How to buy gold bullion online - here's the cheapest way
Before you buy gold coins or gold bars, read this page. There is a safer, cheaper and easier way to own physical bullion. This page will explain how.
There are many reasons to want to buy gold, but how you do it is critical to the total costs of owning physical bullion.
To determine your total costs, look not only at how much it costs to buy the small bar or coin, but also what you will receive for it when you come to sell. You should also include the shipping costs, plus the cost of storing and insuring your gold at home.
Many coin and small bar dealers offer 'free' shipping when you buy online, but in reality that cost has been shifted into the price you pay for the coin or bar, along with the cost of its manufacture and the dealer's profit margin. In total, it is not unusual for all of these costs to result in you paying 5-8% over the actual wholesale price of the gold you buy.
That wholesale price – also known as the 'spot price' – is the price for buying or selling gold in the form of large, 400oz (12.5kg) bullion bars. These large bars are the size and format the professional market deals in. All small bars and coins are made by melting and re-casting these large bars into smaller units.
BullionVault gives you access to the professional market. You buy bullion in this same large-bar format at prices right next to the spot price, avoiding the additional manufacturing costs and dealer mark-ups of buying coins. You don't need to buy a whole bar to benefit from these savings. You can buy from as little as 1 gram and up to 100kg or more.
To see the potential cost savings, compare the online price of any gold coin you're thinking about with the price you would pay for the same amount of gold using BullionVault.
Some popular coins are listed below, along with their fine gold content and the current cost of the same amount of fine gold you could buy right now on BullionVault's live order board.
|Coin (click to view)||Fine gold content
|Cost to buy fine gold
|Britannia 1/10 Oz Gold Coin 1987||3.11|
|Sovereign Gold Coin 1958||7.32|
|Britannia 1/4 Oz Gold Coin 1987||7.77|
|American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coin 2006||31.10|
|Maple Leaf 1 Oz Gold Coin 2014||31.10|
|Krugerrand 1 Oz Gold Coin 1974||31.10|
|American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coin 2016||31.10|
|Kangaroo 1 Oz Gold Coin 2016||31.10|
|Britannia 1 Oz Gold Coin 2017||31.20|
Paying 5-8% over the spot price to buy a coin or small bar may be acceptable to some, but the costs you face get worse. Because when you come to sell, you are unlikely to realise full value for your bullion.
A coin or bar dealer will not buy gold from you at the spot price, as they have to factor in their business overheads. They also have to consider the chance that the bar or coin is not what they think it is. Some rarer coins might be quoted at prices above spot, but in gold bullion products like small bars, Sovereigns or Krugerrands, this usually results in you receiving 2-5% less than the spot price when you come to sell.
All told, the typical roundtrip cost of buying and selling a small gold bar or coin will cost you 10% or more of the value of the gold it contains. Losing one-tenth of your money seems like a poor way of buying something with the primary purpose of a store of value.
There is a better way to buy gold. Using BullionVault you can buy gold AND sell it at wholesale prices. Our low commissions start at 0.5% and fall quickly on larger quantities, meaning you’ll pay a maximum of 1% roundtrip compared to about 10% if you bought and then sold a small bar or coin from a retail dealer.
The table below shows the roundtrip costs – known as the 'spread' – you would pay to buy popular small bars and coins compared to using BullionVault. The table assumes a flat spot price of £854 per troy ounce.
|Spot at £854 per TrOz||Best price||Per ounce*||Best buy back**||Cost of spread|
|100g gold bar||£2,884||£897||£837||6.7%|
|BullionVault (1 gram)||£27.50||£860||£850||1.2%|
* including dealing commission or postage fees
To see the effect such a spread has in a real world example, you can see in the table below how your profit would have been impacted if you had bought gold on 15 Feb 2016 and sold it again on 24 Feb 2016 – during which time the spot price of gold rose £49 per troy ounce (5.9%).
Compare gold coin and bar prices versus BullionVault
|15 Feb 2016||24 Feb 2016||profit/loss||% profit/loss|
|London 'spot' market||£834||£883||£49||5.9|
|25 x Sovereigns||£898||£865||-£33||-3.6|
|George V Sovereign||£942||£862||-£80||-8.5|
|Cheapest 100g bar||£877||£865||-£12||-1.4|
Source: BullionVault via UK competitors
Spot price = mid-point of bullion banks' average buy/sell quotes
Before you buy gold using BullionVault, you can try us out for free. Each person that opens a BullionVault account receives four grams of silver plus a small amount of US Dollars, Pound Sterling and Euros free. This enables new users to try buying and selling bullion completely risk free.
Commission & storage fees
Standard commission rates on gold or silver
|Transactions||Sum of all purchases (or sum of all sales) in the year so far||Commission rates|
|On the first||$75,000 or equivalent||0.50%|
|On the next||$750,000 or equivalent||0.10%|
We aggregate your prior deals within the year, so you pay lower commissions as the year progresses. Commission discounts for both purchases and sales run independently on gold and silver.
Gold and silver storage rates
|Metal||Fees (including insurance)||ETF fee for comparison|
|per month||minimum||per month|
Unlike Bank Deposit Protection your BullionVault insurance protects you to the full value of your bullion, with no cap. Insurance is included in your monthly storage charge.
Commission and storage fee examples when you buy gold
Estimate your commission and storage fees using our cost calculator. Using live prices, this calculator lets you see how much gold or silver you can buy on BullionVault for the sum of money you want to invest, plus how much you will pay in fees to buy, store and then sell your metal.
Fund with a debit card and buy gold
UK users can now make a first deposit online using Visa, Mastercard or Maestro debit cards (minimum £100, maximum £5,000). Your British Pounds will appear instantly in your BullionVault account, ready to make your first purchase of gold or silver. Or you can deposit any amount over £100 via bank transfer, if you prefer. We don't accept credit cards or pre-paid cards.
US Dollar and Euro customers can also open an account and fund by bank transfer. Opening an account is quick and easy.
100g gold bars now available using BullionVault
This page explains why the smart way to buy gold is to avoid the inefficiencies of the small bar and coin market. Your gold is better kept fully insured within in a professional vault, ready for sale for full value.
But if you really want to hold gold in your hand, you can of course withdraw your bullion into your possession, out of the vault. We have solved many of the complexities that lead to the high costs associated with gold bar and coin retailers, and we can make 100g bars available to you at very low prices. Find out how we do it.
You can withdraw gold from BullionVault in the form of a Pamp Fortuna 100g bar. Other quantities of gold bullion can be withdrawn as small bars, but a bespoke order requires a significant amount of management. This is reflected in a higher fee
BullionVault is the world’s largest online investment gold and silver service, allowing private investors access to the professional bullion markets. BullionVault manages $2 billion in client property for over 65,000 active users.
BullionVault gold and silver is securely stored in professional vaults. Because of this the custody fee, which covers storage and insurance, is much lower than anything comparable.
Only BullionVault gives you the opportunity to buy gold and silver at the benchmark London Prices published on the London Bullion Market Association website.
It’s free to open a BullionVault account and typically takes under a minute.