There are many different ways to invest in the precious metals industry. One of the simplest is by buying pure gold. No ETFs, mutual funds, or stocks involved -- just investment bullion. This tangible asset has performed well against the stock market for decades, and it has been a staple of the global economy for centuries.
But the right company makes all the difference. The precious metals industry is famous for seedy pawn shops and unscrupulous scammers. It's vital that you work with a gold dealership that has a good reputation with its customers and with other professionals. So we've compiled a list of the top industry picks based on their services, customer care, pricing, fees, and other offers.
The right company for you might vary depending on what you're looking for. But all five of these options offer both gold IRA services and gold for cash purchases. So no matter how you intend to fund your investment, you should be able to access something positive.
Top: Best Gold Investment Companies
If you're researching the best gold investment companies, then there's a good chance that you've already heard of Goldco. The company is frequently recommended by industry partners and consumer watchdogs. If you're wondering whether the service is all it's cracked up to be, the answer is: yes!
Goldco has been in operation since 2006 and is one of the top industry leaders, especially when it comes to gold IRAs. There are also items available for individual purchase outside of your retirement account. In addition to industry recommendations, Goldco is also endorsed by popular talk show host Sean Hannity.
While Goldco's main focus is on gold IRAs, they do have other services. But their gold IRA services are where they really shine. Unlike the vast majority of other companies, your Goldco representative will help you with your paperwork, file your application, and handle every conversation with your custodian. So you never have to speak to a single person except your dedicated rep.
Goldco also frequently runs promotions for new customers. While you will need to check the website to see which promotions are active, they often waive the setup and first year fees for new customers. If you meet the purchase requirements, you might also get back 10% of your investment in free silver, shipped directly to your house. Since the silver isn't part of your IRA, you can hold onto it or liquidate it whenever you want.
Fees and Minimums
If you're making a cash purchase, then you don't have to worry about fees. But there will be some ongoing fees for a gold IRA. These include a one-time setup fee of just $50, plus yearly custodian and storage fees that cost $180 combined. Though that may seem like a hefty contribution, it's actually one of the cheapest deals in this industry.
There is, unfortunately, an investment minimum of $25,000 for the retirement services. You need to have at least $25,000 in retirement funds that you intend to spend on gold. While this isn't the highest minimum in the industry by a longshot, it might be too high for some consumers.
Despite this, Goldco is designed to be friendly to beginning investors. No matter whether you're buying gold for the first time or tying up your retirement for safekeeping, the employees are available to answer all of your questions and guide you through the process.
Accountability and Credibility
Celebrity and media endorsements aren't the end-all be-all of a company. It's also vital that you find out what actual customers have said. Fortunately, in the case of Goldco, you can find thousands of reviews from very satisfied customers.
Several consumer watchdogs and review websites have evaluated Goldco and found that it is both trustworthy and reasonably priced. The Better Business Bureau website gives an A+, while the Business Consumer Alliance website gives an AAA. Both are the highest ratings possible, indicating a significant level of customer service and internal ethics.
Consumer Affairs shows 4.8 stars with over 600 reviews. Trustpilot shows 4.7 stars with over 650 reviews. Trustlink shows 5 stars with over 250 reviews. That all adds up to a huge number of happy customers.
Goldco has also been named one of the fastest-growing gold companies in the Los Angeles area and the broader US by several media publications. The American Business Awards gave them the coveted Company of the Year honor for 2021.
The more you know about gold and silver, the easier it is not to get scammed. For example, you need to know that the spot price of gold is public knowledge. You can Google it when you get a price quote for your purchase to make sure you get a good deal.
It's also important to understand the risks inherent to gold investment. Since the investment is typically meant for stability, it's not exactly a get-rich-quick scheme. Rather than earning dividends, you'll be paying fees to maintain your account.
Goldco firmly believes that customers deserve the education necessary to make the right choice. Even if you don't choose them as your company, they want you to feel confident. So they have a free kit that includes a DVD, audio CD, and entire book. There are guides for beginners on the website regarding retirement planning, gold IRAs, and deciding whether this account is ideal for you.
If you do decide to make a purchase, then you also have the expertise of your account representative available. You'll be partnered with a dedicated employee who will get to know you personally, answering questions and determining what type of investment is best for your needs. Whenever you want to know more about either your account or the broader economic landscape, you can ask to get their opinion.
Augusta Precious Metals is another one of the top gold IRA companies on the market. Their expertise and customer service rivals Goldco's, and their pricing is similarly reasonable. The one major drawback is that the minimum investment for the retirement services is $50,000. But if you can afford it, Augusta's offerings are pretty impressive.
One key aspect of Augusta's branding is how much they focus on education. There's also a strong focus on transparency. When you go to the company website, you can find a wealth of educational resources, along with information about how Augusta is set up and how the company stays accountable to its clients.
The company makes it very clear that they have no interest in selling gold to people who don't want to buy it. So when you call to inquire about a purchase, they'll talk you through both the benefits and the risks. They'll make sure that you understand exactly what you're buying and how you can expect its value to change over time. That way, you avoid a lot of the buyer's remorse that people experience with less proactive gold dealers.
There are never any high pressure tactics used by the salespeople. When they make suggestions, it's because they truly believe that those products are right for your needs. None of the team earns commissions on their sales, so there isn't any motivation to "hard sell" to you.
Fees and Minimums
As has been mentioned, the minimum to get involved is $50,000. If you're just making a cash purchase with your personal savings, though, that rule might not apply. You can call to find out whether there is a minimum investment for buying bullion with cash.
Augusta Precious Metals is incredibly straightforward about their pricing and fees. There aren't any hidden transactions, and there's no attempt to obfuscate the cost. The price that you're quoted for your purchase is the price that you can expect to pay.
Like Goldco, there's an IRA setup fee of $50, so your account representative can manage your paperwork and phone calls. The initial cost for the custodial fees is $250, paid to a licensed custodian that's partnered with Augusta. After this, though, the custodian fees drop to $100.
Shipping is completely free as long as you make a qualifying purchase, no matter whether you're using the IRA services or not. If you are buying with cash, then you can have the package shipped to your home. It will be insured and need a signature.
Augusta is very transparent about their bid and spread prices. They explain how they calculate their sale prices and buyback offers, and they explain how the spread works in the gold industry. That way, customers aren't upset to find that they can't immediately sell the gold back for as much as they bought it for.
As mentioned, one of Augusta's biggest focuses is on consumer education. They have devoted a lot of time and energy into creating website content that explains every aspect of the precious metals purchase process. Not only do they have helpful written guides, but they also have hours of video content and even webinars.
You don't have to be a client to attend the webinars, either. They're available for free to anybody who's interested. You can sign up to have an email sent to you with information about the next available session. Each webinar is run by a financial analyst who trained at Harvard. He answers questions and offers commentary about the broader economy and current events that might affect the price of gold.
In addition to teaching customers about how the gold market works, Augusta has multiple resources that teach people how to identify scams. These explain the red flags that you should look for, as well as the questions that you should always ask when buying gold. It's super helpful information, even if you don't decide to use Augusta's services.
Accountability and Responsibility
Augusta Precious Metals is a massive company, serving clients in all 50 states and garnering hundreds of online reviews. But despite this, they don't have a single complaint filed with the BBB. Most companies of this size will end up with some negative feedback, but that's not the case here. The BBB page has the phone number for a customer service line, and apparently that line resolves issues so well that customers never need to bring the BBB into it.
The BBB itself gives Augusta an A+ rating based on the positive communication and lack of negative feedback. The BCA gives the perfect AAA score, showing significant amounts of transparency and good management. Google Reviews has catalogued about 300 reviews with a 4.9 star average, and Consumer Affairs has over 30 reviews with a 4.9 star average.
Customers often mention how helpful the team is, and how they didn't feel any pressure to make a purchase. Sometimes they will mention their account representatives by name. The individual webinar has also been the subject of significant praise, as customers feel positively catered to.
American Hartford Gold is a relative newcomer in the industry, but the CEO and company president both have over ten years of experience with gold and silver. You might have seen advertisements for the firm on television or the internet. They've set out to do something that no one has successfully done before: create a fee-free IRA service that's actually good.
The vast majority of gold IRA services come with minor convenience fees. That's often the mark of a good company. A company that doesn't charge any fees at all is often shady, using confusing business practices and tricking people into buying things they don't need.
But American Hartford Gold has an incredible reputation from thousands of people. They're thrilled with their purchases and with the level of service. Like other companies on the list, AHG offers educational content and can answer questions. The salespeople don't work on commission.
Fees and Minimums
American Hartford Gold is the most accessible company on this list, at least as far as finances go. There are no hoops to jump through or massive financial requirements. In fact, there's no minimum investment or paperwork fee at all. So they can help people with limited funds to set up an IRA just as easily as those with more to spend.
Like with many companies, AHG also runs certain promotions. They can vary from month to month, but customers will sometimes get free silver shipped to them if they make a qualifying purchase. They will also waive your custodian and maintenance fees for a maximum of three years if you invest a certain amount.
There is no way to avoid the custodian and storage fees, unfortunately. You're legally required to have an IRS-approved custodian and a secure storage vault. These companies partner with AHG, but the fees don't go to AHG. They go to the other companies providing the services.
According to the AHG website, the cost of storage depends on which facility you choose. The same is true of the custodian costs. But they say that their partnered custodians usually charge $100 per year, while their partnered depositories usually charge $100 per year as well. The exception is if you choose to get a segregated storage vault. Since your items are sequestered, this is more expensive at $150 annually.
Accountability and Responsibility
American Hartford Gold has been given accolades for its excellent services. It has also been the subject of thousands of positive consumer writeups. The BBB gives an A+ and the BCA gives an AA rating, which is very close to a perfect score. They don't disclose the algorithm used for their decisions, but it's possible that AHG's relative company youth is what prevented a perfect score.
Trustpilot and Google both show a 4.9 customer rating as an average of over a thousand reviews. Consumer Affairs shows 4.95 stars with about 100 ratings. In addition, AHG was given the title of the best gold company by Inc. 5000 when they published their list of the fastest growing companies in the US in 2021.
On top of this, AHG has garnered the endorsements of several celebrities and popular media personalities. They are the sole gold company recommended by Pawn Stars guru Rick Harrison, commentator Lou Dobbs, and author Bill O'Reilly.
There have been a few complaints against AHG here and there, but the vast majority are related to misunderstandings. The company has responded to every issue and made an effort to resolve the problem. Most complaints were related to price fluctuations in gold and silver, rather than any of AHG's actual company policies.
The American Hartford Gold website has information on the products that are available for purchase, though they don't have the prices listed. In order to get a price quote, you will need to give them a call. Different items might be available at different times, but there's typically a large selection of gold and silver.
One interesting note is that American Hartford Gold often doesn't have the most recently minted coins available. For example, they might offer American Eagles from 2018 when the year is 2022. This doesn't have a significant impact on the value of the bullion over time, but some people do prefer to buy the latest coins.
Since AHG sources bullion from years past, they don't have to deal with the hypercompetitive pricing created by other companies. That's part of why they're able to offer their services without any of the fees required by a typical gold dealer.
Most of the items in the inventory are available to place into a gold IRA. But there are some that don't comply with IRS regulations. As such, you can only purchase these using your cash savings.
AHG does have a buyback program, and they strive to offer the best buyback prices in the industry. They want their customers to feel confident and secure in their ability to liquidate their assets. There's also a price match guarantee, as long as you can get the lower price offer in writing. AHG will drop the price of the coin to that level.
Birch Gold Group is one of the longest-operating companies on the list, having been started in 2003. Since gold IRAs have only been legal since 1997, that's a pretty quick uptake. Nowadays, the company works with more than 14,000 customers across every state in the US.
Birch Gold frequently runs advertising campaigns on different channels and websites. Their experts also often appear on talk shows and podcasts like the Ben Shapiro show. Ben Shapiro is their biggest celebrity endorser, saying that he trusts the company above all others in the industry. A good deal of Birch Gold's website branding is centered around Ben Shapiro.
Like the other options on this list, Birch Gold has a strong focus on integrity and on customer education. Their website is filled with information about gold investing, even information that might not win them customers.
For example, they mention that you shouldn't tie up all of your assets in precious metals, since they won't earn dividends like traditional investments. They also mention that you have to hold onto precious metals for many years to avoid taking a loss when you sell them back.
There are gold IRA kits available to any potential customers who want them. These guides have further information about the industry and about Birch Gold itself.
IRA Setup and Custodian
If you want to buy gold with your retirement funds, Birch Gold will help you do that. You'll be assigned an individual counselor who will ask you questions, listen to your answers, and give feedback based on your specific needs. They'll also be able to answer whatever questions you have personally about the process.
Birch Gold has published information about the custodians that they most often work with. There are two partners, each of which has an excellent industry reputation. One is Equity Trust Company, and the other is Strata Trust. But if you'd rather work with a different self-directed IRA custodian, Birch Gold can accommodate you.
The custodian is responsible for reporting your holdings to the IRS and maintaining your account paperwork. They will also give you ongoing statements regarding the value of your holdings and the results of various audits. Every licensed depository has full insurance and frequent auditing of accounts to make sure no fraud or theft occurs.
Accountability and Responsibility
The online customer reviews for Birch Gold Group are consistently excellent across every major third party platform. The BBB and BCA both give the company a perfect score based on their management, ethics, customer service, and responsiveness. Customer reviews on both sites have an average of 4.7 and 5 stars respectively.
Trustlink shows an average of 4.7 stars with about 130 reviews, while Trustpilot has 4.8 stars with about 120 reviews. Google shows 4.9 stars with about 220 reviews, and Consumer Affairs shows 4.8 stars with over 100 reviews.
These statistics show that the vast majority of online consumers are happy with their experiences. On the rare occasion that there has been negative feedback, Birch Gold addresses it immediately and tries to resolve the issue with the customer.
Fees and Minimums
Birch Gold does have a minimum investment, but it's lower than both Goldco and Augusta Precious Metals. They ask that you buy at least $10,000 worth of gold if you use their retirement services.
Their setup fee is a standard flat $50, the same as Goldco and Augusta. You will need to pay one wire transfer fee of $30 for your money to be sent to the company. This fee is only incurred once.
Then there are the annual maintenance and storage fees. Birch Gold Group ties Goldco for the cheapest options on the list, with just $100 for storage and $80 for the custodian services. If you want to have all of your fees waived for the first year, you just need to invest $50,000. At this price point, Birch Gold waives the setup fee, wire transfer, and custodian and storage for the initial year.
No prices are listed on the website for the actual precious metals products, so you have to get a quote by phone. There isn't much information available regarding how they calculate their prices or how high their markups are.
Noble Gold is run by Collin Plume, a finance professional with over two decades of experience in the investment industry. After starting out in real estate, he moved to gold when he realized that his clients needed a more stable asset during the recession.
Today, Noble Gold is focused on the protection of your wealth. Their website emphasizes how valuable gold is as a tool for securing your future and your home. In keeping with this, they are the only company on the list to offer "survival packs."
Noble Gold also encourages customers to work with depositories that offer segregated storage. Even though non-segregated storage goes through frequent auditing and fraud protection, the company's professionals consider it too risky. That's a unique perspective compared to other storage options on this list.
Education is a major factor in Noble Gold's setup. They want to explain the risks of the economy to customers, and then to help consumers diversify their investment portfolios. On the website, you'll find a "Learn" tab with sections that tell you about the basics of investing, current global and economic events, and an entire educational library.
There are other pages as well. For example, one of the pages will remind investors about certain factors in their current portfolio that they might not have considered or remembered.
Fees and Minimums
You can set up and roll over your IRA funds without paying any additional costs. Noble Gold is one of the rare companies that doesn't have a setup fee. They will help you with transferring your funds within the allotted time frame to avoid tax penalties.
Gold storage costs $80 to $150, according to the Noble Gold website. It depends on the depository and method of storage that you choose. Noble Gold's recommended segregated storage costs the most, at $150 each year.
If you're using the IRA services, the company asks that you commit to a minimum of $5,000 in investments. Aside from American Hartford Gold's zero minimum, this is the most affordable option on the list. So it might appeal to people who are concerned by the hefty commitment of other options.
Noble Gold uses a flat fee structure for all of the coins that they sell. There aren't discounts for buying in bulk. While that might discourage wholesalers, it's a boon for smaller investors. You don't have to worry that you're being given unfair prices just because you can't invest as much as a billionaire.
Royal Survival Packs
The Royal Survival Packs are a product unique to Noble Gold. Basically, you choose an investment tier between $5,000 and $500,000. Then the company will hand-select a variety of popular, easily liquidated gold and silver coins based on the current prices. The more you invest, the longer-term the coins work for planning.
The idea is that you can have an easily transported, easily liquidated, difficult to track means of financing your plans in an emergency. Some people buy this because they're concerned about natural disasters, political upheaval, war, or their currency depreciating.
There's also a tier called the Noble Ambassador. This is a slightly different service that is only offered to international clients. Noble Gold will place easily liquidated precious metals in a vault within the US for you. Then if the international client needs to enter the US, they already have a safety net of wealth waiting for them.
If you buy the highest tier of survival pack for $500,000, you will have a personal meeting with the company's leaders. They will conduct an in-depth discussion of your concerns and your long term plans. That way, they can craft a liquidation plan that's perfect for your specific needs. There are so many ways to distribute $500,000 worth of gold that this kind of meeting is simply practical.
The Royal Survival Packs must be bought with cash savings, not IRA funds. The packages will be shipped discreetly to your door without any indication of the contents. Each package has a full insurance policy that lasts for the entire time it's in transit, so if it gets lost, you'll be able to get a refund.
These five companies all share qualities that we really like. They all have excellent customer service ratings and endorsements from popular media personalities. They all use flat fees instead of percentage scales. They all have trustworthy custodial and storage partners to connect you with.
Our pick for the best gold investment company in the industry is Goldco. They have served thousands of customers and have a best-in-class customer service team. Boasting over 15 years in the industry, they're experts in everything from basic gold pricing to IRA paperwork. No matter what kind of purchase you're making, their representatives will make the process quick and easy.