Rankings as of Dec 08, 2023.
Money is not a client of any investment adviser featured on this page. The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Money does not offer advisory services.
Gold is often regarded as a safe-haven asset because during times of economic uncertainty — such as high inflation, recession or market volatility — it acts as a store of value. If you’ve determined that now is a good time to invest in gold, there are several ways that you can go about doing so.
One way is by investing in equities; that is, the stocks of mining companies or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) backed by gold or that hold shares of gold-mining companies. But if you prefer tangible assets, another way is to purchase physical gold and other precious metals such as silver, platinum and palladium in the form of coins, rounds, ingots and bars.
These precious metals are available through online retailers — or gold dealers — that typically offer a variety of products and can arrange for secure storage or shipping of your precious metals. There are dozens of these companies available online; however, it is crucial to find a reputable one with years of experience in the industry and a track record of positive user experiences.
For a better understanding of this, read on to learn about some of the best online gold dealers and what makes them stand out from their competition.
Our Top Picks for Best Online Gold Dealers
- APMEX: Best Product Selection
- JM Bullion: Best for Transparency
- Goldco: Best Investor Education
- American Hartford Gold: Best Reputation
- Orion Metal Exchange: Best for Lowest-Price Guarantee
Best Online Gold Dealer Reviews
- Wide product selection that appeals to investors and collectors alike
- Free shipping on domestic orders of $199 or more
- Secure storage is available through Citadel
- Guarantees to ship your order within one business day
- Charges a cancellation fee of $50 or 5% of the total, whichever is greater
- Price may be higher for some payment methods
Why we chose it: American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX) offers customers a vast array of precious metal investment choices, including rare coins, collectibles and IRA-eligible products. Its website notes that it has more than 30,000 products available and 1.7 million customers.
With over 20 years in business, an A rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a clean record with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), APMEX is among the market's most trusted online gold dealers. The company’s large selection of precious metals ranges from silver and platinum bars to medieval and ancient coins. APMEX also offers products that are eligible for investment in a self-directed IRA. The company offers secure storage of precious metals through Citadel, which is backed by Brink’s Global Services.
There is a 4% discount if you pay with paper checks, eChecks, bank wire or trade. You may pay more if you use a credit card, PayPal or Bitcoin. Additionally, the company offers free shipping on orders over $199.
- Free shipping with orders over $199
- Volume and military discounts
- Website lists product specifications and pricing tiers
- Items can be returned within five days
- Will only buy back $1,000 or more of metals
- Price may be higher for some payment methods
Why we chose it: JM Bullion offers a wide range of metal products, including gold, silver, platinum, palladium and copper coins, rounds and bars as well as rare metal bullion. Each product page contains detailed information about the item, including its history, weight, condition and more.
The price you pay for any given item will vary depending on your chosen payment method. The different costs are outlined on the product page before you add the item to your cart. You’ll pay the least per item if you purchase via eCheck, paper check or bank wire transfer. JM Bullion also accepts debit cards, Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) and PayPal, but you’ll pay a bit more per item when you use those payment methods.
If you purchase a large amount, JM Bullion offers a volume (or bulk) discount. The more you purchase, the less you may pay for a particular asset. There is also a discount for active military service members.
We consider JM Bullion’s purchasing process to be quick and straightforward. All orders over $199 ship for free with insurance. You can return your order within five days but may be responsible for any market losses. JM Bullion will buy your gold and silver, according to its website, it maintains a minimum “Sell-To-Us” amount of $1,000. For amounts under $1,000, the company provides a local directory to help sellers find buyers in all 50 U.S. states.
- Wide range of educational materials available
- Many product choices, including IRA-eligible coins and bullion
- Strong customer service
- Website lacks detailed product and pricing information
- Customers must call to purchase
Why we chose it: Compared to other online gold dealers, Goldco’s website is one of the most comprehensive resources for learning about investing in precious metals, which can be especially helpful for beginners.
The company has published over 800 articles on the subject, collated into one searchable library. Whether you want to read a beginner’s guide to investing in precious metals or gold IRAs, discover what to expect from the Federal Reserve over the next few months or how silver prices could be impacted by the electric vehicle industry, you can find what you’re looking for in Goldco’s resources.
Goldco offers a full selection of precious metal products, including IRA-eligible metals. Although the company provides a lot of educational material about investing in these physical assets, the website doesn’t give much information about Goldco’s products outside of its gold and silver coin offerings. Shoppers must call customer service to learn more about pricing and to make a purchase.
- Highly rated on consumer review websites
- Buyback commitment with no fees
- Free insured shipping
- Price match guarantee
- Strong customer service
- Website lacks pricing information
- Customers must call to purchase
Why we chose it: American Hartford Gold is highly rated across many consumer review platforms and is known for its excellent customer service.
The company stands out prominently for its strong online reputation. It has been in business since 2015 and, over that period, has garnered high ratings from consumer advocacy and review organizations. American Hartford Gold is accredited by the BBB and holds an A+ rating. Additionally, consumer reviewers give American Hartford Gold positive remarks across multiple user review websites.
American Hartford Gold doesn’t offer as wide a selection of precious metal products as some of its competitors. Notably absent from its product line are platinum and palladium products. Additionally, the website doesn’t include pricing information for the products. Customers must call to inquire about the cost of each item. However, American Hartford Gold offers a price match guarantee, which ensures its product line is priced competitively.
- Will meet any competitor's advertised price
- Dedicated in-house IRA department
- Offers a fee-free buyback program
- Has gold, silver, platinum and palladium coins for purchase online
- Fewer educational resources than some competitors offer
- Requires you to call to learn about precious metal bar pricing and availability
- Minimum purchase requirement of $10,000
Why we chose it: Orion Metal Exchange offers competitive pricing and will beat the advertised metal prices of any of its competitors.
Orion Metal Exchange offers gold, silver, platinum and palladium products for retirement accounts or ownership in commercial depositories or home storage. The dealer lists its prices for all its metal coin products on its website and lets you complete your purchase online. It offers popular coins, such as American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf coins. However, one drawback is that it doesn’t list pricing and product details for any of its precious metal bars. Customers interested in purchasing gold, silver, platinum or palladium bars must call the company to check pricing and availability.
Like most online bullion dealers, Orion offers a free introductory kit to familiarize customers with precious metals investing. However, we noted that the company doesn’t offer as many online educational resources for gold investors to learn immediately and independently.
Other Companies We Considered
The following companies didn’t make our top list of best online gold dealer, but they may still be reliable choices for you to consider:
- SD Bullion: This company has a reputation for offering low prices. SD Bullion has an A+ rating from the BBB.
- BGASC (Buy Gold and Silver Coins): BGASC offers a wide selection of foreign coins and bars, including South African Krugerrands, Australian Kangaroo and Austrian Silver Vienna Philharmonic coins.
- Money Metals Exchange: This online dealer is a good choice for buying gold in small increments. You can also sign up for automatic monthly purchases to create a reliable savings plan.
Online Gold Dealers Guide
Before investing in gold, there are several important things to keep in mind. We’ll review what you need to know, including how gold is valued, how to avoid scams and the pros and cons of investing in the metal.
Main things to know before buying gold online
First, you must understand gold is not a guaranteed investment. Like any other commodity, you can expect frequent fluctuations in the price of gold, so you should consider it a long-term investment. Financial advisors commonly suggest investing only money you can afford to lose and allocating no more than 5% to 10% of your investment portfolio to precious metals.
Second, it’s important to consider the various gold products available to you for investment. Gold bars and coins differ in weights, sizes and levels of purity. If you intend to invest in gold as part of your retirement strategy in a gold IRA, be aware that not all precious metal products are IRS-approved and eligible for a self-directed IRA.
Lastly, make sure you thoroughly research reputable gold dealers. Only purchase from trustworthy companies that have strong reputations, good user reviews and are accredited by organizations like the BBB. Be mindful that precious metals dealers mark up the price of gold they sell from the spot price — meaning they sell it slightly higher than what it’s currently worth on the market. Review prices from multiple dealers before choosing which one to invest with.
How is gold valued?
Gold bars are valued based on their weight and purity. The heavier the bar, the more it will cost. Gold is a soft, malleable metal, so it’s typically alloyed with other metals to make it more useful. However, gold sold for investment purposes is the purest gold you can buy: usually 99.5% (or more) pure, which is the IRS’s purity baseline for the metal to be included in a gold IRA.
The price of gold can vary quite a bit, even intraday as the precious metal is traded 24 hours a day. The basic principle of supply and demand plays a significant role in determining the value of gold. The more demand there is for gold, the higher its value will be; conversely, if demand decreases, the value of gold will drop. Regarding supply, a limited supply of gold can increase its value. Additionally, geopolitical unrest and economic conditions, such as inflation and other financial crises, may affect the value of gold.
What is the average cost of gold?
The price of gold fluctuates constantly. In December 2023, gold reached a new all-time high of $2,135 per ounce, topping its previous high of $2,072 set in August 2020. At the beginning of 2020, the price per ounce was $1,553.
How to avoid scams when buying gold online
The best way to avoid being scammed when purchasing gold is to do so through a reputable dealer with transparent pricing and information. Avoid buying gold on unregulated platforms like Facebook and eBay. It’s also recommended that you review the dealers’ ratings on sites like the BBB and user review platforms.
Before investing, consider discussing your options with a financial advisor who can help determine if this investment fits your financial goals.
What are the benefits of buying physical gold?
The following things could benefit investors who purchase physical gold:
- Store of value: Gold has been considered a high-value commodity for millennia. As a store of value, its value has historically been stable.
- Safe-haven assets: Gold is often considered a safe-haven asset. Historically, gold has performed well even in tough economic times. Many investors buy gold to hedge against inflation and currency devaluation.
- Diversification: Investing in gold can help you diversify your investment portfolio, which helps reduce risk.
- Liquid asset: Gold is a relatively liquid asset you can easily buy and sell.
- Tangible asset: For some investors, owning physical gold offers a sense of security that many other investments do not provide.
What are the drawbacks of buying physical gold?
Like any investment, buying physical gold has its drawbacks, including the following:
- Storage fees and insurance: Purchasing physical gold comes with the extra cost of safely storing and insuring it to protect it from theft.
- Price volatility: The price of gold can be volatile in the short term, so investors must have a long-term view.
- Not an income-generating asset: Because physical gold doesn’t pay dividends, interest or provide income like stocks, bonds or real estate, it might not align with your investment strategies. Read our guide on how to generate passive income for other ideas.
Online Gold Dealers FAQs
How much is a gold bar worth?
How much gold can you buy online?
Is it better to invest in gold with a bank or with a dealer?
How can I find gold dealers near me?
How We Evaluated the Best Online Gold Dealers
We considered several factors to develop our list of the best online gold dealers. We looked at each company’s reputation and favored those with positive consumer ratings and reviews on third-party websites. We considered the variety of products each company offered and the range of services available. We looked for companies that had multiple, convenient payment options. Finally, we evaluated each company's online experience and favored companies that genuinely tried to educate consumers about investing in gold and offered a simplified sales process.