I'll be doing reviews of products and services I use to trade the world's financial markets. Below is my review of Bullion Vault
, a service I use to buy and store gold (who is also an InformedTrades sponsor).
Bullion Vault is a way for you to buy gold and have it stored in a vault, so that you do not have to accept delivery. There are a few great things about Bullion Vault that have led me to use them:
1. You can buy in very small quantities -- 1 gram is the minimum amount (1 gram is slightly more than 0.03 ounces) at a price very close to the spot price for buying per ounce. This makes gold far more affordable for those on a much smaller budget.
2. Bullion Vault has vaults in London, Zurich, and New York. When you purchase through Bullion Vault, you get to choose which vault your gold is stored in. This is a key issue for those who are concerned about the potential of gold confiscation, or laws being altered to make it more difficult to buy and sell gold. There is a precedent for this in the United States, which was Executive Order 6102
3. In addition to being a way to purchase and store gold, Bullion Vault
also makes it easy for you to trade gold. Basically, you can hold cash with Bullion Vault
, or you can hold gold -- and you can easily convert back and forth. So if you're into active trading gold, Bullion Vault
can suit your needs as well.
Costs Associated With Using Bullion Vault
In terms of costs, Bullion Vault
charges a commission of 0.8% for all gold purchases up to $30,000; commission rates decline after that. There is also a custody charge of $4 for each month you hold gold (if you have more than $40,000 in gold, than the charge is 0.12% of your gold account per year). Lastly, there is a bank wire charge of $30 (or the equivalent if you are withdrawing in another currency) when you withdraw funds. Custody charges are an important sign that the firm is a depository institution, and will not be lending or trading the goal you have purchased through them -- and that the gold is yours in the event the firm collapses (though Bullion Vault is very financially stable).
These charges are quite low relative to other legitimate gold holding services I have seen. In addition, Bullion Vault
provides customers who open an account with them a free gram of gold. (Update 11/30/2012: Bullion Vault has modified its account opening bonus; instead of one gram of gold, customers will now get 4 grams of silver, 1 British pound, 1 Euro, and 1 US dollar. In the event the company does not have silver in its inventory -- a situation that has occurred before when silver demand is very high -- new customers will be given silver when the company's vaults are replenished.)
Most importantly, I've withdrawn from Bullion Vault on a number of occasions, and have not had any problem in doing so.
In terms of validating your account, you need to send them a copy of a bank statement from the bank that you'll be having funds wired to when you make withdrawals. You'll also need to send a government issued photo ID. The good news is Bullion Vault
makes this relatively easy, as they let you do it by uploading scanned copies -- you don't need to physically mail them (although that is an option if you prefer).
Competitors I Like
There are three competitors to Bullion Vault
that I think are worth noting:
1. Hard Assets Alliance
(see my Hard Assets Alliance review
) is one of them. They provide delivery for a minimum order size of $5,000, although require $10,000 to store metals. They are also affiliated with Doug Casey and Casey Research (see the Casey Research page in our University
) which in my eyes gives them additional credibility.
2. Bullion Vault's leading competitor is GoldMoney
. As I am a security-conscious person, I recommend having multiple brokers so that your risk is diversified. GoldMoney is another company I am in the process of opening an account with, and is widely regarded as a reputable gold storage company. There are greater administrative hassles with GoldMoney -- you need to get forms notarized! -- so it's taking me a bit longer to get set up there. Once I have my funds deposited and am fully set, I'll write up a longer review.
3. Another key competitor is GoldSilver.com
. GoldSilver charges a bit more and does not offer as small increments -- the smallest coins offered are 1/10th of an ounce, at a significant premium, and with a minimum quantity of 50 coins -- but they do offer delivery as well as vault storage of all orders. GoldSilver also has vaults in Canada, Hong Kong, and a number of cities in the US, so they do have some diversification options that other brokers do not. Mike Maloney is the man behind GoldSilver.com
; we've compiled videos of his gold presentations here
. But perhaps the most interesting part of GoldSilver.com
is that the firm provides its customers with access to its proprietary research, and informs customers of when they plan on selling the metals they've been accumulating over the past decade.
So ultimately, while Bullion Vault
is my favorite and who I buy most of my gold with, I like Hard Assets Alliance
, and GoldSilver.com
as well, and think they are good options for those who want to diversify across a number of gold brokers offering storage options and can meet the minimum capital requirements those firms have.
As always, if you have any questions/comments, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
January 12, 2010 UPDATE:
Bullion Vault is also in the process of offering silver trading. Click here for my review and announcement
, with screenshots of the Bullion Vault platform.
December 20, 2012 UPDATE:
I interviewed Adrian Ash of Bullion Vault
and discussed many of the finer points of their service. If you're considering using Bullion Vault or any vault storage service, I highly recommend watching this video.
The key points discussed in the video are as follows:
1. How gold is stored and audited
2. What happens in the event the gold is stolen
3. The pros and cons of storing your gold in an overseas vault
4. Taking delivery of your gold in a vault
5. Issues surrounding allowing your gold to be inherited
ADDED 04/2013: Bullion Vault
now offers automatic investing. This enables individuals to automatically deposit money from their bank account to their Bullion Vault account; when the balance reaches $100 USD, a purchase will automatically be made. This is useful for those who wish to steadily accumulate gold for the long-term, and are not too concerned with short-term price fluctuations.