Vanguard vs. Schwab

As I said in my intro post, I have accounts at both Vanguard and Charles Schwab each has benefits and weaknesses here is my two cents.


Without question Vanguard is the leader in low cost mutual funds both index and actively managed. Vanguard also allows commission free trading of a wide range of ETFs both their own and also from many other firms (1,800 ETFs and counting).

Vanguard’s automatic investing settings are the best I’ve used. They allow for automatic deposits and investments any day of the week, whereas Schwab allows for automatic deposits any day of the week into your account, but only allows for automatic buys on the 5th or 20th of the month – a major limitation in my mind if your setting up automatic withdrawals that coincide with your pay check for instance.

Access to independent research is non existent at Vanguard which is a limitation for sure. Vanguard does not offer the option to have checks or a credit/debit card linked to your account. Customer service at Vanguard is also not their strength, unless you are a high dollar customer your pretty much on your own.

ESG Impact Investing Options

Vanguard currently has 2 ESG mutual funds and 2 ETFs in their own line up. I own one of them, VFTAX, their other mutual fund is a new ESG world fund, managed by Wellington. There is also access to a number of impact investing suitable ESG ETFs through their commission free list which currently has over 1,800 ETFs.

Charles Schwab

Endless options await you in your Schwab account, its a bit overwhelming actually. Customer Service at Schwab is amazing. I use their chat customer service all the time it is incredibly helpful. You have access to a wide portfolio of mutual funds and ETFs many of which trade for no commission if they are part of the Schwab One Source or other lists. If a fund you are interested in is not on the list, the trading commission is steep.

Schwab has an excellent Visa debit card you can link to your individual investor high yield checking account. The card is amazing it refunds ATM transaction charges anywhere in the world and also has no foreign transaction fee. The card is considered one of the best cards for travel, many open Schwab accounts just to get the card. I’ve recommended the card to numerous people.

Moving money around accounts is super easy. Schwab also has a relationship with American Express and offers two Schwab American Express cards that both have great benefits and signon bonuses that deposit into your account. I use the Schwab Investor Amex card which has a $200 signon bonus and 1.5X cash back into your Schwab account on all purchases.

ESG Impact Investing Options

Schwab produces a lengthy list quarterly of socially conscious ESG mutual funds and ETFs that trade with no commission.

If you find this information useful and signup for a Schwab account please consider using my referral link.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *