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ETF fees & minimums

If you're more interested in getting money out of your investments than paying too much money for them, you're in good company.

Fees you won't pay at Vanguard

Commissions

You'll never pay a commission when you buy or sell Vanguard ETFs® (exchange-traded funds) in your Vanguard Brokerage Account.*

Broker-assisted trading fees

You won't pay any extra fees to have one of our investment professionals place a Vanguard ETF® trade for you.

Account service fees

It's easy to avoid most account service fees. Simply sign up for electronic delivery of your account documents—such as statements, confirmations, and fund prospectuses and reports.

Already have a Vanguard account? These fees are automatically waived for Voyager, Voyager Select, Flagship, and Flagship Select clients.

Minimums & account balances

No minimum initial investment requirement

You don't need thousands of dollars to start investing in an ETF. You only need enough money to cover the price of 1 share, which can generally range from $50 to a few hundred dollars.

P.S. You can only buy ETFs in full shares (not fractions).

No minimum account balance

You only need enough money in your settlement fund to cover the cost of the ETFs you want to buy.

Other costs associated with ETFs

Bid-ask spreads

The bid-ask spread is the difference between the bid price (the highest price a buyer is willing to pay for a specific ETF) and the ask price (the lowest price a seller is willing accept) at a specific time.

Spreads vary based on the ETF's supply and demand. For Vanguard ETFs, spreads generally range from $0.01 to $0.25, although spreads may be wider in volatile markets.

Expense ratios

Every ETF has an expense ratio, but Vanguard's average is 68% less than the industry average.**

Expense ratios affect your bottom line

See the potential impact Vanguard's low-cost ETFs can have on your savings over time compared with the industry average. Your savings have the potential to grow even more when you're invested for longer periods of time.

All examples assume an initial investment of $50,000 earning 6% each year.

At Vanguard you could save $3,814 over 10 years based on Vanguard's average ETF expense ratio of 0.14%, which results in a cost of $1,246 in this scenario, compared with the industry average expense ratio of 0.58%, which results in a cost of $5,060.

Over 20 years, you could save $13,180 based on costs of $4,431 at Vanguard compared with $17,611 at the industry average. Stay invested for 30 years and you could save $34,165 based on costs of $11,820 at Vanguard compared with $45,985 at the industry average.

If the rate of return were altered, results would vary from the hypothetical examples provided. The final balances described are after costs. These examples do not represent any particular investment and do not account for inflation. There may be other material differences between investment products that must be considered prior to investing.

All averages are asset-weighted. Industry averages exclude Vanguard. Sources: Vanguard and Morningstar, Inc., as of December 31, 2016.

Open a brokerage account

Already have a Vanguard Brokerage Account?

We're here to help

If you're new to Vanguard:

Call 888-241-1395

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time

If you're already a Vanguard client:

Call 888-992-8327

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern time

ALREADY OWN VANGUARD ETFs SOMEWHERE ELSE?

Transfer them to a Vanguard Brokerage Account so you can enjoy commission-free trades.

REFERENCE CONTENT

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Commission

A fee that a broker or brokerage company charges every time you buy or sell a security, like an ETF or individual stock.

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Account service fee

A fee that's deducted from your account to cover the cost of maintaining the account.

At Vanguard, these annual fees range from $15 to $25 depending on the type of account you own.

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Electronic delivery (e-delivery)

Instead of waiting for your account documents to arrive in the mail, you can elect to receive an email from us whenever those documents become available for instant access on our secure website.

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Settlement fund

The holding place where you keep the money you need to pay for the ETF shares you want to buy and where we'll place the proceeds when you sell ETF shares.

At Vanguard, your settlement fund—sometimes referred to as a "sweep" account—isn't a cash account. Instead, it's an interest-bearing money market mutual fund—specifically, Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund.

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Bid, ask & the bid-ask spread

The "bid" price is the highest price a buyer is willing to pay for a specific ETF. This is generally the price a seller receives when placing a market order—although the price could be higher or lower based on the size of the order or any price improvement provided (see "What is 'price improvement'?" below).

The "ask" price is the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for a specific ETF. This is generally the price a buyer pays when placing a market order—although the price could be higher or lower based on the size of the order or any price improvement provided.

The "bid-ask spread" is the difference between the current bid and ask prices for a specific ETF at a specific time.

How wide is the spread?

Spreads vary based on the ETF's supply and demand, otherwise known as its "liquidity." For Vanguard ETFs®, spreads generally range from $0.01 to $0.25, although they may be wider in volatile markets.

What is "price improvement"?

Price improvement occurs when your trade is executed at a price that's better than the quoted market price at the time you enter your order.

Vanguard has processes in place to get you the best price possible every time you buy and sell any Vanguard ETF®.

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Expense ratio

A reflection of how much a mutual fund or an ETF pays for portfolio management, administration, marketing, and distribution, among other expenses. You'll almost always see it expressed as a percentage of the fund's average net assets.