Watch CBS News

How to buy gold bars and coins online

Thanks to the internet, buying gold bars and coins has never been easier than it is today.  /Getty Images

Gold has become an increasingly popular investment in recent years. Its steady returns and resistance to market fluctuations make it especially attractive in today's uncertain economic environment. And with a number of ways to invest in gold, it's an accessible asset for anyone looking to add some stability to their portfolio.

One common way to invest in gold is by purchasing gold bars and coins. And thanks to the internet, it's easier than ever to buy physical gold without leaving the comfort of your home.

Learn more about gold investing with a free information kit.

How to buy gold bars and coins online

Buying gold bars and coins online is a relatively straightforward process. Here's how to do it.

Determine the type of gold you want to buy

The first step is deciding which type of gold you want to buy. There are various types of gold bars and coins available, typically ranging from 1/10 oz gold coins to 400 oz gold bars. The type of gold that's best for you depends on your personal preference and investment goals.

If you're looking for liquidity and easy storage, gold coins could be the way to go. They can easily be bought or sold at any precious metal dealer and don't take up much room.

If you're looking to invest larger amounts of money, gold bars may be a better option. They cost less to produce, making them less expensive to buy. You just need to be sure the cost of storing and insuring them doesn't nullify any savings you get.

Set a budget

As a rule, experts recommend keeping no more than 5% to 10% of your portfolio in gold. So, use that as a starting point when determining your budget for gold bars and coins. Knowing how much you're willing to spend will make it easier to compare your options and ensure you're getting the most for your investment dollars.

Choose a reputable dealer

There are many places to buy gold online, but there are also plenty of scams. So, it's essential to do your research and find a gold dealer with a solid reputation.

Look for a dealer that's been in business for some time and is accredited by organizations like the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or Accredited Precious Metal Dealers (APMD). Read online reviews from other investors and look up the company's rating on sites like Trustpilot, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau.

In addition, look for a dealer with customer-focused policies. It should offer an insurance policy for delivery and have a return policy in case the product arrives damaged.

Get your free investors kit here to learn more about gold investing.

Compare prices and fees

Gold prices fluctuate daily, so it's essential to monitor the market to ensure you're getting a fair price. Physical gold is sold at a premium, so you'll pay more than spot price no matter who you buy from. But you can find the best deal by comparing multiple dealers' offerings.

Be sure to factor in any applicable fees, such as shipping and handling fees, taxes and commissions. Also, check to see if dealers offer discounts on bulk orders if you plan on purchasing a large amount.

Pay for your purchase

Once you've selected the dealer and determined the type of gold to purchase, you'll need to complete the buying process. Most dealers offer multiple payment options, including credit cards, bank transfers, paper checks and PayPal. Always keep records of your purchase, such as receipts and invoices.

Receive and verify the product

Once you receive your gold, make sure it matches what you ordered. Review any enclosed paperwork and verify that the weight and purity are correct.

Next, check that the gold is authentic. You can take it to a professional gold grading service, get a gold testing kit online or perform the following DIY tests:

  • The magnet test: Gold is not magnetic. So, if a reasonably strong magnet can pick up your gold, the gold may be fake or impure.
  • The ping test: Real gold makes a long, high-pitched ringing noise when you strike it against another piece of metal. If your gold makes a short, dull sound, it may be fake or impure.
  • The float test: Place your gold in a bowl or glass of water. If it sinks immediately, it's most likely real. If it floats or sinks slowly, it may be fake or impure.

Secure and insure your gold

Finally, you'll need to find a safe place to store your gold. Depending on the amount you've purchased, you may be able to keep it in a fire-resistant home safe, or you may need to rent a safe deposit box at a bank or credit union.

Wherever you store it, you'll also need to purchase insurance. Homeowners insurance typically won't cover the full amount of your gold investment, and financial institutions usually don't insure the contents of safe deposit boxes.

The bottom line

Buying gold bars and coins has never been easier than it is today. With a plethora of online dealers to choose from, you can compare your options and have your purchase delivered straight to your door. By following the steps above, you can ensure you buy from a trustworthy dealer at a fair price.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.