Dodl*, the app-only investment platform from AJ Bell, has attracted attention because of its low fees and user-friendly style, which is targeted at people with little prior experience. It has immediately drawn comparisons with Vanguard Investor, which up until the launch was known as the cheapest platform in the UK. In this article, we compare the two offerings, summarising their key features and helping guide you to which may be better for you.
Dodl vs Vanguard - which is better?
Choice of 30 funds and 80 UK & US stocks
Target Retirement funds
Personal financial advice for retirement planning
|ISA, GIA (General Investment Account), Lifetime ISA, SIPP
|ISA, GIA (General Investment Account), Junior ISA, SIPP
|£100 or £25 monthly investment
|£500 or £100 monthly investment
|0.15% annually (minimum £1 per month, per account)
Additional underlying fund charges
|0.15% (capped at £375 for accounts over £250,000)
Additional underlying fund charges
|Customer reviews (Trustpilot)
Dodl vs Vanguard - services
Dodl is quite different from Vanguard Investor as it is an app-only investment platform with a pared back range of options, with just 30 funds - 7 risk-rated AJ Bell portfolios and 23 themed funds - as well as 80 UK & US shares. Keep in mind that if you want to open an account and invest with Dodl, you need to be a UK citizen and resident due to the company's business model and reporting requirements. Vanguard, meanwhile, has around 85 funds that UK investors can access, including its popular LifeStrategy range. It also has Target Retirement funds, which is paired with advice on retirement planning.
It is worth bearing in mind that you can only access Vanguard funds through Vanguard Investor, while Dodl has funds from across a range of different investment houses, as well as offering shares in 80 UK & US companies.
Dodl vs Vanguard - products
While both Dodl and Vanguard offer stocks and shares ISAs, General Investment Accounts and pensions, there is a difference in the additional wrappers they have in their ranges. Vanguard has a Junior ISA, while Dodl has a Lifetime ISA. If you are particularly interested in those products, check out our article on the best Junior ISAs and guide on Lifetime ISAs.
Dodl vs Vanguard - minimum investment
If you want to open an account with Vanguard, it will require a larger initial outlay than with Dodl. The minimum investment if you want to put in a lump sum is £500 with Vanguard, while it is only £100 with Dodl. For regular investments, Vanguard requires at least £100 per month, while Dodl asks for a minimum of £25 per month. However, neither Vanguard or Dodl charges for withdrawing funds from your account.
Dodl vs Vanguard - customer reviews
In 2024, Dodl has a Trustpilot score of 4.5 out of 5 based on more than 140 reviews. Approximately 72% of reviewers rated it "Excellent", while 10% rated it as "Bad". Customers who rated it "Excellent" talked about the excellent customer service and ease of use and those who rated it "Bad" said they struggled with the complaints process and weren't happy about the fact that Dodl is only available to UK citizens rather than residents as well.
Vanguard has a Trustpilot score of 4.1 out of 5.0 based on more than 2,700 reviews. Approximately 61% of reviewers rated it "Excellent", while 14% said it was "Bad". Customers who rated it "Excellent" talked about its high level of customer service, while those who rated it "Bad" talked about a slow process when it comes to transferring accounts in.
Dodl vs Vanguard - platform fees
Dodl and Vanguard are currently the cheapest investment platforms in the UK, with a low platform fee of just 0.15% annually and no additional subscription fee or commission for buying or selling. However, the fact Dodl requires a minimum payment of £1 per month, per account means you only secure the 0.15% rate if you invest more than £8,000. Additionally, Vanguard works out cheaper once you reach the point of paying more than £375 per annum in fees. This is because it caps its charges at this level, while Dodl doesn't.
Summary: Dodl vs Vanguard
Investors need to weigh up whether they are looking for a more traditional platform or if they prefer the quirkier, jargon-free, app-only offering from Dodl*. With the fees at a similar level for both platforms - notwithstanding the £1 minimum monthly payment per account with Dodl - until you reach the £375 mark, it is also a question of whether you are happy just to invest in Vanguard funds, or whether you'd value the greater degree of choice of different fund houses from Dodl, as well as being able to invest in shares.
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