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How do I buy an ETF or stock?

Follow this step-by-step tutorial to learn how to buy an ETF or stock using your brokerage account

Step 1

Access trade form

Within the My Accounts tab, navigate to Buy & Sell. On the Buy & Sell landing page, choosing the option to Trade ETFs or stocks sends you to the trade order form. All buy orders will execute using your selected account's funds available to trade.

Step 2

Account selection

If you have more than one account, you’ll need to select an account. The account selector opens to show a list of your accounts. Selecting an account will display your Funds Available to Trade in the Balances section in the upper right of the page. Selecting Show Details within the Balances section reveals additional account balance information.

At any time you can view your current Holdings and Open Orders by selecting the respective tabs within the gray navigation bar. By selecting either tab you won’t lose any in-progress information on your current order. To return to your current order simply select the Trade ETFs or Stocks tab within the gray navigation bar.

Step 3

Select security

Select Buy.

Enter the ticker symbol of the stock or ETF you’re interested in. If you aren’t sure of the ticker symbol, you can select Search by Keyword to find what you’re looking for. After selecting a stock or ETF, the page will display a real-time quote with the latest price information along with any share amount you currently hold.

Step 4

Enter share amount

Next, enter the Number of Shares you’d like to purchase. If you’d like to determine how many shares you can buy based on the amount you have to spend, select Calculate Dollars to Shares located under the number of shares field.

Step 5

Additional order details

Select an Order Type for your trade. While market orders don’t require additional selections, you’ll need to set both pricing and trade duration for non-market orders. You can get guidance about the different order types available along with other parts of the form by selecting the ? icon next to each respective field.

Step 6

Review trade details

Review the trade details in lower right portion of the screen. All ETF and stock trades are commission-free.* If you’re satisfied with the trade you’ve built, select Preview Order (2) to view a summary of your order. Note: Selecting Preview Order will initiate a review to make sure your order is accurate and there are no issues that you need to resolve. Selecting preview does not mean you’re submitting the order. You’ll still have a chance to review the order and make any changes.

Step 7

Preview order

Review the order summary on the Preview and Submit page. You’ll notice the real-time quote has refreshed with the latest price information. Be sure to read the language above the Submit Order button as this information offers some key details about your order.

To make changes to your order, select Edit. When you’re ready to proceed with your purchase, select Submit Order.

Step 8

Confirmation & next steps

You’ll be taken to a Confirmation screen that will show a detailed summary of your order. You’ll notice an order confirmation number at the top of the summary, updated balances information, including the value of any open buy limit orders. Also, the What happens next (3) section has important information about the execution of your order.

Now that your order is complete, you’ll see your recently completed trade in the list of open orders. To check the status of any pending orders, select the Order status link on the right side of the screen at the top of the Open orders section.

There’s a link to initiate a new order or see other investment products under the “Make another trade” headline in the bottom left of the screen. Finally, the trading experience offers the same features regardless of the device you’re using to place the order.

This example is for illustrative purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell a particular security.

*Initial investment and trade minimums, management fees and expenses, and other fees may apply. See the Vanguard Brokerage Services commission and fee schedules for full details.

Brokerage assets are held by Vanguard Brokerage Services, a division of Vanguard Marketing Corporation, member FINRA and SIPC.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.