Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Personal BullionStar Experience and Review

First off, I have to set things straight. I am a BullionStar customer and I do have all my physical allocation with BullionStar. I am definitely not being paid to write this review, but I must disclose that I am a BullionStar affiliate, meaning that I get a tiny commission for directing sales from my blog to them.

My motivations for writing this review is simple: I would like to share my experience and opinion about BullionStar as a precious metals dealer. This article is mainly written for me to share with my family and friends regarding a viable option for precious metals investing in Singapore. If at the end of my article you feel convinced, please drop by BullionStar from my links around here.

So, here we go.

BullionStar Review


https://www.bullionstar.com/

The main pros of BullionStar are:
1. Physical precious metals
2. Delivery and Storage options

3. Competitive pricing
4. Wide range of products
5. Excellent customer service and website interface
6. Easy process to invest and divest
7. Multiple currency options
8. Reputable in the industry
9. International

1. Physical precious metals

BullionStar deals with physical precious metals. They do not sell to clients futures, CFDs, ETFs, gold certificates or anything else. Their main business is buying and selling physical precious metals, which is exactly what we are looking for.

While other dealers diversify and try to sell proof coins and bars of gold and silver (GST/Tax applicable), BullionStar remains very largely focused on bullion - investment grade metals (GST/Tax free). Since this is their focus, they really do a rather good job at it.

2. Delivery and Storage options

BullionStar only has 2 options when you decide to purchase some precious metals. Actual physical delivery in which you take possession of the goods, either by courier or personal collection. Storage, of course, is when they store your precious metals in their vault, which entails them documenting, photographing and recording down your items held with them. Of course, storage comes with cost, which is in the next point.

3. Competitive pricing

Among the 9 dealers that I have found online that sell bullion, in terms of the premiums over spot price, BullionStar has competitive pricing in both Gold and Silver (updated 29 Nov 2014). Many of the other dealers does not sell as many gold products, and only some of them are priced well. This information is based on a random price check that I have done:

Random Check 1 for Silver, May 2014
Random Check 2 for Gold and Silver, Aug 2014
Random Check 3 for Gold and Silver, Nov 2014

Bottom line: The spreads for Gold and Silver are very very good. They are the best in Singapore.

Storage cost is calculated very simply based on the amount of bullion and type of bullion stored with them, which is 0.39% pa for gold and 0.59% pa for silver and platinum. The only catch is that physical withdrawal is a one time $149 charge. Many other bullion storage vaults charge a minimum fee per month, which shoots up required capital to make storage costs low. BullionStar does not, which makes them a perfect choice for vault storage to me.

4. Wide range of products and product innovation

On top of gold and silver, BullionStar also offers platinum as well! To my knowledge, I don't think there are any other dealers that offer platinum investments, even though platinum is GST exempt and considered a precious metal investment. There are a wide range of both coins and bars available for sale, with different denominations and from different refiners.

On top of investment grade precious metals, they also sell gold jewelry which is good for easy transport. They also sell coin storage and other accessories. They aren't the cheapest for these by-products, but it is convenient if you just want 1 case to go along with the coin you just bought, instead of ordering a pack of 10 online somewhere else.

Additionally, they are the only dealer so far to offer unallocated, but still physically backed, grams of precious metals. The two largest and most mainstream online precious metal dealers, GoldMoney and BullionVault offer a similar sort of gram product, and I think it is innovative that they are offering something like it. This allows investors to start small, being able to purchase precious metals without paying large premiums and spreads because their small investment amount.

5. Excellent customer service and website interface

Their customer service is top-notch. Email correspondences have been fast and clear, their staff that I have personally dealt with seem very professional. Order placements and invoices are automatically sent to your email, helping you also keep track of your purchases.

The website is clean, modern and easy to use. It is very easy for me to navigate to the pages that I want to go to. The chart on the right is highly interactive, able to show prices in ounces and grams, switch between currencies and move over to different time frames, and of course, switch between the different metals available.

6. Easy process to invest and divest

Investing simply involves clicking on items and moving them into your cart, followed by checking out and confirming your order. Once your order is confirmed, you just bank transfer the amount due along with your order reference number. Within 24 hours they will confirm the receipt of your funds sent, and promptly release the metal from their custody to yours (either ready for delivery or moved into storage), transferring ownership. A day later a proper invoice will come. That's all to it.

Divesting is even simpler. Select the items in your storage vault that you want to sell, confirm the sell order and the sell amount, and just key in the bank account details that you want the funds to be sent to. Selling is immediate and at spot price. About 2-3 days later, the funds would be in your bank account. Done.

7. Multiple currency options

Currencies available are the USD, EUR, BTC and of course, the SGD. I like it that they treat SGD investments with equal priority instead of emphasizing on USD.

With multiple currencies, this means that investments can be made in any currency, and divesting can also be done in any currency. However, I must disclose that I have not attempted to use the other currencies, yet. From my observation, they recognize the currency pairs at spot rate, meaning that they don't act as forex brokers and take a spread from your currency conversion. All they care about is selling you precious metals, in whichever currency you might have.

8. Reputable in the industry

BullionStar has appeared in the Sunday Times and has also been featured on Channel News Asia. Perhaps it is just luck and timing, but I do not see or hear anything about any of the other precious metals brokers in Singapore, although I am familiar with their names through all my research.

They also are very transparent in showing their audit results, their insurance certificates and they now even have a live audit report so customers can see their holdings as part of BullionStar's entire holdings. I think having LMBA approved audits does give it quite good industry credibility, which gives me peace of mind.

9. International 

The final point is the BullionStar is open to customers from all over the world, and they deliver all over the world as well. To investors from the US or in any of the EU countries looking for a safe foreign place to store precious metals or just deal in precious metals off your own country's jurisdiction, BullionStar does offer a very compelling case.

Conclusion

I know my review may come off as a bit biased, especially since I am a customer already. However, I think it is a testament to my review that I personally have used and still use BullionStar as my sole precious metals broker.

They have the most competitive pricing while offering a complete one-stop solution to both gold and silver at great prices. They offer a good range of products, and I absolutely adore the Vault Gram idea. It effectively reduces the cost of precious metals investing much lower, as well as substantially reducing the minimum capital requirements to participant. With just 80 cents, you can buy yourself 1g of Silver already! (My first precious metals investment was 1g of gold which I paid only ~$50!)

They don't cheat you in forex spreads, they deal with only the physical metal, storage costs are very competitive, customer experience is fantastic and they are reputable enough to appear of national media.

The only things that I wish BullionStar would have that can make it the perfect experience for me is to have an automatic GIRO savings plan and to allow conversion and physical delivery of Vault Grams into other products, after they have reached a certain amount.

All-in-all, I think that they are the most modern and competitive precious metals dealers in Singapore that I have seen so far. I do hope they continue to be innovative and competitive, if not, I will just move my holdings and give my business to whichever broker offers the best value. As of now, it is still BullionStar.

9 comments:

  1. Would you be attending the opening ceremony for their new facility on 01 Aug?

    Regards,
    SG Wealth Builder
    www.sgwealthbuilder.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gerald,

      I would like to attend, but I don't think I can since I most likely have work. Will you be going?

      MH

      Delete
  2. thanks for the review blog
    i personally purchased from them recently too (10oz canadian bar) and like their new store
    central, conveniently located with nice displays
    not pushy either and they do retail coin capsules and other accessories
    other stores are also nearby - so overall for us customers there will be healthy competition

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,

      You're most welcome, glad that my experience and opinion has helped others to find a dealer they are happy working with.

      I have gone down to see their new location, but it was after hours. As you mentioned, the location is great and the displays are nice. I like how they have live prices updated beside the merchandise you are looking at.

      I have yet to visit the store when it is open, but I will do so soon because I intend to have physical deliver on some of my future orders. I will be able to gauge their retail staff when I am there. Maybe I can take a few pictures and upload them!

      Delete
  3. Yes this dealer is so good they even have their own review site: http://www.bullionreviews.com/
    where they rate all the dealers (including themselves) in Singapore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon,

      Thanks for the website link. How do you know that this review website is owned by them? I don't see any indication of any affiliation. The website could use with a bit more dealers, but I do think that they are quite factual in highlighting the features and benefits of each broker that they have listed so far.

      As for the reviews and star ratings, I would take them with a pinch of salt, both the good and the bad ones.

      Delete
  4. bank charge -72usd + unclear support answer and wait 3 to 7 day to reply + "big charge 60usd to cancel order"+
    gold bar price 17usd higher then buy gold in gram....stay out from this company u dealing with elite theft...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I get quick responses from them by email. If I call, their service is immediate.

    I have never had any bank charges incurred to me ever.

    Physical premiums are always more expensive than spot price.

    Please don't invest in physical precious metals if you don't know understand it well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Anon,
    Would Bullion Star store precious metal you already have in their vault if you ship it to them and would you know how this process work? Thank you in advance.
    Shelly

    ReplyDelete

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