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The Six Essential Factors to Consider When Buying Precious Metals Online

The Royal Mint

Category: Invest


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In today’s interconnected world, the age-old desire to safeguard wealth has seamlessly transitioned into the digital realm, making buying precious metals online a convenient and appealing option for modern investors. Owning physical assets like gold, silver or platinum has never lost its allure, but now, the power of the internet enables you to acquire these valuable resources with ease, ensuring your investments remain secure and convenient in the digital age.

However, with the vast opportunities provided by online precious metals trading, there are important considerations to keep in mind. The online marketplace for precious metals is diverse, featuring a multitude of dealers, products and options. To help you make well-informed choices and safeguard your investments, we present the six essential factors to consider when purchasing precious metals online.


Factor 1: Authenticity Verification

Ensuring the authenticity of your precious metals is a fundamental step when buying online or in a traditional brick-and-mortar store; however, the remote nature of online purchases makes this more difficult. One of the first steps is to acquaint yourself with the purity standards of your desired metal, whether it’s the timeless appeal of pure 999.9 gold or the enduring value of 999 silver. Reputable online dealers should provide precise information about the metal’s purity, guaranteeing that you receive exactly what you expect.

To help you establish authenticity, look for hallmarks or certificates that attest to the metal’s purity and origin. Gold bars, for instance, typically bear the maker's mark of the producer, along with a unique serial number, providing you with peace of mind regarding the legitimacy of your investment.


Factor 2: Dealer Reputation

In the vast marketplace for precious metals there are many companies you could choose to purchase from, so the reputation of your chosen dealer is important, as choosing a trustworthy source could help you steer clear of somewhere less reputable.

You can begin your journey by delving into the history and track record of the dealer. The length of time they’ve been in the business and their standing within the industry can provide valuable insights. Reputable dealers often have a wealth of experience and a well-established presence. The Royal Mint, for example, has been trading for over 1,100 years.

Moreover, industry recognition serves as another indicator of a dealer’s legitimacy and credibility. Awards, affiliations or partnerships within the precious metals sector can vouch for their standing within the industry, and these should be checked not just on the retailer site but also directly with trade associations such as the LBMA.


Factor 3: Secure Transactions

Just as with all online transactions, security should be at the forefront of your considerations to ensure that any transactions are encrypted and secure.

One of the first ways of doing this is by ensuring that the website employs secure (SSL) encryption. Look for “https://” in the web address and a padlock icon in the browser bar. This encryption safeguards your personal and financial information throughout the transaction and is one of the first checks you should make with any website where personal or payment information is being entered and collected.

When it comes to payment methods, opt for reputable choices equipped with built-in fraud protection, such as credit cards or secure digital wallets, as these may offer additional levels of protection over cash or telephone payments. In addition, you should take advantage of two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever it’s available. This extra layer of security necessitates a secondary verification step, such as a code sent to your mobile device or a secret word or phrase known only by yourself, further fortifying your transaction’s security.

Lastly, verify the dealer’s contact information, including a physical address and customer support channels, as legitimate businesses provide clear avenues for communication. You could make a test phone call to query product information or even check the address shown looks as expected using Google Maps or a similar service before deciding to proceed.


Factor 4: Pricing Transparency

For those new to precious metals, getting to grips with how pricing works is essential, as understanding the basics of live pricing and premiums will help you get the returns you expect and helps ensure you are not paying over the odds for the item.

To begin, you should remember that precious metals are usually accompanied by a premium over the spot price that encompasses production costs, distribution expenses and dealer profit. Many retailers, including The Royal Mint, will offer help or FAQ pages explaining how premiums work and how they are applied. Ensure you grasp this premium structure and assess it across various dealers to help you understand how prices and premiums are applied.

In addition, some dealers may impose fees related to postage, storage or specific payment methods, and familiarity with these particulars in advance can prevent unwelcome surprises when a sudden bill for storage is applied or you try to sell your item back to the retailer.

Lastly, you should stay well informed about market factors capable of influencing pricing, such as supply and demand dynamics, geopolitical events, and economic trends. Many retailers and market commentators will have emails and industry reports that you can subscribe to that may help you understand when the best time to purchase may be or any upcoming events that may affect the value of your investment.



Factor 5: Delivery or Storage

When dealing with online precious metals transactions, don’t underestimate the importance of postage and storage as you need to ensure you are comfortable in either taking delivery or choosing to store it with a reputable retailer.

If you would like to have your items delivered, reputable dealers typically offer secure and insured postage options. Although this is the case, you should pay close attention to postage costs and also delivery and lead times, to make sure they match your preferences.

If you would prefer to store the items elsewhere, you should think carefully about your precious metal storage choices. Some investors prefer to store their precious metals in secure facilities, such as a bank’s safe deposit box or with the . The Royal Mint offers secure storage at its on-site vault, which offers the convenience of being able to sell back at any time you wish. Evaluate the pros and cons of each storage method based on your security needs and convenience and your own attitude to risk.


Factor 6: Customer Support

Lastly, when it comes to any online purchases, having dependable customer support is essential. The retailer should offer a variety of communication channels for customer support, such as phone, email, or even live chat. Multiple contact options ensure that you can quickly reach out when you have questions or concerns.

In addition, gauging the knowledge and expertise of the customer support staff is essential as staff should be well informed about precious metals, the purchasing process and related queries. A knowledgeable team can provide valuable guidance and effectively address your questions or queries should they arise, either pre- or post-purchase.

Lastly, should an issue arise, consider the availability of post-purchase support. Reputable dealers offer assistance with matters such as storage, authentication, future sales and access to post-purchase support, which ensures a lasting and valuable relationship with the dealer for your investment journey that lies ahead.



In conclusion, purchasing precious metals online can be a rewarding investment, but it requires careful consideration of several factors.

Remember that whilst online purchasing offers convenience and accessibility, due diligence is key. By staying vigilant and informed, you can confidently navigate the digital marketplace for precious metals and make investments that align with your current and future financial goals.


The contents of this article, accurate at the time of publishing, are for general information purposes only, and do not constitute investment, pensions, legal, tax or any other advice. Before making any investment or financial decision, you may wish to seek advice from your financial, pensions, legal, tax and/or accounting advisors. 


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