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Considerations Before Buying Gold Online—From Gold Bullion Bars to Gold Coins and More


Written by John Rothans

Dec 29, 2023

Today you can buy just about anything online, including precious metals like gold bullion bars and coins. However, buying gold online might not be as simple as other purchases you’ve made in the past.

The process of buying gold may depend on the reason you’re purchasing gold coins and bars. But no matter how you plan to use the gold, there are both advantages and special considerations you may wish to keep in mind when purchasing precious metals online.

Reasons Why People Buy Gold Bullion

There are numerous ways to preserve and grow your wealth, and owning gold is one of them. Many people see owning gold as a less risky way of preserving and growing wealth for a few key reasons:

  • Gold historically holds and even grows its purchasing power over the long term.
  • The market price of gold isn’t tied to the dollar, so it may serve as a hedge against inflation.
  • Stock prices may experience volatility and be considered risky.
  • Precious metals can help acheive portfolio diversity.

All these reasons and more are explained in our free Gold Information Kit. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone who is new to owning gold and other precious metals.

Common Physical Gold Assets

Gold is what’s known as a physical asset. Physical assets are tangible items you can hold in your hand. The two most common forms of physical gold are bars and coins. While the form your gold takes may be important to you, you may wish to keep in mind other characteristics of physical gold when exploring the gold marketplace for the first time. For example, bullion is a term used to describe gold that is recognized as pure, so most bullion products have a purity, or fineness, of 99.5%–99.9%.If you’re selecting physical gold for inclusion in an IRA, those products must be considered bullion. Gold bullion coins are often official legal tender, and both coins and bars are held by central banks in their reserves.

If you want to hold bullion gold in your own reserves, it can be purchased from reputable gold distributors like U.S. Money Reserve.

Gold Bullion Bars

Gold bars may hold appeal for those wanting to purchase 1 oz. or more of pure gold because gold bullion bars are typically produced at weights between 1 oz. and 1 kilogram (commonly referred to as 1 kilo). Because gold bars cost less to produce and store, they may also feature lower premiums compared to gold coins.

Another benefit of buying gold bars, especially for those who are new to owning precious metals, is that determining their current market price is relatively simple because it is often based solely on the bar’s purity and weight.

Gold Bullion Coins

Gold coins can also be referred to as bullion. Gold bullion coins are extremely popular for many reasons, including their more affordable entry point: Gold bullion coins are widely available in weights as low as 1/10 oz.

Gold coins also offer a greater variety of options than gold bars, including proof and collectible coins. This variety generates additional demand and higher market prices for certain coins based on factors like rarity, grade, special designation, and even design.

The American Gold Eagle coin is a good example of a gold bullion coin that provides great variety and growth potential. It is not only one of, if not the, most popular gold bullion coins on the planet, but it is also available in a variety of weights, denominations, finishes, grades, and special designations. It has even been struck with multiple designs over the course of its 35-plus-year history. Perhaps most importantly, “Gold Eagles” are struck by the United States Mint, are official U.S. legal tender, and come backed by a U.S. government guarantee for their weight and purity. Gold Eagle coins are also given a special exception by the IRS and are eligible for inclusion in IRAs despite having a fineness below the standard threshold.

As with gold bars, gold coins can be purchased from many different sources, including online retailers.

Owning Gold in an IRA vs. Storing Gold at Home vs. Safety Deposit Box Storage

Unlike paper-based assets like stocks and bonds, gold is a physical asset. Being able to hold physical gold in your hand provides much reassurance, but also requires secure storage.

There are three common ways to store the gold you own:

At HomeThe simplest option may be store the gold you own at home in a safe. But while convenient, this isn’t the most secure way to hold onto gold.

In a Bank Safe-Deposit BoxA more secure option may be to store your gold in a safe-deposit box at a bank. Just keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay a fee for the use of the safe-deposit box.

In a Gold IRA—A gold IRA, also known as a precious metals IRA, is a self-directed retirement account that allows for the inclusion of assets you might not find in a conventional IRA, like cryptocurrency, precious metals, and even real estate. These accounts provide the same retirement savings and tax benefits of a conventional IRA while allowing you to diversify your portfolio beyond the traditional mix of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

However, you can’t simply purchase gold online and then ask for it to be stored in a gold IRA. According to the IRS, and as with other assets you might have in an existing retirement account, any gold held an IRA must be purchased by the custodian of the account using existing IRA funds.

At U.S. Money Reserve, our Account Executives can help you better understand your options when selecting precious metals for a gold IRA. Once you’ve decided what to include in your account, you can then direct your IRA custodian to make the purchase on your behalf.

Pros of Buying Gold Online

Buying gold online comes with several distinct advantages that many purchasers appreciate.

Larger Selection of Gold Bullion Coins and Bars

If variety is important to you when buying gold coins, your best bet may be to buy gold coins online from a verified distributor. The marketplace for gold coins is vast, with coins that can vary by weight, purity, design, country of origin, rarity, and more. Finding the gold coins that work best for your needs may be easier with an online retailer compared to a brick-and-mortar retailer with a limited selection. You may also find a greater selection of gold bars online.

For example, U.S. Money Reserve’s online gold shop includes a sizable array of gold bullion coins and bars to choose from. If you’re looking for the widest possible selection of gold assets, online purchases may be the way to go.

Affordable Prices

Because of their lower overhead and operating costs, online gold distributors may offer more affordable pricing options for coins and bars. Even when factoring in shipping costs, online retailers may offer gold bullion closer to spot prices than local shops.

Convenient Purchasing Process

Like many other online purchases, buying gold online is fast, easy, and secure. You’ll be able to look over the selection of gold at your leisure and take your time deciding what to buy without feeling any pressure.

Considerations When Buying Gold Bullion Bars or Coins Online

While there are many advantages to buying gold coins and bars online, there are also considerations you can take into account that may make you feel more confident in your purchase.

Using a Cautious Approach When Purchasing Through Online Marketplaces

While most gold and other precious metals purchased online are bought from certified gold distributors, you may also find gold for sale on platforms like Facebook Marketplace. Purchasing precious metals through these types of online marketplaces may involve significant risk.

According to CBS News, online marketplaces don’t verify the authenticity of the products being sold, and you may have little recourse if the gold you receive isn’t as described or arrives damaged. Scammers know this, which is why online marketplaces can be full of them. Many buyers have been disappointed to find the gold they purchased from an online marketplace is not authentic and worth much less than they paid.

Understanding What Makes a Gold Distributor Reputable

When buying gold online, you want to make sure that you are getting the gold you are paying for, and one of the best ways to do that is to purchase through with a well-known and reputable distributor. But what’s considered a well-known and reputable gold distributor?

A reputable gold distributor may:

  • Sell certified products
  • Sell products graded by third parties
  • Insure shipments
  • Have a physical address and active phone number
  • Provide information on their credentials
  • Be affiliated with industry organizations
  • Offer only secure payment methods
  • Have a responsive customer service team
  • Receive positive reviews online
  • Get good ratings in trade journals
  • Have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

A great way to gauge the worth of a gold distributor is by the knowledge of their customer service representatives. Since many financial advisors aren’t experts in gold products, it can help to speak with a knowledgeable representative who can explain your options and walk you through the purchasing process.

Payment Options and Shipping

Something else you may wish to examine is the payment options and shipping methods of an online retailer. As with any online purchase, you may want to ensure that their payment methods are secure. The types of payment options offered may also be a sign of credibility. Some online retailers offer options like bank transfers in addition to accepting credit and debit cards.

As an added layer of protection, U.S. Money Reserve staff manually review all online purchases through a verification system. Orders may also be confirmed by telephone before being processed.

Unlike when purchasing gold at a local shop, you won’t be in possession of the gold the moment you buy it online—the online distributor will need to ship your gold to you. Reputable distributors like U.S. Money Reserve use insured shipping methods to help cover any potential mishaps that may happen during transit.

The cost of shipping is another consideration. It’s an added expense, but as noted above, it may be beneficial to upgrade your shipping method so your products are shipped as securely as possible.

Final Thoughts About Buying Gold Online

Buying gold may be a smart financial move depending on your unique financial situation and goals. As your understanding of precious metals grows, so can your assurance that adding these assets to your portfolio can help protect and grow your wealth over the long term and help you build a lasting financial legacy for future generations.

Another way to grow your reassurance regarding precious metals ownership is to make your purchase through a reputable distributor you can trust.

If you’re new to owning precious metals, you’ll enjoy how U.S. Money Reserve provides a wealth of free resources to help increase your knowledge of these physical assets and their potential benefits. You can start by calling one of our experienced Account Executives, who can answer your questions and provide more information on currently available inventory, as only a portion of our gold products are listed online. You can also request a free Gold Information Kit to get detailed information on using gold as a diversifier to help preserve your wealth and protect your portfolio.


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