Trading 212 vs Vanguard
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# Trading


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alex manea


Alex Manea

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Trading 212 vs Vanguard: Fees, Platforms and Offerings Compared

With so many trading platforms in the marketplace, it can be tricky to choose the right one for you. Trading 212 and Vanguard have both established excellent reputations, but does one have the edge over the other? Here we’ll perform a Trading 212 vs Vanguard head-to-head comparison to help you to make an informed decision about your new trading platform. 

About Trading 212

Trading 212 has been operating for over 17 years. It was established in Bulgaria in 2005, but it moved into UK markets shortly after its launch. In 2017, Trading 212 was one of the first trading platforms to offer zero-commission trading, and today, you can invest in stocks and ETF trading with no commission fees via its mobile and web platforms. 

The overall aim of Trading 212 is to make trading easier for the inexperienced. Opening an account is quick and fully online, and the overall ease of use is excellent.

However, the variety of products on Trading 212 is limited, so if you prefer access to a comprehensive selection of assets, this platform may not be the right choice for you. 

About Vanguard

Vanguard has an even more extensive history. It was founded in 1975, but it has always been associated with low-cost investing. Vanguard was established with a long-term philosophy of serving buy-and-hold investors. This means that it is not well suited to short-term, frequent or high-risk investors. 

One interesting aspect about Vanguard is that the business is owned by its shareholders. Since outside owners and interests have been removed, there are no competing loyalties. This is an excellent philosophy in an industry where some business managers use shady practices to facilitate “free” trading. 

Trading 212 vs Vanguard: Services

Both platforms offer trading services, and both aim to provide educational tools for investors. Trading 212 has its learning center, which features 170+ educational videos, which you can watch on YouTube, articles, and a community forum. These provide a great resource for those who want to learn how to invest or expand their skill set with more advanced trading techniques. Additionally, besides the general investment account, you can also open a demo account to learn and practice stock trading and investment strategies.

Likewise, Vanguard places a high priority on providing investing education. The focus of Vanguard’s content is to help you to set financial goals and create an action plan to achieve them according to your preferred risk strategy.

The educational resources on Vanguard include news articles, research papers, videos, blogs, webcasts, and social media commentary covering topics from investment products and financial planning to retirement and the overall market. Vanguard also has life stage planning tools, which are excellent for newbie customers or DIY investors wanting to expand into different markets. 

Trading 212 vs Vanguard: Fees

Trading 212 has two types of accounts, determining whether your minimum initial bank transfer is £1 or £10. After you fund your account, you can access zero-commission trading with no withdrawal fee, but you'll still need to pay some costs. 

As with many other brokers, Trading 212 does impose a spread on trades, but this broker does not disclose its average spread costs. This can make it a little difficult to assess if Trading 212 is offering the best deal. Unless you study the full details, there is a risk that it may cost more compared to another provider.

Vanguard was a little late to the zero commission trade movement, as it only began offering this in January 2020. Today, you will incur no commission for ETF or online equity trades. However, per contract option, the trade commission is £1, which is typically higher compared to online brokerages. 

If your account balance is over £1 million, you will receive 25 free options trades per year. If your fund balance is below this amount, there is a £20 mutual fund transaction fee. 

The other fees you may incur using Vanguard are a live broker fee, outgoing wire fees, and margin interest costs. However, you'll not pay an inactivity fee, paper statement charges, account closure penalties, receiving wire, or sending check fee. 

Trading 212 vs Vanguard: Platform

Trading 212 has been designed to be a simple, user-friendly interface. Whether you choose the web-based interface or the Trading 212 app, you should find the layout clean and intuitive.

There is an integrated news headline feature on the home page, and all the functions are easy to find. There is also a variety of tools, including upcoming events, stock symbols, and watch list screeners, so even complete newbies won’t be intimidated by a steep learning curve. 

If you’re using the website, it caches credentials locally, so when you access Trading 212 via your browser, you’ll be automatically logged in. 

Vanguard has redesigned its main menu to improve the purchase flow. However, the website does still have an outdated feel. Since the broker caters to the passive investor, the real-time quotes do not auto-refresh. They will update when you move through a trade flow.

This can confuse the less experienced since quotes may not be updated before you submit an order. It takes several clicks when trading, which can take some getting used to and is highly inefficient for active or frequent traders and frustrating if you invest in a fast-moving market.

Trading 212 vs Vanguard: Offerings

At first glance, Trading 212 has a fairly basic selection of assets, but you can still invest in 1,500+ stocks (you can also purchase fractional shares), 36 indices, 29 commodities, and 180+ forex trading pairs, as well as Index funds. 

The platform also has many offerings for those interested in trading CFDs. Just remember that retail investor accounts can end up losing money rapidly when trading such complex instruments.

The Vanguard investment platform has a more extensive portfolio of offerings, including global stocks and ETF trading (full list of Vanguard ETFs is available on the broker's website), bonds, mutual funds, and foreign securities transactions. Additionally, for long-term investors, Vanguard offers numerous account types, including individual and joint broker accounts, 529 savings plans, corporate investment accounts, trusts, IRAs, 401ks, and minors accounts. 


Trading 212 operates in several areas of the world and is regulated by the UK’s FCA, Bulgaria’s FSC and Cyprus’ CySEC. 

The Vanguard broker website is a little more high-tech. An important thing to note is that it is not only FCA and SIPC regulated, but there is biometric recognition for Apple users, and additional security code requirements for any account changes, so you won't have to worry about your Vanguard funds.


The main stand-out other feature of Trading 212 is its charting. There are five chart types with 45 indicators and 19 drawing tools. Customers can also create and save chart templates. This allows you to apply settings across different charts, opening multiple charts and switching between them to make your research a little more fluid. 


Vanguard has portfolio reports and analyses. This is a customizable feature that allows you to aggregate any holdings from your outside accounts. There is real-time reporting for losses and realized and unrealized capital gains, in addition to your account balance, buying power, and margin. This is a great feature to keep track of your overall financial position to make informed investing decisions. 

Trading 212 vs Vanguard: Which is better

When you’re assessing Trading 212 vs Vanguard, you’ll need to think about your trading preferences and style. New traders or those wanting to take a hands on approach as they develop investor skill sets, Trading 212 has a minimal learning curve, so you can start trading immediately. 

However, long term investors or if you’re considering retirement investments and prefer a more passive approach, you may prefer the wider asset and account type selection offered by Vanguard. There are numerous tools to set and monitor your financial goals for your long term wealth management.

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