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Written by Matthew Cerminaro on July 27, 2021
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Webull vs Vanguard 2021: Best Investing Platform?

When it comes to investing in the stock market, you have a lot of different choices to make.

Many choices are based on your investment strategy. Are you going to follow a growth or income-oriented approach? Be a long- or short-term investor? Invest in a Roth or Traditional IRA? On top of these choices, you also need to choose what brokerage to invest with.

The good news is there are more options available today than ever before.

In this article, we will be seeing how a new player known as Webull stacks up against one of the most well-known financial institutions: Vanguard.

Vanguard is a time-tested firm with trillions of dollars in assets. It is well known for its low-fee funds and investment products.

Webull is an up-and-coming commission-free trading app, popular among millennials. It offers tons of research tools and data in a very user-friendly fashion.

Webull vs Vanguard: The Basics

Millennials and short-term traders alike have fallen in love with Webull because of the sleek platform and in-depth market data. Users who consider themselves to be active traders will feel right at home with Webull.

This, in addition to no account minimums and no commissions, makes Webull a great place for intermediate and advanced investors. While Webull also offers retirement accounts, its main focus is on serving active traders.

Vanguard, on the other hand, cut its teeth in the long-term investing world. Vanguard believes that the long game is the best game for most investors. That is why it is best known for popularizing the low-cost index fund approach.

However, users can do both short- and long-term investing on the platform.

Product Features Overall Price Buy Now
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Webull Review 2021: Best Free Investing App?

  • Pricing
  • Data & Charting Tools
  • Beginner Friendly
  • Account Types
  • Sign Up Incentive
  • Assets
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Vanguard Brokerage Review 2021: Best Investing Platform?

  • Fees
  • Low Commissions
  • Account Types
  • Asset Selection
  • Active Trading
  • Retirement Investing
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Summary: Vanguard vs Webull

  • Vanguard is most well known for its low fee investment funds
  • However, you can also invest directly through the Vanguard brokerage platform
  • Both offer $0 commissions on online trades with a $0 minimum
  • Both offer top-quality research, however, Webull has more technical data available 
  • Webull is catered more toward the “trader” while Vanguard is catered more toward the “investor”
  • Vanguard has a track record of being extremely reliable to its clients, while Webull is new, more up to date, and more technologically driven
  • Both allow you to trade stocks and ETFs
  • Webull has some more advanced features like a free trading simulator
  • You can get 2 free stocks with Webull when you open an account and fund it with $5+
  • Vanguard does not offer any kind of sign up incentive
  • Vanguard has a wide variety of account types
  • Webull offers fractional shares
  • Webull offers taxable, margin, and retirement accounts
  • Vanguard does charge commissions for broker-assisted trades, but online is free
  • Webull offers full extended hours trading while Vanguard does not
FeatureWebullVanguard
Minimum Investment$0$0
Sign Up Bonus2 Free StocksNone
Trading CommissionsNoneNone ($20 for trades over the phone)
Options FeesNone$1 Per Contract
ETFsNoneOver 400+ Low-Cost ETFs
DataAdvancedAdvanced
AssetsStocks, ETFs, Options, Short SellingStocks, Bonds, CDs, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds
Retirement AccountsYesYes
Customer SupportLimitedFull
Best ForTraders Looking For Free Stock, Easy To Use PlatformThose Looking For Mutual Funds/Full Blown Brokerage
Fractional SharesYesNo

What Is Webull?

Webull is revolutionizing the brokerage industry by offering commission-free trading and in-depth market research on the same platform. By offering services commission-free with no minimum balance, this platform is reducing the barriers to entry for investors large and small. 

For the most part, this brokerage is geared toward

active traders who rely on a variety of different investment data. 

Webull picks up where other investment apps, such as Robinhood, leave off. Apps like Robinhood tend to be very watered down with limited research tools. Webull is truly a robust trading platform with all of the research tools and data you will likely need.

Webull Features

Active traders will be pleasantly surprised when they take a look at the Webull platform for the first time. Compared to the other investing apps out there, Webull takes a stand for active traders by providing the platform they need and constantly adding new features to stay ahead of the curve.

Commission-Free Trading

Webull allows its clients to trade a large variety of assets including stocks, ETFs, and options with no commissions.

This includes stocks and ETFs on major exchanges like the NYSE and NASDAQ. That being said, there are no OTC or pink sheet penny stocks.

On the Webull platform, you'll be able to buy and sell any of Vanguard's ETFs.

You will not find mutual funds or fixed-income investments available on Webull.

Webull Sign Up Incentive - Free Stock!

webull free stock

Ready to sign up for Webull? If you open an account using the link below and fund it with $5, you will get 2 completely free stocks!

Zero-Account Minimum  

The $0 minimum deposit on Webull brokerage accounts makes it an especially attractive service for smaller investors. Beginner investors often start small to learn the ropes. This is completely fine with Webull.  

However, keep in mind that you need to fund the account with $5 initially to be eligible for your free stocks.

Webull Account Types 

Webull offers the following:

  • Individual
  • Margin
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA

Retirement accounts are 100% free with no commissions and no minimums. 

Market Research 

Webull provides market research and real-time quotes in the “Market” section of its website. Here, clients can read public articles that are linked directly to the page. 

This is an educational resource in itself and clients can learn a lot by keeping up with news stories and hearing the perspectives of experts in the field.  

Webull Free Training

We put together a free 30 minute video training that walks you through the entire process, step by step. This training will help you get up and running in no time at all.

GET THE GUIDE

Real-Time Market Data

One of the features that Webull is most well-known for is its data. As a trader, it's crucial that you have access to the most up-to-date data so that you can make fast decisions and take advantage of early trends. This means you need real-time data.

Webull provides free real-time US market data to all of its users. This allows investors in US markets to be well-informed and not lose out to other traders who could have an edge thanks to more up-to-date data.

In order to get real-time data on markets outside of the US, investors will need to purchase a subscription.

Fractional Shares

Investors are now able to invest in dollars instead of whole shares on the Webull platform. This makes previously unattainable stocks affordable to new and experienced investors alike. If you want to invest in a stock but the price is simply too high, consider using fractional shares. This will afford you a percentage of the stock in proportion to the amount you invested.

While this does not decrease your risk exposure, it does allow you to diversify because you are spending less of your capital on one specific stock. You can then direct that capital elsewhere and safeguard your portfolio.

Technical Trading Platform 

Webull’s tech-savvy trading platform gives it a great leg up in trade execution compared to Vanguard.

Webull’s technical charting tools allow investors and traders alike access to advanced charts and graphs that can help them decide what trades to make. As far as technical indicators go, there are dozens to choose from on the app.

You also have access to a free stock screener that allows you to quickly filter through thousands of stocks to find the handful that align with your trading strategies. This allows for faster trades and the ability to move on trends before other investors may notice them.

Full Extended Hours Trading 

Webull fully supports pre- and post-market trading. This means you can place trades before the market opens and after the market closes for a set period of time. 

On Webull, you can trade stocks from 4:00 am to 8:00 pm EST on any day the market is open.

Keep in mind that with limited trading hours, volatility tends to be higher. When there are fewer trades happening, there is less volume. Lower volume tends to lead to more volatility in the market.

Stock Lending Income Program

A feature unique to Webull is its stock lending program. This allows investors to loan their shares of stock to Webull for them to lend out for short selling.

In return for lending Webull your stock, you will receive a daily interest payment based on the number of shares you loan to them and the value of these shares. This can be a great way to generate income from your portfolio over time.

Paper Trading

One of the most useful tools on Webull is the trading simulator.

Every Webull user has $1,000,000 of fake money that they can practice with, 100% risk-free! This allows users to familiarize themselves with the app before committing or risking the capital.

While trading fake money doesn't trigger the same emotional responses that trading with real money does, it is still an effective way to learn the ropes and build your confidence before your hard-earned cash is on the line.

webull app

Webull Fees 

Zero-Commission Trading Fees

$0 commissions on stocks, options, and ETFs. 

This also applies to short selling and margin trading.

While there is technically no fee to sell cryptocurrencies on the platform, there is a 100-basis point spread on either side of a crypto trade.

Deposit & Withdrawal Fees

There are no fees for ACH deposits and withdrawals from US bank accounts.

Webull charges fees on foreign bank accounts, however, varying at a rate from $8 to $45 depending on several factors. These fees cover the charges by Apex which is a clearing firm. 

Margin

If you are interested in leveraging your investments, Webull offers up to 4x day-trade buying power to its clients. 

Webull also offers 2x overnight buying power on its margin accounts. This is more so used for investments instead of trades due to the overnight holding implications. 

Clients who wish to invest on margin must have a $2,000 minimum to apply for a margin account. 

Margin Rates

Margin rates vary depending on the amount of margin the client is taking using. The general rates are between 3.99% and 6.99%.  

Webull Pros

  • No commissions on trades
  • Services oriented towards active traders
  • No minimum account balance
  • Educational resources and free trading simulator
  • Pre-market and extended-hours trading
  • Free Stock incentive
  • Fractional shares
  • Trading simulator for risk-free practice

Webull Cons

  • No dividend reinvestment program
  • Limited account types
  • Customer service is limited

What Is Vanguard?

Vanguard was the pioneer of low fee investing for the people.

Vanguard’s mission is to level the playing field for all investors. Big or small, the company is committed to taking a stand for investors by treating them fairly and giving them the best chance for investment success. 

Vanguard's founder Jack Bogle has a cult-like following of so-called "Bogleheads" that share his philosophies of low-cost, passive index investing.

Since 1975, Vanguard has been providing low-cost ETFs for its investors to gain maximum diversification and to take the subjectivity of a money manager out of the equation for returns. 

You can purchase Vanguard funds through any brokerage, including Webull! This is accomplished by buying ETFs or exchange-traded funds. Typically, this is the most cost-effective way to invest in index funds.

Vanguard Features 

Account Types

Whether you are interested in a simple brokerage account, retirement account, or personally managed account, Vanguard has options for all of your needs. Here are the accounts they offer:

  • Individual
  • Joint
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • Simple IRA
  • Solo 401(K)
  • Custodial Accounts
  • 529 Plans

Vanguard Investments

Vanguard’s brokerage service offers a wide array of investment vehicles across asset classes for its clients to choose from. 

Stocks, options, bonds, CDs, and ETFs, just to name a few. 

Low-Cost ETFs

Vanguard offers over 450 low-cost ETFs for its clients.

An ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) is a basket of underlying assets that track the gains of an index or specific industry. Due to their passive nature, ETFs do not produce as much overhead. This is one of the reasons they can be offered to investors at a much lower expense ratio than most mutual funds

ETFs allow investors to achieve maximum diversification and “own everything” contained in an index in a low-cost way. 

These ETFs can be purchased through almost any brokerage.

Industry-Specific ETFs 

Vanguard offers industry-specific ETFs to satisfy its clients' investment goals. Are you only interested in only the main technology companies? The VGT “Vanguard Information Technology” ETF has you covered.

Or maybe you want to invest exclusively in health care companies? The VHT "Vanguard Health Care" ETF will provide you exposure to that industry.

The wide range of ETFs offered by Vanguard allows its investors to achieve high diversification while also investing in the industries or indices that they are interested in.

Customer Service 

Vanguard offers both technical support and also a call center for its clients to utilize if they have any questions regarding their investments. 

This is something that is not common in today's investing landscape. Many firms, like Webull, do not provide support for clients who have questions specific to their investments.

Account Protection Information and SIPC 

The Securities Investor Protection (SIPC) protects Vanguard brokerage clients up to $500,000 (including $250,000 in cash).

To increase the insurance on its accounts, Vanguard utilizes additional brokerage coverage from Syndicates at Lloyd’s of London

Through this additional protection, Vanguard can secure a per-client coverage assurance of $49.5 million for securities, and $1.9 million for cash. 

money wealthy

Vanguard Fees

Zero-Brokerage Commissions for Online Trades

Vanguard offers $0 trades on securities, ETFs, and other investment vehicles available to its clients if trades are placed online. This is similar to Webull and several other brokerage platforms.

Over The Phone Trades

Placing a trade over the phone will cost a fee of around $20 per trade.

This is a relatively high commission for investors with smaller account balances. If you fall into this bucket, making online trades may be a better option. 

Brokerage Account Fees

$20 annual fixed fee if the AUM (assets under management) are below $10,000 for your account. This type of fee is typical of legacy companies but is uncommon among the newer investing platforms like Webull. 

Vanguard will waive this fee if you agree to receive electronic instead of paper statements. 

Mutual-Fund Only Account Fees

Vanguard charges $20 as an annual fixed fee if its client is investing in mutual funds. 

Simple IRAs/403(b) Plan Fees

Vanguard charges $20 - $25 for each specific mutual fund that a client owns in their IRA account. In terms of 403 (b) plans, Vanguard charges $5 per month per participant. This adds up to $60 per year. 

In each retirement account, there is also an expense ratio to keep track of. While these are fairly low compared to the industry, fees for mutual funds will not be the only fees you incur. Visit the prospectus of each fund for updated expense ratios.

Individual 401(k) & Individual Roth 401(k) Plan Fees

For these two retirement plans, Vanguard charges $20 per mutual fund in each account. 

Waive Fees

Vanguard offers a host of ways to waive fees when using its services. 

Whether it is signing up for e-delivery for annual reports or being a Voyager Select member, there are many ways to forgo these fees. 

Simply navigate to the Vanguard Benefits and Costs section at the top right page of its website to learn more ways to dodge some of these additional costs. 

Vanguard Pros

  • Leading the industry in providing highly diversified ETF products to its clients
  • Industry-specific ETFs to capture sector movements
  • Zero-brokerage commissions for online trades 
  • Has shown a long track record of providing reliable services to clients 
  • Ways to waive fixed fees to decrease account costs 
  • Increased protection against loss
  • Top-quality market research to give its clients the edge when investing
  • Numerous different assets to choose from

Vanguard Cons

  • Some annual fees in place, but they can be waived 
  • Expensive mutual fund fees 
  • No online trading platform for technical analysis 
  • Various retirement accounts have different fees associated
  • No fractional shares

Webull vs Vanguard: Final Thoughts

When it comes down to it, Webull and Vanguard are offering two very different products. Webull is an active trading platform designed for research-oriented traders, particularly millennials. Vanguard is more of a long-term investing platform.

If you are simply looking to trade stocks and have easy access to research tools, Webull is a great option for this. You can even invest in Vanguard ETFs on Webull!

The Webull platform is easy to get started on and the free stock bonus is a nice incentive to start you off with. For younger investors, Webull will likely be a good place to start learning the ropes. If it turns out that you're missing some investment types that are only offered on Vanguard, you'll always be able to open a Vanguard account down the line.

However, if you are looking to invest for the long haul in stocks and funds, Vanguard may be a better option. They have a more diverse selection of assets as well as many different account types.

There are some miscellaneous fees you may come across with Vanguard, such as the $20 annual paper statement fee. This can be waived if you opt into electronic statement delivery. Vanguard does, however, have much better customer service.

In some cases, it might make sense to invest with both! Webull is useful for your active trades where you are looking for technical data available at your fingertips. You can use Vanguard alongside Webull for your long-term investments.

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Article written by Matthew Cerminaro
Matt is currently attending Union College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He participates in the student investment fund and is a member of the Union College football team. Matt runs his own personal finance Instagram page and market-related blog where he writes about economics and general wealth accumulation tips.

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