Vanguard Review [2021]: A Veteran In The US Market For Stock & Bonds

December 11, 2020
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Vanguard was established in the 1970’s, the broker is one of the oldest brokers in the market. The sign-up process is pretty simple meaning that anyone can sign up and there are no initial deposit requirements which means that you can always try out the platform to see if it fulfills your needs. The broker is regulated by the SEC and offers a mix of 13,400 options on bonds to choose from and more than 2,400 stocks and ETFs. The broker also has some good research tools like Fundamental data that contains 4-year trends on any asset and basic charting tools. If you’re interested in trading bonds & stocks, and you’re not interested in other assets like crypto or Forex, then Vanguard is a great choice for you.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a broker that offers forex, crypto and a good customer service inside the US and across the globe, have a look at With one of the most extensive educational resources and customer support programs that offers every investor with their own dedicated account manager, promises to be a broker that will be by your side throughout your trading endeavors. Sign up now and become one of the thousands of readers who have already used this platform and given us positive reviews.


We analyzed hundreds of data points relevant to the costs, benefits and features of trading with Vanguard and scored our findings on a 10-point scale across 10 distinct categories.
1 - Fees610
2 - Signup Process710
3 - Minimum Deposit1010
4 - Ease of Use710
5 - Deposit & Withdrawal Options310
6 - Customer Support610
7 - Asset Classes410
8 - Referral Program 01
9 - Demo Account & Educational Resources210
10 - Safety & Regulation1010


Vanguard is a US-based broker that was established in 1975. The broker is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the USA. Vanguard only provides its services to clients based in the USA, where the broker has earned a solid name in the industry for the depth in the asset options that it provides. Especially in terms of its stocks and bonds it offers because the broker offers 1000’s of stocks and bonds for their investors.

If you are someone in Africa or Asia and are looking for a good broker, do check out IQ Option and easyMarkets as well, as these brokers cover a lot of African and Asian nations and offer some decent value for traders across regions. We also recommend you to have a look at CMC Markets as it is also one of the strongest brokers in our database and covers a lot of African and Asian nations. Many of our brokers in Southern African and far east countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Indonesia have tried these brokers and given us positive feedback.

Vanguard Pros & Cons

Vanguard ProsVanguard Cons
No Deposit FeesHigh stock trading fees
A good amount of options within each asset type.No live chat for customer service
No Inactivity feesNo demo account 
Detailed Fundamental Data Featurelack of educational resources

Vanguard Pros & Cons Explained

Vanguard Pros Explained

The broker offers no deposit fee which augers well for investors because it can be a bit annoying if you have to pay to deposit your own finds with your brokers. The broker mainly offers 1000’s stocks and bonds. Hence, it very comprehensively covers the options within each asset class it has. However, one of our favourite features it has is the detailed fundamental data feature. The fundamental data has years of historic trends and data that can really help in making informed buying and selling decisions.

Vanguard Cons Explained

The broker does not offer any live chat which can often help in quickly solving problems. Live chats are one of the major sources of dispelling consumer support with most brokers but Vanguard does not have any such feature as of yet. Live chats are famous because you can seek instant help which usually takes longer via phone or email.

Vanguard also misses out on offering a demo account. Demo accounts are often a good way to get a feel of what a platform looks like and how it may be used by potential investors. Most brokers also offer a lot of educational resources so the beginners can easily understand trading and start trading via their platform. Vanguard currently lacks detailed resources like books, webinars etc which can make it difficult for newbies to get started with trading.

Account Types

Vanguard Individual & Joint Retirement Accounts

Vanguard gives you the flexibility to open an individual account or joint retirement accounts. You can save up with your retirement account and get tax breaks on your earnings & withdrawals. Moreover, there is no limit to opening an individual account which is good news for users.

Vanguard Uniform Gifts To Minors Act (UGMA) Or Uniform Transfers To Minors Act (UTMA) Account

These accounts are meant to help you in building portfolios for loved ones who are currently minors. For instance, you may want to invest funds for the sake of your kids to use the funds in a particular portfolio once they grow up.

Here’s a breakdown of our 10 scoring categories, each scored out of 10 for a total of 100 points.

#1 Vanguard Fees

The fee structure of a broker often plays an important role in investors choosing to go for a platform or not.

Trading Fees

These are often associated with activities related to trading. Trading fees include commissions and spreads associated with trading different asset classes. Let’s discover the trading fees associated with the broker to see the kind of value provided for different types of users.

Vanguard Deposit & WIthdrawal Fees

There are no deposit fees that you need to pay to add funds to your Vanguard account, however, there is a $10 withdrawal fee that you need to pay to take out your funds if you are using a wire transfer to redeem them. On the other hand, there is no withdrawal fee for ACH withdrawals which augers well for you, if that is your preferred method of withdrawals.

Non Trading Fees

These fees are related to activities that are not directly linked with trading. Such as deposit fee, withdrawal fee, inactivity fee and membership fee. These can be quite annoying at times for users hence, the lesser these are the better it is for users and the more value a broker offers.

Vanguard Inactivity Fees

There are no inactivity fees for using the Vanguard platform. This augers well for users because, often, brokers tend to charge a fee after 2 or 3 successive months of inactivity. Sometimes the inactivity fees can be $50 or more in the case of some brokers like Itrader.

Vanguard Trading Fees

US StocksAsset invested under $50k: $7 for first 25 trades per year, $20 thereafter  
Mutual Funds$20 per trade if investment is less than $500k, but Vanguard funds are free

The asset trading fee structure is relatively simple. The first 25 trades are relatively inexpensive with a $7 commission for each trade and then you need to pay $20 per trade. This means that the trading fees can be rather inexpensive for beginners who may have smaller portfolios with smaller profit margins.

The mutual funds have a $20 trading fee which is not too much considering that investments in mutual funds often tend to be much higher than when investing in stocks. The withdrawal fees coupled with the expensive trading fee for stocks mean that the broker gets an average score of 6 in this category.

Vanguard Fees Score: 6/10

#2 Vanguard Signup Process

The sign up procedure is completely based online. You can apply for an account online and the online sign up prcedure comprises of a few details that you need to fill. The details required are elicited below.

  • Social Security number
  • Birthdate
  • Email address
  • U.S. home address
  • Employer name and address (if applicable)

The sign-up procedure is simple. However, the verification of your account can take up to 2 or 3 days. The verification process is a bit long especially considering that brokers like IQ Option allow for the same-day opening of your account. The lengthy verification process means that the broker loses 3 points in our scoring guidelines.

Vanguard Signup Process Score: 7/10

#3 Vanguard Minimum Initial Deposit

There are no minimum inital deposit requirements that you need to get started with your Vanguard account. This augers well for beginners because often individuals looking to get started with trading may not have a $500 or $1,000 to get started with trading. Another advantage of no minimum initial deposit requirement is that you can always test out the platform by depositing a few dollars to see how it fits your needs and requirements and whether you want to continue using it or not.

Vanguard Minimum Initial Deposit Score: 10/10

#4 Vanguard Ease of Use

Vanguard offers a desktop application and a mobile application for its users. In the sections below, both are analyzed to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Desktop Application

The desktop application has a slightly counterintuitive interface. A sample snippet of a page is elicited below where, asset prices, the account information and the buying form are cluttered in the same space. This can often cause confusion for users. Another thing that we found lacking was the absence of an advanced dashboard where you can track the asset prices and see trends along with statistical measures of your portfolio to determine when to buy more assets or sell non-performing assets.

Vanguard interface
Vanguard usability

Vanguard Mobile Application

The mobile application is much better than the desktop application. Each category such as the asset prices or the personal information section has a separate page dedicated to it making the trading much more intuitive. The Mobile Application scores a healthy 4.7 on iOS ratings and, on Android platforms, the Vanguard application has a humble rating of 2.5 because of performance and compatibility issues.

Vanguard’s mobile app is simple to navigate and buying and selling is quite easy.

Vanguard Research Tools

Let us decouple the research tools offered by Vanguard to see how much assistance can the platform provide you to trade with the platform.

Vanguard Charting Features

The Vanguard application offers some very basic charting features. A sample of the charts is affixed below which looks like something drawn from a cartographic machine from the 90’s. Moreover, the graph lacks advanced statistical features such as the Bollinger line.


Fundamental Data

Vanguard has a fundamental data feature that provides you with 4 year historic data for the price of your asset so that you can determine the long-term performance of your company and ascertain your buying and selling decisions.


The broker offers decent research tools coupled with decent functionality for the iOS application.

Absence Of Watch List

Watchlist is a key feature that Vanguard lacks because of the fact that the broker does not offer it. Watch list can help you keep track of your assets especially interms of volatile market environments.

General Process To Get Started With Using Your Vanguard

Beginning with Vanguard is a slightly lengthy process when compared to other brokerage applications. You can initiate opening an account online, however you have to wait for several days before you can log into your account for the first time. Adding features to your account such as options trading or trading on margin involves electronically signing relevant documents and waiting which can last upto another week.

Once your account is open, the personalization options are limited to displaying the account you want to view. The applications have an old-fashioned feel. You can trade stocks, ETFs, and some fixed income products online; all other asset classes involve calling a broker to place the order.

Issues In Refereshing Application While Ordering

Vanguard’s data is delayed by 20 minutes outside of a trade ticket. While you are within a trade ticket, you will see a real-time quote. However, you have to refresh the screen to update the quote. You will also have to set the order parameters each time you enter an order moreover, you cannot customize trading defaults such as order type or order size. Finally, you are also unable to stage orders or enter multiple orders simultaneously through Vanguard’s platform.

In conclusion, this approach works for the investor looking to build long term portfolios, but for other types of investors expecting a responsive and customizable platform, the trading experience falls predictably short can cause problems. 

Final Verdict Ease Of Use

Vanguard has a detailed interface. The broker offers a decent news feed feature. Moreover, a strong fundamental data feature really helps users. However, the outdated graphics and performance issues mean that the broker scores only a 7 rather than something more substantial.

Vanguard Ease of Use Score: 7/10

#5 Deposit & Withdrawal Options

Deposit Options

The deposit options with Vanguard are quite limited. Vanguard only accepts wire transfers and ACH transfers. This often tends to be an issue with US-based brokers that only accept wire transfers and ACH transfers from users. This can be slightly restrictive for users because wire transfers often take a couple of days for the transfer of funds. Most often users prefer to use platforms such as online wallets and credit and debit cards, which often allow for instant transfer and deposit of funds.

Withdrawal Options

The withdrawal options like the deposit options with Vanguard are quite limited. Vanguard only accepts wire transfers and ACH transfers. This often tends to be an issue with US-based brokers that only accept wire transfers and ACH transfers from users. This can be slightly restrictive for users because wire transfers often take a couple of days for the transfer of funds. Most often users prefer to use platforms such as online wallets and credit and debit cards, which often allow for instant transfer and withdrawal of funds.

How We Rank Deposit & Withdrawal Options

Having a lot of Deposit & Withdrawal options gives you the flexibility to deposit and withdraw fudns in the manner that best fits your needs. We rank this dimension according to the following criteria:

  • Ways in which you can deposit your funds
  • Ways in which you can withdraw your funds
  • Number of options within different Deposit and Withdrawal Types

We look at 3 main options that a broker needs to offer for a perfect score as these are the most commonly used by brokers:

  • Credit/Debit Cards
  • Bank Transfer & Wire Transfer
  • E-Wallets such as Paypal, Skrill and WebMoney

Final Verdict Vanguard Deposit & Withdrawal Options

The lack of options like e-wallets, credit and debit cards means that the score in this dimension is a paltry 3. Often having multiple deposit and withdrawal options helps users in depositing or withdrawing funds in the manner that they like or see fit.

Vanguard Deposit & Withdrawal Options Score: 3/10

#6 Customer Support

Good customer service is often a pivotal decision point for investors when choosing a broker. This is because often you have invested your hard-earned funds with a broker and in case of any emergency or issues with your account you would want immediate help and assistance. Vanguard only offers support via

  • Phone at+1- 877-662-7447 between 8 am – 8 pm from Monday to Friday.
  • Email support between 8 am – 8 pm from Monday to Friday.
Pros Cons
Detailed & Quick Response via PhoneSlow email response
Detailed Response On Email24/5 rather than 24/7
 No Live Chat

There is no live chat support offered by Vanguard as many other brokers do. This means that you cannot get the quick online support that many brokers like Webull offer. The email support usually takes over 24 hours for the broker to respond which is slightly slow. Moreover, the absence of live chat means that the broker misses out on dispelling some quick and effective advice. From the looks of it in general Vanguard needs to rebrand itself as a broker that is in sync with today’s times and offers quick and rapid customer service.

How We Rank Customer Support

Customer support plays an important role in getting much needed help. Our criteria takes into account the 3 most pivotal factors considered by our viewers which include:

  • Availabiltiy of Support via Live Chat, Phone & Email
  • Speed & Quality of Response Across Platforms
  • Availability of Customised Support Such as a Dedicated Account Mnager

The customer support dimension is a really important dimension for most of our readers. Hence, we not only take into account all the platforms that are used to provide support but the quality of the support provided and the consumer feedback.

Final Verdict Customer Support

The broker has detailed email and phone support. However, it lacks a live chat that most brokers offer and helps in quick resolution of issues. Moreover, the broker can have slow email responses that can even take upto a couple of days at times which can be a bit annoying at times. Due to the aforemnentioned issues the broker loses a few points as per our guidelines and only scores a 6 in this dimension rather than a more substantive score.

Vanguard Customer Support Score: 6/10

#7 Asset Classes

Vanguard has limited asset classes, but they provide plentiful options for its clients within each asset type.

Stocks & ETFs2300  
Mutual Funds290

Stocks & ETFs

Vanguard offers shares of many of the Fortune 500 companies meaning that you can easily build a portfolio from one of the strongest pools of companies available for investors. The 100’s of ETFs available on the platform mean that users can diversify their portfolios because ETFs are a good tool for diversifying your funds.

The broker offers many stocks & ETFs that you can trade-in. ETFs offered by the platform include companies specifically picked by the platform in each ETF. Moreover, the broker offers stocks of all the big names in the book such as:

  • Alphabet
  • Amazon
  • Ali Baba
  • Apple
  • Boeing
  • Facebook
  • Disney
  • Invesco
  • Microsoft
  • Tesla
  • Lyft
  • Spotify

You can see from the list above that you can invest in the stocks of the hottest tech companies on the planet via the Vanguard Invest platform. However, they could have also inculcated a wide variety of FMCG or Fast Moving Consumer Goods like Procter & Gamble or Unilever as these are always a good bet to invest in because of the stability that these businesses operate in.

Bonds & Mutual Funds

Vanguard offers more than 13,400 bond types with corporate bonds, government bonds & treasury bonds. The broker is like a Costco for bonds where you can find anything you want. Bonds are often a good source of hedging against risk especially in volatile times like today hence, Vanguard provides you with a good way to do so. You can also find many of the US Government bonds to invest in. Government bonds can always help in diversifying risky portfolios. This is something that can really help individuals who want to invest in risky assets aswell because they can always invest in bonds to hedge risk.

How We Rank Asset Classes

The criteria for ranking asset classes is pretty simple and as follows:

  • Number Of Asset Classes Offered, such as crypto, forex, stocks, ETFs and bonds.
  • Options Provided within each asset class

The more asset classes a broker provides, the more the chance to diversify your portfolio. Diversified portfolios often help in mitigating risk and long term profitability. This is the reason due to whch we give higher ranking and weightage to brokers who give you the option to hedge your risk.

Final Verdict Vanguard Asset Classes

The broker is a haven for anyone looking to invest in stocks and ETFs. THis offers some amazing value for anyone to invest in theses assets. However, the broker can also offer forex, commodities and crypto to increase the breadth of their portfolio as offering more and more asset classes can really help in attracting more investors to test out the platform.

Vanguard Asset Classes Score: 6/10

#8 Referral Program

Vanguard currently does not have any active referral program. Referral programs are often a good way to entice individuals to try out a platform with their friends and they are a good way for people to learn trading with their friends and family. If you are looking for a good broker to register you and your friends and get decent rewards you should check out Alvexo. The average value of a referral with Alvexo is $250 which can provide you with some much-needed investment funds to use the platform.

How We Rank Referral Programs

The more rewards a broker gives the higher the score for this dimension. Rewards are a good way for encouraging beginners to start trading with friends and family making the experience enjoyable, due to which we encourage brokers to offer more and more rewards. We also take into account how difficult it is to attain these rewards.

Final Verdict Vanguard Referral Program

The broker does not have an active referral program Hence, the score for this is 0 as the broker misses out on the chance of promoting individuals to trade socially which can often help in good learning of the art of trading. Vanguard can look to launch a referral program if it wants to lure in new traders looking to get started in trading with their friends.

Vanguard Referral Program Score: 0/10

#9 Demo Account & Educational Resources

This section explores what kind of resources are available in the form of demo accounts and educational resources for anyone looking to get started with trading.

Vanguard Demo Account

Vanguard has no demo account. This does not auger well for anyone looking to get started with trading because this means that they will have to invest their hard-earned money for learning how to use the platform, almost ensuring they will lose money.

Vanguard Educational Resources

The educational resources are a bit generic and consist of a few educational videos that teach you how different basic instruments work and how they can be traded on Vanguard’s trading platform. If you are someone with beginner to intermediate trading skills do check out our Vanguard vs section to see, educational resources that provides because it is one of the few brokers that provides a lot of resources for you to learn the ropes on trading.

How We Rank Demo Account & Educational Resources

The purpose of a demo account and educational resources is to train users to make informed decisions. Our crtiteria marks every broker on the quality of training that they provide beginners with. Our criteria is as follows.

  • The demo account should not have a time limit or a paper trading limit to get a perfect score
  • Educational Resources should include tutorials, webinars and online courses to ensure that anyone new to trading can quickly learn and trade profitably

Final Verdict Demo Account & Educational Resources

The absence of a demo account and the lack of detailed educational resources means that the score for this dimension is an unflattering 2. This is because Vanguard is perhaps a platform for trained individuals rather than beginners.

Vanguard Demo Account & Educational Resources Score: 2/10

#10 Safety & Regulation

Vanguard is regulated by the esteemed Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) of the USA. This augers well for users because it is regulated by the top institutional regulator in the world. This means that the broker’s activities are constently being monitored to ensure that the operations are conducted in a way that is beneficial for users and not financially risky or detrimental for the users in any way or form.

Added Safety Features

Vanguard Biometric Login

Mobile application users can log in with biometric methods like (face or fingerprint) recognition.  This provides a lot of added security on the personal end, meaning that your account cannot be easily hacked or logged into by anyone but yourself.

Vanguard SIPC Insurance

Vanguard carries excess SIPC insurance provided by Lloyd’s of London and London Insurers with an aggregate limit of $250 million to pay amounts in addition to those returned in a SIPC liquidation. The maximum insurance for any single customer is $49.5 million with a cash limit of $1.75 million per customer. 

How We Rank Safety & Regulation

If a broker is regulated by a tier 1 broker like the Financial Conduct Authority of UK (FCA), Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), or Australia Securities & Exchange Commission (ASIC) it scores a perfect score. However, if it is regulated from a tier-2 broker like the Cyprus Securities & Exchange it scores an 8. The score for most tier 3 brokers is a 6 and the score for no regulation is 0. Regulation is an important factor for brokers as non-regulated entities can engage in harmful practices for investors that can be detrimental for them.

Vanguard Safety & Regulation Score: 10/10

Vanguard FAQ’s

How Does The Broker Make Money?

The Broker makes money by charging spreads and commissions.

Is The Broker Legit?

Yes, the broker is regulated which means that it is answerable for its business practices.

Does The Broker Allow Bank Transfers?

Yes, the broker allows you to transfer funds through bank transfer.

Does the broker have biometric verification on mobile application?

Yes, Vanguard has biometric verification on its mobile application thorugh fingerprints and facial recognition

Is Vanguard Good for me?

It depends, if you are someone who likes to trade a lot of stocks and bonds then you may want to signup because the broker does a good job of offering 1000’s of stocks and bonds for you to trade in.

While researching 100+ of the world’s top brokers, we’ve noticed what works and what doesn’t from the customer’s point of view. That’s why our final test for any broker is to compare it to, which scores 91/100 points across the 10 categories mentioned in this review.

Vanguard vs.

Vanguard lacks support in a few dimensions compared to If you are someone looking for a really good broker in the USA

Customer Support gives you a dedicated account manager who keeps a record of your transactions so you do not get lost in a customer support cycle. Often, availing customer service can be a problem because lots of brokers are slow in providing customer service and you have to explain your problem to different representatives to solve it.

More Asset Types also offers 60+ forex, 20+ commodities and crypto, 3 asset types that are not in Vanguard’s arsenal, meaning that you should definitely check out if you like trading in these options. This also allows you to build diversified portfolios something that Vanguard currently lacks. While Vanguard really helps in building diversified stock and bond portfolios because of the magnitude of options that they offer in these classes. They could help in further diversification by building other portfolios aswell.

Comprehensive Educational Resources has a lot of educational resources to train any kind of trader looking to deal in any kind of asset. Often brokers offer a few basic educational resources for traders like Vanguard but does a good job in this regard and it is with you in helping you learn trading savvily and efficiently. Some of the resources offered are as below:

  • Tutorial videos on using the platform
  • Educational videos on trading different assets
  • Webinars
  • Educational articles

The resources offered to teach you everything from learning how the platform works to educational videos and webinars. also offers asset trading training guides.

Training Guides

  • CFD training guides
  • Commodities training guides
  • Indices trading guides
  • Trading psychology guides
  • Shares trading guides
  • Forex trading guides has you covered if you want to start trading an asset that you have not traded before. They also offer 5 courses that are aimed at training beginners and refreshing the knowledge of experienced traders. Online Courses

  • Introduction to financial markets
  • ABC of derivatives
  • Financial instruments
  • Derivatives and risks of trading
  • What are leverage and margin

The online courses are designed for beginners but anyone can benefit from them in learning the basics and good practices and knowledge of the industry.

So what are you waiting for signup today for the best broker in the business that has more assets, better educational resources and more comprehensive education resources.

Related: If you want to learn more about this broker, you can read this excellent review of

Vanguard: In Summary

If you are an established trader that likes trading in bonds, mutual funds, stocks and ETFs then Vanguard may be a good fit for you because the variety that they offer is unparalleled by most brokers. Moreover, they are also regulated by SEC something that many brokers lack which means that they uphold strict regulations in the way that they run their operations. Sign up today to Vanguard one of the most trusted names in the US Market

However, if you are looking for a broker with more asset types, better educational resources and a strong customer support system with a dedicated account manager that is with you through thick and thin then we highly recommend that you try out the platform as most of our readers have found it quite insightful and helpful and we hope you will enjoy it too as a comprehensive brokerage platform.

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