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Published: Oct 17, 2023 13 min read

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Although Orion Metal Exchange got its start in 2017, it's already established itself among the best gold IRA companies. The Los Angeles-based Orion makes investing in a precious metals and gold IRA easy with its online ordering system and zero setup or transfer fees.

In this guide, we'll examine the strengths, weaknesses and standout features Orion Metal Exchange offers so you can learn if it’s the right fit for your retirement planning goals.

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Best for Low Fees

With Orion, you can expect to pay zero dollars in setup or transfer fees. Orion charges $175 a year for storage and insurance costs for most gold IRAs but you may qualify for a free year when you invest at least $10,000. By contrast, other services may charge hundreds of dollars a year in annual fees. You may also have to pay a setup or rollover fee when creating an account with a competitor.

Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Pros and Cons

Pros
  • No transfer fees or account setup fees
  • Investors can choose their depository and custodian
  • Online ordering available
  • Lower-than-average minimum investment of $10,000 when rolling over an existing IRA
  • Advertises a fee-free buyback policy
Cons
  • Must call to open an account
  • Charges an annual storage and insurance fee

Orion Metal Exchange pros explained

Orion's strengths lie in its low fees, flexible arrangements, online ordering system, low minimum investment threshold and fee-free buyback policy.

No transfer fees or account setup fees

Orion doesn't charge the one-time account setup fee that other gold IRA companies do. You also won't have to pay anything if you transfer your gold IRA from another provider.

Investors can choose their depository and custodian

Your gold IRA custodian is responsible for setting up and managing your account. The IRS subjects precious metal IRAs to more stringent rules than regular IRAs and custodians are there to ensure that these rules are adhered to. While you can designate Orion as your custodian, you are not obligated to do so.

Similarly, IRS rules state that you cannot store your gold IRA in your home. You must keep your precious metals in a depository that meets specific regulatory requirements. Orion can help you find a depository that meets your needs. It doesn't require that you use one of its preferred depositories.

Online ordering available

If you want to buy gold in an IRA, many companies require that you order over the phone. Orion bucks this trend by letting its buyers order directly through its website. You can view the latest precious metal prices straight from the Orion website.

Lower-than-average minimum investment of $10,000

Some gold IRA providers ask that you make an initial investment of $25,000 or more. With Orion, you can start with an initial investment of just $10,000 when rolling over an existing IRA. If you're starting a new IRA, the minimum contribution limit is the maximum annual contribution allowable by law — $6,000 (or $7,000 for those aged 50 and older.)

Advertises a fee-free buyback policy

You can choose to take your IRA distributions in one of two ways. The first involves Orion sending you your physical precious metals through the mail. In this scenario, you'd be free to seek out a buyer, store it how you choose or do whatever else you'd like with them.

Alternatively, you can sell your gold back to Orion, which is known as a buyback program. Many people with gold IRAs prefer this method because it’s more convenient. Notably, Orion doesn't charge any fees for its buyback program. Choosing a fee-free buyback policy minimizes unnecessary costs that would reduce customers’ investments.

Cons explained

Orion isn't without its drawbacks, though, which include not being able to set up an account online and having to pay an annual storage and insurance fee.

Must call to open an account

While it's possible for account holders to order new gold shipments online, you must first talk over the phone with an Orion representative to open your account. Although it's inconvenient, this isn't an entirely bad thing. As we mentioned previously, gold IRAs are subject to complex rules. By opening your account over the phone, you can ask any questions and clear any doubts you may have.

Charges an annual storage fee

Like most gold IRA companies, Orion charges an annual fee to store and insure your gold or other precious metals. IRS rules prevent you from storing your gold at home, meaning you must use an approved storage facility. These fees can eat into your investment returns.

Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Offerings

In this section, we'll explore the different investment choices offered by Orion Metal Exchange.

Self-directed precious metals IRA

Self-directed IRAs (SDIRAs) differ from conventional IRAs because you can hold alternative investment types like precious metals, cryptocurrencies and real estate. You may hear these terms:

  • Precious metals IRA
  • Gold IRA
  • Silver IRA

In a sense, all three are the same thing. Companies offering precious metals IRsA may use the terms gold IRA or silver IRA to distinguish their offerings. However, you can hold multiple types of precious metals within a single SDIRA. You won't have to open up a separate IRA for your gold and your silver holdings. IRA-eligible metals include:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum
  • Palladium

Metals for investment must meet certain purity thresholds and may be subject to other special rules. Not all precious metals IRAs offer all four types. Some companies only sell gold and silver, for example.

Additionally, gold IRA companies cannot offer investment advice for SDIRAs. That's where the self-directed part comes in: As the owner of your SDIRA, it's up to you to do your own research regarding your investments.

Gold coins and bars

Orion Metal Exchange lets you purchase from a range of gold coins and bars, including the following options:

  • Gold American Eagle
  • Gold Canadian Maple Leaf
  • Gold Great Britain Queens Beast
  • Gold Rose Crown Guinea
  • 2017 Gold Royal Canadian Mint Grizzly Bear
  • 2016 Gold Royal Canadian Mint Snow Falcon
  • 2015 Gold Royal Canadian Mint Polar Bear & Cub
  • 2014 Gold Royal Canadian Mint Arctic Fox
  • 2013 Gold Royal Canadian Mint Polar Bear
  • U.S. Gold Commemorative $5 coins
  • U.S. Gold Commemorative $10 coins
  • IRA-approved gold bars

Both the Gold American Eagle and the Gold Canadian Maple Leaf come in four different sizes, including one-tenth, one-quarter, one-half and one-ounce weights. Additionally, you may purchase brilliant uncirculated (BU) or proofs of the Gold American Eagle. The size and type of gold bars for purchase fluctuate and are based on availability.

Silver coins and bars

You'll find a similar array of silver coins and bars available for purchase through Orion with just a few differences. Here's the full list of its current offerings:

  • Silver American Eagle
  • Silver America The Beautiful
  • Silver Canadian Maple Leaf
  • 2013 Silver Royal Canadian Mint Polar Bear
  • 2014 Silver Royal Canadian Mint Arctic Fox
  • 2015 Silver Royal Canadian Mint Polar Bear & Cub
  • 2016 Silver Royal Canadian Mint Snow Falcon
  • 2017 Silver Royal Canadian Mint Grizzly Bear
  • Silver Royal Canadian Mint Bison
  • Silver Rose Crown Guinea
  • 2020 Silver Great Britain Spade Guinea Coin
  • IRA-approved silver bars

Unlike its gold offerings, you can only purchase Silver American Eagles and Silver Canadian Maple Leafs in one-ounce increments. However, you can choose Silver American Eagles from proof, burnished and BU conditions. The other coins are only offered in BU condition. Similar to its gold offerings, the size and type of silver bars vary.

Platinum coins and bars

Orion provides a wide selection of platinum coins and bars. These include:

  • Platinum American Eagle
  • Platinum Canadian Maple Leaf
  • 2020 Platinum Striped Marlin
  • 2019 Platinum Bottlenose Dolphin
  • 2019 Platinum Humpback Whale
  • 2018 Platinum Emperor Penguin
  • Platinum War of 1812
  • 2021 Platinum Rose Crown Guinea
  • Platinum Australian Phoenix
  • IRA-approved platinum bars

You can purchase the Platinum American Eagle coins in proof or BU condition. You also have the choice of buying the Platinum Canadian Maple Leaf coins and the Platinum American Eagle coins in one-tenth, one-quarter, one-half and one-ounce weights. The size and type of platinum bars for purchase depend on availability.

Palladium coins and bars

Your choices of palladium coins and bars are far more limited. With palladium, you're limited to the following choices:

  • Palladium Maple Leaf
  • Palladium American Eagle
  • IRA-approved palladium bars

Both the Maple Leaf and American Eagle coins are only available in one-ounce increments. The size and type of palladium for purchase depend on availability.

Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Pricing

Orion charges low storage fees. Additionally, you won't have to pay any setup and rollover fees and may get your storage fees waived for the first year with a large initial investment. The company lists its prices directly on its website, which bucks the trend of other gold IRA providers that only disclose their current prices over the phone. Because Orion buys its precious metals in bulk, it’s able offer below-average prices for coins and bars.

Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Financial Stability

None of the three major credit rating agencies have reviewed Orion Metal Exchange, nor has the company made its financial reports publicly available.

Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Accessibility

Orion compares favorably with many of its peers when it comes to accessibility. You’ll need to set up your account over the phone, but once you have an account, you can purchase precious metals from Orion online. Orion is available to residents of all 50 states and offers email support for its customers.

Availability

You can set up an account and purchase precious metals from anywhere in the United States, but customers need to have earned income to contribute to a gold IRA account.

Contact Information

You can contact Orion in the following ways:

  • Phone: You can reach an Orion representative at 1-800-559-0088 PST between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
  • Email: Send Orion an email at support@orionmetalexchange.com
  • Regular mail: Write Orion a letter at 12301 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 412, Los Angeles, California, 90025.

User experience

Online reviews of Orion Metal Exchange are generally favorable, with some customers reporting they were able to set up their gold IRA account in less than 15 minutes. Once the account is created, you can easily purchase precious metals and manage your portfolio online or over the phone.

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Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Customer Satisfaction

Orion Metal Exchange holds a perfect 5-star rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) based on 52 reviews. The company has been accredited by the BBB since 2021, receiving an A+ rating. Reviews note Orion’s friendly and professional sales staff, who provide helpful advice and guidance, and a quick and easy setup process. Another user review platform, Trustpilot, awards Orion 4.9 stars out of a possible 5 based on 185 reviews.

Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA FAQs

What is a self-directed IRA?

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An SDIRA is a special type of retirement account that lets you invest in alternative assets such as precious metals, cryptocurrency and real estate. Aside from that, SDIRAs are subject to many of the same rules as regular IRAs such as contribution limits and tax benefits. If you withdraw funds before you hit 59 ½, you'll have to pay a 10% penalty and any associated taxes. You'll also be required to take minimum required distributions at age 72 (or age 73 if you reach age 72 after Dec. 31, 2022).

Importantly, with an SDIRA, you must do your own research because custodians are prohibited from providing financial or investment advice.

What features should I look for in a gold IRA?

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When considering a gold IRA, you can look for precious metals dealers that offer a buy-back feature. This lets you sell your gold back to your custodian immediately upon taking your IRA distributions. You should also look for a service that will let you purchase different types of metals in different quantities, which will help you further diversify your retirement savings plan. If you're inclined to visit your deposit, you may choose a depository close to your home state.

How do I open an IRA with Orion Metal Exchange?

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Orion Metal Exchange does not let you open your account online. Instead, you'll have to call its IRA department at 1-800-559-0088. The process is quick and straightforward, with Orion's gold IRA specialists helping you through the process and answering any questions you may have.

How We Evaluated Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA

When evaluating Orion Metal Exchange's gold IRA, we analyzed at the following features:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Products offered
  • Prices
  • Fees
  • Ease of use
  • Accessibility
  • Availability

Summary of Money's Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Review

Orion Metal Exchange offers a wide array of precious metals products at competitive prices and with few fees. Its notable features include a low initial order of $10,000 when rolling over an existing IRA and the maximum annual IRA contribution amount when starting a new IRA, purchasing precious metals online, picking your depository and custodian and its fee-free buyback program. Orion also offers transparent pricing, which you can view online before deciding whether or not to make a purchase. Many of its competitors will ask that you call in for their current metal prices.

Drawbacks to using Orion's services include its annual storage and insurance fees and lack of an online setup feature. However, it's important to note that many gold IRA companies will ask you to set up your service over the phone and that most gold IRA depositories require users to pay annual storage and insurance fees.

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