Payment Methods for Gold Bullion

People who buy gold online can choose from several different payment options. While each retailer has its own preferred method(s), there are four commonly used payment options that can be arranged, each having respective benefits and hassles. Two online dealers who accept these methods of payment as well as PayPal are JMBullion.com and Silver.com. The most common payment options include:

Credit Card

Credit CardsWhen it comes to buying gold online, credit card purchases may not be the end-all, be-all method of payment, but it is a quick, efficient method.  This form of payment is quite common online due to the swift transactions and simplified fees and processing, resulting in quick shipment of the buyer’s orders.

To alleviate qualms some customers may have about security issues, reputable online retailers also have comprehensive measures in place that protect the buyer’s information to ensure a smooth, glitch-free transaction environment.

Cards such as Visa, American Express, Discover and MasterCard are all typically accepted by online retailers, although some online sellers only accept Visa and MasterCard due to the additional authentication they provide through their Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode programs.

Retailer Fee

It is important to note that most retailers will charge a small fee on credit card purchases.  This fee, usually between three and four percent per transaction, is charged to cover the processing expenses incurred by the seller.  This can range anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars, making credit card purchases a somewhat more expensive method of purchasing gold bullion of any form.

Buyers, especially when placing a large online order with a credit card, should always double check to ensure they are obtaining the cheapest possible fees. While a three percent fee may not significantly increase the cost of a small investment, when the monetary value of the investment is large, the same three percent may represent a sizeable sum. In some cases, another method of payment may be more suitable, taking into account the percentage-based structure of the retailer fee.

Other Issues

In addition to the retailer’s premium, buyers may be subject to identity verification.  Each retailer has its own policies. However, the majority of these requirements are government-regulated for the safety of seller and buyer alike. It is not uncommon to receive a request for identity verification, especially when purchasing in amounts exceeding a set threshold.  While this may seem to be a troublesome aspect of the buying process, it is, as stated, for the safety of both buyer and seller, as well as a necessary step to fulfill certain legal regulations.

Credit card purchases have a history of being volatile all over the world, and this is not limited to any specific industry. From retail clothing shops to online gold retailers, credit card purchases possess the potential to bring headaches with them.  This is why many retailers prefer their buyers to use another payment option whenever possible.

Paper Check

Paper CheckWhen it comes to online gold purchases, some buyers are still quite set on the old fashioned methods of payment.  Retailers are always more than happy to accept paper checks as payment, however, buyers should bear in mind the additional time these methods could cost them. The most notable benefits of sending a check by mail include establishment of a proper record of the transaction, as well as cost-savings, compared to credit card payments.

Time Sensitiveness

When a buyer locks in a purchase price on their bullion, they are most often given a ten-day period in which to obtain the funds to pay for the purchase.  While this may seem a more than reasonable period, it could be missed out upon if the payment method is not quick enough to meet the demand.

Paper checks, while creating a verifiable record of the purchase, also rely on the speed of the mail service. This can become a detrimental factor in times of poor mail delivery speed.  The most common delivery delays occur during holidays, inclement weather and in the worst case, a strike.  While buyers would all like to believe that the mail service will never fail them, this can be a poorly entrusted task when a deadline is involved.

The waiting period involved with paper checks can often be a critical factor in gold purchases.  Between the period of time it takes for the check to reach the seller, the waiting period for the verification of the check, then further time required to arrange the shipment and insurance of the purchase, many consider this method to be tedious and cumbersome.

In total, when paying with a check, buyers could face a shipping delay of up to 20 days, depending on the speed of their financial institution as well as the mail system.  During holidays or severe weather, this wait could add up even further due to mail delays, creating a very tense situation for buyers and sellers alike.

Benefits of Paying by Check

Paying by way of paper check through the mail is nonetheless a very secure method. With the many options offered by the USPS involving signature pick-up, proof of delivery and many other tracking features, buyers are able to utilize the necessary means to track their check from the moment it leaves the postal office until it arrives at its destination.

Overall, a paper check as a method of purchase is an acceptable way to buy gold and does create a paper record that is irrefutable. Industry-wide, retailers honor check payments.  Also, paying by check allows buyers to avoid processing fees that may be associated with credit card purchases, making it a cheaper option for payment.  This is a strong draw for buyers whose concern lay with their proof of purchase, leading many to choose this method over quicker methods such as credit card purchases and wire transfers.

Wire Transfer

Wire TransferWire transfers are the oldest method of moving money from one account to another.  Dating back to the giro system utilized during the fourth century B.C., today, this method of transfer is the fastest, most secure method to pay for online purchases.

This method of payment is the most desirable in regards to purchasing gold, as both the buyer and seller can be assured the funds will move in an orderly fashion, leaving very little wait time in between transaction and shipment. In the realm of online gold purchases, retailers consider wire transfers “good funds” upon receipt. For the buyer, this translates to minimal lag and the fastest time to shipping.

Bank Fees

The majority of banks do charge a fee for this service. However, the fee is generally small and easily forgotten.  This is especially true during large purchases, as the associated fees of the average bank range between $10 and $50 within the United States.  This amount is easily passed over in consideration of the value of the transfer itself.

Steps and Processes

Before a transfer is initiated, the retailer will assign a specific fee to a sale, making the amount clear to the buyer. In order to arrange a wire transfer, the buyer will need specific information regarding the seller’s account.  This information includes the routing and account number the money shall be transferred to, the name of the account holder, the bank’s telephone number and address, and if transferring to a different country, a SWIFT code.

It is advisable to take into consideration any currency exchange rates, if making purchases outside of the buyer’s home country, as the omission of this information could result in an insufficient transfer.  In order to avoid any possible delays, the buyer should double check all information before submitting it into the system.

When arranging the transfer directly at their bank, buyers should have all applicable information on hand in well-written text to avoid any entry errors by the agent.  By choosing to arrange this service within the walls of their own bank, the buyer is able to gain information on the exchange rates, fees for transfer and any additional information that may be involved for their specific financial institution.

Another fact to bear in mind is that many dealers are able to charge a lower rate for wire transfer purchases.  This is in part due to the fact that they incur very little expense by accepting funds in this manner as opposed to purchases accepted with a credit card method of payment.  This allows the seller to give the buyer a bit of a discount without affecting their own bottom line.

Overall, wire transfer payments are considered to be the most advantageous form of payment by buyers and sellers alike.  Due to the fast nature of the transactions, these payments allow for the fastest shipping possible when purchasing gold online.

Retailer-Specific Requirements

Each retailer will have a list of their allowed payment methods, generally posted directly in their information pages.  If a list is not published, simply contact the seller directly and ask which methods they accept.  This is the best option even if a list is published, as there may be retailer end fees associated with certain payment methods and separate shipping regulations for each.

Most importantly, the buyer should do their research ahead of time.  By knowing which payment method best suits their needs before they lock in a buying price, they will help to streamline the process and avoid any major delays that could negate the price they have acquired.  Most retailers will allow a ten-day grace period during which the buyer may acquire the necessary funds to pay for their purchase and if this period is exceeded, the locked in price will be lost, possibly ending in a much higher price for the buyer.