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Finding a trustworthy company to do business is not easy. Especially more challenging to trust when it involves an exchange of your money.
If you’ve decided to invest in gold and came across APMEX, it’s natural to wonder if it’s a reputable company.
So, in this review, we’ll cover the following:
- Is APMEX legit and safe to buy from?
- Is there a shady reason behind their name change?
- The process and costs
- Lots more
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Why Did APMEX Change Its Name?
Clearly, this might seem like a huge red flag.
While it’s true that many shady companies change their names after being involved in some sort of scandal or lawsuit, that’s not the case here.
But let’s back up for a minute and explore a little of APMEX’s background and its founder.
Scott Thomas was influenced by his grandfather, who sold precious metals and coins through a mail-order catalog, and decided to start his own business in 2000.
Interestingly enough, he began on eBay platform and became so successful that it took over the former Federal Reserve Building in Oklahoma City for its headquarters.
Now, Thomas original called his company ‘American Precious Metals Exchange’.
When they launched their own website in 2004, they decided to change the name to APMEX, one that was much shorter and more tech-sounding.
As you can see, this was all about branding and nothing to do with fraudulent behavior.
So, that’s a green flag.
Now, let’s address other worries you may have when dealing with this precious metal dealer.
Concerns About Online-Only Aspect
Let’s face it:
With the events that took place a couple of years ago, online shopping is more common than ever. But it’s understandable why you’d be a bit nervous.
Especially since it’s your money we’re talking about here.
A common concern is to share your private personal information to someone on the Internet. Again, that’s understandable.
As someone who’s been in the online business world for several years, sadly I can confirm that there are a lot of scams or fraudulent online companies.
And that’s why it’s extremely important to dig deep when doing research to make sure that whoever you’re dealing with is legit.
Here are some tips for you to avoid being defrauded:
1) Double-check that they have a physical address and phone number prominently listed on its website.
2) Checking online reviews, reading forums, as well as BBB and BCA ratings is another way to protect yourself.
Another thing you should know about is that just because a business is online-only, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a scam.
Most people do that to keep their costs low.
In APMEX’s case, they fully embraced its status as an online store and even launched their own app.
If you’re one of the risk-averse people, then having an agent call you and help with your order can help alleviate some of your fears.
And if you’re one of those who does everything online, then ordering gold and precious metals through the website or app won’t be a problem for you at all.
And last thing:
Remember that just because a company is legit, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Always think about what your true needs and requests are.
Before we go any further, we want to be clear that they don’t offer Gold IRAs.
However, they do have partnerships with a number of custodians.
This means that you can open an individual retirement account through one of their partners and then purchase your IRS-approved products through the website.
If you’re like us, this sounds like adding an additional step to the process.
Personally, we’d rather deal with a company that can take care of all of our investing needs without having to direct us to a third-party partner.
The minimum purchase amount allowed by them is a very reasonable $2,000. To make a purchase, you simply need to establish an account in their online store.
You’ll be asked for identifying information like your name and address along with your banking details.
For those who are uncomfortable buying expensive items like gold and precious metals online, there is a toll-free phone number available.
However, that number is a customer service line, so it’s not likely that you could consistently call to place your order with an agent.
The system is set up in a way to have its sales processed through its online store or its app.
Fees and Costs
APMEX has a reputation for offering a wide range of coins, bullion, and bars at some of the lowest prices.
But what are the costs you should know about?
It’s shipping, handling, and insurance charges.
- free shipping on domestic orders for over $199
- $9.95 shipping fee on orders under $199
- $9.95 shipping fee on Citadel orders under $500
There have been some complaints online about the $35 fee charged with each transaction.
The good news is that the more you do business with them, the lower will be the fees.
As a Gold Level Customer, you could even receive free shipping as a loyalty perk.
If you plan on investing with them, be sure to enroll in the loyalty program to enjoy lower fees and other bonuses.
If you choose to open a gold IRA, then any associated fees will be charged by their custodian partners, not the company you’re buying your assets from.
But if you want our honest opinion, we recommend going with firms whose specialty are Gold IRAs.
#1 Recommended Gold IRA Company in the US
(With the lowest fees and strongest reputation!)
Overall, the fees and costs associated with APMEX are in line with other precious metal dealers or slightly lower.
(Keep in mind that when shopping with them, the state taxes will also apply.)
Ratings and Reviews
Unfortunately, some of the reviews that are posted online aren’t very favorable towards the firm.
But listen, we all know that there are some people who just love to complain about everything.
However, with the number of negative reviews and ratings, it does give one pause.
There are a number of other reputable precious metals companies that have mostly positive reviews, so this could be a red flag.
On the other hand, it is a volume dealer.
And, it does make sense that the more transactions that they conduct and the more customers that they have, they might have more negative reviews than other smaller volume companies.
Those were mostly about the issues with the firm’s customer service team and none of the ratings indicated that the company is a fraud or a scam.
APMEX gets good reviews when it comes to the breadth of its product offerings and its in-house self-minted line of gold and silver coins and bars.
If you are more of a coin collector than an investor, this online store might be of your dreams!
You may wonder, is it safe to buy gold from APMEX?
We think it is, despite some complaints.
If we take a look at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Business-Consumer Alliance (BCA), there are a few complaints that we should mention.
So, it’s not good news from BCA.
They give the company a “D” rating due to the number of complaints lodged against them.
These are more of the damaged goods or shipping mishap types, and in no way disprove that it is legit.
One user complains about having difficulty paying with an eCheck.
Another says that the plastic holder containing the coin they ordered was damaged.
A Gold Level Customer left a review complaining about having to pay for shipping and handling even though they’re a longtime and loyal customer.
The BBB rates them an “A” with a 3.87 rating out of a possible 5, based on 187 reviews.
Of note, APMEX has been registered with the BBB since 2004 and you will see its original name ‘American Precious Metals Exchange’ there.
Now, there’s also a less-than-favorable online profile of this business.
To date, Trustpilot has received 7,803 reviews from consumers and gives a score of 2.1 stars.
It’s important to note that APMEX has 88% of 5-star reviews, but the reason why Trustpilot rates it this low is because it also considers other factors like age, number of reviews, and whether or not a company asks customers to leave reviews.
The negative responses were about customer service issues, not receiving orders at all, receiving the wrong product, not getting refunds, and the like.
We’ll be honest:
Paying for a product that’s never received is becoming more of a concern among investors.
All we can say about this is to make sure that you only deal with reputable companies.
It also makes sense to make sure that anything that you order is already in stock and ready to ship. You don’t ever want to pay for a product that the seller doesn’t have in their possession.
Overall, we can’t accuse this firm of running scams, fraud, or deceit because so far there’s nothing that seriously point to that.
Opening a Gold IRA With Them?
While APMEX is a pretty popular as a precious metal dealer, they wouldn’t be our top pick in terms of Gold IRAs.
If this is more of interest to you, then look into Augusta Precious Metals.
This company has been doing business for nearly 20 years, which is a decent amount of time.
They offer a huge range of products, from IRS-approved coins and bullion to collectors’ items popular with numismatists.
If you were to go with APMEX specifically to open a gold individual retirement account, then you’d have unnecessary extra steps.
Meanwhile Augusta has the products, tools, and expertise that investors can rely on when it comes to adding physical assets to their overall investment portfolios and letting 99% of the paper to be done by this team.
But again, it all depends on your wants and needs.
Now we’d like to hear from YOU:
- Have you had any negative experience with APMEX?
- Is it a trustworthy company in your opinion?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!