Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

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Jimmbo
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Jimmbo »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:26 pm
1. Set up an auto payment from your checking account to pay your full balance on CC due date.
My checking account can't/won't talk to Chase to get the balance every month. It can config to send a fixed monthly payment, that's about it.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Jimmbo wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:45 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:26 pm
1. Set up an auto payment pull at Chase from your checking account to pay your full balance on CC due date.
My checking account can't/won't talk to Chase to get the balance every month. It can config to send a fixed monthly payment, that's about it.
Are you saying you can't set up an auto-pay at Chase to pull full statement balance each month?

It sounds as though you are pushing a payment to Chase from your checking account. I was talking about Chase making a pull from your checking account. I worded number "1" poorly. I clarified what I was trying to communicate.

I get that allowing pulls from checking accounts might be stressful to some, but if one actually looks at their credit card statement there is plenty of time to react before the pull is made.

Broken Man 1999
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dcb
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by dcb »

Rager1 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:35 pm
Yesterday, for example, we spent 45 minutes outside of our local Social Security Administration Office, waiting to get inside. Once inside, we spent an additional 1 ½ hours waiting in another line to get a number. Then, we waited another hour to get served. All we were trying to do was to change our direct deposit from Vanguard Advantage to our new account. It took us the entire day to handle this simple request.

I could go on, but I think you get the message that Vanguard’s decision to eliminate the Advantage account has put many of its long-time customers and advocates in a frustrating and time-consuming mess. We’re deeply disappointed in this decision by Vanguard.
If I remember correctly, I was able to switch my soc.sec. direct deposit quite easily and quickly using the https://secure.ssa.gov web site.
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8foot7
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by 8foot7 »

dcb wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:33 pm
Rager1 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:35 pm
Yesterday, for example, we spent 45 minutes outside of our local Social Security Administration Office, waiting to get inside. Once inside, we spent an additional 1 ½ hours waiting in another line to get a number. Then, we waited another hour to get served. All we were trying to do was to change our direct deposit from Vanguard Advantage to our new account. It took us the entire day to handle this simple request.

I could go on, but I think you get the message that Vanguard’s decision to eliminate the Advantage account has put many of its long-time customers and advocates in a frustrating and time-consuming mess. We’re deeply disappointed in this decision by Vanguard.
If I remember correctly, I was able to switch my soc.sec. direct deposit quite easily and quickly using the https://secure.ssa.gov web site.
dcb
I was going to say that you made that far more difficult than it had to be. I understand that it is a pain in the butt to switch all of this stuff but almost none of it should require in-person visits to banks or federal agencies. If you need help with the web or electronic aspects of this transition, I and a number of other posters would be glad to help.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by bayview »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:26 pm
Jimmbo wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:29 pm I'm routing all bills to credit card. So my big issue is paying credit card bill. Here's the workflow:

1. Check (Chase) credit card balance.

2. Transfer funds from Vanguard MM to checking acct to cover balance.

3. Pull an ACH from my credit card web site from my checking acct.

I'd love to do these all at once, but am worried about timing. Credit card people say "withdrawal from your pay-from account will generally occur within two business days of this payment date, but the exact timing is dependent on your bank's processing schedule). And Vanguard's transfer should take about the same.

Do I dare do both transfers on the same day, or do I need to make this a multi-day process every month? (I asked the bank for their advice, and they slobbered "Aaaaaaaaydunno!")
Why not do this:

You know your Chase credit card due date, right?
1. Set up an auto payment from your checking account to pay your full balance on CC due date. You only need to set it up once.
2. Since your CC statement most likely gives you a 25 day grace period to pay, just transfer the needed funds from Vanguard to your checking account, allowing yourself 3-5 business days to get your funds into your checking account PRIOR to your CC due date.
3.You CC will be paid on due date, BUT make sure you review your CC statement to ensure your transactions are correct. If some major fraud is going on, you have time to get an incident report in, and also to pay what legit charges are present.
4. Use your saved time wisely!

Broken Man 1999
Almost all credit cards will allow you to change the due date. You might be able to clump most or all to be due within the same 2-3 day span. You probably can't do this with other bills, but a few calls might let you have two "blobs" of due dates each month.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

bayview wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:17 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:26 pm
Jimmbo wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:29 pm I'm routing all bills to credit card. So my big issue is paying credit card bill. Here's the workflow:

1. Check (Chase) credit card balance.

2. Transfer funds from Vanguard MM to checking acct to cover balance.

3. Pull an ACH from my credit card web site from my checking acct.

I'd love to do these all at once, but am worried about timing. Credit card people say "withdrawal from your pay-from account will generally occur within two business days of this payment date, but the exact timing is dependent on your bank's processing schedule). And Vanguard's transfer should take about the same.

Do I dare do both transfers on the same day, or do I need to make this a multi-day process every month? (I asked the bank for their advice, and they slobbered "Aaaaaaaaydunno!")
Why not do this:

You know your Chase credit card due date, right?
1. Set up an auto payment from your checking account to pay your full balance on CC due date. You only need to set it up once.
2. Since your CC statement most likely gives you a 25 day grace period to pay, just transfer the needed funds from Vanguard to your checking account, allowing yourself 3-5 business days to get your funds into your checking account PRIOR to your CC due date.
3.You CC will be paid on due date, BUT make sure you review your CC statement to ensure your transactions are correct. If some major fraud is going on, you have time to get an incident report in, and also to pay what legit charges are present.
4. Use your saved time wisely!

Broken Man 1999
Almost all credit cards will allow you to change the due date. You might be able to clump most or all to be due within the same 2-3 day span. You probably can't do this with other bills, but a few calls might let you have two "blobs" of due dates each month.
I pretty well have that situation, except my primary card is paid on second of the month, and others in the first 10-15 days of the month. Then, the remainder of my bills are paid after I get my SS deposit. Bills are paid like clockwork. I just have to get the funds in from Vanguard and everything else is automated.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
Jimmbo
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Jimmbo »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:58 pm Are you saying you can't set up an auto-pay at Chase to pull full statement balance each month?
Sorry, guess I got my push/pulls mixed up! Yes, Chase could automatically pull entire balance from checking account each month.

But this would worsen my actual fear, which is Chase being told "insufficient funds" because I'm skating close with balances. If so, Chase charges me like $39. I'm not sweating my due date, which, as you say, is weeks away. I just need a system that avoids pulling on dry wells.

The manual step in my proposed system was designed to prevent this failure. Kind of a circuit breaker. But the problem is that it would likely need to be two manual moves, since I can't count on the Vanguard-to-checking ACH and the checking-to-credit card ACH to line up correctly every time. So I'd probably need to space them by a couple days

First world problems, of course....while I type this, millions trek miles everyday to draw water for drinking/bathing!
Last edited by Jimmbo on Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bayview
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by bayview »

Jimmbo wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:38 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:58 pm Are you saying you can't set up an auto-pay at Chase to pull full statement balance each month?
Sorry, guess I got my push/pulls mixed up! Yes, Chase could automatically pull entire balance from checking account each month.

But this would worsen my actual fear, which is Chase being told "insufficient funds" because I'm skating close with balances. If so, Chase charges me like $39. I'm not sweating my due date, which, as you say, is weeks away. I just need a system that avoids pulling on dry wells.

The manual step in my proposed system was designed to prevent this failure. Kind of a circuit breaker. But the problem is that it would likely need to be two manual moves, since I can't count on the Vanguard-to-checking ACH and the checking to credit card ACH to line up correctly every time. So I'd probably need to space them by a couple days

First world problems, of course....while I type this, millions trek miles everyday to draw water for drinking/bathing!
Why cut it so close? Keep a cushion of a thousand in checking. Just pretend like it's not there. What's the lost interest over a year? 20 bucks?
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri
Jimmbo
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Jimmbo »

What if there's a $2K credit card balance? Or $3K? Or $4K?
bayview
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by bayview »

Jimmbo wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:45 pm What if there's a $2K credit card balance? Or $3K? Or $4K?
I think that what I mentioned above - clustering your credit card due dates to within a few days of one another - might reduce the stress a bit. Since you generally have three+ weeks after receiving the statements, you should have plenty of time to determine how much you need to move to checking each month (maybe with an extra $1k), and have the money there in plenty of time to cover the bills.

Nothing is perfectly smooth and without a few complexities. "The enemy of a good plan is the wish for a perfect plan."
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Jimmbo wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:45 pm What if there's a $2K credit card balance? Or $3K? Or $4K?
Well, remember you have a grace period of around 25 days after your credit card statement is available. The grace period gives you more than enough time to determine (1) Is the statement correct? (2) Determine the amount you need to transfer to your checking account.

Here are my last four monthly CC bills on my main credit card:$1714, $5384, $3796, $2805. No worries, having the 25 day grace period allows me to account for my transfer from Vanguard to fund all my auto-payments, AFTER I have examined my statement to ensure there are no fraud or errors. In forty+ years of having a credit card, I have seen fraud, but not one error.

bayview's suggestion about clustering various due dates has merit, as you can complete your bill-paying activities in just a few days, versus tracking due dates all month.

Broken Man 1999
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dkturner
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by dkturner »

Jimmbo wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:38 pm
Vanguard’s decision to eliminate the Advantage account has put many of its long-time customers and advocates in a frustrating and time-consuming mess.
The problem is that Vanguard's in a far better position to determine this than you are.

Truth is that 2% of customers eligible for Advantage have used it at all. That's nothing more than rounding error. And only some fraction of them are particularly active users, and some fraction of them are as annoyed as you are.

I understand (and Vanguard surely does, too) that these moves can severely inconvenience a few customers. But they wouldn't have made this move if tons of Flagship customers were enthusiastically using the service.

Frankly, it sucked anyway. 10 years behind the times in terms of features and interface, no fee-free ATMs (degrading the high-roller perq aspect), and PNC's service was horrible. Advantage was a crappy service used by a negligible number of users, relying on a stodgy third party bank partner and hacky/lazy third party tech developers. And it wasn't in Vanguard's DNA to create their own in-house version (it had never been more than a quick, outsourced fix for a perceived service gap amid Vanguard's meteoric growth in the 00s).
I think you are overlooking the possibility that Vanguard (it has a new CEO) is changing its focus from a retail establishment to a wholesale oriented company that will create financial products and encourage other retail oriented financial services providers to use them. Vanguard has only a handful of retail establishments, doesn’t take telephone calls at night or on weekends, is making some of its ETFs cheaper to own than its mutual funds and is gradually doing away with its individual client services representatives for its upscale customers. Contrast this behavior with that of Fidelity, which will charge considerably more for many of its products and services, but has numerous retail establishments, takes phone call 24/7 and is offering lower cost versions of its most popular index mutual funds.

I have had dealings with Vanguard’s institutional unit and find the comparison with Vanguard’s retail unit like day and night.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Jimmbo »

dkturner,

Interesting thoughts, and you might be right. But I believe you're knotting up a couple of points.

1. Vanguard's elite/high-roller support has always been a cheap stick-on - much like Advantage itself. They've done a poor job of it all along; it's not really how they're geared. They're more homely Warren Buffett, less shiny Gordon Gekko.

2. Most of your retail complaints reflect a company that never caught up to modern standards. We clearly know this to be true in a thousand ways (many articulated in this thread). In some ways, the company's square earnestness and venerable old-guard leadership has been a boon. In other ways, not so much.

Re: these two elements, modernity and elite, it's not that they're backtracking, it's that they never really pushed forward.

I can't imagine they're giving up retail entirely. It's a huge swathe of their biz. They will likely continue to offer 1975-style non-coastal retail, studded with errant half-measures which will feel increasingly untenable to us over time. We're being pressurized not by intentional biz shift, but by intractable complacency.

One piece of evidence: I'm experiencing Defcon 1-level solicitousness by everyone I talk to there. They've flagged me as a heavy Advantage user and are flailing with palpable flop sweat to "ease this process" for me. They apparently do register and fear the backlash, and nobody's half-heartedly waving me goodbye (note: I'm not monstrously wealthy).

Honestly, square 1975-style retail is what current customers are accustomed to at this point. This company couldn't possibly have been built from scratch, in this form, at this time. But since they've already scaled, and customers have baked in expectations, the main peril is long-term demographics (euphemism for "segments dying off"), which won't be a prime motivator for any exec with vision narrower than John Bogle (i.e. any of them).
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by dkturner »

Jimmbo,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. For the life of me I can’t figure out what Signals Vanguard management is giving to its customer service personnel. We are fortunate to have Flagship Select service at Vanguard. We received a phone call from our Rep. advising us of the impending termination of Advantage service. He offered to fill in the form necessary to add checkwriting to our MM settlement fund and mail it to us for our signatures - but only if we agreed to terminate our Advantage service beforehand.

We never activated the Advantage BillPay, so the decision to terminate Advantage really isn’t a big deal, but it is irritating to see Vanguard abandon what was close to a unique product (institutional level money market rates for checking account balances, with a BillPay and ATM accesss thrown in) that was only available to customers with substantial balances. What kind of a message is Vanguard trying to send to its existing, and potential, Advantage customers.

I know Vanguard can do, and does, a better job when it wants to, because I have had dealings with its Institutional unit with respect to an endowment and a foundation that used Vanguard fund. It has substantial specialized resources that do a first class job.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Jimmbo »

Companies really do have DNA. Figuring out what you're good at, and what you're not, is an essential biz practice (as an investor, I get the hell out of a stock when there's an initiative or acquisition that doesn't fit the DNA).

Vanguard finally figured out they're not good at crappy stuck-on, contracted-out services - especially those with a tech component (how long did it take their app to be usable...and the web site before it?).

Vanguard's DNA is stodgy solid dependable straight-talkin' Pennsylvania heartland squareness. And it works for them. They're not going to take your calls on weekends, but most of their customers, with their buzz cuts, cream-colored polo shirts and jowls, would never imagine calling a brokerage on weekends, which are for bloody marys and expanding the O gauge train set in the basement rec room with the grandkids. Only a vanishing minority ever went for Advantage mostly 'cuz it was too damn newfangled. The customer base and the company are, for now, well-matched.

So Vanguard is retracting into its comfort zone, as it probably ought to, and only us edge cases are squealing about it. If they can strategically develop a bit of modern/shiny/tech know-how before this customer base croaks, maybe they'll survive for more than another decade.

Thoughtful expansion from comfort zone - not too fast, not to slow (and avoiding the cop-out of outsourcing) - is the key to corps at scale.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by xb7 »

I can live with the change, and am in process of adapting to it, but I do see signs that Vanguard hasn't really thought through the customer experience. I sent a couple of questions to my rep recently. One was asking if (and if so how) I could set an alert to notify me whenever my money market balance falls below a specified threshhold --- because now that my money is going to be split between multiple places, and I'm sending funds automatically from the MM fund each month, I want to know if I get too low in that fund. Answer: we don't support that. He did say that after the VanguardAdvantage program is gone and then I set up a new checking account, I'll be able to set up what is in effect overdraft protection, but that's really not what I'm looking for. Any other fund that could be pulled from to cover MM fund withdrawals would trigger a taxable event if sold, something that I'd rather explicitly decide on and manage.

Really now, how hard is it to add another type of alert? I asked him to pass along the request, and anticipate that I'll never hear anything more about it (not knocking my rep, I like him just fine, FWIW).
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by sleepysurf »

Hah! I just got dinged with a $25 late fee plus $30+ interest for a late credit card payment, due to inadvertently forgetting to add that eBill back to my local bank checking account (after cancelling my just-opened VanguardAdvantage Billpay account)! Adding insult to injury, my (new) Vanguard Flagship Rep was calling me to introduce himself at the exact time I was on hold with the Credit Card company (trying to reverse the charges, which they, thankfully, did)! Needless to say, my new Flagship Rep got an earful from me about them cancelling the service.

One important issue to consider when transitioning away from VanguardAdvantage Billpay... depending upon the bank, you may not be able to request eBills until you first unlink those same eBills from Vanguard's BNY/Mellon account. I ran into that issue when initially transitioning to VanguardAdvantage a couple weeks ago, and now transitioning back. What a pain!
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by abloom79 »

dcb wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:33 pm
Rager1 wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:35 pm
Yesterday, for example, we spent 45 minutes outside of our local Social Security Administration Office, waiting to get inside. Once inside, we spent an additional 1 ½ hours waiting in another line to get a number. Then, we waited another hour to get served. All we were trying to do was to change our direct deposit from Vanguard Advantage to our new account. It took us the entire day to handle this simple request.

I could go on, but I think you get the message that Vanguard’s decision to eliminate the Advantage account has put many of its long-time customers and advocates in a frustrating and time-consuming mess. We’re deeply disappointed in this decision by Vanguard.
If I remember correctly, I was able to switch my soc.sec. direct deposit quite easily and quickly using the https://secure.ssa.gov web site.
dcb
My experience in switching my Social Security direct deposit from VAdv to Fidelity Brokerage was that the MySocial Security site balked at doing it on-line, so I had to phone. After waiting on hold for almost an hour (I've since learned to NEVER phone Social Security on a Monday or a Tuesday), I was helped quickly and efficiently. The only sticking point is that the switchover will take 2 monthly cycles to take effect. So, fellow Vanguard Advantage victims, act fast!
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by xb7 »

I talked with my rep on the phone today, and got something clarified --- perhaps this will be of interest to others here.

I have set up to ACH money automatically to my new bank, and had asked how --- after VanguardAdvantage is gone --- I will be able to so as a one-time transfer. I was thinking that would be a wire transfer, and wondered where I should look on the web site to do that.

Answer is you can't, not on the web site. To wire money, you have to call (and of course, be authenticated properly). But the current way of moving money on a one-time basis on the web site, even though the link I click references my current VanguardAdvantage account --- that will still function the same, and it also moves money via ACH.

Good enough for me.

It's taking a while to change everything over so that I am confident that I'm ready to "transition". Still have one uncashed check outstanding from the checking account, and more ACH "pulls" from the VanguardAdvantage account to switch over. I'm looking forward to putting this all behind me, and focus on the upside, that now I won't have bills pulled directly from where the bulk of my money resides. Downsides going forward are that I'll give up a small amount in interest, and now have to pay a little more attention perhaps to having cash split up between more places.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Doc »

xb7 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:39 pm I have set up to ACH money automatically to my new bank, and had asked how --- after VanguardAdvantage is gone --- I will be able to so as a one-time transfer. I was thinking that would be a wire transfer, and wondered where I should look on the web site to do that.

Answer is you can't, not on the web site.
I send money from VBS to our bank all the time by ACH without talking to anyone.
VBS Website wrote: Select a method
(x) Electronic bank transfer
(x) Wire (fee)

(ACH:) The money will be sent as an Electronic Bank Transfer (EBT) via ACH. The money from your settlement fund should leave your account no later than the close of the next business day, and you should expect the money to be in your bank account in 2-3 business days afterwards. This isn't a wire.

(Wire:) To wire money, an amount of $1,000.00 or greater must be entered for each holding you're redeeming. To continue, please adjust the amount you're wiring to at least $1,000.00, or change the method to electronic bank transfer.
Start from the "Balances" screen and use either "Sell" or "Transact" depending on how you got to the balances screen.

Note: Vanguard Brokerage Account.
A scientist looks for THE answer to a problem, an engineer looks for AN answer and lawyers ONLY have opinions. Investing is not a science.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by xb7 »

Doc wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:09 pm I send money from VBS to our bank all the time by ACH without talking to anyone.
Yup, I've done so. I wasn't aware up until today that it actually WAS via ACH, as this wasn't specified, and the name of the account I was sending from had the term "VanguardAdvantage" in it. Also, note that being able to PULL money from the money market account via ACH was a key thing going away when VanguardAdvantage is gone. This stuff will be obvious I suppose once I "transition", but difficult to figure out the nuances a priori. Which I really wanted to do before I got a new bank account, but I just couldn't wait to figure out every little aspect.
Doc wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:09 pm
VBS Website wrote: Select a method
(x) Electronic bank transfer
(x) Wire (fee)

(ACH:) The money will be sent as an Electronic Bank Transfer (EBT) via ACH. The money from your settlement fund should leave your account no later than the close of the next business day, and you should expect the money to be in your bank account in 2-3 business days afterwards. This isn't a wire.

(Wire:) To wire money, an amount of $1,000.00 or greater must be entered for each holding you're redeeming. To continue, please adjust the amount you're wiring to at least $1,000.00, or change the method to electronic bank transfer.
Start from the "Balances" screen and use either "Sell" or "Transact" depending on how you got to the balances screen.

Note: Vanguard Brokerage Account.
Yes I see that now, when I click on "sell" and pick my money market fund. Much more obvious in on the same "balances and holdings" screen is to click the "transfer money" drop-down and say that I want to transfer to a bank. THAT defaults to ACH, but doesn't tell you how it's sending it, no wire options. But what you said is right on --- just not at all intuitive in the context of having the "transfer money" thing there too.

Lovely that my rep just told me by phone today that there's no way to wire money via the website, that I have to call. While I'm logged on (and can send a "secure message", I guess I'll educate him ...

Thanks.
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Re: Discontinuing VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by dewayned »

SpaethCo wrote: Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:05 pm
Nala wrote: Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:49 amSecond, I like to review my bills before they get paid. Ever hear of incorrect charges?
How often do you find incorrect charges?

Let's say you're going to review statements no matter what, but scheduling payment through your bill-pay provider takes ~3 minutes per bill. (Log in, find the right account, pick the right date, make sure you enter the payment amount correctly, etc)

Figure there are 10 bills per month (mortgage, gas, electric, mobile phone, insurance, various credit cards, etc). You're spending 30 minutes a month scheduling payments that could be automated, and introducing the risk of human error. (entering a wrong payment date, wrong payment amount, paying wrong bill)

That's 6 hours of your time every year that you're committing on the off-chance you find an incorrect charge.

Personally, I've only had 1 billing error that I can remember in the last decade. I stopped scheduling my payments manually once I started to look at the ROI.
Could not agree with you more. I just love getting my email that says "This bill has been auto paid". Now if I could only break the habit of having to file a copy of the statement on my hard drive. Also, I have a hard time not asking for a credit card receipts, but I have been able to do it on some things like a haircut. LOL
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Re: Discontinuing VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Jimmbo »

SpaethCo wrote: Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:05 pm
Nala wrote: Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:49 amSecond, I like to review my bills before they get paid. Ever hear of incorrect charges?
How often do you find incorrect charges?
On my latest credit card bill, I found that Experian had started charging a monthly subscription to some credit thingee I'd deliberately opted out of when I gave them my credit card merely for "identification" purposes. And I found that a return I'd made to Amazon had not been credited back to me, and had to call Amazon to fight for the refund. And I discovered that the card had stopped crediting my airline frequent flier account at $1/mile, due to a technicality I wasn't aware of.

On my latest wireless phone bill, I found that the payment I'd made before an International trip to secure data for myself had not bought enough data, so I was charged an overage. And it was wrong; I could prove via my phone's logs that I did not use that much data.

A few months ago my local water bill was $1000. After lots of freaking out, I discovered that my less-used garden hose spigot was turned slightly on. I of course turned it off immediately.

I could go on.
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Re: Discontinuing VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Jimmbo wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:47 pm
SpaethCo wrote: Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:05 pm
Nala wrote: Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:49 amSecond, I like to review my bills before they get paid. Ever hear of incorrect charges?
How often do you find incorrect charges?
On my latest credit card bill, I found that Experian had started charging a monthly subscription to some credit thingee I'd deliberately opted out of when I gave them my credit card merely for "identification" purposes. And I found that a return I'd made to Amazon had not been credited back to me, and had to call Amazon to fight for the refund. And I discovered that the card had stopped crediting my airline frequent flier account at $1/mile, due to a technicality I wasn't aware of.

On my latest wireless phone bill, I found that the payment I'd made before an International trip to secure data for myself had not bought enough data, so I was charged an overage. And it was wrong; I could prove via my phone's logs that I did not use that much data.

A few months ago my local water bill was $1000. After lots of freaking out, I discovered that my less-used garden hose spigot was turned slightly on. I of course turned it off immediately.

I could go on.
At the end of the day one should do what one is comfortable doing. I actually started the auto-pay pulls by allowing all the credit cards to pull the minimum payment, in case I forgot/neglected to set up a payment. Later on as I got more comfortable that the CC companies weren't going to screw things up, I just went full payment of statement as an auto-pay pull.

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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by bck63 »

bhwabeck3533 wrote: Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:30 am I was disappointed to get a notice today that Vanguard is discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Account. The "press release" provides guidance to transition, and there is no replacement product being offered.

It's new info, but I'm looking for a recommended alternative when my account goes away on 7/31/2019.
This is why I have a Fidelity Cash Management Account. And also because I didn't have the 500K minimum that Vanguard required.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Whakamole »

Jimmbo wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:02 pm Companies really do have DNA. Figuring out what you're good at, and what you're not, is an essential biz practice (as an investor, I get the hell out of a stock when there's an initiative or acquisition that doesn't fit the DNA).

Vanguard finally figured out they're not good at crappy stuck-on, contracted-out services - especially those with a tech component (how long did it take their app to be usable...and the web site before it?).

Vanguard's DNA is stodgy solid dependable straight-talkin' Pennsylvania heartland squareness. And it works for them. They're not going to take your calls on weekends, but most of their customers, with their buzz cuts, cream-colored polo shirts and jowls, would never imagine calling a brokerage on weekends, which are for bloody marys and expanding the O gauge train set in the basement rec room with the grandkids. Only a vanishing minority ever went for Advantage mostly 'cuz it was too damn newfangled. The customer base and the company are, for now, well-matched.

So Vanguard is retracting into its comfort zone, as it probably ought to, and only us edge cases are squealing about it. If they can strategically develop a bit of modern/shiny/tech know-how before this customer base croaks, maybe they'll survive for more than another decade.

Thoughtful expansion from comfort zone - not too fast, not to slow (and avoiding the cop-out of outsourcing) - is the key to corps at scale.
Maybe. I was eyeing it, and probably would have signed up for it once I reached Flagship; no point in that now. In fact there's no real point of Flagship, unless you really want access to one of the closed funds that's still available.

You only hear the edge cases hear squealing about it; who you don't hear from are those accumulating who would like a brokerage account that has checkwriting and other features, and if Vanguard doesn't offer that, they will go elsewhere. That could be difficult for Vanguard in the future, when someone is trading at another broker and sees index ETFs as a commodity (which they arguably already are) and ends up being other funds instead.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Trader Joe »

bhwabeck3533 wrote: Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:30 am I was disappointed to get a notice today that Vanguard is discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Account. The "press release" provides guidance to transition, and there is no replacement product being offered.

It's new info, but I'm looking for a recommended alternative when my account goes away on 7/31/2019.
I do not use this Vanguard account. So there is no negative impact to me and I am okay with this change.

I do hope that Vanguard will continue to streamline efficiency and reduce cost.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by whodidntante »

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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by arf30 »

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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by rtt22 »

To deal with Vanguard closing my VanguardAdvantage account, I went over to Fidelity and set up a new Cash Management account, and wrote a check to the DMV to renew my license plate. I found out that with Fidelity Cash Management accounts, it's not possible to view the image of the checks that have been paid out. So that's one feature I will miss dearly from VanguardAdvantage. In case of a dispute with a payee, it would be nice to be able to get the check image to prove my case.

I could use my Chase account to write checks but the Chase web site has so much junk that are pushed at me visually that I would rather not having to deal with it.

What other banks provide check images that don't have a web page as bad as Chase ?!
Last edited by rtt22 on Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by arf30 »

rtt22 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:44 am I found out that with Fidelity Cash Management accounts, it's not possible to view the image of the checks that have been paid out.
It does, I can see check images in mine - probably takes a couple days before they show up, especially on a new account.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by rtt22 »

How do you view the check image? I called Fidelity and the nice rep said "Fidelity is not a bank, works through a bank to clear checks, so can't provide check images".
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by jpsfranks »

Go to the Activity & Orders tab of the account and find the Check Paid # XXXX (Cash) item and click on it. The check images will show inline there.

It does take a while: the check paid will appear in your activity severals days before the images become available.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by RickBoglehead »

rtt22 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:49 am How do you view the check image? I called Fidelity and the nice rep said "Fidelity is not a bank, works through a bank to clear checks, so can't provide check images".
Great Fidelity service...
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by heartwood »

jpsfranks wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:51 am Go to the Activity & Orders tab of the account and find the Check Paid # XXXX (Cash) item and click on it. The check images will show inline there.

It does take a while: the check paid will appear in your activity severals days before the images become available.
In my CMA account there are no check images for Bill Pay checks. I have not written a paper check yet, perhaps those show up and are what you are referring to?

At Vanguard both types of check images are available.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by whodidntante »

rtt22 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:49 am How do you view the check image? I called Fidelity and the nice rep said "Fidelity is not a bank, works through a bank to clear checks, so can't provide check images".
Go to "history" and under "show" select "checks." Click the appropriate transaction. There is a front and back image of the check there.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by tipswatcher »

I admit to being very angry and baffled at learning that Vanguard was discontinuing the Advantage accounts, which my wife and I have been using for years. All we really needed was the ability to do check-writing and basic bill-paying out of the Treasury Money Market account, along with a connection to Treasury Direct for incoming and outgoing investments. My biggest problem has been the very poor communication by Vanguard, including conflicting information about check-writing. Our rep didn't help much, although he clarified that check-writing would continue, under a different form. He stated that there could no longer be a connection to Treasury Direct (not sure if that is true), or any bill-paying services.

So, while the majority of our assets are at Vanguard, my wife has her retirement account at Fidelity and they have been courting us for new investments. I called Fidelity and got the details on the Cash Management Account. I set it up, moving about half of our cash position out of Vanguard and creating a connection between the two accounts. And ... I like it. Bill-paying is extremely easy to set up and use. Checks were delivered this week. The Treasury Direct connection was very easy to set up.

Fidelity uses an FDIC-insured fund as the "sweep account," paying 0.3% I think, but it can be backed up with the Fidelity Treasury Money Market (FZFXX), a low-risk fund paying about 2.06%, about 30 basis points less than Vanguard's Treasury money market. OK, I can live with that, because I have the two funds connected. At times I need to bolster the Fidelity CMA, I can move money there from Vanguard.

Fidelity's CMA debit card (for ATMs) will allow me to nearly deplete my current cash account at Wells Fargo, paying probably 0.05%, so I get an extra benefit there. Plus, I can use it overseas as an ATM card with only a 1% transaction fee, no other added or fixed charges.

So I am happy that Vanguard drove me to seek out this service from Fidelity. It's a strike against Vanguard, mainly for failing to understand the needs of its customers, along with very poor communication. But I am staying with Vanguard, of course, and I admire the company. Let's not have a strike two.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Doc »

heartwood wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:14 pm In my CMA account there are no check images for Bill Pay checks. I have not written a paper check yet, perhaps those show up and are what you are referring to?

At Vanguard both types of check images are available.
I think the distinction is based on whether the "bank" pays the bill with an ACH or a paper check.

If you write a paper check you ge to see the paper image at some time. If you use "Billpay" and the bank pays with a paper check you also will see that paper check image some time. But if the bank uses an ACH for that Billpay payment there is no image to show.

(Comments based on our actual bank account not a proxy bank used by a brokerage company.)
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by heartwood »

Doc wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:40 pm
heartwood wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:14 pm In my CMA account there are no check images for Bill Pay checks. I have not written a paper check yet, perhaps those show up and are what you are referring to?

At Vanguard both types of check images are available.
I think the distinction is based on whether the "bank" pays the bill with an ACH or a paper check.

If you write a paper check you ge to see the paper image at some time. If you use "Billpay" and the bank pays with a paper check you also will see that paper check image some time. But if the bank uses an ACH for that Billpay payment there is no image to show.

(Comments based on our actual bank account not a proxy bank used by a brokerage company.)
Not so for me. We used bill pay to send us each a paper check to see the format of the bill pay check. First on 3/12, second on 3/19. We received the checks promptly, used mobile check deposit to add the monies back to our account. We got the credits (each listing "Check received (cash)"), they also show the checks as debited from our account (each listing "bill payment "payee name" (cash)"). No images of those paper bill pay checks are available to me.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by 8foot7 »

whodidntante wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:31 pm
rtt22 wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:49 am How do you view the check image? I called Fidelity and the nice rep said "Fidelity is not a bank, works through a bank to clear checks, so can't provide check images".
Go to "history" and under "show" select "checks." Click the appropriate transaction. There is a front and back image of the check there.
It has taken about three weeks for check images to show up in my account.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by brndog2 »

dkturner wrote: Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:12 pm
Jimmbo wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:38 pm
Vanguard’s decision to eliminate the Advantage account has put many of its long-time customers and advocates in a frustrating and time-consuming mess.
The problem is that Vanguard's in a far better position to determine this than you are.

Truth is that 2% of customers eligible for Advantage have used it at all. That's nothing more than rounding error. And only some fraction of them are particularly active users, and some fraction of them are as annoyed as you are.

I understand (and Vanguard surely does, too) that these moves can severely inconvenience a few customers. But they wouldn't have made this move if tons of Flagship customers were enthusiastically using the service.

Frankly, it sucked anyway. 10 years behind the times in terms of features and interface, no fee-free ATMs (degrading the high-roller perq aspect), and PNC's service was horrible. Advantage was a crappy service used by a negligible number of users, relying on a stodgy third party bank partner and hacky/lazy third party tech developers. And it wasn't in Vanguard's DNA to create their own in-house version (it had never been more than a quick, outsourced fix for a perceived service gap amid Vanguard's meteoric growth in the 00s).
I think you are overlooking the possibility that Vanguard (it has a new CEO) is changing its focus from a retail establishment to a wholesale oriented company that will create financial products and encourage other retail oriented financial services providers to use them. Vanguard has only a handful of retail establishments, doesn’t take telephone calls at night or on weekends, is making some of its ETFs cheaper to own than its mutual funds and is gradually doing away with its individual client services representatives for its upscale customers. Contrast this behavior with that of Fidelity, which will charge considerably more for many of its products and services, but has numerous retail establishments, takes phone call 24/7 and is offering lower cost versions of its most popular index mutual funds.

I have had dealings with Vanguard’s institutional unit and find the comparison with Vanguard’s retail unit like day and night.
I just met with a live Fidelity rep today and was very impressed He is a certified planner and will work with me on deciding where to pull money from and the most tax efficient method, making additional Roth conversions etc. All of this service is at no additional cost. While I was with him, we almost moved everything out of Vanguard INCLUDING an annuity. The mortality rate and a fidelity annuity is .1 versus .35 for Vanguard so I come out ahead right away for apples versus apples.

Fidelity is much more customer focused, 24/7 service and a slick website. I am pissed at all the effort it took to switch, but am happy to be almost totally out of Vanguard.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by jdb »

This thread has a life of its own. As a longtime Vanguard customer who maintains relatively large money market account balances I have a completely different viewpoint than most of posters. For security reasons I have no interest in having my Vanguard mutual account information circulating on checks, whether manual or billpay. I have experienced check fraud and think it is far too easily done. For security reasons I maintain much smaller checking account balances with real banks, use them for checks and billpay and ATM, if fraud occurs not concerned because of small balances. I transfer monies from Vanguard mutual funds to bank accounts as needed by ACH, seamless and takes not more than two business days, often just one. And added bonus is that I get the benefit of market leading interest rates on the Vanguard Prime money market fund. Each to their own. Good luck.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Doc »

jdb wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:54 pm This thread has a life of its own. As a longtime Vanguard customer who maintains relatively large money market account balances I have a completely different viewpoint than most of posters. For security reasons I have no interest in having my Vanguard mutual account information circulating on checks, whether manual or billpay. I have experienced check fraud and think it is far too easily done. For security reasons I maintain much smaller checking account balances with real banks, use them for checks and billpay and ATM, if fraud occurs not concerned because of small balances. I transfer monies from Vanguard mutual funds to bank accounts as needed by ACH, seamless and takes not more than two business days, often just one. And added bonus is that I get the benefit of market leading interest rates on the Vanguard Prime money market fund. Each to their own. Good luck.
Yep. And if you had a margin account that two day cash transfer to your bank is probably only one.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by MnD »

I'm impressed Vanguard actually made a decision and set a hard deadline in the near future to transition/scrap something, as opposed to the transition to brokerage accounts which apparently will be completed when the last mutual fund account holder passes away.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by essbeer »

jdb wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:54 pm This thread has a life of its own. As a longtime Vanguard customer who maintains relatively large money market account balances I have a completely different viewpoint than most of posters. For security reasons I have no interest in having my Vanguard mutual account information circulating on checks, whether manual or billpay. I have experienced check fraud and think it is far too easily done. For security reasons I maintain much smaller checking account balances with real banks, use them for checks and billpay and ATM, if fraud occurs not concerned because of small balances. I transfer monies from Vanguard mutual funds to bank accounts as needed by ACH, seamless and takes not more than two business days, often just one. And added bonus is that I get the benefit of market leading interest rates on the Vanguard Prime money market fund. Each to their own. Good luck.
My Vanguard Advantage account is a separate account from my Vanguard brokerage account. I have money market balances in both. No need to keep any more in the Advantage account than you are comfortable with.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Doc »

essbeer wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:55 am
jdb wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:54 pm This thread has a life of its own. As a longtime Vanguard customer who maintains relatively large money market account balances I have a completely different viewpoint than most of posters. For security reasons I have no interest in having my Vanguard mutual account information circulating on checks, whether manual or billpay. I have experienced check fraud and think it is far too easily done. For security reasons I maintain much smaller checking account balances with real banks, use them for checks and billpay and ATM, if fraud occurs not concerned because of small balances. I transfer monies from Vanguard mutual funds to bank accounts as needed by ACH, seamless and takes not more than two business days, often just one. And added bonus is that I get the benefit of market leading interest rates on the Vanguard Prime money market fund. Each to their own. Good luck.
My Vanguard Advantage account is a separate account from my Vanguard brokerage account. I have money market balances in both. No need to keep any more in the Advantage account than you are comfortable with.
So why not just use a real bank?
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by dkturner »

Doc wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:52 am
essbeer wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:55 am
jdb wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:54 pm This thread has a life of its own. As a longtime Vanguard customer who maintains relatively large money market account balances I have a completely different viewpoint than most of posters. For security reasons I have no interest in having my Vanguard mutual account information circulating on checks, whether manual or billpay. I have experienced check fraud and think it is far too easily done. For security reasons I maintain much smaller checking account balances with real banks, use them for checks and billpay and ATM, if fraud occurs not concerned because of small balances. I transfer monies from Vanguard mutual funds to bank accounts as needed by ACH, seamless and takes not more than two business days, often just one. And added bonus is that I get the benefit of market leading interest rates on the Vanguard Prime money market fund. Each to their own. Good luck.
My Vanguard Advantage account is a separate account from my Vanguard brokerage account. I have money market balances in both. No need to keep any more in the Advantage account than you are comfortable with.
So why not just use a real bank?
Do “real banks” pay Vanguard money market fund interest rates on their zero balance requirement checking accounts? Of course they don’t, that’s why so many posters on this thread are upset with Vanguard’s decision to terminate Advantage Accounts on July 31. Why, even Bill Bernstein chimed in with several posts on the subject.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Doc »

dkturner wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:03 am Do “real banks” pay Vanguard money market fund interest rates on their zero balance requirement checking accounts?
No but one Starbuck a week is not enough for me to give up all the other perks and benefits that our bank(s) offers.

(I don't know what you mean by "zero balance requirement checking accounts". If you only need a zero balance, 2.5% of nothing is no Starbucks a week.)
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by sport »

Doc wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:21 am
dkturner wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:03 am Do “real banks” pay Vanguard money market fund interest rates on their zero balance requirement checking accounts?
No but one Starbuck a week is not enough for me to give up all the other perks and benefits that our bank(s) offers.
I agree with you Doc. I keep just enough money in my bank checking account to avoid fees. The "real" money is at Vanguard. Transfers in either direction are very easy and only take a day or two. Any errors or fraud that might occur with my checking account are insulated from my Vanguard account. I have easy access to a safe deposit box, medallion guarantee, cash deposits, check cashing, and free ballpoint pens.
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Re: Vanguard is Discontinuing their VanguardAdvantage Accounts

Post by Doc »

sport wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:29 am I keep just enough money in my bank checking account to avoid fees.
Maybe it's only because we are old but both our banks do not have a minimum balance requirement as long as you have at least one direct deposit a month.
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