> > Orion Metal Exchange Review 2024: Features, Pros, and Cons

Orion Metal Exchange Review 2024: Features, Pros, and Cons

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Whenever geopolitical and economic fears flare up, you can bet investors are flocking to the precious metals market. Unsurprisingly, the spot price for gold bars has been on a tear recently, and it has been getting close to its all-time highs. Whether people are looking for an inflation hedge or portfolio diversification, it’s clear more investors are interested in allocating some of their cash into bars, bullion, and coins. In addition to buying precious metals directly, some people use their retirement accounts to invest directly in precious metals without worrying about paying extra taxes.

There are dozens of high-quality precious metals vendors now offering self-directed IRAs with access to gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. For instance, Orion Metal Exchange has been in business since 2017, and it continues to help investors access precious metals with their retirement money. Although Orion Metal Exchange has a strong reputation, investors should take their time to carefully evaluate this company to see if it makes sense for their situation. After reviewing Orion Metal Exchange’s features and track record, you’ll know whether this market fits your investment strategy.

Orion Metal Exchange

Overall Rating 3.5

The Modest Wallet Overall Rating (Our Rating Methodology)

Bottom Line: Orion Metal Exchange is a precious metals dealer established based in Los Angeles, CA, offering multiple products, from precious metals IRA accounts to direct selling precious metals, including gold, silver, palladium, and platinum.

Minimum deposit

4.0

Fees

3.5

Offerings

3.5

Customer service

3.0

User experience

3.5

Security

3.0

Best for:

  • Conservative investors
  • Long-term investors
  • Precious metals investors

Pros:

  • Fee-free buyback guarantee
  • High-quality depositories with insurance protection
  • No transfer or setup fees

Cons:

  • Shorter track record in the precious metals industry
  • Limited educational resources
  • Lack of fee transparency

What is Orion Metal Exchange?

Orion Metal Exchange is a California-based precious metals dealer offering direct shipment of metals and a self-directed precious metals IRA. Jacob Blalock—who has prior experience at Lear Capital and Patriot Gold Group— founded Orion Metal Exchange in 2017. Currently, Mr. Blalock serves as Orion Metal Exchange’s CEO. Since its founding, Orion Metal Exchange has earned multiple accreditations, including an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). In 2020, the site Retirement Living also recognized Orion Metal Exchange as the “Top Rated Full Service Precious Metals Firm.”

Orion Metal Exchange homepage
Source: Orion Metal Exchange

How Does Orion Metal Exchange Work? 

Orion Metal Exchange helps clients rollover pre-existing retirement accounts such as Traditional IRAs or Roth IRAs into a self-directed precious metals IRA. You’ll enjoy all the tax benefits you get with your regular retirement account, except you can order physical metals via Orion Metal Exchange with your yearly contributions. Whichever gold, silver, platinum, or palladium products you choose, Orion Metal Exchange will send them to a partner depository for safekeeping till you reach retirement age. After you turn 59½, you take ownership of your precious metals or request a buyback through Orion Metal Exchange without paying penalties. 

Account Minimum 

Orion Metals Exchange doesn’t list its minimum IRA requirement on its website, but most reports suggest you’ll need to invest at least $10,000. Call Orion Metals Exchange at (800) 559-0088 and ask for the latest updates on their minimum requirements. 

Account Types 

Orion Metal Exchange mentions Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401(k)s as eligible for rollovers into its self-directed precious metals IRA. If you have a different retirement account, call (800) 559-0088 to see if Orion Metals Exchange can accommodate you. 

Getting Started 

Although Orion Metal Exchange has an official email address, you’ll need to speak to an agent to take care of your IRA rollover, purchases, and withdrawals. Your Orion Metal Exchange rep should guide you through the steps to successfully transfer your money. Since everything is done over the phone on Orion Metal Exchange, it’s a good idea to add (800) 559-0088 to your phone’s contacts list for convenience. 

Orion Metal Exchange sign up
Source: Orion Metal Exchange

Opening an Account

Opening a gold IRA account with Orion Metal Exchange is a relatively straightforward process, and it should only take you about 30 minutes from start to finish.

  • Step 1 – Research Orion Metal Exchange’s Offerings: Unlike some competing precious metals dealers, Orion Metal Exchange doesn’t offer an info kit via mail or e-book. Instead, you’ll find all the basic information on Orion Metal Exchange’s services on its official website. Take a peek at the FAQs, About page, and tabs related to IRAs and precious metal investing to better understand whether you want to work with Orion Metal Exchange.
  • Step 2 – Contact an Orion Metal Exchange Representative: If you like what you see on Orion Metal Exchange’s site, you can contact an agent at (800) 559-0088 on business days between 8 AM – 5 PM PST. You could also email Orion Metal Exchange’s staff at [email protected] with any questions. 
  • Step 3 – Open a Precious Metals IRA Account: If you feel confident about investing in Orion Precious Metals IRA, call (800) 559-0088 to start the rollover process. Your customer care rep should give you all the details you need to successfully transfer your current IRA funds to Orion Precious Metals. If you encounter any issues, call Orion Precious Metals again to clear up your problems. 
  • Step 4 – Purchase Precious Metals: Once your retirement funds are in the Orion Precious Metals IRA, you’re free to buy any of the IRS-approved metals for your account. Take your time skimming through the different coins, bullion, and bars available through Orion Precious Metals, and call an agent when you’re ready to make a purchase. Orion Precious Metals will send these products to your preferred depository for safekeeping. 
  • Step 5 – Monitor Your Precious Metals IRA: Orion Precious Metals doesn’t have an online portal to monitor your specific IRA portfolio, but you can keep tabs on your purchases by writing your buy orders in a spreadsheet or a journal. You can also call (800) 559-0088 to ask for details on your Orion Metal Exchange IRA during the work week. 
Orion Metal Exchange gold IRAs
Source: Orion Metal Exchange

Orion Metal Exchange Features 

Similar to many other precious metals IRA dealers, Orion Metal Exchange focuses on managing self-directed metals IRA accounts and direct shipment of precious metals. Customers enjoy extra features like a precious metals buyback and customer support when using Orion Metal Exchange’s services.

Minimum Deposit$10,000
Fees$0 (setup fee), $150 for accounts under $200,000; $225 for those above $200,000 (custodian fee), $75-$175/year (storage fee) *other fees may apply
Account TypesTraditional IRA and Roth IRA
OfferingsGold, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium
Trustpilot4.9/5.0
Better Business BureauA+ Rating
Business Consumer AllianceN/A
PromotionNone
Buyback ProgramYes
Physical Precious Metals Ownershipyes
Free Info KitYes
SupportContact Form and Telephone: (800) 559-0088

Precious Metals IRAs 

Orion Precious Metals’ self-directed IRA is a tax-advantaged account that allows investors to buy physical precious metals. All of the metals offered in this IRA plan need to meet high standards for purity set by the IRS: 99.5% pure for gold, 99.9% pure for silver, and 99.95% for platinum and palladium. You can rollover standard retirement accounts like a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or 401(k) into Orion Precious Metals IRA and make yearly contributions to buy physical precious metals. Orion Precious Metals lets you send your precious metals to a secure vault at either Delaware Depository or a Brink’s International facility. You can contact Orion Precious Metals when you reach retirement age (59½) to request these physical precious metals or a buyback without paying penalties. 

Purchase Precious Metals Directly 

If you’d prefer to store precious metals on your property, you can buy metals directly from Orion Precious Metal’s catalog for home shipment. Orion Precious Metals offers insured shipping to your home with an average shipment time of 5 – 7 business days after they receive an ACH or wire transfer. You could also send a check to purchase precious metals directly, but it may take longer to receive them. Orion Precious Metals also sends tracking info to your email address so you can monitor your shipment’s progress.

A few examples of precious metals you could buy directly from Orion Precious Metals include:

  • Gold American Eagle coins
  • Gold Rose Crown Guinea
  • U.S. Gold Commemorative $10
  • Silver American Eagle coins
  • Silver Canadian Maple Leaf coins
  • Platinum American Eagle coins
  • Platinum War of 1812 coins
  • Palladium Maple Leaf coins
  • Palladium bars
Orion Metal Exchange gold coins
Source: Orion Metal Exchange

Precious Metals Storage 

The IRS only allows people with self-directed precious metals IRA to hold these products on their property after retirement age. Therefore, Orion Metal Exchange needs to ship these metals to an IRS-approved depository until investors reach 59½. You can choose from the highly-rated Delaware Depository or Brink’s International if you buy an Orion Metal Exchange IRA. Orion Metal Exchange also promises to offer insurance from Lloyd’s of London on every client’s precious metals. 

Buyback Program 

Orion Metal Exchange promises to offer IRA holders a fee-free buyback option,” meaning they will send you money if you decide to liquidate your assets at retirement age. According to Orion Metal Exchange, you should be able to settle the rate for your buyback within a 30-second phone call. Whenever you want to sell your metals back to Orion Metal Exchange, simply call an agent, set your price, and wait for the funds to arrive within 3 – 5 business days. 


Orion Metal Exchange Fees 

Orion Metal Exchange doesn’t have a transparent table for its current fee schedule but advertises many attractive “free-fee” options. Please be sure to factor in the average fees you’ll pay for your IRA investment to understand how these costs will affect your investment. 

Setup Fees 

Orion Metal Exchange says it charges zero setup fees regardless of how much money you deposit in your IRA. 

Annual IRA Fees

You’ll have to pay annual fees to maintain your self-directed IRA, but Orion Metal Exchange doesn’t mention a specific amount on its website. Instead, Orion Metal Exchange says these yearly fees are dependent on the partner custodian. For more details, ask Orion Metal Exchange for more information on average annual costs for their custodial partners. 

Storage Fees

Orion Metal Exchange only mentions paying a “nominal” storage fee depending on the depository investors use. Most reviews and estimates suggest these storage fees often range between $75 – $175 per year, but you’ll need to speak with an Orion Metal Exchange expert to figure out the expected rate depending on your chosen depository. Also, Orion Metal Exchange advertises three years of free storage fees on “qualifying accounts,” so be sure to ask about the latest minimum deposit requirements for this bonus. 

Other Fees 

Orion Metal Exchange mentions it doesn’t charge buyback fees or transfer fees. However, you may pay a premium on the metals you purchase, known as the “bid-ask spread.” Also, Orion Metal Exchange doesn’t advertise shipping charges, so be prepared to pay these extra fees. 


Orion Metal Exchange Security 

Orion Metal Exchange works with IRS-approved custodians and depositories, including Delaware Depository and Brink’s International. IRA clients also enjoy insurance protection on their precious metals from Lloyd’s of London. When you open an Orion Metal Exchange IRA, you can choose whichever IRS-approved depository you prefer to send your physical precious metals, and you can request a guided tour of your desired facility by contacting Orion Metal Exchange at (800) 559-0088.


Orion Metal Exchange Customer Support

The primary way to reach Orion Metal Exchange is over the phone at (800) 559-0088. Just keep in mind customer care reps are only active between 8 AM – 5 PM PST on business days. If you’d prefer to communicate on the Web, you could send Orion Metal Exchange an email at [email protected].


Orion Metal Exchange Experience 

According to online review platforms like Trustpilot, ConsumerAffairs, and Google Reviews, most customers have a positive experience using Orion Metal Exchange. Although there are a few complaints on these platforms, the positive reviews always outweigh the negative ones, and Orion Metal Exchange directly responds to most people who have issues. Orion Metal Exchange also earned accolades like an A+ rating on the BBB and the 2020 award for the “Top Rated Full Service Precious Metals Firm” on Retirement Living.

Check out these real reviews on Orion Metal Exchange:

“The reps were very responsive and helpful, but I was more interested in gold bullion instead of coins and I would appreciate it if they added that to their portfolio. The mark-up for coins is a little higher and I want to minimize my overall cost of metals. If I go with bullion bars, it’s cheaper than coins.” Thomas of Claremont, CA (ConsumerAffairs)

“I would have to go far to find an agent who was more understanding of my position and expectations. Setting up my IRA with Orion was relatively easy and I feel the purchases within the account will do well over time. Because account is so recent I can’t give a 5 yet…but so far I am very happy with the service.” Brenda (Trustpilot)  

“Rating would have been higher if this had not been my first time and/or I had more skill and/or experience in setting up my precious metals IRA. Direct purchase and delivery was a piece of cake. Orion Metal Exchange representatives are knowledgeable, helpful and patient.” David Bowles (Google Reviews


Orion Metal Exchange Pros Explained 

  • Fee-free buyback guarantee: When you reach retirement age, you can liquidate your precious metal holdings for a cash payout without paying any additional fees. Orion Metal Exchange promises to offer a guaranteed fee-free buyback on all IRA accounts, so you don’t need to ship the tangible precious metals to your door if you don’t want them. 
  • High-quality depositories with insurance protection: IRA holders on Orion Metal Exchange enjoy the security of either Brink’s International or Delaware Depository facilities. In addition to the industry-leading standards at these facilities, Orion Metal Exchange offers insurance protections via Lloyd’s of London.  
  • No transfer or setup fees: No matter how much you deposit to an Orion Metal Exchange IRA, you don’t have to factor transfer and setup fees into your account. Orion Metal Exchange also sometimes offers special discounts. 
  • All four precious metals available: There are plenty of precious metals products to choose from with an Orion Metal Exchange account. Whichever mint and metal you’re interested in, you’ll find your ideal fit in Orion Metal Exchange’s catalog. 

Orion Metal Exchange Cons Explained 

  • Shorter track record in the precious metals industry: Orion Metal Exchange’s founder Jacob Blalock has years of experience in the precious metals market, but the company started operations in 2017. Compared to other precious metals vendors, Orion Metal Exchange is one of the youngest, so it doesn’t have as solid of a track record in the industry. 
  • Limited educational resources: Although Orion Metal Exchange has a “News” tab on its website, it doesn’t have a dedicated educational hub like many competitors. You can find articles related to investing on Orion Metal Exchange’s website, but it doesn’t offer a comprehensive “Learn” portal or physical info packet. 
  • No fee transparency: Orion Metal Exchange advertises a few attractive “fee-free” features, like no transfer or buyback fees, but it doesn’t list other expenses like shipping, annual fees, or storage on its website. You’ll need to speak with an Orion Metal Exchange agent to see how these fees will affect your final price. 
  • Doesn’t offer portfolio tracking on the main website: Monitoring the performance of your Orion Metal Exchange IRA can be a hassle. The only price info on Orion Metal Exchange’s website is the spot price for gold, silver, platinum, and palladium at the top of the home screen. If you want to see how your IRA is performing over time, you’ll need to keep detailed notes of your buy orders and contact Orion Metal Exchange at regular intervals.  

Orion Metal Exchange Alternatives

Orion Metal Exchange has a strong reputation in the IRA precious metals space, but plenty of other companies offer this service. Be sure to review a few of Orion Metal Exchange’s competitors before deciding which service is the best for you. 

Orion Metal Exchange vs. Goldco

Headquartered in Beverly Hills, Goldco has been in business since 2012 and offers self-directed precious metal IRAs. A big distinction between Goldco and Orion Metal Exchange is the former has a higher minimum deposit for its IRA at $25,000. Goldco is also famous for its partnership with Chuck Norris, plus limited edition metals in the Hollywood legend’s likeness. Read our Goldco review for more details on how this company differs from Orion Metal Exchange. 

Orion Metal Exchange vs. Augusta Precious Metals 

Augusta Precious Metals is another California precious metals vendor that’s been around five years longer than Orion Metal Exchange. You’ll need to deposit $50,000 to open an Augusta Precious Metals IRA, and you can choose between Delaware Depository, Brink’s International, and International Depository Services Group. For more details, check out our Augusta Precious Metals review.

Orion Metal ExchangeAugusta Precious MetalsGoldco
Our Rating

3.5

4.7

4.6

Annual Fees$150-$225$200 (waived for the first year)Varies depending on custodian
Minimum Deposit$10,000$50,000$25,000
Trustpilot Rating4.9/5.0N/A4.8/5.0
BBB RatingA+A+A+
BCA RatingN/AAAAAAA
TrustLink RatingN/A4.9/5.04.8/5.0
Information KitPDFPhysical KitPhysical Kit
VerdictBest Buyback GuaranteeBest For TransparencyBest For Customer Service

Who is Orion Metal Exchange Best For? 

Investors who want to diversify their long-term holdings with precious metals are the right fit for Orion Metal Exchange. The relatively low starting deposit and lack of startup and transfer fees make Orion Metal Exchange stand out from the competition. These features make opening a self-directed IRA easier for people who want moderate exposure to precious metals. While $10,000 is a significant amount, it’s less of a commitment than many competing precious metals IRA companies. Therefore, if people want to add a smaller percentage of their entire retirement account to physical precious metals, Orion Metal Exchange may be the right option. 


Orion Metal Exchange FAQs 

Are you still wondering whether Orion Metal Exchange is optimal for your retirement money? Check out these FAQs to better understand what Orion Metal Exchange has to offer.  

Who Owns Orion Metal Exchange? 

Jacob Blalock is the co-founder and CEO of Orion Metal Exchange. Before leading Orion Metal Exchange, Blalock gained experience in the precious metals field, working for companies such as Lear Capital, Patriot Gold Group, and ABEX. 

Is Orion Metal Exchange Trustworthy? 

Orion Metal Exchange has an A+ rating and official accreditation from the BBB, as well as accolades from prominent publications. This company also has positive reviews on most online platforms and connections to high-quality depositories like Delaware Depository and Brink’s International. Although Orion Metal Exchange isn’t the oldest company in the precious metals market, it has been around since 2017 and has had few complaints online. 

Do I Own The Physical Precious Metals in A Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Account?

Anyone who opens an Orion Metal Exchange IRA owns the physical metals in their portfolio. However, you can’t ship these metals to your property until you reach retirement age. 

Can I See How My Investment Is Performing With Orion Metal Exchange? 

To track your portfolio’s performance on Orion Metal Exchange, you’ll need to keep notes of your purchases and compare them with the spot price for different precious metals. There’s no official portfolio tracker on Orion Metal Exchange’s website, so it’s helpful to keep detailed lists in a Spreadsheet to make calculating your gains or losses easier. 

Where Does Orion Metal Exchange Store My Precious Metals? 

You can store the precious metals in your Orion Metal Exchange IRA at a Delaware Depository or Brink’s International facility. No matter where you store your gold and silver, you’ll enjoy insurance from Lloyd’s of London. 

Do Contributions On An Orion Metal Exchange Account Work The Same As A Regular IRA Account? 

The annual contribution limits on self-directed IRAs are the same as Traditional IRAs (i.e., $6,500 before 50, $7,500 after 50). 

What Are The Tax Advantages Of A Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Account? 

You receive the same tax benefits with an Orion Metal Exchange gold IRA as you would with your standard IRA plan. For instance, if you rollover a Traditional IRA, you can claim tax breaks for your annual contributions. By contrast, Roth IRA holders enjoy tax-free withdrawals after reaching retirement age. 

How Can I Make A Withdrawal From My Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA? 

To withdraw from Orion Metal Exchange’s IRA, call a customer service rep at (800) 559-0088. Your agent should guide you through the steps to liquidate your holdings or send the physical metals to your doorstep. 

How Does Orion Metal Exchange Make Money?

Precious metal vendors like Orion Metal Exchange typically profit from the “bid-ask spread” when selling precious metals. When placing orders, this “spread” is the difference between the lowest sell price and the highest buy price. Orion Metal Exchange profits from slight price premiums for every item they sell. 

Where Is Orion Metal Exchange Headquarters?

Here’s the official address for Orion Metal Exchange: 
12301 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 412 
Los Angeles, CA 90025, United States

Do I Pay The Shipping On My Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA?

Orion Metal Exchange doesn’t advertise free shipping, so ask for an estimate on these charges for your home location. 

How Do I Rollover Funds From Another Account Into A Orion Metal Exchange Gold IRA Account? 

Orion Metal Exchange agents help clients rollover pre-existing retirement accounts into self-directed IRAs over the phone. Call (800) 559-0088 for the full details on safely transferring your IRA funds. 

Does Orion Metal Exchange Have A Buyback Program?

Orion Metal Exchange offers a fee-free buyback program. So, if you want to liquidate your coins or bullion for cash after you reach retirement, call Orion Metal Exchange to request a payout in the mail. 

In A Nutshell

  • Key Highlight: No transfer or setup fees for new IRA accounts
  • Minimum Investment: $10,000
  • Metals Available: Gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion and coins
  • Ratings: 4.9/5.0 over 138 reviews (Trustpilot); 5.0/5.0 over 40 reviews (BBB) and A+ rating with BBB

on Oxford Gold Group’s website


Final Thoughts

Orion Metal Exchange doesn’t have a feature-rich website or the longest history in the precious metals market, but it has a solid reputation for offering high-quality customer service, a plethora of precious metals, and no startup or transfer fees. People who use Orion Metal Exchange’s IRA also enjoy access to high-quality depositories and insurance from Lloyd’s of London. Compare Orion Metal Exchange’s offerings with its competitors to see whether it fits your retirement goals.

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