Vanguard Review

By | March 12, 2021

Vanguard is a US based stock broker established in 1975. The company is regulated by the SEC & FINRA. It offers trade in ETF and Mutual Fund in a selected number of options. 

It has a long operating history which makes it safer to trade with.


Account Opening

Account opening at Vanguard is an easy and fully digital process. Although, it requires 2-3 days for verification which makes it slow in comparison to its competitors.

It is a US based broker and its primary target is US clients only. It operates in other countries of the world with some other subsidiaries & partners.

What is the minimum deposit at Vanguard?

The minimum deposit at Vanguard is $0. But it charges some amount if you trade on margin or use robo services.

Vanguard minimum deposit by account type

Trading Preferences Minimum Deposit 
Trading at Standard (basic) accounts$0
Margin account $2000
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services$50,000

Account Types

Vanguard account types

Account TypeShort Description 
Individual Brokerage AccountAccount is owned and used by a single individual
Joint Brokerage AccountAccount is owned and used by two or more individuals
Business AccountsAccount is owned and used by a legal entity
Roth / Traditional / Rollover IRA AccountsIndividual retirement accounts
Education Savings AccountAccount is for educational purpose savings
Trust AccountAccount is in the name of an already established trust
Vanguard Personal Advisor ServicesAccount is managed by Vanguard’s technological (robo) and personal advisors


Vanguard has low non trading fees, no inactivity fee & withdrawal is also free. It offers free ETF trading plus bonds and funds are also free to some extent. 

Vanguard fee snapshot 

Assets Fee Terms
US stockAsset invested under $50k: $7 for first 25 trades per year, $20 thereafter
Mutual fund$20 per trade if investment is less than $500k, but Vanguard funds and 3000 other funds are free
Inactivity feeNo inactivity fee

Vanguard trading fees

Services Stock commission per tradeETF commission per trade Non-free mutual fund commission per trade Treasury bond commission Options commission per trade 
Standard(Under $50k)$7 for first 25 trades per year, $20 thereafter$0USD20$0$7 + $1 per options contract
Voyager Services ($50k-$500k)$7.0$0USD20$0$7 + $1 per options contract
Voyager Select Services($500k-$1 million)$2.0$0USD8$0$2 + $1 per options contract
Flagship Services($1 million – $5 million)$0 for first 25 trades per year, $2 thereafterUSD0$0 for first 25 trades per year, $8 thereafterUSD0$0 for fist 25 trades per year, $2 + $1 per options contract thereafter
Flagship Select Services(Over $5 million)$0 for first 100 trades per year, $2 thereafterUSD0$0 for first 100 trades per year, $8 thereafterUSD0$0 for first 25 trades per year, $2 + $1 per options contract thereafter

Vanguard annual margin rate tiers

Debit BalanceRate%Base Rate +/-
$1,000,000 or more4.75%Base rate – 1.25%
$500,000 – $999,9995.25%Base rate – 0.75%
$250,000 – $499,9996.50%Base rate + 0.50%
$100,000 – $249,9997.00%Base rate + 1.00%
$50,000 – $99,9997.50%Base rate + 1.50%
$20,000 – $49,9998.00%Base rate + 2.00%
Under $19,9998.50%Base rate + 2.50%

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Deposit & Withdrawal

Vanguard does not charge any deposit fee. Clients can use ACH, bank & check for transfers. Electronic wallets are not supported by Vanguard.

The process of withdrawing is the same as deposit but it charges $10 for wire transfer from US clients. 

Trading Platform 

Vanguard has two types of trading platforms: web trading and mobile trading. It does not provide a desktop platform. Vanguard has a two step login feature, which makes it secure. 

It has an average search function, along with that it is hard to navigate. Some options are difficult to find & have average customizability.

Products Offered

Vanguard gives access to a no.of tradable options, but it does not allow trade in forex & futures. The products offered cover only the US market. 

Vanguard product selection 

Stock markets (#)4
ETFs (#)2,300
Fund providers (#)290
Bonds (#)13,400

Vanguard personal advice service

You can make use of this service if you do not have much idea about the market. In this you will get recommendations from expert and robo advisory services about the portfolio to invest in. 

You have to give them your financial goals, after which they regularly give recommendations to manage your account and stocks to invest.

The minimum investment is $50,000 and has an annual 0.30% fee.


Vanguard offers education materials in many format this includes :

  • Demo Account 
  • Platform tutorial video 
  • Articles
  • Webinars
  • Talking green podcast 
  • In-person events

Customer Service

You can connect Vanguard via phone & email only. There is no live chat available and the service is only available on weekdays. You can not contact them every time. So this is a drawback here in comparison to its competitors. 

Some ETFs and mutual funds are free to tradeOnly the US market covered
No inactivity feeHigh financing rates (margin rates)
No minimum depositOptions and bond trading are not available
Free withdrawal (via ACH)$10 for wire transfer withdrawals
Personal advice serviceSome features are hard to find


Vanguard customers are protected under the SIPC customer protection scheme. SIPC protects investors against loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes devastated.

The limit for SIPC protection is $500,000, where $250,000 is reserved for cash. The company is regulated by the SEC & FINRA. It also has a longer track record which makes it safe.

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Bottom Line

Vanguard is one of the biggest US stock brokers. 

It offers free trade in ETF & Mutual funds. It also does not have any inactivity fee. Account opening is fully digital. Trading platform is user friendly. 

Although it has drawbacks as, it does not have 24/7 customer support. Portfolio assets are limited only to US market & financing rates are also high.

But as it charges no inactivity fee and is easy to use, feel free to try this. 


What's the difference between index ETFs and index mutual funds?

Index ETFs offer the same low costs, broad diversification, and tax efficiencies as index mutual funds. Similar to conventional index mutual funds, most ETFs try to track an index, such as the S&P 500. The main differences are that ETFs provide real-time pricing, and because you can purchase as little as one share, a lower minimum investment, compared to index mutual funds.

What happens to the paper check after it's been submitted?

We recommend that you save the checks for 14 business days or until you’ve confirmed that they have been successfully credited to your account. Once the purchase by mobile check is successfully posted, the check can’t be used again and may be filed with any paperwork you choose to keep, or destroyed.

What if the check isn't accepted or is rejected?

We’ll let you know how to fix any issues we detect when you’re taking a picture of your check. In the event that your check is submitted but isn’t accepted for whatever reason, we’ll let you know. As always, you may contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Can Vanguard simply send me a check to close the account?

Inheriting an investment account isn’t quite the same as being the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. You can receive the proceeds of a life insurance policy in cash. But when you inherit a Vanguard account, you inherit your loved one’s investments in that account.

Later, you can sell the investments in that account. But first, you’ll have to transfer the account into your name.





Trading Platform


Products Offered


Customer Service



  • No inactivity fee
  • Personal advice service


  • Only the US market covered
  • $10 for wire transfer withdrawals

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