History has shown that people have always had a fascination with gold. The rich hoarded it or adorned themselves with it, while those who wanted to be rich yearned for it. Gold’s attraction was — and still is — its ability to retain its value even in the most difficult of economic times. In the past, investors could only purchase gold through registered dealers. Today, buying gold is as easy as clicking a mouse. This article offers tips on how to buy gold online.
- Set a limit as to how much money you can comfortably afford to invest in gold. Without fiscal parameters, you quickly can spend more than you had intended.
Understand the difference between bullion and numismatic gold. Bullion can be in the form of coins or bars and its value is approximately equal to the published spot price. Numismatic gold refers to rare coins whose value to collectors significantly exceeds the melt value of the metal. Don’t pay numismatic prices for a bullion coin.
- Gold coins are geared more for the novice investor. They are recognized everywhere, competitively priced and easy to cash in.
- Gold bars are recommended more for “big league” investors or collectors. Investing in this type of gold is more effective, except for the purpose of selling. Because bars cannot be subdivided, options for buyers are limited.
Know the market price for gold. There are Web sites that post daily gold prices and provide periodic price updates throughout the day. Some sites also lists gold prices in other currencies, including the Euro, Japanese Yen, Swiss Francs and the Indian Rupee.
Do your homework when it comes to choosing a reputable online gold dealer. Look for someone who is insured, has controls in place to detect fraud and guarantees their product.
Study the dealer’s Web site. Pay particular attention to the commodities for sale and their prices and the service agreement (also known as “terms of service”). Ask about insurance and shipping and handling fees and any applicable sales tax. These expenses generally are not included in the list price.
Avoid the temptation of small-size dealers who promise lower prices. Instead do business with mid- to large-size companies who guarantee delivery within two days.
Verify a dealer’s reputation by researching testaments and recommendations from customers or other autonomous sources. Oftentimes, reliable dealers post such tributes on their Web sites, but you could also check with the Better Business Bureau.
Beware of a dealer who:
- Only has a common e-mail address (i.e., yahoo, hotmail or gmail) for their contact information.
- Does not appear to have a secure system for accepting credit card payments. Signs of an unsecure system are no “lock” in the browser when navigating to the payment page and the “http” in the URL does not switch to “https”.
- Neglects to list delivery specifications.
- Avoid being taken by a “deal gone bad”, especially if you are making a large purchase. Before you purchase, contact the vendor’s customer service department, either by phone or e-mail. Ask about the specific items you’re interested in buying, warranties, available payment methods and return policies. The manner in which they respond to your questions will tell you a lot about how they do business.
- More well-known online dealers also have a storefront location. This shows they are not a fly-by-night operation but rather an established gold dealer.