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Vanguard Account Opening

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Getting started with Vanguard

Are you a new investor considering to open a brokerage account at Vanguard but don't know how to do it? Are you wondering how long the process takes and how difficult it is?

We understand that opening a brokerage account is a huge step, and it may seem like a complex process, but don't worry, we're here to help! Account opening at Vanguard is a great experience and it needs no prior knowledge.

Opening an account at Vanguard is easy and intuitive, perfect for beginners as of April 2024
Edith Balázs
Fiscal Fables Storyteller | Regulation • Scam • Safety

Together with my brokerage analyst colleagues, I have thoroughly tested the services of Vanguard by opening a real-money account. Here’s what you need to know about account opening if you want to start investing with Vanguard:

  • Account opening at Vanguard is user-friendly and it takes 1-3 days.

  • You will need to prove your identity and residency with documents.

  • Choose an account type that suits your needs.

  • The only available base currency is USD.

  • The minimum deposit at Vanguard is $0.

  • Browse the best brokers for beginners for the most popular alternatives.

Is Vanguard available in your country?

Yes, you can open an account at Vanguard if you live in the United States!
the United States
BrokerChooser score
4.3 4.3 /5
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Account opening at Vanguard vs. other competitors

Account opening at Vanguard is user-friendly and can be done fully online which is a great feature. You can complete the entire process on your mobile phone.

Check out this table to compare the rating and duration of Vanguard's account opening process to its main competitors:

Vanguard account opening vs. similar brokers
Account opening score
4.4 stars 5.0 stars 4.4 stars
Account opening fully online
Yes Yes Yes
Time to open account
1-3 days 1 day 1-3 days

Opening an account is always free of charge. However, the duration of the process differs. At some brokers, it's as quick as opening a new Gmail account, while at others, it might take a couple of days as they run a background check on your data. At Vanguard it usually takes 1-3 days to open an account.

Navigating the complexities of trading can be challenging. As a new investor, choosing a broker known for its user-friendly platform and robust educational resources can come in handy. Easy-to-use interfaces and comprehensive learning materials can simplify trading for beginners like you. If this is important to you, consider opening an account with a broker that’s good for beginners.

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How to get a verified trading account at Vanguard?

First, you need to go to Vanguard's website and fill a registration form to apply for an account. Your application needs time to be verified [1-3 days] after which you can deposit and start trading.

The journey at Vanguard

The verification procedure is self-evident, but here are a few things you should know:

Account opening is user-friendly and fully digital. The online application process takes roughly 15 minutes, but verification is a bit slower. It took 3 business days for our account to be verified.
Steps at Vanguard to open an account:

  1. Choose your funding method (bank transfer, rollover, other).
  2. Choose the account type.
  3. Add your investment goals and preferences.
  4. Submit personal information, e.g. your Social Security Number, residency, phone number, etc.
  5. State your employment status and financial profile.
  6. Fund your account.
  7. Review your information.
  8. Acknowledge terms and conditions.
  9. Sign up for web access.
Account opening at Vanguard

After you have completed the verification:

  1. You'll have to fill out the trading experience survey. It might seem scary at first, but it is nothing to worry about. This is standard procedure, as brokers need to make sure that you have a basic financial knowledge and you are aware of the risks of trading.

  2. Next, you'll have to choose an account type and a base currency.

  3. Lastly, you'll need to fund your account before you can start trading.

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Which Vanguard account to choose?

Brokers usually provide multiple account types. When choosing an account, consider how experienced you are in trading, and pick an account that suits your needs. Some ideas to contemplate: your investment goals, risk tolerance, trading frequency, and any associated fees or account minimums to ensure the account aligns with your financial objectives and preferences.

If you're a beginner, we recommend selecting the most basic account offered by the broker which is the standard account.

Find out more about Vanguard's specific account types in our comprehensive Vanguard review for 2024.

Which base currency should you choose?

At Vanguard, the only available currency is USD. If possible, try to deposit money to your brokerage account in USD.

Why is that important? If you fund your trading account in the same currency as your bank account, you won't have to pay a conversion fee. These only apply if:

  • You make a deposit in a different currency than the currency of your brokerage account.

  • You trade with assets not denominated in your trading account's base currency.

A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank.

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BrokerChooser score
4.3 4.3 /5
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Fund your account and start trading at Vanguard

Once you have filled the registration form, uploaded your documents, finished the trading survey and chose your account type and base currency, Vanguard will verify your account shortly. Upon verification, you need to fund your account to be able to begin trading.

This is where you stand at the account opening at Vanguard

At Vanguard, the minimum deposit is $0. This means that you can deposit as little money as you wish.

Brokers that don't require a minimum deposit do so to encourage people to try their services without requiring a large initial commitment. Many brokers no longer require a minimum deposit nowadays; so if you want to compare Vanguard and its rivals along other criteria, you can do so using our broker comparison tool.

Minimum deposit
Bank transfer
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
Ally Invest
Account opening and deposit conditions

After successfully funding your account, you're all set to start trading.

To explore Vanguard’s top competitors, head over to our top list of the best brokers for beginners and browse through a curated selection of top-notch brokerages that are ideal for new investors.

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Author of this article

Edith Balázs

Forex • Safety • Financial Journalism

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.

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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