included on all shipped packages. Credit card orders may qualify for APMEX's QuickShip Program, which provides next-day processing for U.S. orders.
If you want your gold stored, APMEX will ship it to Citadel Global Depository Services, one of the world's largest private storage facilities, for an annual fee.
You have many payment options with APMEX, including credit or debit card, paper check, bank wire transfer, PayPal, bitcoin, and eCheck. Credit cards, PayPal, and bank wire transfers can clear within one to three days. Checks take at least four days to clear. After your first purchase, you are eligible to use APMEX's eCheck option, which can accelerate your order processing.
APMEX offers a 7-day return and refund on any order but reserves the right to charge a restocking fee of $50 or 10% of the purchase amount. It also provides customers with a quick-and-easy buyback process. Once they receive the product, payment is issued within one business day.
APMEX is committed to providing excellent customer service and education. Customers can contact its service center via live chat, email, or phone during business hours but may place orders 24/7 all week long. New investors will appreciate APMEX's resource center on its website, providing educational information along with current insights on buying gold.
Best Customer Experience : JM Bullion
JM Bullion provides its customers with a user-friendly website, transparent pricing structure, dedicated customer support, and investor-friendly features, making it our choice as the online gold dealer with the best customer experience.
Low shipping costs
Clean and easy-to-use shopping site
Several hundred thousand positive reviews
Doesn't sell internationally
Since its founding in 2011, JM Bullion has quickly grown to become Inc.com's "fastest-growing precious metals company" in the U.S. That growth can be attributed to JM Bullion's commitment to offering a wide selection of products, competitive and transparent pricing, dedicated customer support, an automated savings plan, and a simple purchasing process. This makes it our choice as the online gold dealer with the best customer experience.
Its product selection is extensive, with a wide variety of gold, silver, platinum, copper, palladium coins, and bars, priced competitively with no commissions or additional fees. Its advertised price of a 1 oz. Gold Eagle coin was $1,933 in Nov. 2021, about a 7.4% mark-up from the spot price at the time of $1,800. JM Bullion offers members of the military the same discount it offers on bulk purchases.
Payments can be made by ACH transfer (up to $75,000), cryptocurrency (up to $250,000), paper check (up to $75,000), credit or debit card (up to $25,000), PayPal (up to $25,000), and bank wire transfer (up to $250,000). Credit card and PayPal payments are assessed a 4% processing fee.
Shipping is free for orders of $199 or more and includes insurance costs. For orders less than $199, you'll pay $7.99 (more if you upgrade your shipping method at checkout). You can also choose to have their gold shipped free to JM Bullion's storage partner, TDS Vaults, a high-security depositary with several locations worldwide.
JM Bullion offers a five-day return policy. While it doesn't indicate on its website whether there is a restocking fee, you are responsible for market losses. The dealer has a minimum buyback policy of $1,000. You can visit its website to see its current buyback prices.
JM Bullion prides itself on its dedicated customer support, which is accessible during business hours via live chat, email, and phone. The company has great reviews on Trustpilot.
Best Low-Price Option : SD Bullion
SD Bullion does offer low prices compared to the other dealers on this list, and it backs that up with a low-price guarantee, which is why it's our choice as the best option for low prices.
Low-cost direct storage
Solid online reputation
Three-day return policy
Stiff order cancellation fee
Product offering somewhat limited
If a dealer asserts itself as the "lowest cost" online gold dealer in the U.S., it should back its claim with a low-price guarantee. That's just what SD Bullion does, making it our choice as the best low-price option for gold investors.
SD Bullion offers a full array of precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum, copper, and palladium, but their selection of products is more limited than some of their top competitors. For instance, at any one time, it may only carry two brands of gold bars. For investors looking for the best deal with no brand preference, SD Bullion can't be beaten. In addition to gold coins and bullion, SD Bullion also sells gun ammunition and precious metal safes.
It has the lowest price for a Gold Eagle coin, selling for $1,974 as of Dec. 2021, a reasonable markup on the current price of gold which is about $1,780. Add in its free shipping on orders over $199 ($9.95 flat rate for orders under $199), and it's an unbeatable total price for gold investors. If a customer spies a price lower than SD Bullion's, the dealer will match it.
If payment is not received by the payment deadline, your order will be subject to a market loss fee, a 5% cancellation fee, and any collection expenses incurred by SD Bullion. SD Bullion offers a full array of payment options, including:
- Bitcoin (up to $250,000)
- Cashier's check (up to $20,000)
- Credit or debit card (up to $5,000)
- E-check (up to $10,000)
- PayPal (up to $5,000)
- Personal check (up to $20,000)
- Wire transfer ($20,000 and up)
PayPal and credit card payments are charged an additional 4% processing fee. If you choose to have your gold stored, you can open a storage depository account and have your gold stored directly with SD Bullion and fully insured by Lloyd's of London. The cost is free for the first three months; storage fees start at $9.99 a month based on the amount stored.
Returns are accepted within three days of delivery, but refunds are not guaranteed. SD Bullion will determine if it will accept your return request. A stocking fee—5% of the purchase or $35, whichever is higher—is charged, and SD Bullion may require you to cover the cost of any market loss. SD Bullion will repurchase your gold though buyback prices are not published. Payments are issued within one to three days after SD Bullion receives the return.
SD Bullion's customer service reviews are generally positive, with customers reporting good access to representatives through chat, email, and phone. Many of the comments highlight the speedy ordering process and reasonably quick deliveries. SD Bullion has earned high ratings from Trustpilot users, which give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Best for Gold Coins : BGASC
As its name implies, BGASC (Buying Gold and Silver Coins) is one of the best sources for gold bullion coins sold at reasonable prices, making it our choice for the best online gold dealer for coins.
Best selection of gold coins
Competitive pricing on gold coins
Excellent customer support
Solid online reputation
Limited payment options
Limited bullion offering
No live chat
Three-day return policy
Although BGASC offers a complete lineup of gold products, its primary focus is on selling gold bullion coins. Their selection of coins is vast, prices are highly competitive, and customer service is excellent, which is why BGASC is our choice for the best online gold dealer for coins.
BGASC is the newest company in this roundup, but they've managed to build a solid reputation as a major player, especially as a gold coin dealer. In addition to a great selection of all the essential standbys—such as American Eagles, Canadian Gold Maples, South African Krugerrands, Pre-1933 U.S. Gold, and Australian Gold Kangaroos—they maintain an extensive inventory of premium and rare numismatics. It also offers silver, platinum, and palladium products. They do offer gold bars in all the standard sizes, yet they tend to focus on one brand—PAMP Suisse Fortuna Gold Bars.
The gold bars they do sell are priced competitively—their 1 oz. Gold Eagle coin is offered at $1,963.67, one of the lowest in this roundup.
One of the downsides of BGASC is its limited payment options. Currently, they only allow payments with paper checks (up to $100,000), PayPal (up to $10,000), credit and debit cards (up to $10,000), and bank wire transfers (minimum of $3,000).
Shipping is free for orders of $5,000 and over. While that may be a high bar for smaller investors, its $9.95 fee for orders under $5,000 is still affordable. BGASC handles its own storage with an accredited storage vault insured by Lloyd's of London.
BGASC only offers a three-day return policy that will dock you for a 5% restocking fee on PayPal and credit card orders, along with a possible market loss fee on all returned products. They also offer a buyback program with current buyback prices listed on their website.
Customer reviews also praise BGASC's customer service, touting knowledgeable reps and quick response times (though they don't have live chat). As with most other online gold dealers, their customer service is accessible during business hours.
For a gold dealer that was only started in 2012, BGASC has built a solid online reputation with a solid 4.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot on more than 6,400 reviews. BGASC is also a Certified Coin Exchange (CCE) member and an authorized dealer for the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC).
Best Reputation : Golden Eagle Coins
Established as a family-owned business, Golden Eagle Coins has a nearly unblemished track record with thousands of positive reviews, making it our choice as the online gold dealer with the best reputation.
More than 45-year track record
Extensive selection of gold coins
Solid online reputation
Excellent customer service
Seven-day return policy
Limited selection of gold bars
Known primarily for its vast selection of gold coins, including collectible and numismatic coins, Golden Eagle Coins' started in 1974 and maintains a track record of customer satisfaction that is unmatched, which is why it makes our list as the most reputable online gold dealer.
You can't help but marvel at Golden Eagle Coins' extensive selection. In addition to the popular coins, such as American Eagles, South African Krugerrands, and Canadian Maple Leafs, Golden Eagle Coins sells a wide variety of silver, platinum, palladium, and copper coins. Investors can also find a great selection of pre-1933 coins, commemoratives, mint sets, and foreign coins from more than 100 countries.
Also, you won't find too many dealers that offer historical currency, such as Confederate notes and Colonial currency. Collectors are also impressed with its selection of ancient Arabic, Greek, Roman, and medieval coins.
Golden Eagle Coins' pricing is decent but not nearly as cheap as BGASC or SD Bullion. Its Golden Eagle Coin sells for $1,898.96 in Dec. 2021, a bit higher than its main competitors. But you go to Golden Eagle Coins for its selection and service, not necessarily for its pricing.
Golden Eagle Coins offers all the standard payment options, including bitcoin, paper check, credit card, PayPal, and bank wire transfer. There's a $5,000 purchase limit for credit cards and a $2,500 minimum for bank wire transfers. PayPal and credit card orders are subject to a 4% processing fee.
Standard shipping is free for orders of $99 or more and $9.95 for orders under $99. You can upgrade your shipping speed to priority mail for $14.95 or express mail for $24.94. Golden Eagle Coins accepts returns for seven days following delivery. You may be responsible for a restocking fee and a market loss fee. Buyback prices are listed on its website.
Though it doesn't offer live chat, Golden Eagle Coins receives high marks for its customer service from thousands of customer reviews. Response times to phone and email inquiries are fast, and the service is very responsive. Golden Eagle Coins' online reputation is impeccable. It scores 4.5 out of 5 stars based on more than 5,200 reviews on Trustpilot.
The online gold dealers above are reputable, reliable, transparent, and fair. But there is enough to differentiate these top dealers to attract investors for different reasons.
Not all precious metal dealers are trustworthy. Before you purchase, do your research, be wary of anyone promising easy profits, and learn to spot the signs of a scam.
If you're looking for the widest array of products in all categories. APMEX should be your first stop. However, if you value an exceptional overall customer experience, you should check out JM Bullion. If you're most concerned about pricing, few gold dealers can beat SD Bullion.
Many gold investors diversify by buying from several sources. But, if you want the best overall, one-stop-shop for your gold purchases, Money Metals Exchange should be at the top of your list.
|Best Overall||Money Metals Exchange||Free shipping over $500|
|Best Comprehensive Offering||APMEX||Free shipping over $199|
|Best Customer Experience||JM Bullion||Free shipping over $199|
|Best Low-Price Option||SD Bullion||Free shipping over $199|
|Best for Gold Coins||BGASC||Free shipping over $5,000|
|Best Reputation||Golden Eagle Coins||Free shipping over $99|
What Is an Online Gold Dealer?
The top online gold dealers are trusted vendors offering everything from investment-grade bullion, coins, collectible gold pieces, and more. Customers can easily compare prices across multiple sellers and make a buying decision based on price and shipping speed. The top dealers offer options to take physical delivery of the gold or store it in a secured vault. Customers also have the option of selling their gold back to the dealer.
How to Buy Gold Online?
Like many other products buying gold online can be as easy as point-and-click. The best dealers have a well-organized website with easy navigation to find and compare products by category (i.e., bullion by weight, coins, out-of-mint coins, etc.). When you find a product you want, you click on it to review the details. As with any online shop, you can add it to your cart. You can then enter the quantity you want. From there, you can continue to shop or move on to checkout.
Once you start the checkout process with most dealers, your price is locked in for a short period, typically 10 to 15 minutes. You need to complete your purchase before the pricing expires, or you may see the price adjusted up or down based on how the market is moving.
Once you complete checkout, you will receive an email confirmation along with ongoing shipping notifications.
Can You Store Gold at Home?
Yes, you can store your gold in your home (except in the case of Gold IRAs). The question is whether you would want to. Nothing beats the security of having your gold stored in a highly reputable depositary, such as Brinks Global Services, which has vault locations throughout the country.
For those who prefer to keep their gold close to them, the ideal place to store gold is a well-hidden, at-home safe. If you do store your gold at home, be sure to check that your homeowner's insurance covers its potential loss or damage. You may need to purchase additional coverage.
Is Buying Gold Online Safe?
Buying gold online is as safe as any other transaction you make over the internet as long as you know you're dealing with a reputable company. The best dealers use SSL encryption and are PCI compliant. Plus, all their shipments are insured for their full value.
The most significant risk you face is purchasing from an illegitimate company that sells fake products, overpriced inventory, or simply runs off with your money. As with any online purchase, you are your first and last line of defense against scammers. You need to do your due diligence on gold dealers by researching them online.
How to Choose a Reputable Gold Dealer
Unquestionably, a company's reputation is the number one criteria to evaluate and compare gold dealers. The single best measure of a company's reputation is its transaction history, which can be assessed by customer reviews. Companies with a large number of reviews are typically more established (longer track record) or have built up their trust and reputation through a greater number of transactions.
Additionally, you should look for the following when evaluating a dealer's reputation:
- Track record: Generally, the more established an online gold dealer is, the better. You will find some dealers on our list who've been in business for less than 10 years, so you should also look at their online reputation based on customer reviews.
- Physical company headquarters: You want to verify that the online gold dealer has a physical and traceable presence even if they don't have brick-and-mortar stores. Avoid any dealer who only lists a P.O. Box.
- Clear return and buyback policies: Most dealers allow for at least three days to return a product for returns. Check to see if there is a restocking fee and how much they charge. Legitimate dealers also have a buyback policy. Check on the requirements for selling your gold back to the dealer and whether they list their buyback prices.
- Transparent pricing: Gold prices fluctuate by the minute, so it's essential that the dealer provides clear pricing based on the most accurate and up-to-date prices. The best online gold dealers don't charge commissions or extra fees, but it's important to confirm that before finalizing your purchase.
- Payment options: It's important that a dealer accept your preferred method of payment. Most online gold dealers accept credit cards, checks, money orders, wire transfers, PayPal, and bitcoin. Just be aware that most charge a 3% to 4% fee for credit card purchases.
A quick search of "online gold dealers" reveals dozens of results, which can be overwhelming when determining the best. Of the 13 remaining dealers, we applied our criteria of online reputation, length of track record, price transparency, payment options, shipping speed, absence of commissions and hidden fees, and customer service to narrow our choices for the best in six different categories. Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you can't go wrong with any of them.