While bullion dealers the world over provide services to investors wanting to put their money in gold bars, some major banks in Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Argentina buy and sell them over the counter.
Many sized bars are available and are measured in troy ounce, tola or tael depending on the country it is bought from and they can be either personally held or with bank in a safe deposit box.
It is a big hassle moving around with the bars or storing and transporting them which has made the gold account a preferred system of holding for small and medium investors.
Gold accounts offered mostly by Swiss banks help investors buy and sell gold or gold bars easily like foreign currency.
While Gold Money account has been in operation since 2001 providing digital gold currency, there are also Digital Gild currency and the Bullion Vault, both similar in operation. All these gold accounts have different set of rules for their clients and their gold investment through a trust or Bailment.
Entrusting the physical property with another party for its safekeeping which in this case is gold bars, the action is bound by law and services for the safekeeping are paid for.
Novelty one gram plastic coated gold bars costing twice the gold bullion content value are mainly aimed for the gift market. And of course, one can invest in gold bars of any size.
Good Delivery gold bars of graded specifications kept by central banks are around 400 ounce and professional dealers of bullion trade in them round the clock. Spot gold prices published online or in print are arrived at from the dealings in 400 ounce bars and Comex gold of 100 ounce, approved by the market, in New York.
Most traded gold bars among the nearly 30 types being bought and sold are the Good Delivery gold bars sold round the clock by dealers in London. Around 150,000 of the 400 ounce gold bars–manufactured by fifty five approved and monitored-by-London-gold refineries–made each year were valued in 2007 year end at $48 billion.
Bars come cheaper than coins of the same gold content and by buying gold bars you can avoid VAT or sales tax levied only on coins. Quality of gold bars with high quality comes cheaper.
Defined as investment gold, 100 and 400 ounce Good Delivery gold bars attract lower levels of tax as they are clubbed under retirement plans in many countries. Gold bars like the kilo bar or mass produced one ounce bars manufactured by gold refineries regularly are very cost effective for investment purposes.
Smaller gold bars can be kept in safe deposit boxes of banks or even stored in homes but they have drawbacks like higher prices and delivery costs. But there are specialist gold bar storage programs like gold pool accounts and gold certificate schemes that take away physical possession problems although their storage fees amount to 1.5% yearly.
Good delivery gold bars guarantees maximum resale value.
Bullion vaults offer gold bars of even one gram, help store them in gold bar facilities while keeping their values intact.