Deciding to start...

I'm sure you will have heard the term 'Familiarity breeds contempt' and like many people I trip over this every now and again. Having been dabbling in online investing for some two and a half years now I tend to forget that those who are just finding out about the opportunities online may not be fully aware of some of the basic steps you need to take to get yourself set up.

The online investing world is littered with many examples of failed ventures and disappointed investors and whilst there are some honest and reliable programmes out there these have generally been more the exception rather than the rule.

But, even before you think about placing your hard earned money in any particular venture you need to ensure that the mechanisms exist for you to effectively and efficiently operate.

In the 'normal' world when you want to pay for something you reach for cash, a cheque or a credit card. Online investing is different and you will find yourself limited in how you can place money in a specific programme. The experience of credit cards being used fraudulently has severely constrained the use of them for online investing. In part to address this and also as a way of providing a common payment medium several companies have been created. The best known (to me anyway) are the ecurrency providers Egold and Ebullion with both being in existence for some time now. I should also mention CEP Trust as they also provide a payment processor facility but getting funds into it can be convoluted if you are not a US resident.
Whilst these online payment processors provide a valuable service they come with their own frustrations and concerns, not the least being security. Account holders at Egold have found to their cost that if they are not diligent in protecting their account details that their funds can be cleaned out by criminals. I'm not suggesting Egold are at fault here as they provide several ways to help protect their clients, it's just that some people don't follow the advice.

So, it's probably not a good idea to hold significant funds in your ecurrency accounts (and from a return on investment stance it's not a good strategy anyway), even before you worry about that you still have to get funds into your ecurrency account as they do not accept direct payments. So, this brings into place another entity, the ecurrency exchange. Again, there are several companies that offer this service. I use London Gold Exchange when I need these services as I find them very efficient and I can send funds directly to and from my bank account.

Of course companies like this don't provide this service for nothing so you should be aware that there will be costs involved. Because of this you should consider carefully how much you can invest with as relatively small sums will cost a relatively high percentage to buy ecurrency. Wherever possible transfer as large a sum as possible and rather than just invest in one opportunity you can provide some diversification and spread your risk.

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