Disclaimer: Some or all of the companies listed here may provide us compensation. This is a part of how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hundreds of hours of in-depth research determines the results of our reviews.

Augusta Precious Metals and American Hartford Gold have a lot in common. Both are relative newcomers to the industry, starting in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Both have grown significantly. Both offer a mixture of collectible gold and silver along with investment-grade bullion. And both focus on people's individual retirement accounts.

In these cases, it's easiest to judge by reputation. But both companies have a great reputation. They're both positively reviewed, accredited, and awarded by industry experts. They both have advertising campaigns that have brought in new customers from every state in the US.

We've taken a look at what each of these companies is offering. Here's what you should know if you're wondering which is best to contact.

Services and Products

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

Augusta Precious Metals has a main focus on IRAs, but they also sell gold that you can pay for with cash. Since 1997, it has been legal for individuals to hold gold, silver, and other precious metals inside an IRA. But they have to pay attention to the IRS regulations about the items, or else they could end up in trouble for noncompliance.

If you use the IRA services, you will purchase gold with the tax advantages that you get with a normal IRA. You'll move funds from your current retirement account into your newly created account. It's possible to choose just a portion or all of the funds, depending on your desires for the future.

You'll work with a single representative throughout the process. They will file your paperwork for you and represent you to your account custodian. Then they'll help to coordinate the transfer of funds, the packaging of the metals, and the shipping to whichever depository vault you've chosen.

People who want to buy collectible coins can sometimes find them in Augusta's inventory. While Augusta doesn't focus on numismatics, they do occasionally have historic coins that have all been graded and certified by official organizations. You'll work with a specific team to figure out which collectibles are the best based on your interests and long-term desires.

Packages ship for free to your home. Every one is insured and must have a signature before it can be dropped off.

Augusta goes the extra mile by continuing to offer support to every client for their entire lifetime following an investment. That's not just about buybacks. You can log into your account, look at your holdings, ask questions, and get economic insights. You can even take one-on-one classes with the company's top experts, where you'll learn absolutely everything there is to know. And you can get further analysis through emails and newsletters.

That's without even considering the huge spread of educational material available on the website. If you want to teach yourself instead, there are easily searchable resources at your fingertips. If you prefer to be taught by someone else, there are the webinars or phone calls with your personalized expert.

American Hartford Gold

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

Like many other choices on the market, American Hartford Gold sells precious metals. They have an inventory that's filled with a variety of silver, gold, and platinum bars and coins from sovereign mints worldwide. The vast majority of their items can be held in an IRA, but they have some collectible coins, historic coins, and circulated rarities that must be purchased for cash instead.

One interesting thing to note is that American Hartford Gold doesn't often have the latest year's items in stock. But they may have a backlog of American Eagle coins from 2015, 2016, and other years. The same is true of the other coins that they hold. These coins retain their value even outside their mint year, and it's possible that AHG acquires them in bulk at a discount because they're outdated.

The company's inventory is subject to change because it reflects what they have on hand at any given time. If you're not sure whether they have a specific product that you want, you can call them up and ask. But the full inventory is listed on the website as well.

Though the company does not post prices online, past customers have said that they paid a reasonable fee. You'll need to receive a quote via phone call. Make sure you check the going price of the products on the open market before you choose whether this is an ideal price for you. Not only does that help you understand the markup spread, but AHG also has a price matching program.


Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

Augusta requires $50 for you to fill out your IRA paperwork. You also need to commit to spending at least $50,000 on your precious metals before you can use their services.

Custodian maintenance through Augusta's preferred custodian costs $100 each year, and the storage vaults cost another $100. But there are promotions to waive these costs for a maximum of 3 years for the newest customers, as long as you meet certain qualifications.

The $50,000 minimum is what tends to trip people up. Not a lot of people have that kind of cash on hand. That's true even of your retirement account, if you haven't been saving for a while. But $50,000 gets you access to that ongoing support and care. It's difficult to find any company that has better educational tools than Augusta.

American Hartford Gold

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

American Hartford Gold has quickly become a main competitor in the gold IRA field, when many companies of similar ages fizzle and die. They entered into an extremely competitive niche and managed to dominate. So how did they do it?

Well, a big portion of their success is no doubt thanks to their fees and policies. By not charging certain fees, they've opened their company up to a huge demographic that otherwise wouldn't be able to participate. There's no setup fee, nor is there a minimum requirement to start investing. So you can create an IRA with just a few hundred dollars.

Comparatively, most of the top competitors in this particular niche have an investment minimum of at least a few thousand dollars. Augusta has an even higher minimum than average, being more expensive than the vast majority of the other top rated IRA businesses.

American Hartford Gold can't 100% guarantee what kind of expenses you'll be dealing with. However, they say that most people will pay $100 for storage each year and $80 for your custodian to take care of your account.

Some online sources indicate that if you are going to make a cash purchase using non-retirement funds, there's a recommended minimum investment of $2,500. However, you can double check with one of the company's representatives to make sure that this information is still accurate.

There is not information published about how AHG calculates its price quotes. But there is a price match policy, something that most companies don't do. If you find another company selling the exact same product for a lower price, AHG will match that offer.

There are other offers available as well. If you meet a certain threshold, you might have the first year of your annual fees waived fully. You also have the potential to receive free silver in amounts of $5,000 or less. It comes as a percentage of your purchase and is mailed directly to you.

Storage and Custodian Policies

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

Augusta actually works with depositories in a large range of locations. Most other companies work with between 3 and 5. But there are more than 10 depositories for you to choose from, all of which are scattered throughout different regions and states in the US. Unfortunately, Augusta does not ship their items to international depositories.

Augusta is capable of working with many different storage companies to keep your items safe. But their ultimate choice is the Delaware Depository. This massive building is home to thousands of self-directed IRAs. It has a great reputation and competitive pricing.

As for custodians, there are three that Augusta most frequently works with.

The first is Equity Trust Company. As one of the most experienced and highly rated IRA providers in the US, their partnership with Augusta is valuable. They are located in every state and take care of over $20 billion of assets for their clients.

The second is GoldStar Trust Company, which actively manages the accounts for almost 40,000 people. It is affiliated with the Texas Happy State Bank and has positive ratings with organizations like the BBB.

The third is Kingdom Trust, which serves over 100,000 people and has over $10 billion worth of assets being actively managed. The company's biggest specialty is helping to come up with new custody options for complicated self-directed IRA setups.

When you send your items to the depository, they should arrive and be processed in 10 days or less. It's possible to visit the physical facility and look at the items, but you may need an appointment.

American Hartford Gold

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

In order to keep gold in your retirement account, you have to have a vault at a licensed depository. The IRS has laid out regulations regarding the kind of security that each vault must have. It is not legal to store these accounts at home or in the bank.

AHG isn't a storage company by itself, but it has partnerships with several depositories. The three most common companies that AHG works with are the Delaware Depository, International Depository Services, and Brinks.

Brinks has dozens of locations throughout the US, although most companies only work with a select few. International Depository Services has depositories in both Texas and Delaware, both of which have no sales tax or other tax disadvantages on gold and silver. The Delaware Depository is another massive depository located in a different city in Delaware.

You'll have a choice of segregated and non-segregated storage. If you want the flat fee of $100, you should use the non-segregated option. Though some people believe that this is less secure, the account is still subject to stringent security measures. There are frequent audits to protect against fraud, 24/7 security monitoring, and a complete insurance policy that covers the full value of your account holdings.

If you're using the IRA services, then the metals will be shipped directly to your depository. But if you make a cash investment, then you can have them shipped to whatever address you want. While it's a good idea to ship them to a secure location, it's also possible to have them delivered to your house. Since the package is insured and very discreet, there's not much to worry about in terms of the delivery.

Buyback Policies

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

Augusta Precious Metals has some notes about their buyback policy in their risk disclosure page. They say that they can't make any guarantees that they will buy back your metals. They also can't guarantee that they will offer any particular price for those metals.

However, they do their best to accommodate buyback requests when they can. They have not refused any buyback requests to date, and there's no reason to think that they might in the future. They simply need to note that they can't guarantee it so that they don't have liability if they end up unable to buy back a customer's metals.

American Hartford Gold

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

There's one major drawback of buying gold that many people don't think about until it's too late: How do you sell it? It's not easy to turn gold into cash fast, especially if you don't have any reputable dealers nearby. Lots of people end up taking low offers and losing a massive chunk of their investment.

So American Hartford Gold has a buyback program that mitigates all of that. When you decide that it's time to take your cash back, you'll call and talk to an agent. You will explain to them that you want to withdraw certain items from your vault. Then you'll be given a price quote.

Assuming you accept the price quote, the transfer will be initiated between you and your custodian. If there's anything else you need to do, you'll be given instructions. But AHG should be able to handle the rest. Within a few days, the metals should be processed, and the payment should be sent to you.

Most people won't need to consider this for several years after making the investment. You have to be 60 before you can remove money from a retirement account without incurring penalties.

How Both Companies Are Unique

Augusta Precious Metals

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

Augusta Precious Metals is unique in its level of customer service. There aren't many companies that will give customers the kind of one-on-one attention that you get here. You can talk to financial experts who trained at Harvard and know exactly how to analyze the economy. And if you don't have time to learn everything yourself, you can get constant updates and insights from people who know what they're talking about.

They are also somewhat unique in the collectible coins that they have. Most customers use their IRA services. But collectible coins aren't eligible for these accounts. So these items in Augusta's inventory absolutely must be bought with your savings instead. The rarities available vary widely depending on the day, and you can always call to find out what's new.

American Hartford Gold

Augusta Precious Metals vs American Hartford Gold

The most unique thing about American Hartford Gold is how the company allows people without much money to create gold IRAs. It's exciting that more people will be able to access these services. Many people find the paperwork and regulations to be overwhelming to handle alone, and you shouldn't need to be super wealthy to get help with that.

American Hartford Gold also has educational tools that stand out, even if they don't quite compare to Augusta's. There's an online content library, web tools, charts, price monitors, blogs, and other resources. If you have questions, you can ask any of the employees through email or a phone call. Many customers report feeling super happy and confident with everything they've learned through AHG.

Customers are encouraged to ask questions and be open about their goals. The more that your executive knows about you, the better equipped they are to make suggestions. And with the information they offer, you can feel more empowered to choose your best future.

Who Wins?

If you have the opportunity, we can't recommend Augusta Precious Metals enough. Their lifetime support is simply superb, and they have excellent overall ratings. They've been given awards for their honesty and ethics, and they have incredible tools for clients to educate themselves.

But if you can't meet the minimum investment policy, American Hartford Gold is an excellent choice. This company has made gold IRA investing accessible to thousands upon thousands of people who otherwise wouldn't be able to do it. That's a very cool accomplishment and a whole demographic that nobody else was competing with!