Does Vanguard, Etrade, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade Allow Short Selling (Shorting) Stocks?

Does Etrade Offer Short Selling Stocks?

Yes, Etrade customers can short both stocks and ETF's on their margin accounts. Minimum $2,000 is required to open a Etrade margin account.

Does Fidelity Offer Short Selling Stocks?

Yes, Fidelity Investment customers can short stocks and ETF's on their margin accounts. Minimum $2,000 is required to open a Fidelity margin account.

Does Vanguard Allows Short Selling Stocks?

Yes, Vanguard brokerage investors can participate in shorting of stocks and ETF's on their margin accounts. Minimum $2,000 is required to open a Vanguard margin account.

Does TD Ameritrade Offer Short Selling Stocks?

Yes, TD Ameritrade clients can short stocks and ETF's on their margin accounts. Minimum $2,000 is required to open a TD Ameritrade margin account.

Best Broker For Short Selling

Article exploring which broker is the best for shorting stocks and ETF's - Best brokerage firm for shorting »

Scottrade vs Fidelity vs Vanguard: The Survey

Fidelity, Scottrade, and Vanguard have millions of customers and trillions of dollars under management. Despite their popularity, there are significant differences between them. This article will explore those differences and see if one of the three can be considered the best broker.

Note: Scottrade has been acquired and recently has been fully sintergated into TD Ameritrade brokerage.

Customer Service

A Fidelity associate can be reached over the phone 24/7. The broker's website also has an on-line chat feature. More than 100 international phone numbers can be used by investors who travel outside the US. The firm has over 180 branch locations inside the US for clients who prefer in-person service.

Although Scottrade doesn't have 24/7 service, the broker's customers can reach an agent over the phone on Saturday and Sunday. Scottrade has the largest network of branch locations of any on-line discount broker, with more than 500 offices.

At Vanguard, customer service is available during the weekday only. The broker doesn't have any branch locations, although it does have a phone number for global travelers.

Overall, Scottrade seems to be the best choice here.

The Cost of Trading

Fidelity traders pay $4.95 for stock and ETF transactions. Scottrade charges a flat $7 for the same trades. Vanguard's commission is a variable rate between $0 and $20. A small account (defined as under $50,000 in Vanguard funds) is charged $7 for the first 25 trades and $20 for every trade after. This schedule resets every year.

Option traders at Fidelity pay an additional 65¢ per contract, while Scottrade charges 70¢. Vanguard customers pay $1 for each contract on top of a base charge of $20, $7.00, or $1.00. The base charge is determined by account size. A small account pays $20.

Live agents are available at all three brokers to help investors complete a trade over the phone. Fidelity charges $29.95 for this service. Scottrade's charge is $32. As usual, Vanguard's fee is based on account size. Small accounts pay $25, while larger accounts receive reduced fees.

This category is awarded to Fidelity.

ETF's and Mutual Funds

The Fidelity website has over 10,000 mutual funds that are open to new investors. Roughly 1,800 carry no transaction fee and no load. A mutual fund with a transaction fee is either $75 or $49.95, depending on the specific fund purchased. The fee is only applied to the buy side. The broker also offers more than 80 commission-free ETF's.

Vanguard clients have access to more than 16,000 mutual funds, 2,400 of which have no load and no transaction fee. Small accounts pay $35 for transaction-fee funds. This charge is applied to purchases, sales, and exchanges. There are 55 Vanguard ETF's that can be traded without paying a dime in commissions.

Scottrade's website offers more than 11,300 mutual funds open for purchase. About two thousand of these products come with no load and no transaction fee. A fund with a transaction fee costs $17 per transaction. Scottrade is the lone broker in the survey that doesn't have any commission-free ETF's.

Overall, Vanguard appears to be the best firm here.

Trading Technology

Scottrade's website was redesigned this year. It offers many helpful tools. Charting is user-friendly. A security's price action can be displayed in its own window with comparisons and technical studies. A trade ticket is available in the lower-left corner of the site. Options, ETF's, and stocks can all be traded on it. A desktop platform can be used by traders who meet certain minimums. A mobile app for Apple and Android is free for all clients, as is a mobile web site, but there is no live streaming of financial news.

Fidelity customers have a wealth of information on the broker's website. There are portfolio analysis tools along with good charting ability. There is a trading ticket that appears in the left-hand side of the browser. Alternatively, trades can be simply placed using a web page. An advanced platform is available for active traders - learn more in Active Trader Pro review. Fidelity's mobile app was recently redesigned. Bloomberg streams in HD free of charge.

The Vanguard site is attractive, but it can be somewhat buggy in Google Chrome. It is more difficult to navigate than Fidelity's and Scottrade's websites. Trades on the Vanguard site are placed on simple web pages. There is no trade bar, and a desktop platform is not available. A mobile app is free for all traders, but it's not as sophisticated as Fidelity's.

The victory here goes to Fidelity.

Cash Management

Fidelity customers can open the broker's Cash Management Account. It comes with checks and a debit card at no cost. All ATM charges are refunded, and there are no minimums to apply for or maintain the account. Scottrade requires a $500 brokerage account balance to apply for a bank account, while Vanguard requires an incredible $500,000 to add cash management features.

Fidelity easily wins here.


Fidelity won three categories, Vanguard was successful once, and Scottrade took home one victory. Fidelity and Vanguard are excellent brokers for fund investors, while Scottrade is a good choice for beginner investors.

For much more information on each broker, we strongly encourage our readers to take a look at the complete broker reviews.