"Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

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"Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by nisiprius »

Introducing Vanguard's Beacon app
Vanguard is introducing a new mobile app in a few short weeks—we're calling it Beacon. We invite you to download it and see what we've built so far.
They give a download link, which in the case of Android simply takes you to the Google Play store.

The color scheme and decorations are stylish. Beacon has a setting that lets me use the fingerprint sensor on my tablet as a log-in credential, instead of a password.

I don't know what the final feature set is supposed to be, but this is just a big bucket of "no." No messaging. No access to the "Support" (auto-answer-search) system. No transaction history. The only activity information is "open orders" and "recently completed." No way to review my 7/15/2021 automatic RMD transactions, in fact no RMD tools at all. No way to call up account statements. No way to review beneficiaries. No way to review bank information. No apparent way to turn dividend reinvestment off or on.

Not only is there no messaging, I can't find Vanguard's phone number, address, or any suggestion of any way to contact them anywhere in this app.

If I click on VTSAX in my "holdings" list on the website, I get a page with roughly forty items of information, plus a link to the full fund description. In Beacon, seven, and no apparent way to get to any of the actual fund data.

The main screen, the portfolio overview, displays approximately five line items of information, plus numbers for stock/bond/short term percentages and numbers of open orders and recently completed orders. Experiment shows that a 24x80 1970s green screen would be easily capable of showing it all at a glance on a single screen. Beacon uses such huge fonts and so much whitespace that takes up about two vertical screenfuls and requires scrolling to see it all. There is no "zoom in/zoom out" provision.

It won't honor landscape orientation so there is basically no way to use my Samsung tablet's keyboard, which attaches to a long edge and holds the tablet in landscape orientation, so Vanguard's Beacon screens display sideways.

It won't show me the totals for the non-Vanguard assets I've hand-entered--"Account data unavailable"--yet it includes them in the grand total anyway.

When I touch "Asset Mix," it appears to be trying to display pie charts for a fraction of a second, then the screen blinks and says "Sorry, something went wrong loading your asset data."

The "comment" and "bug" tools don't allow for file attachments or screenshots, and are limited to 1,000 characters, so I can't send them a video showing the "Asset Mix" bug.
Last edited by nisiprius on Thu Aug 12, 2021 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by bondsr4me »

IMHO, this doesn't surprise me one bit.
VG's technology staff must not review and test changes.
It's unfortunate that clients have to deal with issues like this.

I don't think for one minute Jack would be happy about what is going on at VG.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by nisiprius »

I hadn't realized it, but the availability of a beta version of Beacon might be related to another surprise downgrade around 6/24/2021:Vanguard App's Sudden Change Outrages Investors
Vanguard's recent update to its Android app stripped the ability to trade plus other features, outraging investors who use it to buy and sell stocks, ETFs and mutual funds...

The app, updated this week, adds the ability to log in with your fingerprint. But it takes away trading and other account management features for certain account types. Attempts to trade refer users to Vanguard's website. The app says: "Account type is currently unavailable on this app."
Because of this, there must be intense pressure inside Vanguard to declare by fiat that Beacon Is Ready and Beacon Must Be Released--even if it isn't.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

nisiprius wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 9:02 am I hadn't realized it, but the availability of a beta version of Beacon might be related to another surprise downgrade around 6/24/2021:Vanguard App's Sudden Change Outrages Investors
Vanguard's recent update to its Android app stripped the ability to trade plus other features, outraging investors who use it to buy and sell stocks, ETFs and mutual funds...

The app, updated this week, adds the ability to log in with your fingerprint. But it takes away trading and other account management features for certain account types. Attempts to trade refer users to Vanguard's website. The app says: "Account type is currently unavailable on this app."
Because of this, there must be intense pressure inside Vanguard to declare by fiat that Beacon Is Ready and Beacon Must Be Released--even if it isn't.
I think this app was forced upon android users yesterday/today. The legacy Vanguard app was replaced with this Beacon monstrocity today... I am pretty upset: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=355681
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by bondsr4me »

"Vanguard says the app update is part of modernizing its user experience."
They sure have a weird way of "modernizing".

VG must be dreaming to make a statement like this.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by sunnywindy »

Vanguard's overwhelming strength is low-cost indexing, then low-cost active, then....

No company can be good at everything, but fortunately, Vanguard is very very good at what matters and that, of course, is low-cost investing. I do not believe Vanguard will ever be as good as other companies in customer service; this is because other companies know they need a competitive advantage and since they could never match Vanguard in the investing arena, they do customer service better than Vanguard because they have to.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Nate79 »

sunnywindy wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:19 am Vanguard's overwhelming strength is low-cost indexing, then low-cost active, then....

No company can be good at everything, but fortunately, Vanguard is very very good at what matters and that, of course, is low-cost investing. I do not believe Vanguard will ever be as good as other companies in customer service; this is because other companies know they need a competitive advantage and since they could never match Vanguard in the investing arena, they do customer service better than Vanguard because they have to.
I'm trying to figure out what you think Vanguard does better than other companies (i.e. "they could never match Vanguard")? Other companies for years are already ahead of Vanguard with lower costs. Certainly Vanguard is really big and they do their indexing very well but "never match"?
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by retiringwhen »

This is starting to look like a very bad outcome for a back-office migration effort at Vanguard.

This is pure conjecture, based upon the account migration thread, the secure messaging thread and the overall issues seen on the website where a mix of old and new have been co-existing only somewhat peacefully.

My read is that some portions of the old platforms at Vanguard are being decommissioned/retired this month with a planned replacement on their newer platform, but major features are missing on the new platform.

This is looking very bad. Bad planning, bad execution and bad luck all combined. I am serious when I say, this is how technology companies die.

It is a good thing I don't depend upon the android app (or the iOS one for that matter) to do my vanguard access. When will they fully screw up the traditional website?
Last edited by retiringwhen on Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by gjlynch17 »

Nate79 wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:27 am
I'm trying to figure out what you think Vanguard does better than other companies
Low cost actively managed bond funds (especially munis). That is the only thing currently keep me at Vanguard.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by bondsr4me »

sunnywindy wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:19 am Vanguard's overwhelming strength is low-cost indexing, then low-cost active, then....

No company can be good at everything, but fortunately, Vanguard is very very good at what matters and that, of course, is low-cost investing. I do not believe Vanguard will ever be as good as other companies in customer service; this is because other companies know they need a competitive advantage and since they could never match Vanguard in the investing arena, they do customer service better than Vanguard because they have to.
Some of your point is true; low-cost investing.
But now they are not the only ones offering low-cost investing.
They are not offering very good customer service; apps and website need updated without breaking.
In time, many more customers are most likely going to leave VG; just my guess.
I think it's time some top heads start to be held accountable for these missteps.
As I have said before, Jack would not have tolerated this crap that is going on.
If VG management does not want to be Jack's VG, maybe should just change the name and not disparage Jack's Vanguard.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by lostdog »

I like the simplicity of the new app.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Tattarrattat »

sunnywindy wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:19 am Vanguard's overwhelming strength is low-cost indexing, then low-cost active, then....

No company can be good at everything, but fortunately, Vanguard is very very good at what matters and that, of course, is low-cost investing. I do not believe Vanguard will ever be as good as other companies in customer service; this is because other companies know they need a competitive advantage and since they could never match Vanguard in the investing arena, they do customer service better than Vanguard because they have to.
3 fund arrangement at Fidelity is distinctly lower cost than Vanguard's. Schwab and Ishares at least match. No advantage there to V whatsoever. Advantages now at V are basically the best muni and money market funds.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

Tattarrattat wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:38 am
sunnywindy wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:19 am Vanguard's overwhelming strength is low-cost indexing, then low-cost active, then....

No company can be good at everything, but fortunately, Vanguard is very very good at what matters and that, of course, is low-cost investing. I do not believe Vanguard will ever be as good as other companies in customer service; this is because other companies know they need a competitive advantage and since they could never match Vanguard in the investing arena, they do customer service better than Vanguard because they have to.
3 fund arrangement at Fidelity is distinctly lower cost than Vanguard's. Schwab and Ishares at least match. No advantage there to V whatsoever. Advantages now at V are basically the best muni and money market funds.
Tax efficient index mutual funds, if that is your thing.
Last edited by anon_investor on Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by nisiprius »

I was hoping I wasn't the only person trying out "Beacon." Nobody?
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

nisiprius wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:33 pm I was hoping I wasn't the only person trying out "Beacon." Nobody?
It is terrible, not worth trying. Vanguard is forcing android users to deal with the new interface for the legacy app. It makes it unusable. I have to use the website now on my phone.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by fortunefavored »

retiringwhen wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:36 am This is starting to look like a very bad outcome for a back-office migration effort at Vanguard.
Basically ol' VG is split between "modern" infrastructure (think: public cloud) and legacy infrastructure.

They would really really like to get rid of the legacy pieces. And you don't get economies of scale by forklifting broken legacy systems into public cloud since you just replicate the mess and it ends up being even more expensive than leaving it alone.. so the practical path is shedding as much "difficult" stuff as possible. I expect the "old" app was just impossible to wind down, so it was euthanized with a barely viable replacement. Wouldn't surprise me if the messaging system is in the same category.

And I agree this app is an embarrassment. It looks like it was written by an outsourced company to spec vs. anyone who actually understands how anything should work.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by grainne »

nisiprius wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:33 pm I was hoping I wasn't the only person trying out "Beacon." Nobody?
I have used it to deposit two checks quickly into Vanguard accounts. Worked great and I’m ok sticking with my main computer to access full account data. While I love my full access bank app, I worry the Vanguard app is just another access point for hackers so I deleted app after using it. Clearly I am not a customer pushing the envelop on tech modernization lol.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by bondsr4me »

fortunefavored wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:45 pm
retiringwhen wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:36 am This is starting to look like a very bad outcome for a back-office migration effort at Vanguard.
Basically ol' VG is split between "modern" infrastructure (think: public cloud) and legacy infrastructure.

They would really really like to get rid of the legacy pieces. And you don't get economies of scale by forklifting broken legacy systems into public cloud since you just replicate the mess and it ends up being even more expensive than leaving it alone.. so the practical path is shedding as much "difficult" stuff as possible. I expect the "old" app was just impossible to wind down, so it was euthanized with a barely viable replacement. Wouldn't surprise me if the messaging system is in the same category.

And I agree this app is an embarrassment. It looks like it was written by an outsourced company to spec vs. anyone who actually understands how anything should work.and knowing VG, they used the cheapest source possible....cheaper ain't always better...
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by sycamore »

From my desktop computer, I browsed to Vanguard's page announcing Beacon: https://investor.vanguard.com/investing/mobile-apps
Then I clicked on the "Download for Android" button.
This popped up new browser tab that said "You're about to leave Vanguard's website."
I clicked on the "Continue" button.
This popped up another browser tab (to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details) that said "We're sorry, the requested URL was not found on this server."

Whatever Vanguard was trying to do to get a potential customer to its product, it failed.

I could've just searched for "Beacon" at the Google Play store, but the above failure scenario is an indication that Vanguard isn't paying attention to details.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

sycamore wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:57 pm From my desktop computer, I browsed to Vanguard's page announcing Beacon: https://investor.vanguard.com/investing/mobile-apps
Then I clicked on the "Download for Android" button.
This popped up new browser tab that said "You're about to leave Vanguard's website."
I clicked on the "Continue" button.
This popped up another browser tab (to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details) that said "We're sorry, the requested URL was not found on this server."

Whatever Vanguard was trying to do to get a potential customer to its product, it failed.

I could've just searched for "Beacon" at the Google Play store, but the above failure scenario is an indication that Vanguard isn't paying attention to details.
I think the conspiracy is real, they want to drive away brokerage customers.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by retiringwhen »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 1:00 pm I think the conspiracy is real, they want to drive away brokerage customers.
It is probably unintentional here, but they are having the same effect.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

retiringwhen wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 1:47 pm
anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 1:00 pm I think the conspiracy is real, they want to drive away brokerage customers.
It is probably unintentional here, but they are having the same effect.
Yeah, I already transfered out a 6 figure amount to Merrill Edge to try to get Platinum Honors with Bank of America. I still have a ton of money with Vanguard, and I feel like I may be better served moving my money somewhere else at some point. Certainly when I retire, my large 401k balance may end up somewhere else (the leading candidate is Fidelity).
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by MishkaWorries »

lostdog wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:13 am I like the simplicity of the new app.
I love the simplicity of nothingness. It's artful.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by hi_there »

Based on my experience, whenever an old and large company releases an app with some "cool" code name like "Beacon" (why not just call it the Vanguard app?), that is usually a bad sign.

Anyway, I hope users appreciate this new utility, as they sacrificed secure messaging to make this....
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by RickBoglehead »

Beacon is not new. I have had it for a long time. Vanguard appears to have replaced their old app with Beacon, that's what is new. Beacon was last updated 2/24/21. It is now obsolete.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Bagels »

I briefly tried the (pre-Beacon) Vanguard mobile app but quickly changed to just using a browser (on an ipad mini). I can sign in with a fingerprint, and I can do just about anythhing —but not trade bonds, as mentioned in another thread.

If you access Vanguard on an android phone using a browser, I imagine it’s pretty clunky, right? Is an app the only choice?

The reviews for Vanguard Beacon in the Apple app store are way more positive than i thought they’d be, with a few one-star-givers who noticed the lack of portfolio dat that nisiprius wrote about.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

Bagels wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:41 pm I briefly tried the (pre-Beacon) Vanguard mobile app but quickly changed to just using a browser (on an ipad mini). I can sign in with a fingerprint, and I can do just about anythhing —but not trade bonds, as mentioned in another thread.

If you access Vanguard on an android phone using a browser, I imagine it’s pretty clunky, right? Is an app the only choice?

The reviews for Vanguard Beacon in the Apple app store are way more positive than i thought they’d be, with a few one-star-givers who noticed the lack of portfolio dat that nisiprius wrote about.
Actually using Chrome Browser on Android now is probably the only way to go since Vanguard basically just killed the original Android Vanguard mobile app by "updating" (as of 8/10/2021) the interface to the Beacon one.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Tubes »

sycamore wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:57 pm From my desktop computer, I browsed to Vanguard's page announcing Beacon: https://investor.vanguard.com/investing/mobile-apps
Then I clicked on the "Download for Android" button.
This popped up new browser tab that said "You're about to leave Vanguard's website."
I clicked on the "Continue" button.
This popped up another browser tab (to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details) that said "We're sorry, the requested URL was not found on this server."

Whatever Vanguard was trying to do to get a potential customer to its product, it failed.

I could've just searched for "Beacon" at the Google Play store, but the above failure scenario is an indication that Vanguard isn't paying attention to details.
Same for me. What an embarrassment.

At least we get to participate! "Together, we're building a better experience" Oh how nice.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by tetractys »

I have the regular Vanguard app on IOS. It is regularly updated. The Beacon app is also in the App Store. It looks too me to be a quick view application, and not meant for much more than that. Why would the regular Vanguard mobile app not be available for Android?
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

tetractys wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 5:54 pm I have the regular Vanguard app on IOS. It is regularly updated. The Beacon app is also in the App Store. It looks too me to be a quick view application, and not meant for much more than that. Why would the regular Vanguard mobile app not be available for Android?
Because the powers that be at Vanguard said make it so. All I know is the "regular" Android Vanguard app now had the Beacon app's interface (as of 8/10/2021). Definitely not happy.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by tetractys »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 6:03 pm
tetractys wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 5:54 pm I have the regular Vanguard app on IOS. It is regularly updated. The Beacon app is also in the App Store. It looks too me to be a quick view application, and not meant for much more than that. Why would the regular Vanguard mobile app not be available for Android?
Because the powers that be at Vanguard said make it so. All I know is the "regular" Android Vanguard app now had the Beacon app's interface (as of 8/10/2021). Definitely not happy.
OK I see. Beacon is a beta test platform of features meant for future implementation into the regular Vanguard app. This is the first I’ve heard of it and the Vanguard iOS app has not adapted the Beacon features yet.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

tetractys wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 6:17 pm
anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 6:03 pm
tetractys wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 5:54 pm I have the regular Vanguard app on IOS. It is regularly updated. The Beacon app is also in the App Store. It looks too me to be a quick view application, and not meant for much more than that. Why would the regular Vanguard mobile app not be available for Android?
Because the powers that be at Vanguard said make it so. All I know is the "regular" Android Vanguard app now had the Beacon app's interface (as of 8/10/2021). Definitely not happy.
OK I see. Beacon is a beta test platform of features meant for future implementation into the regular Vanguard app. This is the first I’ve heard of it and the Vanguard iOS app has not adapted the Beacon features yet.
Lucky you, Vanguard is using Android users as forced beta testers. I left my negative feedback within the app.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by tetractys »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 6:19 pm
tetractys wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 6:17 pm
anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 6:03 pm
tetractys wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 5:54 pm I have the regular Vanguard app on IOS. It is regularly updated. The Beacon app is also in the App Store. It looks too me to be a quick view application, and not meant for much more than that. Why would the regular Vanguard mobile app not be available for Android?
Because the powers that be at Vanguard said make it so. All I know is the "regular" Android Vanguard app now had the Beacon app's interface (as of 8/10/2021). Definitely not happy.
OK I see. Beacon is a beta test platform of features meant for future implementation into the regular Vanguard app. This is the first I’ve heard of it and the Vanguard iOS app has not adapted the Beacon features yet.
Lucky you, Vanguard is using Android users as forced beta testers. I left my negative feedback within the app.
Actually there is a feature called My Feed, where choosable quick view stuff shows up on the opening screen. It’s not all that different, except graphically from the Beacon stuff. We’ll we’ll see.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by retiringwhen »

So, one of the major mobile app trends in the app business that is counter-inuitive is the fact that many companies are dumping dedicated apps on phones (aka Android and iOS apps) and going mobile friendly websites only that are reflexive and responsive to the different screen formats, resolution, etc.

I just looked at the Beacon app on the iOS, the old iOS Vanguard App, and vanguard.com in Chrome on my iPad. the Chrome vanguard.com site is pretty much showing a revised / new set of pages that are mobile friendly for the main account overview, profile and settings, performance and message center. I am getting the same thing on the android on a small Galaxy S10 screen.

The old Vanguard app on iOS hasn't changed and Beacon, while limited is a different (and in my opinion inferior) presentation of the new vanguard.com mobile friendly site.

vanguard.com on my android smartphone is actually pretty decent for a phone (I hardly if ever do "real" work on my phone, I am old school, so it is still not my cup of tea)

It looks to me like Vanguard is moving for all purposes to the mobile friendly site as the primary mechanism. For folks who are phone/tablet heavy users, I suggest they try the vanguard.com page directly instead of through the app.

Things may not be as bad technically as I might suppose, but they surely are botching the messaging on the rollout! In contrast, my Credit Union, just made a small but noticeable upgrade to their site and app and gave all users a heads up for at least 2 weeks, so we knew it was coming.
Last edited by retiringwhen on Thu Aug 12, 2021 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Vtsax100 »

“Vanguard announces a new and exciting app called Balance Point. This exciting new product allows you to see your total account balance from your mobile device.”

...seriously though. Ive been very happy with the ios app and pretty much use it exclusively. So if this downgrade is forced on me eventually I will have to start considering other options.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by F150HD »

hi_there wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:31 pm Based on my experience, whenever an old and large company releases an app with some "cool" code name like "Beacon" (why not just call it the Vanguard app?), that is usually a bad sign.
There already is a Vanguard app in the Play Store (?)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n_US&gl=US


RickBoglehead wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:35 pm Beacon is not new. I have had it for a long time. Vanguard appears to have replaced their old app with Beacon, that's what is new. Beacon was last updated 2/24/21. It is now obsolete.
Its a Beta version "This app is in development. It may be unstable"

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n_US&gl=US
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by RickBoglehead »

F150HD wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 8:58 pm
hi_there wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:31 pm Based on my experience, whenever an old and large company releases an app with some "cool" code name like "Beacon" (why not just call it the Vanguard app?), that is usually a bad sign.
There already is a Vanguard app in the Play Store (?)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n_US&gl=US


RickBoglehead wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:35 pm Beacon is not new. I have had it for a long time. Vanguard appears to have replaced their old app with Beacon, that's what is new. Beacon was last updated 2/24/21. It is now obsolete.
Its a Beta version "This app is in development. It may be unstable"

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n_US&gl=US
Beacon was introduced last year as the beta app.

Vanguard app was just swapped for Beacon.

Beacon app was not removed from the Play Store.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by 3000 »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:41 am
Tattarrattat wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:38 am
sunnywindy wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:19 am Vanguard's overwhelming strength is low-cost indexing, then low-cost active, then....

No company can be good at everything, but fortunately, Vanguard is very very good at what matters and that, of course, is low-cost investing. I do not believe Vanguard will ever be as good as other companies in customer service; this is because other companies know they need a competitive advantage and since they could never match Vanguard in the investing arena, they do customer service better than Vanguard because they have to.
3 fund arrangement at Fidelity is distinctly lower cost than Vanguard's. Schwab and Ishares at least match. No advantage there to V whatsoever. Advantages now at V are basically the best muni and money market funds.
Tax efficient index mutual funds, if that is your think.
Purely speculation but I have wondered if Fidelity and Schwab will launch ETF share classes of their funds once Vanguard's patent expires.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

3000 wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:32 pm
anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:41 am
Tattarrattat wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:38 am
sunnywindy wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 10:19 am Vanguard's overwhelming strength is low-cost indexing, then low-cost active, then....

No company can be good at everything, but fortunately, Vanguard is very very good at what matters and that, of course, is low-cost investing. I do not believe Vanguard will ever be as good as other companies in customer service; this is because other companies know they need a competitive advantage and since they could never match Vanguard in the investing arena, they do customer service better than Vanguard because they have to.
3 fund arrangement at Fidelity is distinctly lower cost than Vanguard's. Schwab and Ishares at least match. No advantage there to V whatsoever. Advantages now at V are basically the best muni and money market funds.
Tax efficient index mutual funds, if that is your think.
Purely speculation but I have wondered if Fidelity and Schwab will launch ETF share classes of their funds once Vanguard's patent expires.
Doubt it, there probably isn't a huge demand. Fidelity already has fractional ETF purchasing.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Wannaretireearly »

nisiprius wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:33 pm I was hoping I wasn't the only person trying out "Beacon." Nobody?
I've been using it & it's lacking. It sucks. It can't do many things. Beta user testing = fail. I want my money back ;)
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Bama12 »

I like the app
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by nalor511 »

Bama12 wrote: Fri Aug 13, 2021 12:47 am I like the app
I tried the app, it cannot do anything, as of a month ago. It's pretty... And not functional
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Bagels »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:49 pm
Bagels wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 2:41 pm I briefly tried the (pre-Beacon) Vanguard mobile app but quickly changed to just using a browser (on an ipad mini). I can sign in with a fingerprint, and I can do just about anythhing —but not trade bonds, as mentioned in another thread.

If you access Vanguard on an android phone using a browser, I imagine it’s pretty clunky, right? Is an app the only choice?

The reviews for Vanguard Beacon in the Apple app store are way more positive than i thought they’d be, with a few one-star-givers who noticed the lack of portfolio dat that nisiprius wrote about.
Actually using Chrome Browser on Android now is probably the only way to go since Vanguard basically just killed the original Android Vanguard mobile app by "updating" (as of 8/10/2021) the interface to the Beacon one.
Good to know. My phone is Android because I cannot stick with one platform and I’ve never accessed Vanguard from it.
I should probably continue to hold back.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Bama12 »

nalor511 wrote: Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:09 am
Bama12 wrote: Fri Aug 13, 2021 12:47 am I like the app
I tried the app, it cannot do anything, as of a month ago. It's pretty... And not functional
I use it daily.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by wootwoot »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:44 pm
nisiprius wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:33 pm I was hoping I wasn't the only person trying out "Beacon." Nobody?
It is terrible, not worth trying. Vanguard is forcing android users to deal with the new interface for the legacy app. It makes it unusable. I have to use the website now on my phone.
This app truly is terrible. I have a 401k account at Fidelity and am seriously considering moving my Vanguard accounts over. Vanguard just isn't innovative anymore. Not with their investments and not with their technology. It feels like they aren't even trying anymore while Fidelity and Schwab keep making improvements that benefit their customers.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Da5id »

Both for security and because of lack of need, I'm not interested in the mobile app. I'd rather log in from a single location (my home desktop) rather than a multitude of ways. I don't need or want mobile access to Vanguard. This isn't to excuse Vanguard for making a crummy app (or for the messages going away), just that the app is not an issue for my use cases.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by anon_investor »

wootwoot wrote: Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:34 pm
anon_investor wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:44 pm
nisiprius wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 12:33 pm I was hoping I wasn't the only person trying out "Beacon." Nobody?
It is terrible, not worth trying. Vanguard is forcing android users to deal with the new interface for the legacy app. It makes it unusable. I have to use the website now on my phone.
This app truly is terrible. I have a 401k account at Fidelity and am seriously considering moving my Vanguard accounts over. Vanguard just isn't innovative anymore. Not with their investments and not with their technology. It feels like they aren't even trying anymore while Fidelity and Schwab keep making improvements that benefit their customers.
I am starting to feel the same way...
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by nisiprius »

Da5id wrote: Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:40 pm Both for security and because of lack of need, I'm not interested in the mobile app. I'd rather log in from a single location (my home desktop) rather than a multitude of ways. I don't need or want mobile access to Vanguard. This isn't to excuse Vanguard for making a crummy app (or for the messages going away), just that the app is not an issue for my use cases.
My main interest is, or was, that Vanguard seemed to be implying that there might be some unspecified means for sending Vanguard secure text messages after that facility is withdrawn from the website. I thought I should stay au courant with the mobile apps so that I'll understand if and when they start providing app-only functionality.

If Vanguard's idea is to transition from web to mobile app, I hate that, but I want to at least understand it.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the only impression I can get is that Vanguard has some complicated, terrible, chaotic software development disaster in progress. What else can one think about touching "Asset Mix" on the main screen and having a pie chart blink briefly and get replaced by a full-screen generic error message?
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by Da5id »

nisiprius wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 7:28 am
Da5id wrote: Fri Aug 13, 2021 9:40 pm Both for security and because of lack of need, I'm not interested in the mobile app. I'd rather log in from a single location (my home desktop) rather than a multitude of ways. I don't need or want mobile access to Vanguard. This isn't to excuse Vanguard for making a crummy app (or for the messages going away), just that the app is not an issue for my use cases.
My main interest is, or was, that Vanguard seemed to be implying that there might be some unspecified means for sending Vanguard secure text messages when that facility is withdrawn from the website. I have decided to try to stay au courant with the mobile apps so that I'll understand if and when they start providing app-only functionality.

One of my banks abruptly discontinued the ability to deposit checks from a desktop computer by uploading images. Their "explanation" was that if you wanted to do that, you should be using their mobile app. So far I have declined to put a banking app, or any other app that is intended to move money out of my bank account into the account of an arbitrary third party on a mobile device,* but at least I want to understand what's there.

*As opposed to letting an app of a specific business I have a relationship with put a charge on my credit card.
I did give in for my bank and use their (mediocre IMO) mobile app for check deposits as it was all they supported. And it was more convenient. I'm more concerned about my Vanguard account's security, as most of my assets are there. Remains to be seen whether I stay with Vanguard at this point, kind of sad after 30+ years there.
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Re: "Beacon," Vanguard's new mobile app

Post by nisiprius »

I just noticed that the "Vanguard" app--that is to say, the Android app named "Vanguard," identifying as Version 9.3, which I recently downloaded from the Google Play store appears to honor landscape orientation. This is important to me since I customarily use my Samsung tablet together with a Samsung keyboard which holds it in that orientation.

Except that if I select touch "Asset Mix" under the pie chart at the top left, the whole screen flips sideways and can only be read by picking up the device (and the Samsung keyboard it is normally attached to) and turning it 90° to portrait orientation. But at least it didn't error out like Beacon did!

Same sideways flip happens if I select "Funds, ETFs, and Stocks." But if I then actually select "US Stock Funds" on the sideways screen, it flips back to landscape presentation.

My interpretation: they have or once had a software development team that did a workmanlike job of, seemingly, converting or encapsulating the website into an Android app, without obvious loss of functionality, and with attention to basic details like sensing device orientation. And now there is a completely separate team that was charged with building a total new application from scratch, and has gotten about 10% of the functionality done... and instead waiting for it to be finished before releasing it, they are trying to bolt bits of it piece by piece into the old application.

Differences in style and look are one thing--even if it looks sloppy and amateurish--but it's pretty hard to ignore a screen that flips sideways on you.

This looks for all the world like a major software development disaster in progress.

I'll continue playing with the Vanguard and Beacon apps until the next time I have a reason to take the tablet out of my house, at which point I will uninstall both and hope that closes any security holes. I don't have any confidence that an app that can't remember which way the screen goes when it invokes a Beacon-code-base screen, is nevertheless handing off properly on security issues.

This isn't anywhere near close enough to driving me away from Vanguard--yet?--but it certainly shakes my confidence in their basic nuts-and-bolts competence. I don't think they will lose a lot of customers over Beacon, messed-up "Vanguard" app, loss of messaging, etc. but they will lose some. And I don't see Beacon winning over any Robinhood customers.
Last edited by nisiprius on Sat Aug 14, 2021 8:41 am, edited 8 times in total.
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