Imagine this scenario: you’ve been thinking about buying gold or silver for a while now, and the current low price and bullish sentiment have finally convinced you.
You grab your credit card and… and questions start buzzing:
Who can you trust with your gold purchase?
What is the best website to buy gold and silver online?
How big is the risk of choosing the wrong precious metals dealer?
To help you find the answer, here are the key things you need to know if you want to buy physical gold or silver safely.
Where can I buy gold or silver?
Today, investors can easily find a wide range of precious metals dealers to buy their gold and silver products.
But most of these dealers will offer a different selection of products with different purity levels, different services, and even different storage and resale solutions.
Gold resellers mainly fall into 3 categories: local physical stores, banks, and online dealers.
Let’s see what their advantages are and what risks they can potentially pose.
Buying gold in a local physical store
First-time gold buyers often go to their local gold shops because they imagine it would be safer to see their gold products in reality. If this is important to you, it might be a good idea to contact your local dealer beforehand to see if the product you want to buy is in store. Indeed, some shops will need to have it sent from their external storage facilities, which can take a few days, sometimes even weeks.
While some of the silver and gold products sold at physical stores will come directly from a mint or a reputable refinery, many of them will be pre-owned by other investors. Therefore, in order to ensure the purity of your pre-owned product, it might be useful to do some extra research to make sure you’re dealing with a reliable reseller who’s able to guarantee the quality and authenticity of his products.
Another important factor that you should pay attention to is that brick-and-mortar shops will usually charge higher premiums or extra fees. This is to factor in costs that are specific to their physical business, including commercial rent, on-site storage, and commercial insurance.
Finally, a common mistake made by first-time buyers is to often forget about how they will store and insure their precious metals. While your local dealer might offer some form of on-site storage, it tends to be costly and requires extra insurance. As it might not be a good idea to hide your gold at home uninsured and unprotected, some buyers choose to install a private vault in their home to keep their precious metals within arm’s reach.
Buying gold in a bank
Nowadays, fewer and fewer banks actually hold physical gold they can sell over the counter. For example, in the U.S., it’s become quite rare to find a financial institution selling gold bullion (unless you have really deep pockets 😉), while you can still buy physical gold and silver in UK, France, and Germany through some banks.
And even though selling gold and precious metals isn’t their main field of expertise, the trust you might have in your financial institution, as well as the possibility to safely store your gold close to your home, could make your local bank a preferred place to buy gold or silver.
So if you decided to buy precious metals from your bank, consider contacting them beforehand to make sure they have at least some gold products in storage at your local branch. Indeed, some banks might only sell in large quantities, while others could only have in store a limited selection of gold products.
Another equally important factor to bear in mind is that buying precious metals from a bank often comes with associated costs and fees. For example, if you want to keep gold in your bank's safe deposit boxes, you should be prepared to pay storage fees ranging from a few dozen to several hundred dollars (or euros) a year. Moreover, you should remember that bank hours are limited, and so will be your access to your safe deposit box. Some banks will even require a scheduled appointment to grant you access to your own gold bars.
Finally, insurance costs can also be an issue. Banks do not usually insure the contents of their safe deposit box, so if you want to protect your assets, you will have to buy private insurance, which can be quite expensive.
Buying gold from an online dealer
If you mainly want a safe, easy, and time-saving way to buy precious metals, you might want to look at online gold dealers.
First, make sure you select a reputable dealer associated with well-respected mints, refineries, and companies in the industry (this is why, at GOLD AVENUE, we are proud to be part of the MKS PAMP GROUP, the world leader in the precious metals sector).
When evaluating websites to buy physical gold online, there’s a number of key factors to pay attention to:
- Price transparency: do they give a clear price breakdown without charging any hidden fees?
- Storage: do they have a simple and transparent storage solution that includes free storage?
- Insurance: do they insure your stored products and/or deliveries?
- Buyback: do they offer to buy back your stored products without charging a commission?
- Customer service: is their customer service directly available on their website and can you talk to a person or only to a chatbot? 🤖/👨
In fact, pay attention as some online gold stores will have pricey some online gold stores have pricey storage offers that don’t include insurance and can charge you extra fees on resale.
Some of them will also sell "shared" or "mutualized" gold, which means that, instead of being the sole owner of your allocated gold, you will have to share it with other customers and will not be able to access it physically.
On the whole, the best online precious metals dealers should have a well-organized website, a simple and transparent pricing system, a reliable storage solution, and a quick and easy buyback process. For example, at GOLD AVENUE, you can get free storage, insurance included, and no extra costs on resale.👌
So what is the best place to buy gold?
It largely depends on your needs and preferences. If being able to view your items in person is crucial for you, and you’re ready to pay extra money for storage and insurance, then buying at brick-and-mortar shops or banks could be an option.
But if you’re looking for an easy and transparent way to buy high-quality gold and silver products for a fair price, a trusted online dealer might be a better solution.
Ultimately, the choice is yours to make, so make it a good one. 🙂