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Broker Reviews


Published by
On Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 .


Unless trading with a flagship account ($1,000,000+ portfolio value) or with Vanguard funds, Vanguard has little to offer the average investor that cannot be found elsewhere.


Extremely expensive commissions for clients that don't meet required portfolio values; no live chat support and email support slow to respond; not designed for the active online investor.

Our Vanguard review includes a variety of information for researching and finding a brokerage to suit your needs. We have detailed commissions & fees data, an extensive features checklist, and other important broker information available. Our team encourages all investors to compare Vanguard with their competitors to find out how they stack up.

Please Note: Our annual review requires the online brokers to actively participate due to the extensive amount of testing, data, and research that takes place over the course of six months. Since Vanguard elected not to be included in our 2015 Online Broker Review, Vanguard does not have star ratings or rankings.

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Reviewed by

Blain has been involved in the markets for over 12 years, heading equity broker research and reviews. His personal blog,, provides to-the-point daily market recaps to over 17,000 subscribers.

Commission Notes

Vanguard commissions details below:

Stock Trades - Vanguard offers different commissions rates depending on the size of the portfolio. These rates are broken down below:

  • Less than $50,000 (Standard) = $7 for first 25 trades, $20 for each trade thereafter (yearly). There is also a $20 per year account service fee charged.
  • $50,000 - $500,000 (Voyager) = $7 per trade.
  • $500,000 - $1 million (Voyager Select) = $2 per trade.
  • $1 million plus (Flagship) = First 25 trades free, $2 for each trade thereafter (yearly)

Options Trades - $20 + $1.00 per contract. For Voyager accounts the rate is $8 + $1.50 per contract. Assignments are $30 + $.015 per contract. For flagship accounts, assignments are $8 + $.015.

  • Less than $50,000 (Standard) = $20 + $1.00 per contract. Excercise & assignments are $20 + $.01 per share.
  • $50,000 - $500,000 (Voyager) = $7 + $1.00 per contract. Excercise & assignments are $7 + $.01 per share.
  • $500,000 - $1 million (Voyager Select) = $2+ $1.00 per contract. Excercise & assignments are $2 + $.01 per share.
  • $1 million plus (Flagship) =$2+ $1.00 per contract. Excercise & assignments are $2 + $.01 per share.

Mutual Funds - For transaction fee funds it is $35 per trade for Standard accounts, $20 for Voyager and Voyager Select, and $8 for Flagship accounts. For non transactin fee funds there is no commission charged to buy or sell.

There is $3,000 minimum investment for most funds with $1,000 minimum reinvestments thereafter. There is also a 1% sale charge of the proceeds ($50 minimum, $250 maximum) for shares held less than 180 days.

Other Investments - Vanguard does not support futures and forex.

Trade Commissions Breakdown

$7.00 Stock Trade Fee (flat)*
N/A Stock Trade Fee (per share)*
$20.00 Options Base Fee*
$1.00 Options Per Contract Fee*
N/A Options Exercise Fee
N/A Options Assignment Fee
$35.00 Mutual Fund Trade Fee
$7.00 Broker Assisted Trades Fee
$3,000.00 Minimum Deposit

Margin Rates

-1.00% Under $24,999.99
-1.00% $25,000.00 to 49,999.99
-1.00% $50,000.00 to $99,999.99
-1.00% $100,000.00 to $249,999.99
-1.00% $250,000.00 to $499,999.99
-1.00% $500,000.00 to $999,999.99
-1.00% Above $1,000,000.00

Miscellaneous Fees

N/A Bond Trade Fee
N/A Treasury Trade Fee
$0.00 CD Trade Fee
N/A IVR Trade Fee
N/A IRA Annual Fee
N/A IRA Closure FEe
N/A Forced Margin Sellout Fee
N/A Returned ACH Fee
N/A Returned Wire Fee
N/A Stock Certificate Processing Fee
N/A Stock Certificate Delivery Fee
N/A Paper Statement Fee
N/A Paper Confirmation Fee
N/A Domestic Wire Fee
N/A International Wire Fee

Vanguard Ratings

Commissions & Fees
Customer Service
Platforms & Tools
Ease of Use
Offering of Investments
Mobile Trading

Vanguard Awards


Vanguard elected to not participate in the 2015 Online Broker Review.

Offering of Investments

N/A Clearing Firm
N/A Commission Free ETFs
Corporate Bonds
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
# of Easy to Borrow Stocks
Forex Trading
Futures Trading
Yes No Fee IRAs
Mini Options
Municipal Bonds
Yes Mutual Funds
N/A Mutual Funds (Load)
N/A Mutual Funds (No Load)
Mutual Funds (NTF)
Mutual Funds (Total)
No Inactivity Fees
No Minimum Deposit
Yes Options Trading
Order Type - After Hours
Order Type - Algo
Order Type - Broker Assisted
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
N/A Retail Locations
Yes Stock Trading
US Treasury Bonds
Weekly Options

Customer Service

Yes Phone Support
Yes Email Support
Live Chat (prospect clients)
Live Chat (current clients)
24/7 Support

Platforms & Tools

Desktop Platform
Mac Platform
Web Platform
Active Trading Platform
Auto Investing
Ladder Trading
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Option Chains - Basic View
Option Chains - Strategy View
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Streaming Time & Sales
Streaming TV
Trade Hot Keys
Virtual Trading


Research - ETFs
Research - Mutual Funds
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Research - Fixed Income
Misc - Global Market Overview
Equity Research - News
Equity Research - Chart
Equity Research - Option Chains
Equity Research - Balance Sheet
Equity Research - Cash Flows
Equity Research - SEC Filings
Equity Research - Insider Analysis
N/A Equity Research - Research Reports
ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings
ETF Research - Research Reports
Mutual Fund Research - Research Reports
Mutual Fund Research - Fees Breakdown
Mutual Fund Research - Performance Analysis
Mutual Fund Research - Performance Chart
Mutual Fund Research - Top 10 Holdings
Screener - Stocks
Screener - ETFs
Screener - Mutual Funds
Screener - Options
Screener - Bonds


Has Education - Stocks
Has Education - ETFs
Has Education - Options
Has Education - Mutual Funds
Has Education - Bonds
Has Education - Retirement
Investor Dictionary
Client Webinars
Live Seminars
Retirement Calculator
Community Forums

Mobile Trading

Yes iPhone App
Yes iPad App
Yes Android App
Android Tablet App
Yes Mobile Site
Company Data
Company News
Watch List Syncing
Options Chains Viewable
Market Movers (Top Gainers)
Barcode Lookup
Charting - Multiple Time Frames
Charting - Can Turn Horizontally
Charting - Portfolio Perf vs Indices
Charting - Stock Comparisons
Trading - Stocks
Trading - Simple Options
Withdrawal Balance Available


Checking Accounts
Savings Accounts
Debit Cards
Credit Cards
Mortgage Loans
Mobile Check Deposit
ATM Fee Reimbursement
No Fee Banking

Active Trading

Internalizes Trades
Receives Payment for Order Flow
Client Liquidity Rebates

Best in Class

Best in Class - Offering of Investments
Best in Class - Commissions & Fees
Best in Class - Platforms & Tools
Best in Class - Research
Best in Class - Customer Service
Best in Class - Ease of Use
Best in Class - Investor Education
Best in Class - Mobile Trading
Best in Class - Active Trading
Best in Class - Options Trading
Best in Class - New Investors

Compare Vanguard:

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 11/01/2014 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the top of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply. Square Logo