The internet has made buying gold an easy process for anyone to become a gold buyer. Gone are the days of needing a safe hidden in your basement, or a private vault at a bank in Zurich. The everyday investor can now buy as little as one gram of gold at a time, making it an ideal asset class to diversify your investments.
There are of course lots of scammers out there so buying online can be a risky proposition without doing your research. We have heard all the horror stories of people buying fake gold bullion or coins from an online dealer, and people who have lost their gold by not securely storing their gold at home.
If you want to invest in gold but are wary of where to buy or unable to store it yourself, we have put together this list of the best ways to buy gold online, depending on your budget and ability to store.
Vaulted gold (also called allocated gold) is gold bullion that is stored at formally recognised bullion storage facilities. To be true allocated gold, the gold is 100% outright owned by the gold investor.
Owning an allocated portion of gold saves the need to buy whole gold bars, of which a standard gold bar is 400-troy-ounce (12.4 kg). By buying vaulted gold the gold investor has physical ownership of gold, without the hassle of transporting and securely storing it at home.
Providers of vaulted gold make their money from trading commissions and storage fees. Reputable vaulting companies have a bar list, which is publicly accountable statement listing the stock of bars by the vault operators.
Gold coins and bullion
For those who would prefer to hold physical gold in your hand then buying gold online is also possible.
We recommend this if you have a secure place to store gold. It’s one thing to have a gold coin hidden in the sock drawer, but if you have a shoebox filled with gold coins you better find a good place to store them. This can be via a hidden storage vault in your home, or a safety deposit box at a bank or specialty storage facility.
BGASC (Buy Gold And Silver Coins) is one of the largest, most trusted gold dealers in the U.S. (note: they only ship to the United States and Canada).
They sell US Mint gold coins as well as the major gold coins from government mints around the world. That includes Canadian Gold Maple Leafs, South African Gold Krugerrands, Australian Gold Kangaroos/Nuggets, Austrian Gold Philharmonics, British Gold Sovereigns, and Chinese Gold Pandas.
You can also buy gold bars from US and international mints, and shop for rare and collectable coins and bars. For US and Canadian buyers this is the easiest place to buy gold coins and bars online.
The Perth Mint
The Perth Mint is the official bullion mint of Australia. They produce the popular Kangaroo and Nugget coin series, as well as gold bars from 1 gram to one kilo.
The Perth Mint delivers to Australian and international addresses.
There has always been an interest in some kind of digital currency backed by gold, but there was never an efficient system to administer it. When the price of Bitcoin surpassed the price of one ounce of gold in 2017, interest in gold-back cryptocurrencies surged.
A true gold-backed cryptocurrency should have an allocated amount of gold for each coin (for example 1 coin = 1 gram of gold). Like the vaulted gold services, the cryptogold should also have publicly accountable stored gold.
A gold crypto coin offers the safeguard that the cryptocurrency is always at a minimum the value of the current price of gold. And if the cryptocurrency becomes a popular it gets the benefit of increased value on top of the gold price.
There are several gold-back cryptocurrencies which have launched, with more on the way. To find out more about gold-backed cryptocurrency check out this list of gold cryptocurrencies.
Other ways to buy gold online (which we don’t recommend)
We have listed the best ways to buy gold online where you own a accountable allotment or physically own gold.
The following ways to buy gold are all legitimate ways to invest, but they either come at a higher risk of fraud, don’t offer 100% physical ownership, or are investment opportunities related to gold but resemble stock trading.
There are numerous gold sellers online on auction and classified sites such as eBay and Craigslist. While there are reputable dealers on those sites we don’t think it’s worth the risk buying at such places unless you know the sellers. We have read enough stories to warrant not buying here unless you are a master gold dealer and know what you are doing.
Only consider buying at these places if you are an avid collector and have found a coin you need for your collection. For everyday buyers of coins for bullion, stick to the above recommended merchants.
Gold exchange-traded product (ETFs)
Gold exchange-traded products are exchange-traded funds (ETFs) traded on stock exchanges that aim to track the price of gold. Gold exchange-traded products do not always hold physical gold, so this method of investing is more suitable for seasoned trader. If you understand the risks involved then this option is just another means of trading, and this advice need not apply to you. For the purpose of this guide we are sticking purely with gold that is 100% owned by the buyer.
Gold mining shares
Another way of gaining exposure to gold is buy investing in the actual gold mines. Maybe you already do without knowing it. For example if you own shares with Freeport-McMoRan in the US or BHP Billiton in Australia then you already in shares in a gold mining company. If you have any kind of investments in index funds then you most probably also own a slither of shares in a gold mine.
Shares in gold mining companies are especially popular on penny stock reports. These are usually new mining companies that are still exploring for gold with their shares under $0.10. The idea here is that they find a massive gold deposit and their stock prices explode. Again, nothing wrong with this if you enjoy trading and have the spare cash to make such speculative investments.
Investing in shares is an important segment of your investment strategy. There are plenty of other gold investing sites that provide useful information on how to invest in gold mining shares so we don’t offer any recommendations for buying shares here.
Buying physical gold “offline”/in person
This page is a guide for buying gold online so it doesn’t cover buying physical gold at places where you can walk in off the street. We are putting together a worldwide gold directory where gold merchants are welcome to list their business, so subscribe to this site to find out more.