People own physical gold in the form of jewellery, gold coins, and even bars. Nowadays, in addition to purchasing gold from your neighbourhood jeweller, you can buy it from e-commerce websites. Compared to gold coins and jewellery, bars can come at a lesser cost. However, there are a few things you should consider before you buy them. Read on to find out what they are.
1. Purity: Make sure what you want is what you get -- do ensure that the gold you are buying is pure. Karat is the unit used to measure the purity of gold, higher the karat, purer the gold is. Therefore, 24, 22, 18 karat gold has the purest form in that order. In the case of 24k gold, all 24 parts in the gold are pure gold with an extremely low level of impurities. If you are purchasing for investment purpose, 24K suits else opt for 22K if you intend to use it for your own consumption. The price of 24K is higher than lower karat gold.
2. Refinery - While purchasing, it helps to know the refinery from where the gold bar has been refined. Purchasing gold bars which have been refined at popular refineries ensures highest level purity.
3. Tolerance level: Ask about the weight and purity tolerance level (variation in purity) while purchasing. Some gold bars may have a +/- tolerance levels while some bars may come with NIL negative weight tolerance and NIL negative purity tolerance, thus assuring that the customer always receives right value for what is paid for.
4. Fineness: Fineness shows the purity of precious metals by parts per thousand rather than karats. Fineness is another way of expressing the precious metal content of gold jewellery and represents the purity in parts per thousand. When gold is refined to a fineness level of 999.9 parts per thousand it is stated as 999.9.
5. Denomination: Choosing to invest in lower denominations helps to maintain liquidity when you need it. Opt for gold bars with lower denominations. The denomination of gold bars can be as low as 5gm and also available in 10g, 50g, 100g even up to 1 kg. The price of the higher denomination may, however, be less as it commands a lesser premium.
6. Certification: The benchmark to follow while buying gold online is to look for Hallmark certification. And the ornament/coin/bar carries BIS hallmark. There's a list of jewellers selling BIS-certified jewellery on the BIS website
7. Packaging: If the gold bar is packaged as is the case when you buy it online, don't take it out of the packaging. Keeping the packaging intact helps in maintaining the purity of the gold bar.
8. Return policy: Always check for the website or seller's return or buyback policy while buying gold online. These days most big gold chains have their online stores and they offer both returns and exchange. However, the exchange policy of gold has stricter terms and conditions as compared to other items sold online. So, it is important to go through the terms and conditions carefully before making your purchase decision.