Vanguard: A Veteran In The US Market For Stock & Bonds

December 11, 2020
Brokers
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Established in the 1970’s, Vanguard 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 Capital.com. With one of the most extensive educational resources and customer support programs that offers every investor with their own dedicated account manager, Capital.com 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.
Fees 6
Signup Process 7
Minimum Deposit 10
Ease of Use 7
Deposit & Withdrawal Options 3
Customer Support 6
Asset Classes 6
Referral Program 0
Demo Account & Educational Resources 2
Safety & Regulation 10
Total 55

Introduction

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.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No Deposit Fees
  • A good amount of options within each asset type.
  • No Inactivity fees

Cons

  • High stock trading fees
  • No live chat for customer service
  • No demo account
  • lack of educational resources

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

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.

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

AssetsFee
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 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 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.

Vanguard

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. However, the outdated graphics mean that the broker scores only a 7 rather than something more substantial.

Vanguard Ease of Use Score: 7/10

#5 Deposit & Withdrawal Options

The deposit and withdrawal 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. The lack of such options means that the score in this dimension is a paltry 3.

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.

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 loses 4 points in our scoring guidelines.

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.

AssetsOptions
Stocks & ETFs2300  
Mutual Funds290
Bonds13,400

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 god tool for diversifying your funds.

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.

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.

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 Capital.com section to see, educational resources that Capital.com provides because it is one of the few brokers that provides a lot of resources for you to learn the ropes on trading. 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.

Vanguard Safety & Regulation Score: 10/10

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 Capital.com, which scores 91/100 points across the 10 categories mentioned in this review.

Vanguard vs. Capital.com

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

Vanguard Customer Support

Capital.com 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

Capital.com also offers forex and crypto, 2 asset types that are not in Vanguard’s arsenal, meaning that you should definitely check out Capital.com if you like trading in these options.

Comprehensive Educational Resources

Capital.com 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 Capital.com 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. Capital.com 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

Capital.com 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.

Capital.com 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 Capital.com.

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 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 Capital.com platform as most of our readers have found it quite insightful and helpful and we hope you will enjoy it too.

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