Provident Metals Review - Summary
In our Provident Metals review you'll learn why we don't recommend them for gold IRAs, and who we recommend instead. Provident Metals has a great selection of gold, silver, and platinum, but their IRA services fall short. In this review, we'll go over fees, pros and cons, customer service, and a lot more so you'll know everything you need to know before becoming a customer.
Key takeaways from our review:
- They have processed over a million transactions with over $3 billion in total value
- Provident Metals isn't technically a gold IRA company
- if you're looking for a one-stop-shop to learn about precious metals investment, this company probably won't be it.
About Provident Metals
There is close to no background information about this company, which might put some off, especially given their size relative to competitors that have been in business for over a decade.
Some sources say that Provident Metals supposedly has over a 100 years of experience: most likely, they are referring to the employees' cumulative experience in the precious metals sector.
Somewhat amazingly, the Better Business Bureau lists the company as being in business for only 3 years. Having an inventory this large, along with transaction volume and amount of reviews, almost makes us wonder if this number is correct.
While there are some negative reviews, they aren't too concerning. Further digging showed reviews dating back to 2015, which means that Provident Metals has been in business for 7 years, if not longer. Why does BBB say 3 years, then? We'll let you figure that one out.
The other few bits of info we've been able to come across is that they operate out of Texas, which is where we'd guess their warehouse is, that they're a member of a sort of industry body called the Certified Coin Exchange. They're also listed as an international and domestic bullion dealer.
No details of any kind in regards to who's running the company, what their experience is like and so on. For many, this will be less than ideal.
Likewise, instead of acting as an information hub for precious metals updates as is the case with most competitors, Provident Metals' website mostly informs visitors in regards to new products and the like. So if you're looking for a one-stop-shop to learn about precious metals investment, this website probably won't be it.
Provident Metals Products
Let's go over all the products listed by Provident Metals.
Precious metal IRAs
As the company tells us, retirement accounts are one of their main products. However, they feel a little sidelined. Their process of opening a gold IRA is described as a three-step program:
- Open a self-directed IRA
- Fund it with rollovers, transfers and annual contributions
- Then buy precious metals.
They list Preferred Trust Company as their custodian, and there doesn't seem to be an alternative available. This is notably different from many other precious metals companies that work with multiple custodians from the get-go and even offer to use a custodian of your choice.
Nothing is readily-available in regards to storage options, but it seems that Provident Metals utilizes several top depositories that have facilities in many different states. Their IRA section is more detailed than that of many bullion vendors. However, most of the information is almost "hidden" under their FAQ section and can be difficult to navigate to.
Now that the precious metal IRA is out of the way, it's time to get to what Provident Metals is all about: an exceptionally diverse inventory of bullion and other noteworthy items.
The way they group their metals is a little confusing. For example, their "In Stock" category of gold bars returns nothing, but when we get to the "1oz gold bar" category, there are over 20 detailed products listed. You might have to do a little navigating to figure out what's what.
Their inventory is far too varied to cover it in full detail here, so we'll try and list the products as comprehensively as we can. Available in this category right now is:
- American Gold Eagle, bullion and proof, in years dating back to the 90s and in denominations of 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, bullion and proof, in years dating back to the 80s and in denominations of 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz
- Austrian Gold Philharmonic, bullion and proof, last two decades in denominations of 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz
- Australian Gold Kangaroos, newer years, in denominations of 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz
- Similar availability and selection of other top gold coins from top mints including Krugerrands, Britannia's, Chinese Gold Pandas, Mexican Libertads
- Many different collector's gold coins, including antiques
- Gold rounds
- An astounding variety of gold bars from practically every mint you can come across in weights ranging from 1oz to 1-kilo
There are other products in this gold category that we haven't covered and that you might have not even heard of. Like we said, the inventory is nothing short of exceptional. We not only like that they list prices, but years as well, with every product's year of issuance being available for the customer to select. This is an upgrade over what many competitors have, which is "year of our choosing".
We'd say that the silver inventory is somehow even more varied, making it all the more difficult to cover properly. We'll try to go over their silver bullion inventory as best we can:
- American Silver Eagle, bullion and proof, varying years and packages
- Canadian Maple Leaf, bullion and proof, varying years and packages
- Other rarely-seen silver coins from the Royal Canadian Mint, such as grizzly and wolf
- Australian Kangaroos, bullion and proof, varying years and packages
- An extensive Australian Lunar Series
- More graded silver coins ranging from common varieties such as Krugerrands and Britannias to some pretty obscure issuances from South Korea and so on
- Elaborate "junk silver" offering
- An inventory of rounds that will bedazzle many investors
- Silver bars ranging from 1oz to 1-kilo
As in the case of gold, this isn't the full product offering. They have other silver products, such as silver bullets. What do they have against werewolves? There are silver statues and even silver dust.
Another rarity in their inventory are silver coins in varying denominations, with a 10oz Canadian Silver Maple Leaf being just one prominent example. This is not a common sight at all. And again, the rounds themselves could easily warrant their own section.
If you expected the inventory to start falling off here, you're in for a surprise.
Even though platinum and palladium bullion on their website isn't nearly as detailed when it comes to categories, it definitely is when it comes to product choices.
Some of the platinum products available are:
- American Eagle Platinum, bullion and proof, different years, denominations and packages
- Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf, bullion
- Australian wildlife, Lunar and Kangaroo platinum coins, different years and denominations, though some years are "our choice"
- Platinum Britannias, Austrian Philharmonic and a few other notable sovereigns
- Platinum rounds
- A very wide variety of platinum bars from different top mints, ranging in weights from 100 grams to 50 oz. Interestingly enough, some are listed as "various conditions", meaning they're damaged to an extent. One wonders if some of the reviewers neglected to pay attention to this
Again, despite being the "least popular" precious metal, Provident Metals aren't slacking when it comes to their palladium inventory. Available are:
- American Platinum Eagle, bullion and proof, recent years
- Canadian Palladium Maple Leaf, bullion, "our choice" year, some new and some in "varied condition"
- Russian Ballerinas, "our choice" year, "varied condition"
- Palladium rounds
- Palladium bars from various mints ranging in weights from 1 gram to 1oz
We feel that this section could be a little more elaborated, especially considering how detailed the other metals are. Varied conditions are undoubtedly going to confuse a lot of buyers.
They have two other main categories of products, and that's Other Legal Tender and Other. The first category includes a variety of non-bullion coins that will nonetheless satisfy many coin enthusiasts. The second includes 1oz bars from a very wide variety of metals in 1oz weights.
Niobium, Nickel, Tellurium... you're best off consulting the periodic table of elements to get an idea of what you might find here. Copper bullion seems somewhat conspicuously absent given how many other metals there are.
Provident Metals Fees
There is practically no information when it comes to the fee structure surrounding Provident Metals IRAs. These generally clock in at around $200 a year for custody and storage, but again, there's no telling with certainty.
Buybacks seem to be a strong point of the company, as it offers to either refund the metals you purchased within 5 days or replace them if the order wasn't satisfactory. Given this policy, we have to wonder if the customer service is having some issues, as it doesn't really make sense for many customers to be dissatisfied with the products given a fairly all-inclusive buyback program.
It's not entirely clear how they process buyback requests older than 5 days, though we'd assume they assess them individually. On the other hand, this might not be the case and you might not be eligible for a return after the 5-day period.
One fee that is mentioned is shipping, which is waived on all orders that exceed $199.
For a company with a truly dedicated precious metal IRA program, we recommend you check Augusta Precious Metals.
Ratings and Reviews About Provident Metals
There is a huge amount of reviews in fairly opposite directions. We've decided to group them as "good" and "bad" so you can get an idea of what's going on. Let's start with the basics: they're accredited with an A+ on the BBB website, which can be difficult to get.
There, they have a 4.72 out of 5 rating based on 148 reviews. It's a fairly high score, all the more so since they've had 21 complaints closed in the last 3 years. This is also a high number, so in order for them to keep their accreditation and rating, they'd have to have closed every complaint in a satisfactory manner, more or less.
There is no Business Consumer Alliance of ConsumerAffairs listing, but they're on Trust Pilot, where they have an astounding 3,677 total reviews. This is a truly massive figure for any gold bullion company. If we had to guess, we'd say that their strong, if not almost unparalleled inventory is what attracted so many customers in such a short timeframe.
The other relevant website where one can get plenty of feedback on the company is SiteJabber, where they have a 2.66 rating based on 44 reviews. There are some curious mentions here, which we'll go over in a bit. Let's start with the good feedback.
Even though Provident Metals has 90% reviews on Trust Pilot listed as Excellent, the ones you see in the front are mostly negative. We can't say for sure, but it almost looks like Provident customer service started falling off as the years went by.
Their 2015 reviews are the complete opposite compared to some of the more recent ones: while the reviews from 2015 are spotless, those in the more recent years are almost all negative.
One issue that seems to come up often is shipping issues. This seems to manifest in the form of a general negligence in regards to shipments, especially on orders below $1,000.
There are also quite a few reviews that point to damaged products, which should really be unacceptable by a large and reputable bullion vendor. It gets worse, however. One reviewer, for example, reveals that a test on his coin order revealed that the coin is fake. "Scammers or incompetent?" is the title of quite a few reviews. "Horrible company" is mentioned sometimes.
Others are also unhappy with general Provident customer service, pricing and so on. Something about a follow up phone call by customer service reps that's apparently a sales pitch rubbing people the wrong way, too.
Best Alternatives of Provident Metals
There's no shortage of alternatives to Provident Metals to consider, and we've written about quite a few of them on this website.
A few of our favorites:
# 1 - Augusta Precious Metals (Most Trusted)
Augusta Precious Metals is our top gold IRA company recommendation. They have a great reputation, are great for high networth individuals, and have been around since 2012. They are almost completely focused on precious metals as their name suggests. Augusta Precious Metals is extremely well rated by both the Better Business Bureau as well as the Business Consumer Alliance.
# 2 - Birch Gold Group (Best Choice For New Investors)
Birch Gold Group is a company with almost two decades of history. They’re gold IRA specialists with a great reputation that charges low fees and has an excellent as well as easy buyback program. Birch Gold Group is recommended for new investors since they’re easy and efficient to work with, have low fees and you can start a gold IRA with them for as low as $10,000.
# 3 - American Hartford Gold (Best Customer Service)
American Hartford Gold is easily one of the most trustworthy gold IRA dealers, with near pristine ratings and reviews online, great product inventory, and super a super helpful team with great customer service. It's obvious they care about their customers. On the other hand, if you're looking for platinum or palladium, you're out of luck. We gave AHG 5 out of 5 stars.
# 4 - Advantage Gold (Best For IRA Rollovers)
Advantage Gold is a relatively young company that’s been in business since 2014 and an awesome gold IRA company to work with for a rollover. They specialize in converting eligible accounts into precious metals IRAs and deal with both precious metals IRAs as well as cash sales of precious metals.
# 5 - Gold Alliance (Focus on Retirement Investing)
Gold Alliance is one of the oldest companies in the gold IRA sector that we've come across. With a dedicated focus to retirement gold investing, you're in good hands if you're looking to open a gold IRA with Gold Alliance, however, we recommend looking elsewhere if you want to invest in gold outside of an IRA.
Why is Augusta Precious Metals our preferred choice?
In a sense, Augusta Precious Metals is everything Provident Metals is not. For starters, they have a narrow focus on providing gold IRAs as opposed to being just a bullion vendor. Everything about their company, one way or the other, revolves around gold IRAs, which is why they offer a lifetime support guarantee.
For Augusta, customer satisfaction at any point of account ownership is just as important as closing a deal. That's why you can't find any negative reviews regardless of how hard you looked, and believe us, we've looked. The feedback affirms that this company really does go the extra mile to offer outstanding customer service and fulfill and all needs pertaining to your IRA investment.
Provident Metals FAQs
The variety of items is a good reason. Whether you're talking hard-to-find years of mintage or simply gold coins you can't find elsewhere, Provident Metals is probably going to have what you need. The option to choose the year of mintage on most orders is another strong point.
The money back guarantee seems to apply to the first 5 days after you've received the products, where they either offer to refund or replace what you ordered. Past that, it's not clear how long their buyback stretches. For more details here, it's best to make an inquiry with the company.
Their free shipping is available to orders of $199 or above, meaning you'll almost certainly be eligible for it even if you've ordered a few pieces of silver bullion.
Although they offer a gold IRA that seemingly doesn't fall off in quality compared to those of other companies, we've found this part to be a little lackluster. It's definitely not in the company's focus as much as in the case of top competitors.
Final Thoughts - Is Provident Metals Legit?
For those looking for a precious metals IRA, we'd say that there are probably better options out there.
When opening a retirement account, you generally want to avoid reviews that go on and on about bad customer service. There also doesn't seem to be an IRA specialist assigned to you when you open a retirement account, something that many top providers do offer.
As for regular bullion orders, you'll have to gauge whether the inventory strength offsets the negative reviews. We'd say that Provident Metals is a reputable dealer, but with over $3 billion processed in transactions, we see no reason why they couldn't put more effort into ensuring consistent customer satisfaction. An insurance underwriter wouldn't hurt, either.