Vanguard ETF costs & minimums

Know exactly how low your ETF costs will be—and how much you'll need to get started.

ETF fees and expenses at a glance


Expense ratios

Every ETF has an expense ratio, which covers the cost of operating the fund. On average, Vanguard ETFs ® cost nearly 75% less than those from other companies.*

Bid-ask spread

The bid-ask spread is typically a few pennies per share for Vanguard ETFs.

The difference between the price a buyer is willing to pay (bid) for a security and the seller's offering (asking) price.

Costs you won't have to pay at Vanguard


No commissions when you buy and sell Vanguard ETFs through Vanguard.**

No extra fees to have one of our investment professionals place a trade for you.

No account service fees if you sign up to receive your account documents electronically, or if you're a Voyager, Voyager Select, Flagship, or Flagship Select Services client. If none of these apply, a $20 fee will be charged annually.

Avoid account service fees by signing up for e-delivery

See what you get as a Voyager or Flagship Services client

Minimum investment requirements


For a new brokerage account

When you open your Vanguard Brokerage Account, you'll initially need to add at least $3,000 to your settlement fund. (If you already own Vanguard Prime Money Market or Vanguard Tax-Exempt Money Market Fund, you can use it as your settlement fund without having to add more money to it.)

This money market mutual fund will hold the money you use to buy ETFs, as well as the proceeds whenever you sell.

ETF minimums

Once you've established a brokerage account, the minimum ETF purchase is one share.

How much could our low expense ratios save you?

Wondering why our ETF expenses are so much lower than the industry average? Vanguard was built differently to make sure we stay focused on keeping your costs low. You only pay what it costs us to run the ETFs—period.

You could save
at Vanguard.
Vanguard average ETF expense ratio %
Industry average ETF expense ratio %
Investment amount
Length of investment

This hypothetical illustration is based on expense ratios only and doesn't take into account other potential costs you might have when investing in ETFs. The example doesn't represent any particular investment nor does it account for inflation, and it assumes a 6% return. There may be other material differences between investment products that must be considered prior to investing.

Sources: Vanguard and Lipper, a Thomson Reuters Company, as of December 31, 2013.

Read chart description

Here's a hypothetical cost-savings illustration: At Vanguard, you could save $3,814 over 10 years assuming an initial investment of $50,000 earning 6% each year. Savings are based on Vanguard's average ETF expense ratio of 0.14%, which totals $1,246 in this scenario, compared with the industry average ETF expense ratio of 0.58%, or $5,060 in this scenario. Note that this example doesn't take into account other potential costs you might have when investing in ETFs.