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Vanguard vs. TD Ameritrade

Vanguard vs. TD Ameritrade Vary of Choices
Asset Vanguard TD Ameritrade
Quick Gross sales  Sure Sure
No-Load, No-Price Mutual Funds  3,100+ 4,300
Bonds  Sure Sure
Futures/Commodities  No Sure (futures solely)
Futures Choices  No Sure
Advanced Choices  2 legs 4+ legs
Robo Advisory Sure Sure
Cryptocurrency  No Bitcoin futures solely
Worldwide Exchanges No 1 (Canada)
Foreign exchange  No Sure
Fractional Shares  Solely by way of dividend reinvestment No
OTCBB and Penny Shares Sure Sure

Order Sorts

Predictably, Vanguard helps solely the order sorts that buy-and-hold buyers historically use, together with market, restrict, and stop-limit orders. You’ll be able to choose particular tax heaps (together with partial shares inside so much) to promote, however you’ll be able to’t stage orders for later entry. TDA affords a bigger number of order sorts, together with all the standard suspects, plus trailing stops, and conditional orders like OCOs. There aren’t any restrictions on order sorts on the cell platform, and you may stage orders for later entry throughout all platforms.

Buying and selling Know-how

Vanguard doesn’t use sensible order routing know-how, and clients cannot route their orders. Nonetheless, the dealer stories a mean internet worth enchancment of $0.0159 per share for eligible marketable orders. We didn’t discover any prepared particulars about Vanguard’s execution velocity, however take into accout its goal buyer is taking part in the lengthy sport (and will not be involved about nanoseconds). Though its method to routing is fundamental in comparison with many different brokers, it scores factors for not accepting fee for order circulation.

TDA’s order routing algorithm seems to be for quick execution and worth enchancment. Third-party execution high quality statistics present an execution velocity of 0.05 seconds and a mean internet worth enchancment of $1.75 per 100 shares. Not like Vanguard, TDA does settle for fee for order circulation: $0.0012 per fairness share and $0.55 per choices contract.

Whereas Vanguard comes out forward by way of fee for order circulation (by not accepting it), TDA is the general winner in buying and selling know-how due to its sensible order routing know-how.


Vanguard and TDA cost $0 commissions for on-line inventory, ETF, and choices trades for U.S.-based clients. TDA has a $0.65 per contract choice payment; it is $1 at Vanguard. For OTCBB/penny inventory trades, Vanguard costs $0, and you will pay a flat charge of $6.95 at TDA. Mutual funds that fall outdoors the no-transaction-fee household price between $0 and $20 at Vanguard (relying in your account stability) and a comparatively steep $49.99 with TDA. Lastly, broker-assisted trades price $25 at TDA and between $0 and $25 at Vanguard, relying in your account stability.

Total, Vanguard is significantly cheaper if mutual funds or OTCBB/penny shares are your focus. Alternatively, you may lower your expenses at TDA for those who commerce a number of choices. The prices are the identical if you’re primarily taking a look at shares and ETFs, making this class too near name.

Account and Analysis Facilities

Vanguard and TD Ameritrade supply screeners for shares, ETFs, mounted earnings, and mutual funds, however solely TDA has one for choices. TDA’s screeners are additionally significantly extra strong and customizable. Each brokers additionally supply varied information sources—however right here once more, TDA comes out forward by way of choices.

Vanguard’s charting capabilities are restricted, and there is not any technical evaluation. Conversely, TDA affords superior charting instruments that needs to be greater than ample for many retail buyers and merchants. Total, TDA affords extra versatile account and analysis facilities. Nonetheless, Vanguard scores factors for having a devoted space on its web site for socially accountable investing investing—one thing TDA lacks.

Portfolio Evaluation

Vanguard and TDA each present entry to purchasing energy and margin info, plus unrealized and realized positive factors. You’ll be able to entry tax stories (capital positive factors), see your inner charge of return (IRR), and examine mixture holdings from outdoors your account. Total, the portfolio evaluation choices on the two brokers are too just like decide a transparent winner.


The main target of Vanguard’s academic content material is that can assist you set and attain your monetary targets. A lot of the content material is within the type of articles. That mentioned, you may additionally discover commentary and analysis papers, movies, and webcasts on funding merchandise, retirement, {industry} information, monetary planning, and the financial system.

TDA affords articles, movies, and webinars, and it hosts greater than 1,500 stay occasions every year. A variety of immersive programs covers fundamental investing and buying and selling concepts, plus just a few superior subjects. Total, TDA comes out forward as a consequence of its breadth of subjects and beginner-friendly content material.

Buyer Service

At Vanguard, telephone assist (customer support and brokers) is out there from 8 a.m. to eight p.m. (Jap) Monday by means of Friday. Reside chat is not supported, however you’ll be able to ship a safe message by way of the web site. Vanguard additionally maintains a presence on Twitter and responds to queries inside an hour or so.

TDA affords 24/7 telephone assist and chatbots on Twitter, Fb Messenger, Apple Enterprise Chat, and WeChat (in Asia). Reside chat is supported on its app, and a digital shopper service agent, Ask Ted, offers automated assist on-line. Total, TDA’s customer support is extra versatile with increased availability. You’ll be able to depend on dependable assist from both dealer, however TDA has a transparent edge in relation to customer support.


Vanguard and TDA’s safety is as much as {industry} requirements. You’ll be able to log into both dealer’s app with biometric (face or fingerprint) recognition, and each brokers shield towards account losses as a consequence of unauthorized or fraudulent exercise.

Vanguard’s extra Securities Investor Safety Company (SIPC) insurance coverage offers every shopper with $49.5 million for securities and a money restrict of $1.9 million per buyer. TDA’s clients are coated with $149.5 million value of safety for securities and $2 million of safety for money.

Via Sept. 2021, neither brokerage had any important knowledge breaches reported by the Identity Theft Research Center. Total, buyers could be assured within the safety requirements of both dealer.

Our Verdict

In our 2021 Greatest On-line Brokers opinions, TD Ameritrade earned increased scores than Vanguard in each class we ranked. To be honest, it is not straightforward to check two brokers which have such distinct enterprise fashions and goal clients. Vanguard is a distinct segment participant constructed solely with purchase and maintain buyers in thoughts, just like how some brokerages have zeroed in on choices merchants. TD Ameritrade is a generalist aiming to serve new buyers all the way in which to superior merchants on its thinkorswim platform. 

Total, nonetheless, buy-and-hold buyers who worth simplicity and wish entry to a few of the finest (and lowest price) funds within the enterprise should still choose Vanguard as the restrictions of the platform received’t take away from their principal function of making a low-cost, diversified portfolio. That mentioned, TD Ameritrade can do all issues Vanguard can do—and rather more. Total, TD Ameritrade is the higher alternative whether or not you are a newbie who needs a broad vary of academic content material or an energetic dealer or investor in search of a extra strong buying and selling expertise.

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The affords that seem on this desk are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation might influence how and the place listings seem. Investopedia doesn’t embody all affords accessible within the market.


Investopedia is devoted to offering buyers with unbiased, complete opinions and rankings of on-line brokers. Our opinions are the results of months of evaluating all features of a web-based dealer’s platform, together with the consumer expertise, the standard of commerce executions, the merchandise accessible on its platforms, prices and charges, safety, the cell expertise and customer support. We established a score scale based mostly on our standards, amassing hundreds of knowledge factors that we weighed into our star-scoring system.

As well as, each dealer we surveyed was required to fill out an in depth survey about all features of its platform that we utilized in our testing. Most of the on-line brokers we evaluated offered us with in-person demonstrations of its platforms at our places of work.

Our group of {industry} specialists, led by Theresa W. Carey, carried out our opinions and developed this best-in-industry methodology for rating on-line investing platforms for customers in any respect ranges. Click here to read our full methodology.

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