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Closing an account at Vanguard

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Updated
Feb 2024
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How to close my account at Vanguard in February 2024?

When the time comes that, for whatever reason, you want to close your brokerage account, you may have difficulty knowing where to start. What is the process? is there a cost? What are my options?

To close your account, you need to bring your balance to zero. Vanguard has low fees for selling your assets, and you can also transfer your portfolio to another US broker easily.

Note that since Vanguard doesn't charge inactivity or account fees, there is no cost to keeping your account indefinitely. Who knows, you might need it again one day.
Key points about closing an account at Vanguard
Edith
Edith Balázs
Forex • Safety • Financial Journalism

I have personal experience with dozens of global brokers and have taken a closer look at the process and options for closing a brokerage account. Here are my key insights regarding how to delete an account at Vanguard:

  • You need to bring your balance to zero, by selling or transferring your assets.
  • Vanguard has low fees, which influence the cost of closing your account.
  • You can also use a simplified process to transfer your assets to another US broker.
  • Use our Find My Broker tool to find the best new home for your investments.
Vanguard fees and conditions to watch when closing your account
Inactivity fee No
Account fee No
Withdrawal fee $0
Customer service score (out of 5) 2.5 stars

Data updated on February 4, 2024

BrokerChooser score
4.3 4.3 /5
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Bring your balance to zero to close your account

Vanguard is a well-regulated, trustworthy broker, so you shouldn't run into any major obstacles while trying to close your account.

If you have made up your mind to cancel and delete your Vanguard account, the most important thing you have to know is that only an empty broker account can be closed. To bring your balance to zero, you need to follow the steps below:

  1. Close any open positions you have by selling all your assets.
  2. Another option is to transfer your entire portfolio to another broker.
  3. Withdraw all your cash from the account.
  4. Unsubscribe from any paid services you may have used (e.g. for market data or research).
  5. Make sure you don’t owe anything to your broker.
  6. Initiate the account closing procedure at your broker.

Note that initiating the closing of your account may be as simple as finding and clicking the appropriate menu item on the platform, but in some cases you may need to contact customer service directly, e.g. via phone or email. The full closing process may take up to several weeks.

Fees impact the cost of closing an account

If you're done trading and don't want to keep and transfer your assets to a new broker, you must sell all your assets and then withdraw all your cash in order to close your account. Closing an account in itself does not usually carry a fee for standard brokerage accounts. However, be aware that closing open positions can have tax implications on any capital gains or losses.

Below are the fees for selling assets and withdrawing funds, as well as customer service quality at Vanguard.

Vanguard stock trading fees

Vanguard has low trading fees. Here are the exact fees you will face when you sell your stocks and ETFs before closing your account:

Vanguard stock/ETF trading fees
💰 Vanguard US stock commission Commission-free
💰 Vanguard UK stock commission Not available
💰 Vanguard German stock commission Not available

Data updated on February 4, 2024

Vanguard withdrawal fees and options

Withdrawing your remaining money is often the last step before closing your account. At most brokers today, this is free, but there are still some exceptions.

Luckily, Vanguard doesn't charge a withdrawal fee.

Keep in mind that it may take a few days for your stock sales to settle and then for your money to arrive in your bank account or credit/debit card. We tested withdrawal at Vanguard and it took 2 days.

You have the following options to withdraw your money from Vanguard:

Vanguard withdrawal options
Bank transfer withdrawal Yes
Credit/debit card withdrawal No
Electronic wallet withdrawal No

Data updated on February 4, 2024

Vanguard customer support

In general, you may have to contact customer service more often than usual during the closing of your account. It is therefore a great benefit if your broker that has helpful, round-the-clock customer support via multiple channels such as phone, email or chat. Here's how Vanguard can help you:

Vanguard customer service availability
Customer service score as rated by BrokerChooser (out of 5) 2.5 stars
Live chat No
Phone Yes
Email Yes
24/7 availability No

Data updated on February 4, 2024

Keep your assets: transfer to another broker instead of selling

If you are closing your account because you're switching to another broker, you should consider transferring your stocks and other assets to your new broker. This can be a complicated and lengthy process that may involve a fee, but it spares you the trouble and costs of selling (and then re-purchasing) dozens or hundreds of different assets.

Make sure you calculate and compare the cost of selling vs. transferring assets so you can choose the best option.

In most cases you will need to notify your new broker that you wish to transfer your portfolio to them. They will prepare the necessary paperwork, and ideally also coordinate the process with your current broker. Note that it may not be possible to transfer every asset, and that transfers can take up to a few weeks to go through.

The good news is that Vanguard offers Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS), which is a faster, and usually cheaper way to transfer stocks and other securities between US brokers.

If both your old and new broker are part of the ACATS system, you only have to contact your new broker, and the whole transfer process can be completed in as little as three to five business days. In the table below, you can check Vanguard's fee for outgoing ACATS transfers and the estimated transfer time.

Vanguard ACATS fees and estimated time
💰 Vanguard outgoing ACATS fee $0.0
💰 Vanguard outgoing ACATS time 5-7 days

Data updated on February 4, 2024

Use Find My Broker to find the best new home for your investments

Although you are saying goodbye to Vanguard, hopefully you have not given up on investing overall. Use our dedicated Find My Broker tool to find a new broker to switch to, or check if your choice really is the best broker for your needs.

The BrokerChooser team has personally tested and reviewed more than 100 brokers globally. We opened accounts with real money at each, conducted actual trades on their platforms, checked their safety, fees and customer service, among other things.

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Further reading

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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