Different from security codes, security keys offer you another form of online protection.
How to safeguard your account with a security key
What's a security key?
It's a physical USB device that connects to your computer—like a flash drive but smarter!
Currently Vanguard supports the following keys when using a Chrome browser:
- Yubico FIDO U2F Security Key
- YubiKey NEO
- YubiKey 4 Nano
- YubiKey 4
- YubiKey 5
How does a security key work?
Before you log on, simply insert your registered security key into your computer's USB port. Then enter your user name and password like you normally would. The key provides an additional level of account security because it uses encryption that only works with our website and you must physically have the key in your possession to log on. You'll use your key every time you log on, or you can use security codes if you don't have your key available.
Where do I get a security key?
You can buy a security key online from yubico.com or Amazon, or you can purchase one from a trusted retailer that sells computer supplies. These keys typically cost between $18 and $50. There are a few different types, so be sure to select one that Vanguard supports: Yubico FIDO U2F Security Key, YubiKey NEO, YubiKey 4 Nano, YubiKey 4 and YubiKey 5.
How do I register my security key with Vanguard?
Register your security key (logon required)
When you use your registered key for the first time, you may experience a slight delay, as your computer will need to install the appropriate software.
How do I sign in with my security key?
First, make sure you've registered your key with your Vanguard account. Then follow these steps:
- Log on to your account like you normally do, with your user name and password.
- When prompted, insert your security key into a USB port on your computer. You'll then need to physically touch the key.
Are security keys better than security codes?
While security codes and security keys are 2 different methods of protecting your online financial accounts, they're similar in that both use two-factor verification (also called two-factor authentication or 2FA).
With two-factor verification, there's an extra layer of security that requires not only a password and user name to gain access to your account but also something that only the user has in his or her possession, like a token.
Whether you use security codes (which we send you and you enter when logging on) or a security key (which generates a code that ties your computer to our website), you're using two-factor verification and making it more difficult for cyber criminals to breach your account.
Do I need to register for security codes if I have a security key?
Yes, because if you don't have your key or if you're logging on from a device that isn't compatible, we'll need to send you a security code instead.
What if I don't have my key?
No problem. We'll just send you a security code.
I'm using my key, but I'm being asked for a security code. Why?
If you're signing in from an unsupported browser or device, you'll be asked for a security code instead of your security key.
Will security keys work with financial aggregation services?
Yes, if you're using an aggregation service to help manage your financial accounts, there shouldn't be a problem using your security key.
If you have questions about your specific aggregation service, call us at 888-353-0547 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern time.
EXPLORE OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Monitoring for fraudulent activity
Vanguard has systems to help spot possible criminal activities. Contact us immediately at 877-223-6977 if you believe your account has been compromised.
Our online fraud policy
Our commitment regarding online security is simple. If assets are taken from your account in an unauthorized online transaction on vanguard.com—and you've followed the steps described in the "Your responsibilities" section of our online fraud policy—we'll reimburse the assets taken from your account in the unauthorized transaction.
When you call us
When you call Vanguard, we'll take steps to ensure we've verified your identity before discussing personal and financial information. We'll ask you to verify personal information, which may include your security questions you selected as part of the web registration process. You may also request that we ask you for an enhanced password of your choice over the phone every time you call for extra verification. You can also verify your identity using the sound of your voice when you sign up for Vanguard Voice Verification™.
Have a security question?
Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern time