To buy gold bars you can buy it either by physically visiting a jewellery shop or order it online from famous jewellery brands. One can also buy it in the form of ‘Digital Gold’ from various payment apps such as Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe etc.
Compared to gold coins and jewellery, gold bars can come at a lesser cost. However, there are a few things you should consider before you buy them.
- 1. Purity: As gold is an expensive metal, one should ensure that the gold you are buying is pure. Karat is the unit used to measure the purity of gold. The higher the karat, the purer the gold is and the higher will be the price you will have to pay. 24 Karat gold is considered as the purest form of gold. However, 24 Karat gold is very soft for making jewellery. However, one can still buy 24KT gold in the form of gold coins and bars. For making jewellery, 22,18 and 14 karat gold is considered. In case of 24k gold, all 24 parts in the gold are pure gold with 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.
- 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 the highest level of purity. Bangalore Refinery and MMTC-PAMP (a joint venture between public sector MMTC and Switzerland’s PAMP SA) are two such refineries in India. Further, the central government has its mint where an individual can buy gold in the form of gold coins and gold bars.
- 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 purity of the precious metal content of gold jewellery. 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. One should 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 higher denomination may, however, be less as it commands lesser premium.
- 6. Certification: The benchmark to follow while buying gold online is to look for Hallmark certification. It is imperative for you to ensure that the gold you buy is from a BIS registered (Bureau of Indian Standards) jeweller. And the ornament/coin/bar carries the BIS hallmark. There’s a list of jewellers selling BIS-certified jewellery on the BIS website. From June 16, 2021, the government has made the BIS hallmarking mandatory for gold. Further, from April 1, 2023, 6-digit HUID mandatory for sale of gold by the jewellers.
- 7. Packaging: If the gold bar is packaged, usually which is the case, don’t take it out of the packaging. Keeping the packaging intact helps in maintaining the purity of the gold bar and also makes it easier to sell.
- 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.