There’s plenty to like about Fidelity and Vanguard, including free account transfers and one-on-one access to personalized financial planning. But only one of these platforms has the resources and tools to accommodate advanced traders.
Which one is better?
- Choose Fidelity if you’re an active trader.
- Choose Vanguard if you’re a buy-and-hold investor.
Based on the star schema system we use to rate trading platforms, Fidelity edges out its competitor with a composite rating of 4.2 out of 5 to Vanguard’s 3.7 out of 5.
Despite its lower rating, Vanguard still has plenty to offer, including commission-free ETFs and mutual funds and personal adviser services for investors with account balances above $50,000. But it’s impaired by its lack of research and analytics tools — a feature not negotiable for active traders.
Fidelity, on the other hand, offers a respectable lineup of research tools, commission-free stock trading, access to international markets in 25 countries and 24-hour customer support. Its investment services are geared toward beginner and advanced investors, spanning brokerage accounts, a robo-advisor and personalized wealth management, making Fidelity a well-rounded platform equipped to serve a diverse range of investors.
|Research and tools|
We awarded a bonus star for offering access to precious metals.
We awarded a bonus star for Vanguard’s client-owned structure.
To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read the methodology at the bottom of the page.
How do Fidelity and Vanguard compare?
Fidelity Investments is a platform catering to new and active traders. Its range of trading services span wealth management services, access to international markets and actively-managed ETFs. While it lacks access to crypto, forex and futures, it has almost everything else a trader needs to get up and running, including a hybrid advisor service that combines automated portfolio management with one-on-one financial coaching.
Vanguard is an investor-owned brokerage that specializes in low expense ratio ETFs. Its tiered investment services are best suited to long-term investors with high account balances, as it offers a personal advisor service for investors with at least $50,000 on hand. Investors that purchase its mutual funds and ETFs don’t pay commissions and become part-owners of the company.
|Stock trade fee||$0||$7|
|Minimum deposit to open||$0||$0|
|Tools and research|
|Reputation and customer reviews|
|Apple App Store reviews|
|Google Play Store reviews|
Despite their differences, Fidelity and Vanguard share some common ground: They both offer commission-free stock trading, free account transfer and access to financial advisers. But Fidelity’s comprehensive research tools, 24-hour support and slew of other practical services make it a viable choice for a wide range of investors.
Vanguard could be a prudent choice for buy-and-hold investors with enough portfolio’s big enough to unlock the platform’s perks for high-tier investors. But ultimately, its lack of robust research tools disqualify it in the eyes of many active traders.
Before you decide, research your brokerage account options on other trading platforms.
Frequently asked questions
How we rate trading platforms
★★★★★ 5/5 — Excellent
★★★★★ 4/5 — Good
★★★★★ 3/5 — Average
★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar
★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor
We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.
For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.
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