When it comes to picking gold IRA companies you want to make sure that you end up with the right one. A portion of your retirement investments will be tied up in the gold, the last thing you want to happen is to loose it. Choosing the best Gold IRA company for both your gold dealer and custodian is critical. Here are some key tips to help you decide which company is right for you (we also have our own gold IRA company reviews here on The Gold Rush Exchange).
Gold IRA Companies Check List
1 Better Business Bureau
3 The Business Consumer Alliance
4 Other Review Websites
5 Company Website
6 Flat Rate or Scaled Fees
7 Amount Fees
8 How They Treat You
9 How Gold Is Stored
10 Check For Lawsuits and Complaints
Gold is a precious metal and an investment form that the government wants to protect carefully. The last that you want is to keep your gold at home uninsured and that is why the majority of gold IRAs must be stored by a custodian. There are a lot of different custodians out there from large, well-known institutions to small companies.
Read the Reviews
There are a lot of different review companies out there. While some review sites are good for most businesses you will want to use controlled review and rating websites to help you get the best unbiased ratings. Many of these websites have several parts to a review. In the written part you want to read as many of them as possible to get an idea for what potential issues have been.
Here are some of the places to find reviews:
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau, or BBB, is one of the biggest business rating agencies in the United States. The BBB has a letter rating system where the highest rating is an A+ and the lowest rating is an F. Just like in school. Also like in school each of these work off a percentage scale that is based on the following factors:
- Any Failure to Honor Mediation and/or Arbitration
- Any Trademark Infringements
- Business Type
- Complaints that are Unanswered
- Complaints that are Unresolved
- How Long they Have Been in Business
- Licensing and Competency
- Number of Government Actions/Type of Actions
- Patterns of Failing to Resolve Complaints
- Review of Advertising
- The Delay in Resolving Complaints
- Transparency of Business Practices
- Volume of Complaints
When you read through the complaints on the BBB website it is okay if they are resolved in a mutually favorable resolution. A number of complaints or unresolved complaints will be a red flag.
TrustLink is a customer rated website. TrustLink started out as being a BBB website but has since grown to be a different entity. Instead of focusing on mediation, arbitration, and ratings based off of the above list TrustLink ratings are based off of user ratings. Users reviews go unedited with the exception of profanity and privacy issues. Reviews are fact checked so that there is less of a chance of paid or fake reviews.
TrustLink ratings use the traditional five star system. It takes the average of all of the ratings for a business and comes up with the rating of the business. When a business has more reviews the ratings are more accurate. Be sure to check the number of ratings so that you don’t get lulled into a false sense of trust.
The Business Consumer Alliance
The Business Consumer Alliance, also known as the BCA, is a great website for not only finding ratings of a company but finding all of their information. The BCA maintains a database that includes:
- Category of Business
- Physical Address
- Phone Number
- Website Address
- Social Media Links
- Hours of Operation
- Primary Contact(s)
- Business Starting Date
- And More
The BCA’s rating system also uses a letter base. AAA is the highest rating and F is the lowest rating. NR is displayed on businesses that are not yet rated or under review. It can also be displayed when the website is conducting maintenance. Ratings on the BCA website are based on:
- Background Information
- Time in Business
- History of Complaints
- Category of Business
- Licensing Information
- Number of Government Actions/Type of Actions
- Review of Advertising
Other Review Websites
As already mentioned, while you can use other review websites such as Yelp and Angie’s List, but do not use only them. These websites are mainly based on user reviews and use less fact checking processes than the above mentioned services.
Check out the company website for the custodian. You are looking at all of their different offerings. Any inconsistencies with prices and practices should be noted and inquired about. You also want to look at the quality of their website. It shouldn’t be a cheap website, it should look like a professional institution.
You can also use company websites to see if they have been mentioned by any media organizations. If they do have a stamp that says they were mentioned by a media organization it should be linked to the article. You want to make sure that they aren’t just using the badge to try and gain trust. It does happen.
Review The Fees
Almost all businesses that deal with finances have fees. You will want to take a look at the fees that the custodian collects. Typical fees are storage fees and account fees. There are two types of fees that you can find when it comes to storage fees:
Flat Rate Fees
Flat rate fees are what you want to look for. As it sounds, flat rate fees are charged the same no matter how much gold or other precious metals the company is storing for you. Flat rate fees are the best option, especially if you are going to be holding a large amount of gold or considering purchasing more down the road.
Fees based off the amount of gold you have in your account can be costly. The level of these fees can go up quite quickly and leave you paying even more down the road if you want to increase the amount of gold you are storing.
Number of Clients
The number of clients that a gold custodian has can be an indicator of how long they have been in business and how good their business is. When you go through the company’s website you should be able to find the number of clients that the company has. If it is not on their website make sure that you ask the company when you speak to them in person or on the phone.
Check For Lawsuits
Like with any company that you do big business with you should check for any lawsuits against the company. Many lawsuits will show up on the Better Business Bureau website when you look up the company. A simple Google search of the company name and the word lawsuit will also help you to determine if there have been any suits filed against the company you are interested in doing business with.
If you find any lawsuits make sure that you read them carefully. In most cases a lawsuit is a sign that you should consider looking elsewhere.
How They Treat You
When you have found a few good gold IRA companies you are going to want to contact them to inquire more about their business and their practices. The best way to do this is in person but if you cannot speak with them in person do it over the phone. Never do it over a “live chat support” or completely over email. However, it is always good to get a summary or copy of everything in email form so that you have it should you need it.
How the custodian treats you on the phone can be a major factor in how much you should trust them. Here are some things to look out for when talking with the gold custodian.
When they find out that you are just in the questioning stage do they try to get you off the phone quickly? This could be a sign that they don’t really care about their clients but instead about the sales. A good company knows that people want to gather all the facts before making a decision and is happy to provide them.
Evasiveness and answering questions with questions are also red flags. A common practice that sketchy companies will employ is that they will only disclose part of their fees. Make sure to ask about the fees several times during the phone call. Any kind of evasiveness is a significant red flag.
How Gold Is Stored
There are two main types of gold storage methods. Combined storage is popular among smaller custodians because they don’t need to invest in any special storage features. The negative side of combined storage is that all of the gold from all clients is stored together. You aren’t guaranteed to get the same gold that you bought back when it comes time to sell. In fact, it is highly unlikely that you will get the same gold back.
Segregated storage is the best storage option. In segregated storage methods all of the gold is separated by the client who owns it. This means that you are guaranteed to get your gold back. It also means that there is better accountability for all of the stored gold. You might be lured in by the lower price of combined gold but don’t fall for it. You will pay good money for your gold and you want it back.
If you are going to buy .999 percent gold there is still enough other metals in it to make the gold fairly durable. Standard storage solutions will keep the gold in good condition. However, if you are purchasing .9999 percent gold there is very little other metals left in the gold and it is far less durable. It is important that .9999 percent gold is stored in a safe climate and monitored. You don’t want your gold getting damaged due to improper storage.
A dealer is a key part of investing in gold in any form. They are the party that sells the gold to you. There are a lot of dealers out there and while some of them are outstanding there are a fair share of sketchy dealers out there. Here are some tips for what to look for when you are buying your gold.
Buy Through Custodian
Most custodians have a list of dealers that they work with often and trust, they will even facilitate the sale. This is the best way to go because you have already vetted the custodian. There are also less delays and errors when the transfer of the gold happens. While you may work through the custodian it is always wise to check out the dealers they recommend just as thoroughly.
Read Gold IRA Companies Reviews
Just like with the custodian it is important to read reviews of the gold dealers you are considering working with. The same resources for finding the reviews for custodians are great places to find reviews for dealers. With gold dealers you want to make sure there are no reviews of the company not providing the gold ordered or sending a different precious metal in return.
Check For Lawsuits and Complaints
Lawsuits and complaints are even more important when it comes to the dealer. Some dealers have had shady practices where they will send you coins or bullion other than the ones you order. There can be various claims for this but don’t fall for it. There are also companies that have continued to claim that they are out of stock for long periods of time while still holding on to your money. Do not deal with companies that have records of baiting and switching their clients.
A buyback program is when a dealer has a plan to buy the gold back from you when it comes time to sell. Many dealers offer this and it is a major benefit. It means there won’t be much trouble finding someone to buy your gold back. Buyback programs are a must for most people looking for guaranteed sale of their gold.
You have made the first step to making a good choice by reading guides on how to select the best gold IRA company. Use these tips and your gut feelings to find the best company for you to secure your future. If you are looking for more detailed information on gold IRA rollovers and a step by step guide, we highly recommend you to fill out the form below to request your free gold investment kit from Regal Assets (one of our top 3 recommended gold IRA companies). Please note that this is a time limited offer that includes free shipping to your physical address. Best of luck with all of your investments!