Cornerstone Bullion is a quickly-growing precious metals dealer that ships all over the US. They have a variety of services available online. If you're looking to open an IRA, they can connect you to any one of four different custodial partners. And they also work with three different depository companies.
But do they actually have legitimate practices? And what do you absolutely need to know before you get started?
About Cornerstone Bullion
Cornerstone Bullion supplies precious metals to people throughout the US. This quick-growing company has received high marks from third parties like Gold Dealer Reviews and the Better Business Bureau. They maintain an A+ rating with the latter and have the top available marks from the former.
That alone would be enough to establish the company as a major industry player. But they have other qualifications as well. For example, they are part of the Industry Council on Tangible Assets. They're also a debt-free company that is family owned.
About the Owner
The founder and owner of the company, Chad Roach, has a major hand in how the business is run. He dictates the policies regarding the company's shipping, available products, transparency, and ethics.
Chad first entered the precious metals industry as a customer. He was looking for an honest dealer with whom he could foster a lifelong rapport. But he never found any dealer that could give both excellent customer service and competitive pricing.
The precious metals industry has only become more competitive since Chad created Cornerstone Bullion. But he still operates by the same principles he started with.
He says that one of the most formative moments for him was when a dealer he'd been working with went bankrupt. The company's customers had collectively spent millions of dollars on products that would never be shipped. That was part of why Chad was so determined to found a company that didn't have any debt.
Prior to opening his precious metals dealership, Chad Roach was a finance expert who focused on alternative assets. In addition to precious metals, that also included real estate and other tangible assets. He believes that precious metals are an essential part of any risk-mitigation strategy, since they tend to perform well while the stock market is volatile.
Buying Precious Metals
The process of purchasing precious metals through Cornerstone Bullion is fairly straightforward. However, it isn't quite as streamlined as with some other companies. Instead of having the prices listed, you have to call for a quote. And there's no ability to fill an online shopping cart and check out through an eCommerce platform.
The first step is to choose what products you want to buy. Cornerstone Bullion does have a helpful free guide available for first-time investors. If you're not sure where to start, you can read their Precious Metals 101 eBook to get a sense of the risks and benefits of different options.
Once you've made a list of the items you want, you'll need to call the company during business hours. The representative will give you a quote over the phone. If you agree with that quote, your price will be locked in. It won't change, even if the price of precious metals rises afterward.
After you've agreed to pay the price in question, you have entered into a legal contract with the company. You'll be sent an email confirmation. Then you'll send the funds. Most of the purchases are made using a bank wire transfer or check. Checks need some time to clear, while bank wire transfers tend to be faster.
The company does ask that you inform them if you want to pay with a check or cash prior to the purchase. They prefer bank wire transfers because of how quick and simple these are. Orders are shipped anywhere from one to three business days following the clearing of the payment.
The company does not accept credit or debit cards to place orders, which might be inconvenient for some people. There are other precious metals dealers that allow you to check out online through an eCommerce platform using your credit card.
Once your package ships, you'll be emailed the tracking code. Since the contents of the package are fully insured, you will need to be available to sign for the package.
Selling Precious Metals
Cornerstone Bullion also has the ability to buy precious metals from people who want to liquidate their holdings. Keep in mind that they only purchase bars and coins, rather than scrap metal or jewelry. If you want to sell your scrap jewelry, you're better off looking for a different dealer.
You can call the company and tell them what you want to sell. They will give you a quote over the phone that's based on the condition and value of the items.
The company does note that the price you're quoted might not be the same as the final offer. If the prices of precious metals fluctuate by the time the company receives your order, they might give you a final quote that's lower than the original one.
After you confirm that you're going to sell your items, the company will lock your price. They'll also create a customer account for you if you don't have one yet.
Your next job is to send the package. You'll receive a confirmation email that explains the quoted price and the items you've agreed to sell. You should print the confirmation notice out, put both that and the contents of the box inside an insured USPS package, and send the metals.
It's important to note that the company often won't accept any deliveries except those that come from USPS. You are also the one who is responsible for insuring your package. If it gets lost in transit, Cornerstone Bullion will not be liable for the loss.
Is Cornerstone Bullion a Scam?
Cornerstone Bullion is not a scam. In addition to maintaining an A+ rating with the BBB, they have been accredited for more than a decade. They also have some positive customer reviews available online through third party websites. Customers have stated that they've had good experiences with basically every aspect of the service.
That said, the number of customer reviews available is relatively small. It's difficult to judge a company by the testimonials on their own website, as there's nothing to guarantee that those testimonials are true. So looking at third party websites gives you a better sense of the true customer satisfaction.
Not having many customer reviews isn't necessarily a red flag. Sometimes it just means that the clientele don't often feel the need to post reviews on other websites. But it does make it a little harder to judge the services.
Pros & Cons of Cornerstone Bullion
Cornerstone Bullion is a solid company that offers a variety of different precious metals products. They have partnered with multiple different IRA custodians and secure depositories to help ensure that your items are kept as safe as possible.
Though their website does have some information about why you should consider opening a precious metals IRA, their setup process doesn't seem very streamlined. They refer you to your custodian of choice to do the paperwork instead of having an in-house team that can handle it for you.
Another potential drawback is that they don't post their live pricing on their website. It is admittedly difficult to list your prices in real time, since the precious metals markets are constantly fluctuating. But some of the competition uses web algorithms to adjust their offers based on the way the market updates minute-to-minute.
Finally, they don't have a whole lot of customer reviews available online. However, the majority of the feedback that does exist is positive. Customers are happy with both the buying and selling aspects of the business. But there are some other companies that have significantly more online feedback to look at.
Overall, Cornerstone Bullion seems like a very solid company. There's nothing stopping you from investing with them. But it's possible that using another company might be more convenient and faster.