American Bullion is a precious metals dealer specializing in gold IRAs. It's possible to hold precious metals in a retirement account, provided you comply with IRS regulations. Companies like this help you with the setup and rollover paperwork so that the process is easier.
But what do customers have to say about American Bullion? Is it the best company to work with? How does it compare to other gold IRA dealers in the industry?
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About American Bullion
American Bullion is a precious metals dealer that focuses on retirement accounts. Their main clientele is made up of people who have bought gold and silver for their retirement. And with more than a decade in the business, American Bullion was one of the first companies to offer precious metals IRA services.
They may have been the pioneer, but precious metals IRAs are a highly competitive industry now. There are a ton of competitors who offer similar services with slightly different fee structures and pricing models.
When you open up a precious metals IRA, you can purchase a variety of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium products with the funds. American Bullion's staff helps clients determine which investments are best for them. In addition to having educational resources available for free, staff can answer questions and make suggestions based on your unique needs.
The inventory includes every European and US coin dated prior to 1933, which will appeal to historic collectors. There is also a wide range of modern bullion across multiple different types of precious metal.
The company has an in-house IRA Department that's made up of experts in precious metals IRAs. They know everything about the rules, regulations, and benefits of a gold IRA. This department is dedicated to helping customers with the minutiae and setup of their accounts.
There is also an Operations Department responsible for overall customer service. The Operations Department ensures that all components of the company keep running smoothly. They're the ones who help to resolve any consumer issues after a purchase.
History of the Company
The company was co-founded by Nevtan Akcora and Orkan Ozkan, two people who had already spent years working as commodities brokers. After so much time in the finance industry, they realized that precious metals were a necessary hedge against inflation, stock market volatility, and risky intangible assets.
They created the company with a strong focus on IRAs. The average person doesn't have a lot of money on hand to drop on a precious metals portfolio, but they might have a retirement account with ample funds.
Prior to American Bullion's entry into the market, precious metals IRAs were extremely inaccessible. There were no brokers doing what this company was doing: streamlining the IRA process and zeroing in on retirement account holders. Precious metals IRAs have technically been available since 1997, but many people simply didn't have the financial background to use them.
American Bullion was the company responsible for popularizing the term "Gold IRA." Their streamlined model has also been studied and improved upon by other companies since.
When they started in 2009, they partnered with a custodial company and depository company. This made them the first company that could connect customers to a custodian, a depository, and precious metals products all at the same time.
In 2013, American Bullion paved the way for another first. They started accepting customer payments in Bitcoin before any other precious metals dealer ever had. Bitcoin was so new at this point that most people hadn't even heard of it.
In 2014, the company launched an annual scholarship program. This is a program that is designed to help poor students that need help with financial aid.
Over the next few years, the company won several awards from third party organizations for being one of the best in the industry. In 2018, the company was legitimized even further when a former deputy director for the US Mint joined as the official spokesman.
Just because they were the first to streamline the gold IRA process, doesn't necessarily mean that they've kept up with the times. What qualifications does American Bullion have that establish it as a continued expert in the industry?
Here are some of the qualifications:
Since 2014, American Bullion has been offering scholarships to students needing financial help. Any current undergraduate student going to school in the US is eligible to apply.
Students can apply with an essay between 500 and 1,000 words long. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship. A team of company executives will decide on who wins.
The winner of the scholarship every year has their essay printed and their name featured on American Bullion's website, social media pages, and other online presences.
IRA Services Setup
When you want to create and fund a precious metals IRA, there are three steps outlined on the website. You can also call the customer service team with questions if you need help with any part of the process.
The first step is to fill out your shipping and transaction agreement. This is a legal requirement that authorizes American Bullion to fill out the paperwork for your account. They will also be able to make gold purchases that you authorize. The purchases will then be shipped to a secure depository that has been approved by the IRS for precious metals IRAs.
The next step is to do the self-directed IRA application. This form is conveniently available on the American Bullion website. It will be filed with their partner company Strata Trust Company, which is a licensed custodian. Strata Trust Company will then be responsible for maintaining your account and providing you with updates about your holdings.
Since American Bullion is only partnered with one custodial company, that makes the setup process a little more straightforward. But some people might prefer to have multiple custodian options. Different custodians have different fee schedules and specialties. When you have multiple companies to choose from, you can research their offerings and determine which works best for you.
So American Bullion might not have the widest range of consumer choices on the market. But Strata does have a good reputation among financial institutions.
The third step is to send American Bullion a recent statement for your retirement account. This includes your name, email, and the financial holdings of your account. If uploading a photo to the website is difficult, there are also options to use a scanner, fax, or regular mail.
American Bullion has many products available in silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. Every item has its own special investment potential. There are multiple educational resources on the website to help teach customers about the differences between different metals.
The main website doesn't actually list the items that are available at any given moment. You'll have to make an account and talk to a representative about your options. This is a little less convenient than precious metals dealers that let you make purchases entirely online through an eCommerce platform.
There is information about the value of each type of precious metal. American Bullion explains what precious metals are used for in today's industry, what factors affect their price, and how they are likely to grow over time.
Is American Bullion a Scam?
American Bullion is not a scam. The company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has only one complaint filed in the past three years. They have an A rating instead of A+ because of government actions that have been taken against the company.
The government actions were related to the state of Minnesota. Minnesota is the only state in the US that requires special licensing for precious metals dealers. Sometimes national dealers mistakenly sell to Minnesota residents without filling out the requisite paperwork. That seems to be what happened here.
The company agreed to pay a penalty in civil court of $2,500 to Minnesota. They also agreed that they would no longer break any of Minnesota's state laws. As part of the agreement, they also made a separate payment of $225 to cover the legal costs of the state's investigation.
It is a little irresponsible not to check that you have the proper paperwork to deal precious metals. But American Bullion is far from the first company to run into this problem. Many small business owners simply aren't aware that Minnesota has state regulations that differ from the federal bullion guidelines.
The one complaint filed involved an 89 year old man who had made a large purchase of coins. The man's son said that the coins had been overpriced, and that American Bullion had taken advantage of his confusion. American Bullion responded to say that these allegations were unfair.
After some back-and-forth on the BBB page, the customer finally noted that they were withdrawing their complaint. They said that they had been able to work with their father and American Bullion to reach a peaceful settlement.
Customer reviews of the company on the BBB page are largely positive. With the 11 reviews, there is an average score of 4.64 out of 5 stars, indicating that almost everyone gave the company a perfect score.
Some of the praise in the reviews includes:
It seems like the company does have a good reputation, for the most part. But their IRA process isn't quite as streamlined as that of other companies. They also don't have as much information available on their website regarding precious metals products as some competitors.
Pros & Cons of American Bullion
American Bullion is a legitimate business that focuses on helping clients fund their precious metals IRAs. They have over a decade of experience, and they've been hugely influential on the gold IRA industry. Many customers have left reviews saying that they were happy with the quality and convenience of the service.
The question is just whether American Bullion can keep up with the competition. There have been a few potential issues. For one thing, they didn't do enough research to get proper documentation before selling in Minnesota.
For another thing, one complaint alleged that the company had purposefully confused an elderly man into buying coins at a high markup. The complainant eventually settled with the company. Some customers have also left negative notes on Yelp, stating that they were given price quotes at a high markup.
There are competing gold IRA companies that have much more reliable pricing. It's a good idea to work with a firm that doesn't use commissions. Even better, they should explain the formula they use to calculate their pricing. Some of American Bullion's competitors also have their own in-house IRA teams that make the IRA process even more streamlined.
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