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How to withdraw money from Vanguard: methods and costs

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How can I withdraw money from Vanguard?

One of the most common fears about trading online is, can I get my money back? And even if that's a given, will I face any extra costs, delays or difficulties as I try to withdraw my uninvested funds?

Vanguard is a trustworthy broker that honors all withdrawal requests, but the process is not the most convenient. Read on to learn about potential costs, waiting time or restrictions.

Withdrawal at Vanguard is fast but options are limited
Edith
Edith Balázs
Forex • Safety • Financial Journalism

Vanguard is one of many brokers I have tested throughout the years. I used my own money for trading - and then tried to get it back. Here's how it went:

  • No worries - Vanguard is a reliable broker that lets you access your funds any time.
  • You can use only bank transfers to withdraw funds.
  • In most cases, you can get your money back within 2 days.
  • Vanguard charges $0 for basic withdrawals, but some methods may cost more.
  • Read our full review of Vanguard for detailed funding and trading conditions.

First, let's see if Vanguard is available in your country?

Yes, you can open an account at Vanguard if you live in the United States!
the United States

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You can withdraw funds from Vanguard any time

Let me start with the good news: Vanguard is considered a legit and trustworthy broker, where your money is in good hands, and you can withdraw it whenever you want to.

How to tell if a broker is trustworthy? In our view, a broker is considered legit if its operations are overseen by at least one top-tier regulator. At BrokerChooser, we only recommend such regulated brokers.

Unfortunately, the online trading industry is plagued by a large number of unregulated or scam brokers. Many of these simply refuse to return your money, or require outrageous percentage commissions before doing so. If you've heard about any broker that you're unsure about, check it against our scam broker list or discuss it in our Forum.

You can only withdraw funds via bank transfer

So how to actually withdraw funds from Vanguard? At Vanguard, you can only withdraw your money using a bank transfer. This puts Vanguard at a slight disadvantage over brokers that also offer withdrawal to credit/debit cards or electronic wallets such as PayPal.

Broker
Bank transfer
Credit/debit card
Vanguard
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
Ally Invest
Vanguard withdrawal options

Remember, you can only withdraw funds to bank accounts that are in your name.

Withdrawing money from Vanguard - a step-by-step guide

How do you withdraw money from Vanguard?

  • Log in to your account.
  • Go to "My accounts".
  • In the "Buy&sell" menu, select "Transfer money to/from your Vanguard settlement fund".
  • Choose the transfer type (one-time or regular), your Vanguard account, and your previously linked external account.
  • Enter the amount you wish to withdraw.
  • Preview and submit the withdrawal.

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It usually takes no more than 1-2 days to receive your funds

Whatever method you use, withdrawals from a brokerage account are rarely instant. When I tried withdrawing funds from Vanguard, I had to wait two business days for the money to arrive. Not the fastest for sure, but actually this is considered fairly normal in the online brokerage world.

Strict withdrawal times are not the only factor to keep in mind when you need to retrieve money from your broker account. The most important thing is that you can only withdraw uninvested cash from your brokerage account. If all of your funds are invested, you need to close some or all of your positions first to make the necessary amount of cash available in your broker account.

Converting your assets to cash often takes additional time. For example, if you sell a stock, it will take another day (or most likely two) for the transaction to settle and for the cash proceeds to appear in your brokerage account.

So what I would normally do is think ahead depending on how urgently I needed the money. For example, if I needed $1,000 cash on Monday and it was still all tied down in stocks or some other assets at Vanguard, I would probably

  • log in to my Vanguard account as much as a week earlier, to sell stocks or other assets worth $1,000 (or maybe a bit more to cover any withdrawal fees; see next chapter).
  • Then I would check back a day or two later (around the middle of the week) to see if the asset sale has been completed and if the cash has appeared in my broker account.
  • If yes, I would then initiate the withdrawal, so that the money arrives in my personal bank account or on my card (whichever applicable) by next Monday at the latest.

Basic withdrawals cost $0, but there may be exceptions

While depositing money to a brokerage account is free in most cases, this is not necessarily always true for withdrawals. But I have good news: basic withdrawal at Vanguard is free of charge. See the table below for details and possible exceptions, and also how Vanguard's fees compare to some of its immediate competitors.

Broker
Withdrawal fee
Domestic bank withdrawal
Vanguard
$0
$0.0
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
$0
$0.0
Ally Invest
$0
$0.0
Vanguard withdrawal options and fees

Conversion fees

In addition to any withdrawal fees, you should also be aware of potential conversion fees. These usually apply if your bank account or card is denominated in a different currency than the funds you are withdrawing from your broker.

At Vanguard, the following account currencies are available: USD.

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Further reading

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology.

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Edith Balázs
Author of this article
I bring 20+ years of experience as a correspondent having worked for Bloomberg, Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal covering macroeconomics, stock, currency and fixed-income markets. I hold a Master's degree in American Studies and Journalism.
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