Vanguard vs. Fidelity: 2022 Comparison

Jan 25, 2022

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If you’re on the hunt for a new brokerage account, the two biggest names in the field — Vanguard and Fidelity — might come to mind first.

You might be curious, as we were, about how these two stack up side by side. We’ve put Vanguard and Fidelity in a head-to-head battle to help you decide who should win your money.

There’s one thing to get clear right upfront. Both Vanguard and Fidelity are retirement powerhouses — their brokers’ funds line many 401(k)s, and Fidelity is the leading 401(k) record-keeper. (View our list of the best IRA accounts.)

But Fidelity also caters to active traders, with robust trading platforms and tools. Vanguard, not so much: The company doesn’t offer a trading platform. So some people may be able to quit this comparison right here: Are you an active stock or options trader? Fidelity is your answer.

» See our roundup of the best brokers for stock trading

The tension between these two starts for those investors who are looking to compare mutual funds, fees, account minimums and investment offerings.  For that, read below.

Side note: Both Vanguard and Fidelity offer robo-advisor services, but we're focusing on their self-directed brokerage accounts here. To learn more about the robo-advisors, read our reviews of Fidelity Go and Vanguard Digital Advisor.

Fidelity
NerdWallet rating 

on Fidelity's website

Fidelity is best for:

  • Frequent traders.

  • Beginner investors.

  • Research and data.

  • Retirement planning assistance.

Fidelity at a glance

Account minimum

$0.

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

No base commission; $0.65 per contract.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

None.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 3,700 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Tradable securities

• Stocks.

• Fractional shares.

• Bonds.

• Mutual funds.

• ETFs.

• Options.

Crypto availability

Crypto-based products are available, but not cryptocurrencies themselves.

Trading platform

Fidelity.com and Active Trader Pro. Both free for all customers.

Mobile app

Available for iOS and Android; advanced features.

Research and data

Free and extensive.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Phone, email and live chat 24/7; 203 local branches.

Vanguard
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Vanguard is best for:

  • Long-term or retirement investors.

  • Those who prefer low-cost investments.

  • Index fund and ETF investors.

Vanguard at a glance

Account minimum

$0; however, fund minimums start at $1,000.

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

$0 + $1 per contract. Account balances with $1 million+ get 25 trades for free each year; accounts of $5 million+ get 100 free trades per year.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No closing, inactivity or transfer fees. $20 annual account service fee for all brokerage accounts and IRAs. Waived for clients who sign up for statement e-delivery.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 3,300 from outside providers; none of Vanguard's 129 open funds charges transaction fees.

Tradable securities

• Stocks. • Bonds. • Mutual funds. • ETFs. • Options. • CDs.

Crypto availability

Vanguard does not offer access to cryptocurrencies, but some crypto-based products are available.

Trading platform

Basic trading platform.

Mobile app

Trade mutual funds, ETFs and stocks; monitor account activity and analyze performance; follow market news and research investments.

Research and data

Average quality but free.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Phone support Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Eastern; email support.

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NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
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Account Minimum

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