Home » Invest » Invest in Commodities » Buy Silver

How to Buy Silver Bullion & Coins in 2020

Looking to take the plunge and buy silver online for the first time? Investing in silver online is simple, and can be done in multiple ways. This page will take you through various approaches to investing in silver. 

If you feel ready to buy silver online, check out the links below. If you want to learn more first, keep reading.

Buy physical silver, right now

The cleanest way to invest in silver is to buy physical silver. That said, you’ll want to get to know the best silver dealers for your specific goals and needs. We’ve reviewed some of the top websites for buying silver coins and bars.

Trade silver online, right now

If you prefer to trade silver instead of buying and holding for the long haul, we can help you there too. Below, you’ll find a review of the best brokers for trading silver.

FOREX.com
Key Features
Access over 220 of the most popular company shares
Trade on spreads from 1 pt on UK shares
Go long or short on global top companies
Min Deposit
$50
United States
Key Features
Access over 220 of the most popular company shares
Trade on spreads from 1 pt on UK shares
Go long or short on global top companies
Payment Methods
Debit Card, Bank Wire, ACH, Credit Card, PayPal
Founded in 1999, part of GAIN Capital Holdings. Licensed in highly regulated juristictions, FCA, IIROC, NFA, CFTC, CIMA,FSA. Payment methods ACH, debit card, bank wire transfer. $50 minimum deposit.
Forex trading involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors.

How to buy silver online; in 6 simple steps

Get to know the different methods you can use to invest in silver, so you can pick the one you like best. Here are some steps to take on your way to buying silver online.

  1. Choose your broker or seller. You’ll want a silver broker/seller you can trust before you get started. The best silver brokers and sellers will offer many different kinds of physical silver, reliable storage options, and reasonable commission rates for sales. 
  2. Choose your silver. Silver bullion is made into two different kinds of products, bars and coins. You can find coins and bars as small as a single ounce, or larger bars as big as 1,000 ounces. Choose the form you like best before making your purchase.
  3. Select your storage options. You can store your silver in a couple of different ways: Have your broker/seller store it for you, or have the silver delivered to you, then pay for your own storage and insurance. Seller storage fees will vary, but it’s not uncommon to find storage fees as low as £10 per month, depending on the total value of the silver bars or silver coins you want to store. 
  4. Lock price and confirm. Silver prices fluctuate all the time. So when you’re preparing to buy silver, you’ll need to lock in your buy price before making the actual purchase. You’ll have to pay a slight premium over its current spot price.
  5. Select payment method. Just about every broker or seller will allow you to buy silver via bank transfers, debit cards, and credit cards. Some will also accept alternative payment methods such as PayPal or cryptocurrency. Make sure your silver seller of choice accepts your payment method of choice.
  6. Buy your silver. Once you’ve done all the necessary due diligence, you’re ready to take action. Click Buy, and you’ll be the proud owner of silver bars or silver coins. 

Types of silver you can buy

Let’s take a closer look at the different ways you can buy silver.

Bars (bullion)

Buying silver bars has its advantages and disadvantages:

  • Pros: Silver bars offer the least expensive price per ounce if you’re investing in silver. A silver bar also takes up less storage room on a per-ounce basis. Silver bars offer a long-term store of value, making them a good asset to hold for the long-term, especially as a hedge against economic turmoil and stock market crashes. 
  • Cons: Silver bars are vulnerable to theft. If you buy a larger silver bar, you might have more trouble selling it than if you bought a one-ounce bar, due to the elevated price. You’ll need to conduct an official assay before selling bigger bars. Counterfeiters tend to prefer big bars, since they’re worth a lot more.

Coins and collector coins

Silver coins are minted around the world. As with bars, there a positives and negatives  to consider:

  • Pros: Silver coins pack lots of value into a small size. They’re easy to store, portable, and can be sold anywhere in the world. Unlike certain digital assets, silver coins are impossible to hack or erase. They’re also a great hedge against stock market volatility.
  • Cons: Silver coins often feature intricate designs that make them nicer to look at than silver bars, but also more expensive to produce and thus more costly to buy on a per-ounce basis. Because silver coins are light and portable, they’re more vulnerable to theft than larger bars. Unlike stocks, silver coins don’t produce dividends, and unlike bonds, silver coins don’t generate interest.

Contracts

A silver futures contract is an agreement between an investor and a seller, in which the investor agrees to purchase silver from the seller at an agreed-upon price at a future date.

  • Pros: You only have to pay a certain amount up front, deferring the rest of your payment until the closing date. You don’t need to keep silver futures stored anywhere.
  • Cons: The silver futures market can be volatile, making significant losses a possibility. Since you’re betting on future results, silver futures have a built-in price differential, meaning you’ll pay more than the spot price of silver when making your purchase.

Where to buy and store silver; physical vs digital

There are numerous ways to buy and sell silver online. Let’s take a look: 

Physical – online storage

Most reputable online silver sellers will also offer storage services. Just consider the size of your silver portfolio first: If your total silver investing budget is less than £1,000, a significant chunk of that amount (at least £100 per year) would be spent paying the seller to store the silver for you. 

Physical – home delivery

You can also receive home delivery of silver, then find a secure storage space in your home. Some investors feel better knowing that their silver is always within arm’s length. Plus if you plan to hold silver long-term, you only need to invest in a vault once, rather than pay storage fees year after year. The downside is that your risk of theft goes up if you store such valuables in your home. You’ll also need to buy insurance to protect your investment, adding to your total cost.

Physical – high Street brokers

If you want to store your silver somewhere that’s not your home but also prefer not to transact online, visit a local High Street broker to talk to a real, live human face-to-face and explain your storage needs. High Street brokers will process your silver purchase, then take care of storage for you, erasing the hassle and security worries that come with stashing silver in your home. 

Silver stocks

For a more indirect way to invest in silver, buy shares in a silver mining stock. If you buy the right silver mining stock right before that company makes a big discovery in one of its mines, your gains could dwarf those generated by physical silver. That said, a spike in silver prices doesn’t guarantee the same spike in silver mining stock prices.

Silver mutual funds and ETFs

When buying a silver mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, you’re investing in many different silver mining stocks at once. Diversifying your silver mining stock holdings lets you smooth out the volatility that can rattle your portfolio if you own only one or two stocks. Still, buying a collection of silver mining stocks isn’t as direct an investment as buying silver bars or coins and your investment could end up underperforming versus a straight-up purchase of physical silver.

ETC – silver contract

An exchange-traded commodity (ETC) contract offers traders exposure to various commodities, including silver. Traded like shares of a stock, an ETC silver contract’s price fluctuates in value based on the price changes in silver. While an ETF invests directly in physical commodities or futures contracts, an ETC is a debt note backed by an underwriter.

Banks

A simple way to buy, sell, and store silver is through a bank. Banks already come with their own vaults, so storage is taken care of. Some banks might charge more to sell you silver than an online broker will, however. Check with your local banks to see if they’ll buy and sell your silver.

Read our educational guides and courses to learn more about various investment and storage methods. If you’re ready to invest, click on the links above.

How to sell your silver

When selling your silver there are multiple factors to consider:

  1. Is the silver seller/dealer reputable? In today’s plugged-in world, you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of reviews (both positive and negative) for any decent-sized silver seller.
  2. Is the silver seller/dealer’s commission competitive? There’s no need to overpay for transaction costs. A typical fee to purchase a lot of silver is around 0.5%; it will often be a little higher if you want a limit order instead of a market order.
  3. Where is the demand coming from? In addition to being a favorite of collectors, silver also brings demand from industrial companies. Some of the industrial uses for silver include batteries, dentistry, glass coatings, LED chips, medicine, nuclear reactors, photography, photovoltaic (or solar) energy, RFID chips, semiconductors, and touch screens.
  4. What’s your timeframe for selling? Is your goal to try to make money fast, or do you want to hold for years to come? This will affect everything from how you incorporate transaction fees into your budget to when you sell–regardless of which silver-related asset you choose to buy.
  5. What is the current price of physical silver? If it’s near an all-time high, it could keep going vertical…or primed for a pullback. If it’s well off its recent high, it could bounce back…or keep falling.
  6. What is your hedging strategy? Silver is often used as a way to hedge against bear markets for stocks. Even then, you have options. You could spot a bear market for stocks, watch silver shoot up in price, and cash in your profits, or just hold your silver for decades, ignoring market cycles.

Our top tips for investing in silver

Here’s a quick tip sheet to review before you make start investing in silver:

  1. Select the type of silver you want. Silver is typically priced per ounce, making one-ounce bars and coins a popular choice. But you can also get much more creative, investing in antique coins, silver housewares, and more.
  2. Have a sound plan for when you want to sell. Whether you’re looking for a quick turnaround or a long-term hold, know your investment goals before you invest. 
  3. Select your storage options & location. For many people, outsourcing the hassle and worry of storage to a silver seller or a bank is worth the cost. But if you want to keep your silver close at hand, you can find a secure place in your home, buy insurance, then store the silver yourself.
  4. Assess the quality of the silver. Silver that’s 92.5% pure is also called 925 silver, or sterling silver; it’s the most common alloy used in the manufacture of silver jewellery and other fine silver items. Other common purity levels are 95% (softer silver that’s more easily tarnished than sterling silver) and 99.9% (the purest silver you can buy).
  5. Know how much you’re paying in premiums, commissions and prices. Different silver brokers offer different commission structures, though 0.5% fees for purchases are common. If you’re buying silver futures, check how much of a premium the seller charges on top of the silver spot price. 
  6. Don’t let emotions cloud your judgement. Make sure your silver investing decisions are based on sound logic and the careful study of market fundamentals, not fear, greed, or a hollow desire to own trinkets.

Try some of our investment courses for beginners

Still not quite ready to invest in silver? No problem. Learn the fundamentals of buying, selling, and storing silver via our easy-to-understand courses. You’ll soon be better equipped to become a silver investor.

Latest Silver news

By Harry Atkins
Harry joined us in 2019 to lead our Editorial Team. Drawing on more than a decade writing, editing and managing high-profile content for blue chip companies, Harry’s considerable experience in the finance sector encompasses work for high street and investment banks, insurance companies and trading platforms.

Investing is speculative. When investing your capital is at risk. This site is not intended for use in jurisdictions in which the trading or investments described are prohibited and should only be used by such persons and in such ways as are legally permitted. Your investment may not qualify for investor protection in your country or state of residence, so please conduct your own due diligence. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site. Click here for more information.