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Written by Sam Pennington on December 2, 2022
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How To Transfer From Betterment To Vanguard 2023

Betterment and Vanguard are two highly popular investment platforms available today, though the two take different approaches to investing.

Vanguard has a long and proven track record since launching in 1975! Betterment, on the other hand, was founded in 2008 and provides their clients with a robo advisor experience.

Whatever your reason for wanting to switch, we have you covered. In this article, we highlight the process to transfer from Betterment to Vanguard.

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Transfer From Betterment To Vanguard

Moving your assets to a new platform is actually a pretty simple process when the two brokerage accounts support ACATS (automated customer account transfer service).

In the case with Betterment and Vanguard, ACATS is supported. ACATS is certainly the preferred method for transferring your assets as you do not need to liquidate your positions. Instead, you simply transfer (either in full or partially) your account to a new brokerage.

To transfer from Betterment to Vanguard, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Open a Vanguard Account
  2. Gather Information From Betterment
  3. Initiate an ACATS transfer

Below we cover each of these steps in closer detail.

1. Open A Vanguard Account

vanguard was founded on the theory from jack bogle that low cost index funds will provide an investor with great returns over time

If you already have a Vanguard account, then you can move on to the next step. 

Vanguard is a top brokerage for many investors due to its offering on low cost ETF and mutual funds. Additionally, the company provides its clients with top notch customer service.

Before you start the transfer process, be sure you are eligible to open an account. To create an account, you will need to have the following:

  • Permanent US address
  • Social security number
  • If applicable, employer's address

To open an account, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Vanguard's website
  2. Click on the "Open an account" button on the top menu
  3. You can either fund your account with a bank account or through a transfer from another account.
  4. Follow the remaining steps as prompted. You will be asked for your name, email, phone number, address, SSN, employer, and level of investing experience.

Once you have completed the account application, you will be able to start investing in 3 business days.

2. Gather Information From Betterment

betterment logo

You will initiate the transfer within the Vanguard platform, but do so, you will need to prepare yourself with a few pieces of information:

  • Your Betterment account type
  • Your Betterment login information
  • The Betterment account number

The account type and account number can be found with the following steps:

  1. Log in to your Betterment account.
  2. In the main menu, click “Settings”.
  3. At the top of your screen, select “Accounts”.
  4. Each of your Betterment accounts will be displayed. You'll see your account number under the name of each account.

3. Initiate ACATS Transfer

Once you have collected your information from Betterment, you are ready to initiate the transfer.

While many platforms charge an outgoing ACATS transfer fee, Betterment does not. Vanguard also does not charge for incoming transfers.

Despite having a highly popular app, Vanguard requires members to follow their web-based prompt to initiate a transfer. The transfer steps can be completed in as little as 10 minutes online, though the funds may take up to 4-6 weeks to appear in your Vanguard account.

Before you start the transfer, you should also know about the assets that you can and cannot transfer to Vanguard.

Investments you can transfer:

  • Stocks.
  • Bonds.
  • Most options.
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  • Unit investment trusts.
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs) held in a brokerage account.
  • Most mutual funds (although money market funds will be sold and transferred as cash).

Investments you can't transfer:

  • CDs held directly with a bank.
  • Certain options.
  • Limited partnerships and private placements.
  • Certain mutual funds and other investment products offered exclusively by your current firm.
  • Certain low-priced securities traded over the counter (OTC) or on the pink sheets market.
  • Commodities.
  • Annuities.
  • Life insurance policies.

Any investments that you have that cannot be transferred must be liquidated first. And one last note, you can only transfer whole shares from Betterment. Any fractional shares you own will be liquidated shortly after the transfer.

Account Transfer Steps

To initiate this ACATS transfer, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to Vanguard's account transfer page
  2. Select the option "Transfer investments from another firm to Vanguard" and click continue
  3. Select the type of account you want to transfer from (whichever account you are transferring to Vanguard, needs to be the same type of account you have with Vanguard)
  4. Next, login with your Vanguard login details or select the Sign-up option
    1. If you already have a login, then you will continue with the steps below. If you need to sign up, then you will need to provide additional details first such as your name, email, phone, SSN and more.
  5. After clicking continue, type in the name of the platform you want to transfer from. In this case, it would be "Betterment."
  6. Enter in your Betterment login details or find the account manually by entering in your Betterment account number.
  7. Decide whether you want to transfer all or some of the assets held in Betterment
    1. If a partial transfer, you will be able to select the individual investments you want to move
  8. Select where you would like to transfer the assets to, either a new account or an existing Vanguard account
  9. Review the details of the transfer and click continue
  10. Review the terms and conditions and accept to move on

Be aware that this transfer can take up to 4-6 weeks to complete, though typically is completed much sooner.

Transfer From Betterment To Vanguard: Final Thoughts

Luckily, a transfer from Betterment to Vanguard is actually quite simple.

All you need to complete this transfer is your account number, login information, and account type for Betterment. From there, you will simply follow Vanguard's prompts.

The transfer will be kicked off with just a few minutes on their site. Once complete, you can track the progress in your Vanguard account.

If you have additional questions, be sure to reach out to Vanguard's customer support team.

Article written by Sam Pennington
Sam is a personal finance writer. While in college, he dedicated his spare time to learning about personal finance, investing, and real estate. Sam currently works as a business analyst for one of the top food manufacturers in the world.

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