Easier than investing in gold, and less expensive, silver investments are a great security hedge against inflation and financial collapse. Buying silver is straightforward, but there are perils to buying online and not understanding how the process works. The demand to buy silver is growing, and so is the amount of online or local dealers who may prey on uninformed customers.

Silver can be purchased directly from private refiners and mints, such as Johnson Matthey, local dealers in most large cities or through online metals dealers like JM Bullion, all of which also handle silver bullion. Before making a purchase, we recommend reading customer reviews and complaints of JM Bullion or the other dealers you plan on buying from. Seeing what a company’s existing customers have to say about them can give you an insight into what to expect after making your purchase. The United States Mint does not sell silver directly to the public, so all US Mint silver must be purchased from local or online dealers.

Online Silver Dealers

When looking at silver dealer’s websites, be sure to have another internet browser window open that shows the current price of silver on the market. This price changes within seconds, and being educated and aware of the spot price, which is the market price without premiums, allows you to purchase silver at the very best price.

Many online silver dealers in the United States and internationally have quote tickers on their sites revealing the current silver market price. They can actually link their silver prices to this ticker, which then adds their premium and calculates the offering price, keeping it automatically updated.

Others without this technology adjust their prices on their ecommerce sites every few minutes. Back when silver wasn’t in as much demand, some online dealers would only adjust their prices once a day. Other online dealers will continue watching the international markets after the U.S. markets have closed to adjust their pricing for the next US open. This may work either way for a customer.

Buying silver online can be a bit dangerous, so trading with a trustworthy dealer will allow for the best prices, lowest premiums, guaranteed silver quality and content, and safest transactions. It’s important to research many online dealers before buying silver online and check their customer feedback, Better Business Bureau rating, and website reviews. Be leery of dealers online who haven’t been in business for a lengthy period and read all return and shipping policies.

For the most part, online dealers will “lock in” the price of silver once you purchase them, allowing customers to pay by paper check or bank wire should they choose. If the prices increases before you remit your payment, you will not pay the increased amount, nor pay less if the price goes down. Some online dealers will allow a customer to secure an order of silver bars with a credit card, but may require a different form of payment for the actual finalization. Some online dealers give a discount for large orders, so purchasing silver online in a larger quantity will save money.

Local Silver Dealers

The other option for purchasing silver bullion is to source it locally. If wanting to purchase silver bullion bars from a local dealer versus an online ecommerce site, the very first step would be to check and see if the local precious metal shop dealer follows a code of ethics supported by the PNG: Professional Numismatists Guild.

Precious metal dealers who are members of the PNG agree to the standards set by the PNG outlining proper ethics, honesty, and trustworthy practices. Most consumers hope to receive honest treatment from silver and precious metal dealers, but it doesn’t always happen. Quality silver bars will likely be stamped with its fineness, mint name, and weight, unless privately or custom melted and minted silver from a reputable local dealer.

There is more leeway with local dealers when purchasing silver bullion bars. Armed with the most current market price, customers can negotiate the price of the silver bar based on the market price of silver at the moment they are looking to make their purchase. Knowing the market price and being educated in minted silver bullion bars, will make a great difference in negotiations.

Even if a local dealer assures customers their silver bars are authentic, and offer a guarantee, anyone wishing to purchase these silver bars should around about the local precious metal dealer’s reputation and check their rating at the local Better Business Bureau in their city.

There are other local resources like coin collector shows, pawnshops, trades at local coin collector clubs, estate sales, flea markets, or other local garage sale venues. If looking at the reputation of any precious metal dealer or other local source for silver bars, it’s usually a good indicator of their trustworthiness if they’ve been in business for years.

An established local coin shop, pawnshop, or other dealer who has been in the local community and has a relationship with the businesses and customers, will want to uphold their good reputation. A new or inexperienced local dealer could be uniformed on silver bullion, or have setup shop just to move or sell silver and other items at unfair or dishonest prices.

With online dealers, purchasing silver bullion bars means extended a certain amount of trust that the items will be delivered safely. A dishonest company, possible delivery complications such as loss or theft, or an unscrupulous online precious metal company could mean an investor loses the money they intended to invest in silver bars.

Local dealers offer an inventory of silver bullion for sale and a physical inspection and fair negotiation means instant possession. A lot of this success depends on how close in distance a silver bullion dealer is to someone wanting to purchase these bars. Having a trustworthy local dealer that results in a good long-term relationship means silver bars can be bought and accumulated on a regular basis. If the only local resource is a far distance, the extra effort may not outweigh online purchases.

If silver bullion is the preferred way to invest in silver, local dealers and resources can be offer a safe and secure way to purchase and save this precious metal investment.