Not that long ago if you wanted gold you had to go to a bank or specialist dealer, but now you
can stock up on bullion without leaving your home. Like just about everything else gold can
now be purchased online. Many investors have eagerly seized on this new opportunity, but
some are wary and many are just unsure of how it works. If you want to know how to buy
gold online, just read on.
First, there are different ways to buy gold online. It’s easy to buy gold investment instruments
like an ETF or ETN; this is as simple as buying stocks, although you need to check the tax
implications of adding them to your portfolio. You can also buy a share in a stock of gold held
in a repository. Usually you’ll be sent a certificate with the details and confirmation of your
ownership. Finally you can buy actual physical gold, and this is the option preferred by most
There are many online sources of physical gold. One of the newest is ebay. It’s easy to find
gold bars or coins for sale, mostly smaller sizes ranging from 1/10 gram to 1oz. They’re often
attractively priced, too. The problem with ebay is that while there are plenty of genuine bars
available there are a lot of fakes, too. These range from reproductions of bars from popular
mints like PAMP Suisse that are real gold but non-original, to gold-plated copper bars or
coins. Some of the latter are openly advertised as what they are – curiosities – but others are
worded to make the unwary buyer think they’re solid gold and some are simply deceptive.
Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, and stick with reputable bullion dealers (some of
whom do sell through ebay) it’s a high risk option.
A safer way to buy gold online is to go through a specialist bullion dealer. You can easily find
these with a Google search. Then do some investigating before you buy. At a minimum check
their Better Business Bureau ratings. If possible speak to some other investors and find out
what they think. Consider making a couple of small purchases first to get a feel for the broker,
before committing to a large deal.
The biggest worry most people have about buying online is payment. The traditional method
is to use your credit card to lock in the price at the moment you agree the purchase. You can
then pay with your card, or with a check or wire transfer. As soon as your payment clears
your gold will be shipped by the agreed method. An alternative that’s becoming increasingly
popular is PayPal; more and more bullion dealers are accepting this, and it’s a fast, secure
There are a few other things to bear in mind when buying gold online. You’ll need to arrange
shipment. Most dealers will offer secure shipping services; using an uninsured postal service
isn’t recommended even for small purchases. When comparing prices remember to add the
shipping costs before buying. If you’re buying a small quantity it can make a big difference to
how much above spot price you’re paying.
The main thing to remember about online gold purchases is to do your homework before
committing to anything. If you take a few basic precautions to make sure you’re working with
a reputable dealer and understand all the costs it can be a quick, convenient way to add to
your gold portfolio. It’s definitely worth investigating.
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