Compare Fidelity vs Vanguard

Fidelity vs Vanguard: Compare Pricing

Fidelity Investments


  • Stocks/ETFs: $7.95 per trade
  • Options: $7.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $49.95 or $75 per buy transaction for no-load mutual funds; sell transactions are free if fund held over 60 days ($49.95 otherwise)

  • Stocks/ETFs: $7 first 25 trades, $20 subsequent trades for account with less than $50,000
  • $7 for account with $50,000–$500,000 invested in Vanguard products (Voyager Services)
  • $2 for account with $500,000–$1,000,000 invested in Vanguard products (Voyager Select Services)
  • Free for first 25 trades, $2 for subsequent trades for account with $1,000,000-$10,000,000 (Flagship Services)
  • Free for first 500 trades, $2 for subsequent trades for account with $10,000,000+ (Flagship Select Services)
  • Options: $20 + $1 per contract (Voyager: $7 + $1 per contract; Voyager Select and Flagship: $2 + $1 per contract)
  • Mutual funds: Vanguard mutual funds - free. All others - Standard: $35; Voyager and Voyager Select: $20; Flagship: $8
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs): Purchase: $5 per $1,000, Minimum: $50. Sale: $35 per transaction
  • U.S. Treasury: Commission-free
  • Mortgage-backed securities: $50 per transaction

Fidelity vs Vanguard: Pros

Fidelity Investments


  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees (except for Simple IRA)
  • Excellent customer service
  • Over 180 local branches
  • Free dividend reinvestments
  • Best selection of independent investment research
  • Access to foreign stock exchanges
  • 2% of Fidelity Rewards American Express card purchases can be deposited into the investment account

  • Low expense Vanguard mutual funds
  • Vanguard ETFs are free to buy and sell
  • Very good range of mutual funds offered
  • Dividend reinvestment program

Fidelity vs Vanguard: Cons

Fidelity Investments


  • Higher than average commissions
  • High margin rates
  • Advanced platform available only to clients making 36 or more trades a year
  • Online interface is not as well designed as at some other brokers
  • High minimum initial account deposit of $2,500 (cash and margin accounts)
  • For some funds there is $49.95 annual mutual fund low balance fee if fund balance is under $2,000

  • Commissions are high for many clients
  • Outdated trading technology
  • $20 annual maintenance fee if no electronic statements (waived if account balance is over $50K)
  • $20 annual fee for each mutual fund with a balance of less than $10,000 if no electronic statements (waived if account balance is over $50K)

Fidelity vs Vanguard: Account Fees

Both brokers offer securities accounts with no special fees. Neither company has annual, maintenance, or inactivity fees for trading accounts (Vanguard customers with account sizes under $50,000 must enroll in electronic delivery of statements to eliminate account fees). Fidelity clients must deposit at least $2,500 to open a brokerage account. Vanguard, on the other hand, has no minimum.

Vanguard vs Fidelity Investments: Comparison Summary

Vanguard Brokerage Services (Vanguard investing review) and Fidelity Investments (Fidelity investing review) are known primarily for their own families of mutual funds rather than their brokerage services. As ETFs (thanks to their lower costs and ease of trading) are increasingly replacing mutual funds in investor portfolios, the importance of both firms is steadily diminishing.

Outside of mutual funds, Vanguard has little to offer: it doesn't seem to be able to keep up with competition in richness of services and in trading technology.

Fidelity Investments provides its customers with rich selection of investment products, access to great independent third-party investment research from 12 companies, and many low cost Fidelity-family mutual funds.

There is a general consensus that Vanguard's mutual funds are lower cost and better performers than most of their counterparts at Fidelity Investments. Vanguard also offers dollar-cost-averaging transactions for mutual funds for those clients who choose to accumulate positions over time. Free dividend reinvestment is a great plus too.

When comparing retirement accounts (Roth, Traditional, and Simple IRA), Vanguard comes ahead: Fidelity disappoints by charging low balance fee and short term redemption fee which many other brokerages don't charge.

There are better brokerages for beginner investors, offering vibrant online communities where users can ask questions, learn from more experienced members, and even get investment ideas. Some discount brokers also offer a virtual trading environment that allows users to practice trading and test different trading strategies without risking real money. If you are new to investing, check out our Best Broker for Beginners recommendations.

We are recommending Fidelity Investments and Vanguard mostly to clients looking to invest in these firms' mutual funds and ETFs. Vanguard Brokerage is a better option for "buy-and-hold" mutual fund investor. Fidelity is great for anyone who likes to research investments extensively before buying, and to have more options of investment products.

Article was updated on 8/5/2016.

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