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Vanguard Review

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Written by Sam Levine, CFA, CMT, Chris McKhann
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Steven Hatzakis

January 31, 2023

Vanguard is aimed squarely at buy-and-hold investors, and its platform reflects that focus. Vanguard is known for its low-cost funds, and the investment platform is really built for those looking to invest solely in mutual funds and ETFs.

3.5/5 Stars Overall
  • Minimum Deposit: $0.00
  • Stock Trades: $0.00
  • Options (Per Contract): $1.00

Vanguard pros & cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • Vanguard is a well-established name in the retirement space, thanks to its low-cost funds.
  • Vanguard offers a variety of tools built around long-term investing and retirement saving.
  • Vanguard might be ideal for “sleep well at night” investors.

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Active traders and investors will find the platform lacking in tools.
  • If you are looking to trade anything other than stocks, ETFs or mutual funds, you will need to look elsewhere.
  • The mobile app has a few bugs to work out.

Overall summary

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Overall 3.5/5 Stars
Investment Options 4.5/5 Stars
Commissions & Fees 4.5/5 Stars
Mobile Trading Apps 2/5 Stars
Platforms & Tools 2.5/5 Stars
Research 2.5/5 Stars
Customer Service 3/5 Stars
Education 3.5/5 Stars
Ease Of Use 5/5 Stars

Vanguard trading platform screenshots


Mobile app:

Customer service

To score Customer Service, partners with customer experience research firm Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2023 Broker Review, 168 customer service tests were conducted over six weeks, with wait times logged for each call.

Customer service representatives were asked for assistance or details in several areas of broker services, including account opening, trading tools, apps, rollovers, active trading, and more. Here are the results for Vanguard.

  • Average Connection Time: 2-3 minutes
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 6.2 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 6.0 / 10
  • Overall Score: 6.4 / 10
  • Ranking: 12th of 14 brokers

Do you have to use Vanguard to buy Vanguard funds?

No. Though we like Vanguard’s mutual and exchange-traded funds, they can just as easily be bought at higher-rated brokers, including E*TRADE’s no-fee mutual fund marketplace.

Does Vanguard have a trading platform?

Vanguard has a website and a mobile app, neither of which are trader-friendly. The app only covers Vanguard products, and the sparse website won’t please data-obsessed traders. If you’re a trader or want to become one, have a look at the best in our Top Trading Platforms 2023 guide.

Is Vanguard good for beginners?

If you are a long-term investor looking for the basics and low-cost funds, Vanguard could work well for you. Its financial planning educational content is very high quality. If you’re looking for detailed tutorials on trading topics, have a look at Fidelity and TD Ameritrade, who are leaders in this area.

How much do you need to invest in Vanguard?

There is no minimum to open an account. Many of Vanguard’s funds require a minimum of $1,000 and some have minimums of $3,000. That's on the high side compared to industry leaders, especially in today’s environment of low or no fees and minimums. See low-fee leaders in our best brokers for free stock trading.

Is Vanguard a safe company to invest with?

Yes, Vanguard is a very reputable broker with a long track record, having been founded in 1975, and is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, and FINRA, both of which are independent regulatory agencies.

Does Vanguard charge account fees?

Yes, Vanguard does charge a $20 per account annual fee for their brokerage account. But this fee will be waived if you accept e-delivery of documents or keep a minimum account value of $1 million. If you're not rocking a mil at Vanguard yet, then go to My Accounts > Account information > Profile and account settings > Mail preferences and alerts > Delivery settings to set up e-delivery of documents.

About Vanguard

Vanguard was launched in 1975 by legendary investor Jack Bogle, whose goal was for the company to be a client-owned mutual fund firm with no outside owners. The company serves over 30 million clients and its assets under management have grown to over $7 trillion. Vanguard is headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

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2023 Review methodology

Our mission at is simple: provide thorough and unbiased reviews of online brokers, based on an extraordinary level of hands-on testing and data collection. Our ratings and awards are based on this data and our experts’ deep authority in the field; brokers cannot pay for preferential treatment. Here’s more about trustworthiness at

For the 13th Annual Review published in January 2023, a total of 3,332 data points were collected over three months and used to score 17 top brokers. This makes home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy. Brokers also were offered the opportunity to provide executive time for an annual update meeting.

Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

Vanguard 2023 results

For the 2023 Review, all U.S. equity brokers we reviewed were assessed on 196 different variables across eight areas: Commissions & Fees, Investment Options, Platforms & Tools, Research, Mobile Trading, Education, Ease of Use, and Overall. also presented “Best in Class” awards to brokers for additional categories Beginners, Options Trading, Futures Trading, Active Trading, IRA Accounts, Investor Community, Penny Stock Trading, Banking Services and Customer Service. A “Best in Class” designation means finishing in the top five brokers for that category.

For more information, see how we test.

Primary categories

Vanguard logoVanguard Overall Commissions & Fees Research Platforms & Tools Mobile Trading Apps Investment Options Education Ease of Use
Rating 3.5/5 Stars 4.5/5 Stars 2.5/5 Stars 2.5/5 Stars 2/5 Stars 4.5/5 Stars 3.5/5 Stars 5/5 Stars
Rank #1
Streak #1
Best in Class
Best in Class Streak

Vanguard fees and features data

The data collection efforts at are unmatched in the industry. The following tables show a deeper dive into the offerings available at this broker. You can also compare its offerings side-by-side with those of other brokers using our Comparison Tool.

In addition to meticulous annual data collection by our in-house analyst, every broker that participates in our review is afforded the opportunity to complete an in-depth data profile. We then audit each data point to ensure its accuracy.

Trading fees

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee Varies
Options (Base Fee) $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $1.00
Futures (Per Contract) N/A
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $25

Account fees

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
IRA Annual Fee $20.00
IRA Closure Fee $0.00
Account Transfer Out (Partial) $0.00
Account Transfer Out (Full) $0.00
Options Exercise Fee $0.00
Options Assignment Fee $0.00

Margin rates

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Margin Rate Under $25,000 12.75%
Margin Rate $25,000 to $49,999.99 12.25%
Margin Rate $50,000 to $99,999.99 11.75%
Margin Rate $100,000 to $249,999.99 11.25%
Margin Rate $250,000 to $499,999.99 10.75%
Margin Rate $500,000 to $999,999.99 9.50%
Margin Rate Above $1,000,000 Varies

Investment options

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Stock Trading Yes
Margin Trading Yes
Fractional Shares No
OTC Stocks Yes
Options Trading Yes
Complex Options Max Legs 4
Futures Trading No
Forex Trading No
Crypto Trading No
Crypto Trading - Total Coins 0
Mutual Funds (No Load) N/A
Mutual Funds (Total) N/A
Bonds (US Treasury) Yes
Bonds (Corporate) Yes
Bonds (Municipal) Yes
Advisor Services Yes
International Countries (Stocks) 0
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Order types

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Order Type - Market Yes
Order Type - Limit Yes
Order Type - After Hours Yes
Order Type - Stop Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop No
Order Type - OCO No
Order Type - OTO No
Order Type - Broker Assisted Yes


Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Education (Stocks) Yes
Education (ETFs) No
Education (Options) No
Education (Mutual Funds) No
Education (Bonds) No
Education (Retirement) Yes
Retirement Calculator Yes
Investor Dictionary No
Paper Trading No
Videos Yes
Webinars No
Webinars (Archived) No
Progress Tracking No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes No
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Stock trading apps

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
iPhone App Yes
Android App Yes
Apple Watch App No
Trading - Stocks Yes
Trading - After-Hours No
Trading - Simple Options No
Trading - Complex Options No
Order Ticket RT Quotes Yes
Order Ticket SRT Quotes No

Stock app features

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Market Movers (Top Gainers) No
Stream Live TV No
Videos on Demand No
Stock Alerts No
Option Chains Viewable No
Watch List (Real-time) No
Watch List (Streaming) No
Watch Lists - Create & Manage No
Watch Lists - Column Customization No
Watch Lists - Total Fields 9

Stock app charting

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Charting - After-Hours No
Charting - Can Turn Horizontally No
Charting - Multiple Time Frames Yes
Charting - Technical Studies 0
Charting - Study Customizations No
Charting - Stock Comparisons No

Trading platforms overview

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Active Trading Platform N/A
Desktop Trading Platform No
Desktop Platform (Mac) No
Web Trading Platform Yes
Paper Trading No
Trade Journal No
Watch Lists - Total Fields 9

Trading platform stock chart features

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Charting - Adjust Trades on Chart No
Charting - Indicators / Studies 9
Charting - Drawing Tools 0
Charting - Notes No
Charting - Index Overlays Yes
Charting - Historical Trades No
Charting - Corporate Events Yes
Charting - Custom Date Range No
Charting - Custom Time Bars No
Charting - Automated Analysis No
Charting - Save Profiles No
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis No
Charting - Study Customizations 1
Charting - Custom Studies No
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Day trading features

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Streaming Time & Sales No
Streaming TV No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks No
Ladder Trading No
Trade Hot Keys No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv No
Short Locator No
Order Liquidity Rebates No

Investment research overview

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Research - Stocks Yes
Research - ETFs Yes
Research - Mutual Funds Yes
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB Yes
Research - Bonds Yes
Screener - Stocks Yes
Screener - ETFs Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds Yes
Screener - Bonds Yes
Misc - Portfolio Allocation Yes

Stock research features

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Stock Research - PDF Reports 2
Stock Research - Earnings Yes
Stock Research - Insiders No
Stock Research - Social No
Stock Research - News Yes
Stock Research - ESG No
Stock Research - SEC Filings No

ETF research features

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
ETFs - Strategy Overview No
ETF Fund Facts - Inception Date No
ETF Fund Facts - Expense Ratio No
ETF Fund Facts - Net Assets No
ETF Fund Facts - Total Holdings No
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings No
ETFs - Sector Exposure No
ETFs - Risk Analysis No
ETFs - Ratings No
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap No
ETFs - PDF Reports No
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Mutual fund research features

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Chart Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Analysis Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus Yes
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings No
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation No
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation Yes
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation No
Mutual Funds - StyleMap Yes
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Options trading overview

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Option Chains - Basic View Yes
Option Chains - Strategy View No
Option Chains - Streaming No
Option Chains - Total Columns 9
Option Chains - Greeks 0
Option Chains - Quick Analysis No
Option Analysis - P&L Charts No
Option Probability Analysis No
Option Probability Analysis Adv No
Option Positions - Greeks No
Option Positions - Greeks Streaming No
Option Positions - Adv Analysis No
Option Positions - Rolling No
Option Positions - Grouping No
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Banking features

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Bank (Member FDIC) No
Checking Accounts No
Savings Accounts No
Credit Cards No
Debit Cards No
Mortgage Loans No

Customer service options

Feature Vanguard logoVanguard
Phone Support (Prospect Customers) Yes
Phone Support (Current Customers) Yes
Email Support Yes
Live Chat (Prospect Customers) No
Live Chat (Current Customers) No
24/7 Support No

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About the Editorial Team

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Sam Levine is a longtime writer, investor and educator with nearly three decades of experience in the investing industry. His specialty is making even the most complicated investing concepts easy to understand for beginning and intermediate investors. He holds two of the most widely recognized certifications in the investment management industry, the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.

Chris McKhann
Chris McKhann

Chris McKhann has been in the industry for more than 20 years. He has worked for many of the top names in the online trading space, including TD Ameritrade and optionMONSTER, which later became part of E*TRADE. His work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Financial Times, Forbes, CNBC, and Nikkei. He has also been an advisor and outside trader for several hedge funds. He was one of the first traders to delve into the VIX tradable products and to write about them (back in 2006). Chris is also an educator who teaches high school statistics, finance and computer science.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is managing editor for Reink Media and the lead editor for the Annual Review. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.