7 Best Gold IRA Companies of 2022

·17 min read
Jose Velez / Money
Jose Velez / Money
  1. Best Overall

    Augusta Precious Metals

    Our Partner

    • Company Highlight:

      Informative educational video library

    • Available Metals:

      Gold, silver

    • Custodian:

      Equity Trust, Gold Star Trust Company, Kingdom Trust

    • Depository:

      Delaware Depository Service Company

    • BBB Grade:

      A+

    Invest in Gold

  2. Best for Beginners

    Oxford Gold Group

    Our Partner

    • Company Highlight:

      Consumer education geared towards more novice investors

    • Available Metals:

      Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

    • Custodian:

      Not specified on site

    • Depository:

      Delaware Depository Service Company, Brink's Global Services

    • BBB Grade:

      A+

    Invest in Gold

  3. Best for Crypto Investors

    Lear Capital

    Our Partner

    • Company Highlight:

      Ability to store cryptocurrency as well as precious metals in your self-directed IRA

    • Available Metals:

      Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

    • Custodian:

      Equity Trust Company

    • Depository:

      Delaware Depository Service Company

    • BBB Grade:

      A+

    Invest in Gold

  4. Best for Fee Transparency

    Birch Gold Group

    Our Partner

    • Company Highlight:

      Easy-to-find fee info on website

    • Available Metals:

      Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

    • Custodian:

      Equity Trust Company, STRATA Trust Company

    • Depository:

      Delaware Depository Service Company, Brink's Global Services

    • BBB Grade:

      A+

    Invest in Gold

  5. Best for Diverse Storage Options

    Noble Gold Investments

    Our Partner

    • Company Highlight:

      Option to store precious metals at Noble's Texas-based depository

    • Available Metals:

      Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

    • Custodian:

      Site lists New Direction IRA, Equity Institutional

    • Depository:

      Noble's own facility through its partnership with (International Depository Services) in Dallas, Delaware Depository Service Company, Brink's Global Services

    • BBB Grade:

      A

    Invest in Gold

  6. Best for Low Fees

    Orion Metal Exchange

    Our Partner

    • Company Highlight:

      Low order minimum, no setup or annual fees

    • Available Metals:

      Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

    • Custodian:

      Customer's choice

    • Depository:

      Varies based on choice of custodian

    • BBB Grade:

      A+

    Invest in Gold

  7. Best for Customer Popularity

    AdvantageGold

    Our Partner

    • Company Highlight:

      Huge volume of online reviews and top-notch ratings from many consumer groups

    • Available Metals:

      Gold, silver, platinum, palladium

    • Custodian:

      STRATA Trust Company, Equity Trust Company

    • Depository:

      Delaware Depository Service Company, Brink's Global Services

    • BBB Grade:

      A+

    Invest in Gold

Gold IRAs cater to investors who want to diversify their wealth as they save for retirement. Precious metals like silver and gold, platinum and palladium are considered hedges against inflation and stock market volatility — qualities which tend to attract more attention during times of geopolitical uncertainty — and gold IRAs allow you to hold physical gold in an individual retirement account.

Gold IRA companies provide an option for safe and secure precious metal investing while offering the same tax benefits as IRAs invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. Adding precious metals or other alternative assets to a portfolio can help reduce risk through diversification.

The gold IRA reviews below take into account the fact that gold IRAs are a niche investing product that usually require a larger portfolio allocation to precious metals than the 5% or less that financial advisors generally recommend. Even with a long time horizon, gold investors have no guarantee of making money on their investment. There is no guarantee the price of gold will continue to rise after you make your precious metal investment. Also keep in mind that once you reach age 72 and IRS rules dictate that you must take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your retirement accounts, you will need to either have your gold coins and gold bullion physically sent to you, which can mean incurring shipping and insurance costs, or liquidate a portion of your holdings. Most gold IRA companies offer a buyback program, meaning they will buy back the gold they sold you, but they buy back at the wholesale price, which can run around 30% lower than the prevailing retail price. Unexpected losses from gold investing could put a wrinkle in your retirement plan. If you’re unclear, consult with a financial advisor to determine whether a gold IRA investment or a silver IRA deserves a place in your retirement portfolio.

When choosing a reputable gold IRA company, transparency and customer feedback are important tools for evaluating what kind of experience you are likely to have. The top gold IRA companies offer unbiased educational resources and investor information and responsive customer support. Competitive and transparent pricing is another factor, as you want to avoid those with higher fees. Easy account setup is important, too. We evaluated more than a dozen gold IRA companies and have highlighted the best options for investors with various needs and levels of financial sophistication. Read our gold IRA reviews to discover if one of these is the right choice to diversify your portfolio. Remember that many of the companies below allow investors to access a selection of precious metals in their IRAs, not just gold.

Our Top Picks for Best Gold IRA Companies of 2022

Augusta Precious Metals – Best Overall

Orion Metal Exchange – Best for Low Fees

Birch Gold Group – Best for Fee Transparency

Oxford Gold Group – Best for Beginners

Noble Gold Investments – Best for Diverse Storage Options

Lear Capital – Best for Crypto Investors

Advantage Gold – Best for Customer Popularity

Best Gold IRA Company Reviews

Pros

  • Informative video content on site

  • Encourages diverse investment

  • Potential to have fees waived for 10 years

Cons

  • High ($50k) minimum purchase order

  • Sparse information about fees on website

Why We Chose It: Founded in 2012, Augusta Precious Metals gives investors a wealth of information about investing in precious metals. The company offers gold and silver investment options; it uses Delaware Depository — one of the more popular choices among gold IRA providers — to safeguard customers’ assets, which could include gold coins and gold bars.

Augusta Precious Metals has a lot of customer education on its site. Ironically enough, one of the attributes that makes this company rise to the top of our picks is its video-blog series of reasons why not to own gold. Many gold IRA companies use scare tactics or play on investors’ fear of a (highly unlikely) meltdown of the entire financial system and a wholesale collapse of the U.S. dollar.

Pros

  • No setup fees, annual fees or transfer fees

  • Low order minimum compared to the competition

  • No storage fees for up to three years

  • Choice of custodian and depository

  • A+ BBB grade

  • 4.9 TrustPilot rating

Cons

  • No info about custodial fees on site

  • Site suggests up to 20% of assets held in precious metals -- much riskier than conventional investing advice

Why We Chose It: Orion Metal Exchange does not charge customers fees for setting up an account, for annual maintenance or transferring funds, according to the company. Its in-house IRA professionals can establish an account over the phone within 10 minutes and the company works with all IRS-approved gold IRA custodial institutions. (Most of these charge a onetime $50 account set-up fee, and storage and insurance costs $170 a year on most gold IRA accounts, the company says.)

The company has a low $5,000 minimum for orders — some other gold IRA companies have order minimums as much as 10 times that amount — and a fee-free buyback policy. Online account information is available through the gold IRA custodian.

Pros

  • Website has simple and easy-to-find fee information

  • Multiple options for account custodian and depository facilities

  • Investors with large balances benefit from flat-rate fee structure

Cons

  • Asset transfer to set up account can take as long as a month

  • Flat fee structure can be pricey for small investors

Why We Chose It: The websites of most gold IRA companies are frustratingly opaque. Information about fees is often vague or entirely absent. Birch Gold Group is one of the few that lists its fees online, and it has the greatest amount of detail about both one-time fees as well as recurring annual fees. Its annual fees are a flat rate as opposed to a percentage of the value of the account, which is a benefit for people with large account balances but might be a drawback for small investors.

Founded in 2003, Birch Gold Group gives customers two choices for an account custodian — Equity Trust Company and STRATA Trust Company. For precious metal storage, customers can choose Delaware Depository or Brink’s Global Services.

Pros

  • Comprehensive consumer education resource library on site

  • More information than competitors geared towards novice investors

  • Online account access

Cons

  • AA BCA grade (top category is AAA)

Why We Chose It: Oxford Gold Group has a comprehensive suite of customer education tools and resources. Compared with other gold IRA companies, Oxford Gold Group has more information that seems tailored for people who are new to investing in precious metals, with definition of common terms like “spot price.”

Oxford Gold Group’s website says an account can be set up in as little as 24 hours. The company works with Delaware Depository and Brinks. The site says the annual fee is $180.

Pros

  • Fee information listed on website

  • Texas-based depository option

Cons

  • BB grade on BCA

Why We Chose It: Founded in 2016, Noble Gold Investments is a newer entrant to the marketplace of gold IRA companies. The site includes an accessible, non-jargony blog that includes a thorough encyclopedia of coins and bars available to buyers. Real-time account information is available through the gold IRA custodian. There is an $80 annual account fee and a $150 annual fee that covers insurance and segregated storage — meaning that customers’ individual holdings are stored individually.

Noble Gold Investments uses Delaware Depository and Brinks, two well-known depositories for precious metals, but the company also has its own depository in the state of Texas, a unique option for the physical location of customers’ precious metals.

Pros

  • Comprehensive investor info online

  • Frequent short-term promotions available

  • Crypto investing as well as precious metals

Cons

  • Little information about account fee details on website

  • Higher than average number of customer complaints on BBB website

Why We Chose It: Although it was founded in 1997, Lear Capital is firmly in the 21st century. A company spokesman says Lear Capital has offered investors the chance to put cryptocurrency as well as precious metals in their gold IRAs since 2018.

The company has a low $5,000 order minimum investment — some other companies have minimums of up to $50,000 — which might be a more manageable threshold for smaller investors.

Pros

  • Around 1,200 TrustPilot reviews

  • Top-notch scores on BBB and BCA

  • Multiple options for custodian and depository

Cons

  • No information about account fees on website

  • Outdated educational materials

Why We Chose It: Advantage Gold has top-notch reviews — and lots of them, with nearly 1,200 reviews on TrustPilot alone, a remarkable 98% of which are five-star.

Founded in 2014, the company offers gold, silver, platinum and palladium for sale. Customers get multiple choices when it comes to selecting a custodian and depository. Advantage works with STRATA Trust Company and Equity Trust Company as gold IRA account custodians, and Brinks Depository and Delaware Depository vaults.

Other Gold IRA Companies We Considered

American Hartford Gold is not on our main list because it has a higher spread — the difference between how much it pays to buy metal and how much it charges customers for that same metal — than some other companies.

Red Rock Secured is not on our main list because there is very little information available on its website about costs or fees.

Goldco is not on our main list because its time estimate to complete a rollover (two weeks) is slower than that of some other companies and there is very little information on its site about costs or fees for this Los Angeles, California-based company.

Lexi Capital is not on our main list because the company does not keep “regular” phone hours, as per its website, but requires exchanges or returns to be approved by phone within three days.

Patriot Gold Group is not on our main list because it employs scare tactics, telling people to buy metals “before the dollar collapses.” It has very few customer reviews on TrustPilot or the BBB.

Gold IRA Guide

A gold IRA is a niche investment product, a specialized IRA that can help diversify an investment portfolio because precious metals are considered a hedge against inflation by many investors. Indeed, many investors consider gold as an investment to beat inflation. But make sure to do your due diligence when researching whether a precious metals IRA account makes sense for part of your retirement funds.

A gold IRA — which can also include silver, platinum and palladium — is distinctive because the account holder owns the actual precious metals rather than stocks or shares of funds in mining companies.

The expenses associated with a gold IRA can be higher than for conventional retirement accounts because there are costs incurred to manage the account, including maintenance fees, as well as to warehouse and insure the gold. Precious metals can also be volatile investments and do not generate income, unlike dividend-earning assets.

What is a gold IRA?

A gold IRA is a tax-preferred investment vehicle, similar to a traditional IRA where you might hold stocks, bonds or mutual funds. The difference is that a gold IRA is a self-directed IRA. It’s the only option for holding precious metals in an IRA account. According to IRS regulations, self-directed IRAs can hold alternative investments such as precious metals. For this reason, you might see the term “precious metals IRA” used instead of gold IRA. The former is technically a little more accurate, but the phrase “gold IRA” is the one that tends to stick in the public imagination. (In their tax treatment, a gold IRA is different from a Roth IRA, which is an after-tax savings vehicles. See Money’s picks for best Roth IRA accounts.)

How does a gold IRA work?

Besides you, there are a few participants in the process of setting up a gold IRA. You will open up a new account and buy the precious metals you want to invest in from a gold IRA company like the ones highlighted here. If you elect to fund the account with assets currently in another IRA, they will help you manage the rollover seamlessly (more on that process below). The gold IRA company will then help coordinate the participation of the financial firm that acts as the account custodian, as well as the depository where your metals will be physically stored. Some gold IRA companies will require you to work with the custodian and depository they choose; others let you choose between two or more.

What is a gold IRA rollover?

If you have an existing IRA, 401(k) or comparable defined-contribution account such as a 403(b), you can transfer some or all of that money into a gold IRA without triggering a tax liability or penalties. The gold IRA company you choose will help you initiate that rollover. If you’re unsure, take some time to learn the difference between an IRA vs. 401(k).

Bear in mind, though, that if you are rolling over the entire balance of a conventional account containing stocks, bonds and/or mutual funds, you are essentially converting an account that is able to generate income and that gives you access to a diversity of assets into an account that is less liquid, non-income-generating and less diverse. A diverse portfolio is important. Some companies refer to their gold IRAs as “diverse” because you can hold more than one kind of precious metal in it. From an investing perspective, though, this is not a truly diverse investing product because precious metals are effectively the same asset class.

How can you invest in a gold IRA?

The primary role of the gold IRA company you select is to sell you the precious metals in your IRA account. You can choose a mix of gold and silver, and some gold IRA companies also have platinum and palladium available that you can buy and hold in your IRA. When you must begin taking required minimum distributions, you can elect to either liquidate the gold or have it shipped to you. In most cases, you will pay for shipping, so make sure to factor in that expense.

Most gold IRA companies will buy back gold or other precious metals they sold you, but buybacks are generally conducted at the wholesale price, which is about a third cheaper than the retail or “spot” price. Keep in mind that these are niche companies that focus on precious metals — it’s up to you and a trusted advisor to decide whether gold makes sense in the context of your existing retirement investment portfolio. Gold IRA companies aren’t investment companies that have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest, and their sales representatives don’t provide holistic IRA services.

How do you hold physical gold in an IRA?

Unlike gold ETFs, a gold IRA lets you hold the physical precious metals. The IRS has approved a number of precious metal coins and bars manufactured by the U.S. Mint, the corresponding agency of certain other countries, or designated private minting companies that can be held in a gold IRA. The metals must be held in an IRS-approved depository institution. (They can’t be kept in an account holder’s home or safe deposit box.) If you want more flexibility with your precious metals, here are other ways how to buy gold outside an IRA. If you prefer paper assets and don’t want to own physical gold, learn how to buy a gold ETF, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the performance of gold.

Gold IRA FAQ

What is IRA approved gold?

The IRS has extremely detailed regulations about size, weight, design and metal purity that govern which coins and bars can be held in a gold IRA. The aim of these precise requirements is to ensure that people are keeping investment-grade assets in their accounts, rather than collectibles.

What is the best gold IRA?

The "best" gold IRA is a subjective metric. You want to seek out investments that will help diversify your portfolio and mitigate risk. It's important to do your research first, and avoid gold IRA companies that use high-pressure sales pitches or rely on scare tactics to push people into investments that aren't right for them.

What are gold IRA companies?

Gold IRA companies are essentially precious metals brokers. They sell IRS-approved coins and bars for you to put in a gold IRA. Many sell non-IRA precious metal coins and bars to collectors, as well. Although many present themselves as advisory in nature, read the fine print: The agents with whom you interact are not registered investment professionals and are most likely paid via sales commissions. They are not fiduciaries, which means they have no legal obligation to act in your best interest.

Like other tax-preferred retirement savings vehicles, you buy the assets that will be held in the IRA with pre-tax dollars. You are taxed only when you take distributions. If you have to take RMDs and don't have liquid assets to pay the required taxes, you could have to sell some of your precious metals, which could lead to a loss if the value of those metals falls.

Why keep gold in an IRA?

Some investors believe there is less risk to holding actual precious metals rather than stocks in gold mining companies or ETFs based on gold. Gold prices can be volatile, though, and gold doesn't provide any income through dividends, so if you are considering a gold IRA, it's important to do so in the context of a broader strategy to manage and grow your wealth, and set realistic expectations about how much those investments can grow and how long you should expect to hold those assets before selling or liquidating.

How We Evaluated the Best Gold IRA Companies

We evaluated gold IRA companies’ websites, along with consumer advocacy organizations the Better Business Bureau and Business Consumer Alliance, as well as consumer-review sites such as TrustPilot. We evaluated the gold IRA companies’ reputation, transparency and the quality of online education and resources provided.

Summary of Money’s Best Gold IRA Companies

Augusta Precious Metals – Best Overall

Orion Metal Exchange – Best for Low Fees

Birch Gold Group – Best for Fee Transparency

Oxford Gold Group – Best for Beginners

Noble Gold Investments – Best for Diverse Storage Options

Lear Capital – Best for Crypto Investors

Advantage Gold – Best for Customer Popularity

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How to Buy Gold

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