We love Vanguard’s funds, but we don’t have too many positive things to say about its brokerage. The website skimps on design, data and tools. Its mobile app is simply not competitive. Investors seeking to buy Vanguard funds should consider doing so at another broker.
Options (Per Contract):
Vanguard pros & cons
- Vanguard has a stellar reputation.
- The website has some tools and beginner education for long-term investing.
- It’s hard to find, but there’s thematic content for experienced and curious investors.
- There’s no stock research and detailed information is reserved for Vanguard products on the mobile app.
- Delayed stock quotes until you get to order entry.
- The mobile app has much worse functionality than the website.
|Commissions & Fees|
|Mobile Trading Apps|
|Platforms & Tools|
|Ease Of Use|
Vanguard trading platform screenshots
To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com 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
What is a Vanguard brokerage account?
Vanguard is primarily known as a fund company, but it also operates a brokerage where you buy and sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs with a self-directed account. Once you open and fund an account, you can enter orders via web browser or, depending on the product, via its mobile app.
Does Vanguard have a trading platform?
Vanguard has a website and mobile apps, but neither is trader-friendly. If you’re a trader or want to become one, have a look at the best in ourr Top Trading Platforms 2023 guide.
Is Vanguard good for beginners?
Vanguard is acceptable for beginners who want to invest in Vanguard funds. There’s good investor education on the website and investor jargon is kept to a minimum. That said, beginners will find much more content to browse at other brokers, such as Fidelity and TD Ameritrade, who are leaders in this area.
What is so good about Vanguard?
Vanguard is the industry leader for low-cost passive investing. Many of Vanguard’s products are designed to mimic the performance of indices and keep investor charges low. Most actively managed funds underperform the S&P 500, and much of the underperformance is due to fees.
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, dating from 1975. It is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission 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 its 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.
Do you have to use Vanguard to buy Vanguard funds?
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 StockBrokers.com 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 StockBrokers.com.
For the StockBrokers.com 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 StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry. All research, writing and data collection at StockBrokers.com is done by humans, for humans. Read our generative AI policy here.
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 StockBrokers.com 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.
StockBrokers.com 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.
|Vanguard||Overall||Commissions & Fees||Research||Platforms & Tools||Mobile Trading Apps||Investment Options||Education||Ease of Use|
|Best in Class|
|Best in Class Streak|
Vanguard fees and features data
The data collection efforts at StockBrokers.com 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.
|Mutual Fund Trade Fee||Varies|
|Options (Base Fee)||$0.00|
|Options (Per Contract)||$1.00|
|Futures (Per Contract)||(Not offered)|
|Broker Assisted Trade Fee||$25|
|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 Rate Under $25,000||13.75%|
|Margin Rate $25,000 to $49,999.99||13.25%|
|Margin Rate $50,000 to $99,999.99||12.75%|
|Margin Rate $100,000 to $249,999.99||12.25%|
|Margin Rate $250,000 to $499,999.99||11.75%|
|Margin Rate $500,000 to $999,999.99||10.50%|
|Margin Rate Above $1,000,000||Varies|
|Complex Options Max Legs||4|
|Crypto Trading - Total Coins||0|
|Mutual Funds (No Load)||N/A|
|Mutual Funds (Total)||N/A|
|Bonds (US Treasury)||Yes|
|International Countries (Stocks)||0|
|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|
|Education (Mutual Funds)||No|
|Interactive Learning - Quizzes||No|
Stock trading apps
|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
|Market Movers (Top Gainers)||No|
|Stream Live TV||No|
|Videos on Demand||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
|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
|Active Trading Platform||N/A|
|Desktop Trading Platform||No|
|Desktop Platform (Mac)||No|
|Web Trading Platform||Yes|
|Watch Lists - Total Fields||9|
Trading platform stock chart features
|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|
Day trading features
|Streaming Time & Sales||No|
|Direct Market Routing - Stocks||No|
|Trade Hot Keys||No|
|Level 2 Quotes - Stocks||No|
|Trade Ideas - Backtesting||No|
|Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv||No|
|Order Liquidity Rebates||No|
Investment research overview
|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
|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
|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|
Mutual fund research features
|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|
Options trading overview
|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|
|Bank (Member FDIC)||No|
Customer service options
|Phone Support (Prospect Customers)||Yes|
|Phone Support (Current Customers)||Yes|
|Live Chat (Prospect Customers)||No|
|Live Chat (Current Customers)||No|
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