JM Bullion vs. APMEX Comparison

JM Bullion vs. APMEX Comparison

Everett Millman
Published: November 03, 2022
Table Of Contents:

APMEX and JM Bullion are two of the biggest names in the precious metals business in North America. Both retailers have a strong online presence and are well-known throughout the industry.

This review will answer the following questions: Are APMEX and JM Bullion the best options for buying gold and silver online? How do these two companies compare to one another, and to the rest of their competition?

The research provided below is the culmination of my decade of direct experience in the bullion business. I have extensively explored the websites of both companies, consulted online reviews and customer comments, and weighed these factors against their peers in the bullion industry.

Ultimately, APMEX proves to be the better option than JM Bullion. However, there are also even better options for where to buy precious metals.

JM Bullion vs. APMEX Comparison Chart

APMEX
JM Bullion
Gainesville Coins
Pricing

★★★

Product Availability

★★★

★★

★★

Company Size

★★★

★★

Service

★★★

★★

★★

Reputation & Trust

★★

★★★

★★★

Deals

★★

★★★

Website Usability

★★

★★★

★★★

Shipping Speed

★★

★★

Who Has the Best Pricing?

In some cases it’s difficult for a bullion dealer to stand out in terms of pricing. At the end of the day, most sellers are paying the same price when they source products on the wholesale market. Thin profit margins are the norm throughout the industry. As a result, prices from one dealer to another dealer tend to converge near the same levels.

balance of gold and dollar

Keep in mind that precious metals prices are always fluctuating. The exact price of your purchase isn't locked in until you finalize your order.

Nonetheless, pricing is an enormously important consideration for a would-be buyer of gold or silver. Obviously if two dealers are offering the same standard product—such as an American Silver Eagle coin—and one has a lower price, they are going to be the preferred option.

An analysis of prices across a range of coins, bars, and privately-minted rounds shows mixed results between JM Bullion and APMEX. The latter tends to charge slightly less for Silver Eagles. Yet you can usually find lower prices on pre-1933 gold coins at JM Bullion.

Overall, this category is essentially a tie. However, JM Bullion may have a slight edge for consistently charging about 10 cents less per ounce than APMEX for its more generic silver products.

Who Has Better Product Availability?

If you’re just starting out investing in precious metals, the differences between various products (like coins vs. bars) is not terribly important. As long as you’re not wildly overpaying (or getting something fake!), beginners should do just fine with any type of bullion product.

Once you’ve spent some time accumulating bullion, however, the range of products a seller has to offer will start to matter. Ideally you should have the option to buy coins from different countries, rounds with different designs, and bars with low premiums. Many bullion investors become dedicated “silver stackers,” expanding their collection to include a variety of designs.

gold investor

Different types of bullion products can bring variety and diversification to your precious metals portfolio.

It's true that JM Bullion often carries some unique products with designs you won't find elsewhere. Both of these sellers occasionally have collectible items for sale, as well. But when it comes to total availability, APMEX is unrivaled. They carry a wider range of bullion products to choose from, and the depth of their inventory is likely the best of any online dealer in the U.S. or Canada.

Which Company Is Larger?

A related consideration is the overall size and scale of each company. You should have different expectations depending on whether your source for bullion is a “big box” retailer or small “mom-and-pop” operation.

JM Bullion falls somewhere in the middle of that scale. They are certainly much bigger than your local coin shop, but they are no behemoth. It’s fair to call them a medium-sized enterprise. Still, it's worth pointing out that JM Bullion is a subsidiary of A-Mark Precious Metals, which encompasses a larger corporate umbrella. (A-Mark is the only publicly-traded bullion company on the New York Stock Exchange.)

APMEX, meanwhile, could be considered the “Walmart of precious metals,” at least for customers in North America. There are advantages and disadvantages to being a big box retailer, as we will see below.

APMEX wins in the size department, hands down.

Who Offers the Best Service?

Most consumers expect a business to provide prompt service and customer support. It’s not enough to simply sell great products. A bullion dealer should earn your loyalty through the quality of their customer service.

In this regard, APMEX is the winner. One of the benefits of being a larger company by size is that APMEX can employ more staff. That cuts down on wait times to speak to a representative or get a response to an email. It also results in fewer mistakes with orders, such as a receiving the wrong items. Unsurprisingly, the more workers a company can hire, the greater likelihood they will give you high-quality customer service.

You may think that being a bigger corporation might lead to more impersonal service on the part of APMEX. In some cases that has apparently been true for APMEX customers. The company still tends to receive somewhat higher ratings in customer reviews than JM Bullion does, on average. However, as we will discuss in the next section, these reviews can vary widely from one platform to another. We must dig a bit deeper beneath the surface.

Which Company Has the Best Reputation & Trust?

Trust is everything when it comes to the precious metals industry. A trustworthy reputation is, in fact, the paramount concern for any customer when deciding where to buy their metals.

APMEX would be expected to have a modest advantage in this category thanks to being the "bigger fish in the pond" within the industry. As mentioned earlier, their average customer review is fairly positive. It certainly helps that APMEX is one of the best-known names in the gold and silver business.

deal handshake

Dealing with a reputable seller who you trust is essential when you buy gold, silver, or platinum.

This doesn't necessarily make JM Bullion an untrustworthy seller. They have maintained a good reputation with their customer base over the years—notwithstanding their use of business tactics (in terms of online marketing) that have occasionally been questioned by their competitors. Despite arousing some suspicion for being a "scam," a common accusation in the gold bullion business, JM Bullion also rates relatively highly in online reviews.

It's worth comparing the Better Business Bureau profile of both companies. This offers a more objective view of their respective reputations, because it's more difficult to get spam complaints or fake accusations through the BBB.

In terms of the total number of complaints made to the BBB, JM Bullion has far more. Over the past three years, the company has nearly 300 official customer complaints. That's an average of almost 100 per year. APMEX has only received about 100 customer complaints during that three-year period.

There is one giant caveat here, though: JM Bullion has maintained their A+ rating with the BBB, while APMEX only has an A. This means that JM Bullion has a better track record of responding to those complaints to the customer's satisfaction. Moreover, this has resulted in a higher score in the BBB from customer reviews—4.6/5 for JM Bullion compared to about 4/5 for APMEX.

Overall, JM Bullion edges out a win in the trust category.

Which Company Offers the Best Deals?

Who doesn’t like getting deals and discounts? Offering customers a good deal is a staple of all online marketplaces today. In the case of the precious metals industry, however, the economics of the business make discounted products somewhat uncommon. Profit margins on gold and silver bullion products are rather thin. That's simply the nature of the industry.

Although the quality of special deals can vary from time to time, APMEX generally has a better selection in its "Deals" section than JM Bullion does in its "On Sale" section. The former also does a good job of making the actual price discount clearer. This is particularly important for new entrants into the bullion market who may not be as familiar with how the "premium over spot" pricing model on precious metals works.

Another win goes to APMEX.

consumer spending

Consumers should always search for discounted prices before making a purchase.

Who Has Better Website Usability?

Having a user-friendly website and interface is essential for any online seller in the 21st century. This includes:

  • providing a streamlined online experience for users (sometimes called "UX")
  • presenting a coherent site design that is easy to navigate
  • giving users value-added features like informational content

Overall, this category is a bit of a toss-up. That's especially the case given that most of the features and design themes on the JM Bullion website are virtually indistinguishable from those on APMEX's site. We're not entirely sure who copied who! But that's beside the point. So long as the website interface is organized and easy to navigate, you can shop confidently through their online portal.

JM Bullion gets a slight edge in website design thanks to offering a little more content for users to learn more about buying and selling precious metals.

Who Has Better Shipping Reliability and Speed?

Shipping speed on orders is one of the greatest concerns for any buyer of precious metals online. (Whether or not that should be the case is a separate issue, but I digress.)

This is an interesting category to evaluate. Better logistics would seem to be one of the clear advantages that you expect a larger enterprise like APMEX to enjoy over its competition. However, it's worth noting that JM Bullion started out as a humble drop-shipping company in the early days of the brand. The company has apparently carried over this experience, even under new ownership, to offer superior shipping performance.

Discreet and secure delivery of your metals is of utmost concern for any good gold dealer. You should expect your package to be fully insured and tracking information to be provided.

Alibaba packaging

Unfortunately, most gold dealers don't have a warehouse full of inventory like Amazon. Expecting speedy delivery of every order is unrealistic.

When it comes to cost, basically all bullion dealers are at the mercy of the various delivery services, such as UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service (USPS). There's not much of a difference between companies across the industry in this regard. As a nice perk, both JM Bullion and APMEX offer free shipping on all orders of $200 or more.

On balance, this one is a tie.

Conclusion: APMEX Compares Favorably to JM Bullion, But Isn't the Best Option

In a simple head-to-head comparison in our eight categories, APMEX bests JM Bullion by a margin of 5-to-2 (with one tie). If we add up the total number of stars they received in each category, APMEX wins with 18 stars vs. 16 stars for JM Bullion. I must honestly conclude that both of them are fine choices for buying metals.

Nonetheless, neither of these companies is the best place to buy precious metals online! Gainesville Coins offers some key advantages over either JM Bullion or APMEX:

  1. Better deals and overall pricing
  2. Luxury showroom for in-person purchases
  3. A+ rating from BBB

Although Gainesville Coins doesn't have the size advantage or lightning-fast shipping, it is the clear winner in the single most important category: pricing. You will find consistently lower prices at Gainesville Coins. This should always be the top concern when shopping for gold and silver.

Gainesville Coins also distinguishes itself by offering a physical location and storefront where customers can buy, sell, pick up their order in person, and ask questions. Neither APMEX nor JM Bullion offers this option.

Gainesville Coins Inc. Showroom

The Gainesville Coins showroom is conveniently located just north of Tampa, Florida.

In addition to these two major benefits, Gainesville Coins ranks equally to APMEX and JM Bullion in terms of trust and reputation. Follow the link to learn more about why Gainesville Coins is the best online precious metals dealer.


Read more about the precious metals industry from the expert authors at Gainesville Coins:

Best Place to Buy Silver: Low Prices From a Trusted Dealer

Best Places to Buy Gold Coins in 2023

How to Sell Coins: The 5 Best Tips

Bitcoin vs. Gold: 10 Crystal-Clear Comparisons

Gold vs. Cash: Comparing the Pros and Cons

Gold Mutual Funds vs. Gold ETFs: What's the Difference?

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Everett Millman

Everett Millman

Managing Editor | Analyst, Commodities and Finance

Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.

In addition to blogging, Everett's work has been featured in Reuters, CNN Business, Bloomberg Radio, TD Ameritrade Network, CoinWeek, and has been referenced by the Washington Post.

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