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Bullionvault is one of the largest online dealers of precious metals in the world. In fact, they serve over 65,000 people throughout 175 countries. But are they actually the best company you can work with? Are their services everything they claim to be?
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Bullionvault is owned by the parent company Galmarley Limited. It was created in 2003, meaning that it has been in operation for nearly two decades. In addition to Galmarley Limited, the World Gold Council and Augmentum Capital both have partial ownership.
As mentioned, the company serves 65,000 clients in countries all over the globe. They also have thousands of reviews online. Since they are mainly based in the US, they do have a page with the Better Business Bureau. But the majority of customer reviews can be found on Trustpilot, where they have a 4.7 out of 5 star average rating.
The company has about $2 billion worth of bullion stored across five international vaults. In 2008, they became part of the London Bullion Market Association. As a private customer, individuals can purchase and sell their precious metals.
There are also educational materials available online through the Bullionvault website. These are meant to help people learn about the benefits of precious metals investment. The company has a Youtube channel where they post tutorials to precious metals trading. They also discuss what you should do to safely buy bullion.
In addition to being available in English, Bullionvault's website has been translated into seven other languages. You can browse the available precious metals by filtering by things like the storage location, weight of the units, and minimum order size.
Since Bullionvault is an international dealer, they accept payment in four different currencies. You can use any of these currencies for any order, no matter what the actual storage location of the metals is.
The selection of available products is somewhat limited. You can choose from six different coins. When you make an account, you can view the history of your purchases and activity. You can even sort your purchases by date, currency, price, quantity, value, and type of order.
The "Investment" tab on the website will show you a purchase guide. This is meant to help you determine which purchases are right for your particular needs. Additional investment plans and guides are available to peruse at your leisure.
Like many other precious metals dealers, Bullionvault works closely with storage companies to store their customers' items. Bullionvault has five main storage locations. One is located in the US, while the other four are positioned internationally.
The US location is in New York. Other locations are in Switzerland, Canada, the UK, and Singapore. Once you open an account at one of these vaults, you'll be able to track your holdings online. All of the vaults are highly secure and go through regular auditing processes. In addition, every account is fully insured for the value of the metals.
You can choose whatever vault location most appeals to you, regardless of your location. Some US investors may choose the New York vault because it's closest to home. But others might want to place their items over the border in Toronto, Canada. Still others might choose to use the Singapore vault because of the unique tax advantages that Singapore has.
If you want to have your metals shipped to you, you can do that. Keep in mind that the further the vault is from you, the more expensive you can expect the shipping to be. You'll also need to consider whether international shipping might cause any issues with customs, depending upon your country's regulations and taxes.
As with most online trading platforms, you can expect to pay certain fees when you're investing with Bullionvault. Some of these fees may be lower than with the competition, while others are somewhat higher.
There are several aspects of Bullionvault that are totally free. You can register an account and view live price charts for free. It's free to transfer funds in from your bank account, and it's free to close your account if you decide that you no longer need to partake of Bullionvault's services.
You will need to pay a few costs for storage. For combined insurance and gold storage, the fee is $4 per month. At $48 per year, that is much lower than many of the competitors. However, if you store silver, you have to pay 0.48% of your holdings.
Percentage-based fees aren't ideal because that means that the more money you have, the more you pay. The more silver you acquire, the higher your fees will be. It's basically like you're being punished for investing in silver instead of gold. This may be because silver takes up more space than gold, but it's an unusual choice when it comes to fee structuring.
Another fee comes when you withdraw your gold. You can close your Bullionvault account for free, but you can't withdraw your metals for free. If you remove your bars from the vault and have them shipped to you, then you have to pay 2.5% of the total value. If you're getting smaller bars of 100 grams shipped to you, then you have to pay up to 6%. If the bars are non-standard size, you'll pay a whopping 7.5%.
Depending on the type of items you have, that can be significantly more than you were planning.
None of those fees even get into the penalty charges you might face. These are fees that you won't necessarily incur with your account, but that you might incur if certain issues arise. Some examples include:
There are also certain commission fees whether you're buying or selling gold. You must purchase a minimum of 1 gram of gold. For the first $75,000 worth of gold bought every year, the commission fee is 0.5%. Between $75,000 and $150,000, the fee goes down to 0.1%. After that, the fee drops to 0.05%. The same commissions apply to sales of gold by the customer.
Once the year is over, the commission rate resets to the 0.5% setting again. Another fee involves the transfer of funds to your bank account. While you can fund your account for free, transferring funds out of your account through a bank wire transfer has a flat fee of $10.
While the commission fees are lower than many in the industry, it can be frustrating to have them reset every year. All in all, the fee structure isn't super friendly to casual investors, especially those interested in silver.
Is Bullionvault a Scam?
Bullionvault is not a scam. Not only do they provide the services they claim to, but they also have a good reputation in the industry. They are one of the largest online precious metals dealers in the world and have thousands of positive online reviews. In addition, they have been operating for a long time.
There is also a physical location for the company. If you call to set up an appointment, you can come to buy bullion in person. The storage vaults available are all secure and can be visited with advance notice. Since your gold all belongs exclusively to you, you can have it mailed to you whenever you choose.
Their BBB page is a different story from their Trustpilot page, however. On Trustpilot, they have a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars based on several thousand reviews. The company has responded to negative feedback with more information and an attempt to resolve the issue.
That isn't the case with their BBB page. There's just one customer review, but it gives 1 out of 5 stars. There's also just one official complaint from the past three years, but the business has never responded to it. Because of this, they have a B- rating, rather than the perfect A+ that most businesses strive for.
First off, let's note that it is impressive for a business of this scope to have only one BBB complaint filed against them. When you run one of the biggest precious metals dealerships in the country, you can expect to have occasional negative feedback. The lack of complaints shows that Bullionvault tries to take care of customers before the situation ever reaches a point of third party complaint.
Next, let's note that the company did respond to the initial complaint. But the customer said that the response didn't actually describe their issue, and therefore the company needed to address the real problem. The BBB marked the complaint as unanswered when the company failed to do this.
The complaint was filed on March 16, 2021. In it, the customer said that they had created their Bullionvault multiple years ago. They used funds from an LLC account for the funding. When the funds were deposited, Bullionvault stated that the corporate information about the bank account needed to match the original registration.
The customer requested that their account remain registered to an individual, not a company. But Bullionvault refused. The customer showed them a bank statement matching the registration and asked that the funds be returned to the LLC account. Then the individual bank account could be used instead.
The customer said that the operations manager was passive aggressive and that the policy made no sense, but that they wanted to comply with the corporate disclosure request. But the operations manager never called back. The customer asked why they weren't receiving a call back, and was supposedly told that the company could do whatever it wanted without needing a legal justification.
At this time, the customer was also told that it would take two weeks for the funds to transfer back. They were unhappy about this because they wanted a faster process, like a bank wire transfer. They stated that they had made simple requests but had had their time wasted by all of the registration issues.
The customer concluded by saying that if there was an issue with the registration, then the check from the LLC should never have been deposited in the first place. That would have saved all the headache and hassle.
The company left a response on April 9, 2021. They stated that if the customer would like to make a new individual account and fund it from a personal bank, it would be easy to validate with an individual ID and bank statement.
However, the company also stated that they had operated exactly as their policies dictated. The bank details and identification of the customer needed to be verified before any purchases could be made with the deposited funds. The company pointed to several pages on their website that explain this.
It is an important part of the process because it helps the company to protect themselves against fraudulent activity. It also protects the customer against other people wrongfully using their account.
Most customers use their personal banking account to transfer funds, so they don't run into the same issue that this customer did. However, if the funds come from a corporation, then Bullionvault needs extra proof about the corporate entity and its key officers.
The response concluded by saying that the account had always been in the LLC's name and never registered in the customer's personal name. In addition, the company didn't have records of being asked to call the customer.
The customer said that this response was not satisfactory for one reason. The company had made it sound as though the customer had never sent the account information they were asked for. But the customer said they had tried to answer the questions, as well as to fund the account from a different source.
Despite complying with the requests, the customer said that they were subject to frustrating time wasting. They also said that the company never took this into account, and that they could provide emails proving it.
The company never responded to this. But it does seem fairly easy to avoid this issue. All you need to do is fund your account from a personal bank rather than an LLC. As many people don't have an LLC lying around with extra funds, this shouldn't be too difficult.
Pros & Cons of Bullionvault
Bullionvault is a solid company with a solid reputation in the precious metals world. They work hard to maintain a good working relationship with their customers. Most of their online feedback is positive, and when customers have left negative reviews, the company has worked with them to find a resolution.
However, there are a few potential drawbacks. Though the company has responded to negative Trustpilot reviews, they haven't responded to a complaint with the BBB. They wrote an initial response, but the customer said that their response did not reflect the actual complaint. Since then, there has been no further response. This has caused them to have a B- rating with the BBB.
In addition, the company has more fees than some of the competitors. The fee structure may also not be as straightforward. And if you're investing for an IRA, you might be better off working with a company that exclusively specializes in IRAs.
For these reasons, we ultimately recommend that you work with one of the top competitors instead. But Bullionvault does seem to be solidly managed.
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