How To Avoid Betterment Fees

Fees remain low at this pioneering robo-advisor.

Betterment was one of the original robo-advisors, and it since has expanded into additional banking and investment services. As of now, Betterment has no provision to buy or sell individual securities, such as stocks or bonds, but it does offer access to investment advice via its stable of Certified Financial Planners.

Although Betterment is not the best option if you want to trade your own stocks, it can be a low-cost way to get a diversified portfolio that matches your investment objectives and risk tolerance. Plus, there is no Betterment account minimum for its entry-level Digital tier.

Here’s a look at the pricing structure at Betterment, including any ancillary fees. To skip ahead to a particular section of interest, click on one of the following links:

Betterment Trade Commissions at a Glance

Betterment doesn’t offer trading in individual securities, so there are no trade commissions. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing options available for investing at Betterment.

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Betterment Trade Commissions Breakdown 
Feature Minimum/Commission
Minimum Deposit  $0 
Digital Tier 0.25% of assets annually
Premium Tier  0.40% of assets annually

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What Are Betterment Stock Trading Fees?

Betterment doesn’t offer any individual stock trades. The only available investments are through the robo-advisory platform.

Specific exchange-traded funds do comprise the various Betterment portfolios, but investors cannot buy or sell them individually. Allocations to each of the ETFs may be adjusted at the investor’s discretion, but the entire Betterment investment system is based around a portfolio strategy, not individual transactions.

Thus, there are no Betterment trading fees.

Betterment Stock and ETF Trade Fees
Security Online Trades Automated Phone Trades Broker-Assisted Trades
Stocks N/A N/A N/A
ETFs N/A N/A N/A

What Are Betterment Options Trade Fees?

As Betterment is strictly a robo-advisor, it does not offer individual options trades. There are no Betterment options fees.

Betterment Options Trade Fees
Security Online Trades Automated Phone Trades Broker-Assisted Trades
Options  N/A N/A N/A

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What Are Betterment Mutual Fund Fees?

Betterment does not allow investors to buy or sell individual mutual funds via its robo-advisory platform. 

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Betterment Mutual Fund Trade Fee
Security Online Trades Automated Phone Trades Broker-Assisted Trades
Mutual Funds  N/A N/A N/A

Related: The Best Robo-Advisors This Year

What Are Betterment Margin Rates?

Betterment does not offer margin accounts. All money invested in its portfolios must be paid for in full.

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What Are Betterment’s Other Fees?

Beyond the pricing for the two robo-advisory tiers, there aren’t many fees attached to Betterment investment accounts. Specifically, there are no additional fees for trading, deposits, withdrawals, rebalancing, tax-loss harvesting or customer service. 

For customers paying the 0.40% annually for the Premium tier, which also requires a Betterment minimum deposit of $100,000, Betterment offers free access to a roster of Certified Financial Planners for general guidance. These financial professionals can help you with advice on your investments both inside and out of Betterment, particularly during life changes such as the birth of a child, a wedding or your retirement. 

For an additional $199 fee, Betterment allows investors to set up a one-time call with a licensed expert to develop a financial action plan. The specific packages offered with this service are:

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  • Getting Started Package
  • Financial Checkup Package
  • Marriage Planning Package
  • College Planning Package
  • Retirement Planning Package

If that isn’t enough, Betterment will pair you with a pre-vetted CFP professional for comprehensive financial planning outside of Betterment. Most of these advisors require a minimum investment of $100,000. 

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How Betterment Fees Compare With Other Brokerages

Betterment fees are comparable to its main competitors in the industry.

Most robo-advisors have few-to-no additional fees beyond the annual advisory fee, and the 0.25% Betterment charges for its Digital tier is the same as one of its main competitors, Wealthfront. But the Betterment minimum on this entry-level account is $0 vs. the $500 required by Wealthfront.

For a comprehensive comparison of the fees at popular online brokerages, check out GOBankingRates’ comparison of brokerage fees. 

See and Compare: Best Investment Apps — Commission-Free Trading and More

Getting the Most Out of Your Betterment Account

Betterment charges either 0.25% or 0.40% annually for its robo-advisory services, and there’s not really any way to avoid those fees. Beyond those basic service fees, there aren’t many additional fees to speak of at Betterment.

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You won’t have to worry about account or trading fees, Betterment monthly minimum fees or any additional fees for services such as rebalancing or tax-loss harvesting. Betterment does offer some a la carte services for additional fees, such as $199 for contracting an outside investment professional, but overall, the annual investment management fee is essentially the only fee you’ll have to worry about at Betterment.

With no Betterment minimum account balance and its low-cost investment options, this robo-advisor is still an industry leader.  

More on Betterment

More on Avoiding Monthly Fees

Rates and fees are subject to change.

This content is not provided by Betterment. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Betterment.

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About the Author

John Csiszar

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

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