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Personal Finance Gold

5 Best Gold IRA Companies: Compare & Review Accounts

Updated Feb 29, 2024   |   12-min read

Investing in gold can be a smart way to diversify your portfolio, reduce your overall risk, and protect your wealth in the long run. Gold individual retirement accounts (IRA) are one method of investing in these precious metals.

Many institutions offer gold-backed IRA accounts, so it’s important to compare your options before investing. You can compare and review some top choices below.

It’s important to choose the right company so that you can maximize the benefits of your gold IRA account. Check out the reviews of our picks for the best gold IRA companies.

Best overall: American Hartford Gold

Editorial Rating: 5 out of 5

  • A+ rating from BBB
  • Over $1 billion of precious metals delivered with thousands of satisfied customers
  • Lowest price guarantee & no buy-back fees
  • Offers up to $10,000 in free Silver

About the company

American Hartford Gold is headquartered out of Los Angeles, California, and has been in business for six years. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and 4.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot as of February 15, 2024.

Resources and support

If you want to keep up with precious metal prices, American Hartford Gold can help you do just that. The company has an entire section of its website dedicated to gold, silver, and platinum price charts, as well as market news.

If you need to better understand how the company helps you open your gold IRA account, there are plenty of resources dedicated to providing those answers.

Our call with the company included speaking to two representatives, both of which provided clear next steps and answers to our questions. Pricing and market conditions were explained in detail and left us hanging up with no unanswered questions.

Fees

The representative we spoke with informed us that there would be a flat, $180 annual fee once the account was opened.

Bottom line

American Hartford Gold offers a great product that performed highly in our research. But don’t take our word on it, its customers have been leaving excellent reviews for years, making it our choice as the best gold IRA company.

If you’re ready to get started opening an account with American Hartford Gold, you can click here or speak to a representative at (866) 525-9625.


Best risk-free guarantee: Lear Capital

Editorial Rating: 4.7 out of 5

  • Has handled $3 billion in trusted transactions
  • Handy online tools and resources
  • A+ rating with the BBB
  • Talk to a representative at (888) 476-6140

About the company

Lear Capital has been in the precious metals business for nearly a quarter of a century and has served over 91,000 customers in that timeframe. The company has a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau and 4.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot as of February 15, 2024.

Resources and support

The company is big on educating its customers. Lear’s website has resources that include news, price charts, and even a precious metal encyclopedia. There are also handy tools, like the portfolio comparison calculator and the minimum distribution estimator, to help you make the best financial decisions.

Fees

According to a representative from the company, the first-year fee is $260. After that, there is an annual fee of $180. If you open an IRA with over $25,000, Lear Capital will cover the first-year fees (insurance, storage, and shipping).

Bottom line

Lear Capital stood out in our analysis for its positive reviews from its customers. While other companies reviewed have similar BBB and Trustpilot ratings, none had as many positive reviews as Lear Capital.

The company also offers a 24-hour risk-free purchase guarantee which gives customers 24 hours to review their purchase before making a commitment. If you want to sell back your metals, you can do so through its zero-cost buyback program.

If you’re ready to get started opening an account with Lear Capital, you can click here.

Best for platinum or palladium: Oxford Gold Group

Editorial Rating: 4.6 out of 5

  • Talk to a representative at (877) 544-1523
  • Can have your account set up in 24 hours after receiving a completed application
  • Offers a variety of educational content to keep account holders up to speed on the industry

About the company

The Oxford Gold Group has been in operation since 2017 and specializes in gold and precious metal IRAs, as well as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium home deliveries. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and a 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot, based on customer reviews, as of February 15, 2024.

Resources and support

Oxford takes a very education-forward approach to its services. The company offers loads of explainer videos, informative articles, and an entire learning center to help investors make the best choices for their finances.

A representative we spoke to from the company was extremely helpful in explaining how opening an account would work, how fees are charged and where they go, and how Oxford Gold Group helps you during the life of your account.

The company received our highest score for both its educational resources and customer support.

Fees

According to the representative we spoke with, there is a $325 fee for the first year and a $180 annual fee for each year after that.

Bottom line

Our analysis of Oxford Gold Group left us impressed with the company and the product it offers. In addition to an excellent collection of educational resources, the company offers an excellent collection of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bars.

If you’re ready to get started opening an account with Oxford Gold Group, you can click here or call a representative at (877) 544-1523.


Best buy-back guarantee: Goldco

Editorial Rating: 4.6 out of 5

  • A minimum account balance of $25,000 is required
  • A+ rating with the BBB

About the company

Goldco has been in business for 14 years and focuses on gold and silver IRAs, while also offering the ability to purchase gold and silver coins and bars. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and a 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot as of February 15, 2024.

Resources and support

Goldco has a large collection of educational resources for those interested in learning about a gold IRA and precious metals. Resources include price charts, eBooks, videos, articles, and FAQs.

We spoke with a representative from the company that spent several minutes discussing how a gold IRA would work and how a promotional offer at the time would be handled for earning free silver. We were also offered several resources to help us learn more about the account before getting started if needed.

The company received our highest rating for both its educational resources and customer support.

Fees

The representative we spoke with informed us that the first-year fee would be $260, followed by an annual fee of $180 for each year after that.

A minimum account balance of $25,000 is needed to open an account.

Bottom line

Goldco claims to offer the highest price for metals it buys back from clients. It even includes a badge promoting this promise on its website.

If you’re ready to get started opening an account with Goldco, you can click here.


Best intro offer: Augusta Precious Metals

Editorial Rating: 4.7 out of 5

  • Opening a new IRA account can qualify you for free gold
  • Requires a minimum of $50,000 in metals to open an account

About the company

Augusta Precious Metals stands on three commitments: transparency, simplicity, and service. It’s received several positive reviews across multiple platforms.

Resources and support

Augusta Precious Metals has a decent collection of resources on its website. The resources that stood out the most were the FAQs that provided clear answers to some common industry questions.

Fees

The representative we spoke with didn’t mention an increased fee for the first year like other companies, but we recommend planning for an increased fee for setting up your account as that seems standard in the industry.

The setup fee should be around $50, while storage will likely cost about $200 per year.

Bottom line

Augusta Precious Metals has great reviews and competitive pricing. It offers a deal where new account holders can earn free gold.

If you’re ready to get started opening an account with Augusta Precious Metals, you can click here.


How a gold IRA works

To invest in physical gold with a retirement account, you’ll need a self-directed IRA. These are the only IRA accounts that allow you to purchase hard assets, including precious metals, real estate, businesses, and more. Legally, these IRA accounts have to have what’s called a “custodian” — a bank or other institution to keep records of the account, handle disbursements, and report to the IRS regarding it.

To fund a gold IRA, you have two options. You can roll over or transfer funds from an IRA, 401k, 403b, and 457b accounts, or you can contribute directly to the account — up to $7,000 per year, depending on your age.

Once your IRA is funded, you’ll choose the precious metals you’d like to buy and direct your custodian to make the purchase using your account. They’ll be able to recommend a storage facility where your purchases can be stored.

You can technically withdraw money from your IRA at any point, though if you do so before reaching age 59.5, you will owe a 10% penalty.

You can learn more by reading our guide on how gold IRAs work.

What is the best gold IRA?

As with searching for any new financial product, determining which gold IRA is the best depends on your situation. When considering different accounts, here are a few things to consider:

  • Initial transfer and setup fees
  • Annual management fees
  • Storage fees
  • Availability of customer support
  • Knowledge and investment resources
  • Past customer reviews 

To help you compare several accounts, we did our own research that can be used as a starting point. Based on our analysis, American Hartford Gold was determined to be the best gold IRA. To learn more about how we determined this, click here.

How has gold performed over the years?

Gold prices are up over the last few decades, though there have been some dips during that time. As of February 15, 2024, gold’s current value is about $2,003.85 an ounce.

Historically, the stock market has seen greater returns than gold and silver, but since 2000, gold and silver have seen greater returns than the Dow Jones and S&P 500.

Past performance is not an indicator of future performance, so make sure not to base your decision solely on historical data. Check out some of the reasons for investing in gold in the following section.

What are reasons for opening a gold IRA account?

Here are some common reasons that people invest in precious metals, such as gold and silver:

  • To diversify your portfolio: Investing all of your money into a single investment or asset is risky. If you have a portfolio without precious metals, a gold IRA can be an option for additional diversification.
  • Protection from inflation: When the U.S. dollar drops in value, so does your purchasing power. Gold investments can protect against this loss as it has historically outpaced the value of the dollar.
  • Economic security: If the economy (or stock market) takes a turn, having your money in gold can potentially reduce your losses. This protection is likely considered most by those nearing retirement in an effort to reduce the risk of loss in their portfolio. Learn more with our gold IRAs for seniors guide.
  • As an investment looking for growth: The price of gold has risen steadily over the last few years, including reaching its highest price ever in 2020.

Gold is generally considered a safe investment that can withstand severe market fluctuations and downturns.

>> Read More: How to start investing in a gold IRA

Can I only hold gold in my gold IRA?

Since gold IRAs are technically self-directed IRAs, gold bars and coins aren’t the only things you can hold in these accounts. Also referred to as precious metals IRAs, you can purchase other precious metals, like silver, platinum, or palladium, or you can put the funds into real estate, commodities, tax liens, partnerships, and more.

However, you can’t invest it in collectibles, antiques, gems, stamps, or life insurance, among other things.

Is there a minimum investment to open a gold IRA?

The minimum investment depends on the institution offering the gold IRA. The IRS doesn’t have minimum investments, but it does have annual maximums. These depend on your age and typically go up to $7,000 per year.

What is IRS-approved gold?

Per IRS rules, only certain types of gold and precious metals can be held in an IRA. JM Bullion has a good list you can use to guide your investments. You won’t be able to use your IRA funds to purchase metals not on this list, as they have not been deemed pure enough.

Make sure to look out for gold IRA scams

As you go about your search for a gold IRA company, always do your due diligence. Scams are rampant in the gold IRA business, and it could mean significant loss if you fall victim.

Common signs of a scam include very pushy sales tactics, talks of “rare” or “collectible” coins (these aren’t IRS-approved), or murky and misleading contracts. Some companies will also sell fake IRAs, duping you into transferring your funds into an unknown account, while others will feign gold purchases, instead funneling the money into their own business.

To safeguard your cash, only do business with a legitimate, credible, and trusted company, like the six mentioned below.

How we determined the best gold IRA companies

Our ratings for the gold IRA companies above were determined by reviewing companies based on several factors. These factors included BBB rating, Trustpilot rating, fees, educational resources, customer support, collection of precious metal coins and bars, and more.

Once a score was assigned, we then identified where each company stood out amongst its competitors to create our picks for what each company was the best for.

Here is a recap of our picks for the best gold IRA accounts:

CompanyRatingOur pick
American Hartford Gold5/5Best overall
Oxford Gold Group4.7/5Best for platinum and palladium
Goldco4.6/5Best buy-back guarantee
Augusta Precious Metals4.7/5Best intro offer
Lear Capital4.7/5Best risk-free guarantee