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Everywhere you look, there are new places to buy precious metals. Not only do they exist in the pawn shops on the corner of the street, but they also exist online. Online precious metals dealers have become more prevalent over the past few decades. They've also done very well for themselves as economic uncertainty has increased demand for gold.
One of these dealers is Provident Metals. This company has some impressive credentials under its belt, and it's a popular choice. In fact, you can find thousands of consumer reviews online. But there are some questionable business practices and a shaky reputation as well.
We've taken a look at everything that Provident Metals has to offer, along with what people are saying about their experiences. Is this company worth investing in? Read on to find out.
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About Provident Metals
Provident Metals operates out of Dallas, Texas and serves investors in Canada and the United States. The company has been part of the precious metals industry since 2009. It has been designated as a dealer for the American Numismatic Association. In addition, it's an Associate Member Firm for the Certified Coin Exchange.
One interesting note is that the company accepts cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Most other online dealers won't take Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency payments. But there are a few who have chosen to allow this unconventional payment method instead.
Products and Services
You can purchase several different precious metals like palladium, platinum, gold, and silver. Unlike many other precious metals dealers, Provident Metals also provides copper options. The products come in bars, rounds, coins, and bullion.
For people new to gold investment, the company has "starter packs" to help you on your journey. There are also buyback programs in place for when you want to liquidate your assets.
Like many of the gold dealers in the US, Provident Metals provides IRA investment services. You can roll your retirement assets into a precious metals account. Precious metals investments provide a hedge against inflation and the potential for growth.
When you peruse the company website, you can look at a specific category of IRA-eligible metals. This makes it easy to narrow down your options. Precious metals in IRAs must adhere to strict IRS standards regarding the type of metal and the purity level. Copper is not available to put in an IRA.
The company does not say how much you can expect to pay in extra fees for your account setup. The custodian makes a difference. Your custodian is the one who will choose the maintenance fees, and the depository you use will also have additional storage fees.
Provident Metals usually works with Preferred Trust Company as a custodian. If you don't already have a custodian in mind, this is the company you'll work with. If you do have an alternative custodian, Provident Metals is happy to work with them as well.
One important note is that this company does not specialize in IRAs. Though they offer IRA services, they don't build their entire brand around it. Instead, they try to provide the widest range of precious metals products on the market for a competitive price.
If you're looking for a gold dealer that specifically works for IRAs alone, you might want to go elsewhere. There are several specialized dealers that can help you with the account setup process.
Order Shipping Information
If you invest in precious metals for an IRA, you will need to use an IRS-approved depository for storage. You cannot legally store assets from a precious metals IRA anywhere except one of these areas.
However, if you make a personal purchase unrelated to a retirement account, there are several shipping options available. You can have the items mailed to your house or to a safe location of your choice. Each package has full insurance, so you can get a refund if it gets lost in the mail.
The company only ships to the United States and Canada, so they aren't the best choice if you want to make a purchase overseas.
If you put together multiple orders, they can't be combined. Each will arrive in a separate package with a separate insurance policy. If a package has a value of more than 1,000 dollars, you will need to sign for it.
When a package has a value of at least 2,000 dollars, the company will ship it with UPS unless this is impossible. The company also uses USPS for cheaper orders, but they always use Priority, Express Mail, or First Class packaging.
Every order comes with a tracking number. As soon as the order ships, you'll be given the tracking number via your email.
The packages are shipped in packaging that shows no indication of the interior contents. The return address might say "Provident," but it also might not. If the package is too large for USPS shipping, the company might use FedEx or UPS instead.
Some orders qualify for free shipping. You need to meet a certain order threshold. You cannot combine multiple orders to meet that threshold.
Provident Metals does have a buyback program. In addition, if you own precious metal assets that you want to sell, you can sell them to the company even if they weren't originally purchased there.
You will need to call the company and talk to a representative. They will walk you through the process of creating a selling account. You'll be given a price quote based on your items.
Once you've agreed upon a price, you'll ship the items to the company. The company will then inspect them to make sure they are legitimate and meet the expected quality. Following this process, a payment will be released to your account.
You must sell the company at least 1,000 dollars worth of metals. It's also worth checking the website to see whether the company already sells your items. These are much more likely to be bought. If you don't see the items, you can call and ask whether the company can make an offer regardless.
The company lacks a live chat feature on their website, which is unusual considering how many customers they serve. You can email customer support to get in touch or call on the phone. If you call, you might have to wait a few days before you get a call back.
Is Provident Metals a Scam?
Provident Metals is an online marketplace that offers a variety of different precious metals. They are not a scam. There have been thousands of customer reviews, and they have been verified as legitimate dealers by multiple third parties.
However, the customer reviews for the company are extremely mixed. There are tons of people who have stated that they've had terrible experiences. Even if this is a legitimate company, it's concerning how frequent these complaints are.
Trustpilot has compiled more than 3,500 reviews of this business. While many of them are positive, there are enough negative reviews to bring the star average down to 3.1 out of 5. Though the website marks this "average," we consider it a red flag.
The best companies tend to have ratings of more than 4 stars. The closer a company is to 5 stars, the better. When there are thousands of reviews, you obviously expect to see a few complaints here and there. But there shouldn't be enough to drag the entire star rating down.
One recent complaint said that the consumer tested the company by ordering the same item from Provident Metals and another company. The orders were submitted within one minute on the same day. The auto check withdrawal payment caused money to be removed at the same time.
The customer had their order from the other company delivered in a week. Meanwhile, the order from Provident said that the payment was still pending. There's no reason for this, since both orders were paid the same way at the same time.
Another review stated that their package was shipped without any insurance coverage because it cost less than 1,000 dollars. The Postal Service lost the package. Provident began a claim, closed the claim, and said they could not replace or refund the metals.
At that point, the customer received a Postal Service letter admitting that the package had been lost. They sent it to the claims division of Provident's business. Despite the evidence of the lost package, the company still said that their insurance expert had denied their claim.
This customer was particularly upset because the company didn't seem to care that they had not received their package. They said that as soon as the company had their payment, they stopped caring about them at all.
Another customer stated that they had a similar problem. Their package became lost in the mail, and 600 dollars of precious metals just disappeared. The person reached out to Provident about a refund or replacement, but the company said they were waiting to have their insurance approve a claim.
The customer asked to get a refund in the meantime. The manager said no. The customer said that the company could provide the refund if they wanted to, and the manager agreed with this. Then they continued to refuse the refund.
Many of the negative reviews seem to have occurred recently. Prior to that, the company's reputation was much better. It's unclear whether there was a change of management or policy that led to this.
This seems to be confirmed by a review stating that Provident is not a reputable company anymore. The customer stated that they had been working with the company since 2013, and they only started having problems this year.
That person bought a silver roll at the end of January in 2021. Two months later, they hadn't been sent their order. They were also told that they couldn't have their money refunded until the claims department approved the situation. The customer was upset because the company could say that they didn't approve the claim, and they'd be out 800 dollars with no recourse.
Some people have discussed pursuing litigation against the company due to these insurance issues.
Pros & Cons of Provident Metals
Provident Metals is a popular provider of precious metals to online investors. They sell everything from copper to palladium, with an entire website section just for assets you can put in an IRA.
In theory, this company has everything you could want. They have a large and established online presence, a giant pool of products, and a solid buyback program. You can even sell your assets to them when you didn't purchase through the brokerage to begin with.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of poor customer reviews that taint the company image. These complaints indicate that the company systematically mismanages people's accounts and misleads people about what they are investing in.
For this reason, we can't recommend Provident Metals as an investment option. It's better to work with an established gold dealer that has better overall consumer reviews.
We believe that there are better companies out there to make your investment with.
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