A Comprehensive Guide to Fintech App Development
The pandemic in 2019 brought about a lot of chaos. Many businesses had no other option but to shut down permanently, while those that survived experienced a seismic shift in how they operated.
Fintech, on the other hand, demonstrated remarkable resilience during these turbulent times. In fact, it was one of the few industries that actually spawned new services and approaches, which very quickly became the mainstream. In 2021, just as the clutches of COVID-19 began to weaken, total fintech investments hit $91.5 billion, double that of 2020. By the end of 2030, according to predictions, this number is going to reach $1.5 trillion, making the fintech industry one of the most promising sectors in the global economy.
So, if you’ve been mulling over whether now is a good time to build a fintech app, the timing couldn’t be better! Fintech is flourishing. Add to this the ever-growing number of smartphone users who predominantly rely on their gadgets for financial transactions, and you can see the direction in which the world of fintech is headed.
Want a piece of that lucrative pie? Then this read is for you. In this article, we cover in detail how to create a fintech app as well as how much it costs so you can tap into this thriving industry well-prepared and save yourself a lot of time and resources along the way. Let’s begin.
Let’s start by quickly going over what fintech means and how it’s being used by local and international markets.
Fintech is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of technologies and services.
We all come across it a lot in our lives, even without realizing it. From using payment cards to buy things online and withdrawing cash from ATMs to sending mobile payments and applying for a mortgage, all these activities fall under the umbrella of fintech.
So, the first thing to do is carefully consider the available domains for fintech development and decide which one you want to focus on.
Types of Fintech Apps
The fintech sector embraces a whole range of domains where businesses can evolve and create mobile apps. Let’s consider the most noteworthy of them.
Digital banking apps have been around for a long time. We use these apps to manage our banking accounts, track expenses, transfer money, and strengthen security, all without having to go to the bank. Most banks offer their customers a proprietary application, while those who don’t are looking into mobile app development as the next step of their transformation. As of 2023, 70% of mobile users choose applications to access banking services, and this number is only set to grow in the near future.
Some of the best banking apps are Revolut, Varo, Bank of America, and Capital One, among many others. You can look at them to draw inspiration from.
Advantages of Digital Banking:
- Convenience. First and foremost, people love these apps because of the convenience they offer. Rather than queuing in the bank to get a report on your finances, you can access all you need from the comfort of your home, sitting right on your couch.
- 24/7 access. Another benefit is their accessibility. It’s like having your personal banking manager who can assist you at any time of the day and any day of the week, including holidays.
- Security. Developers constantly work on improving the security of their apps to prevent data breaches and cyber threats and ensure customers can put their trust in online banking for daily operations.
- Cost-effective. Last but not least, these apps bring the cost of banking down. With all transactions happening online, there’s no need for paper statements or running additional bank branches, resulting in lower overheads and better interest rates.
Payment and Transactions
Other popular applications used a lot in fintech are online payments and transactions. Their emergence on the market has quickly put the cumbersome old bank system to the test, surging contact payments and payments via QR code into the mainstream. It’s hard to imagine what our life would be like without platforms like PayPal, Payoneer, Revolut, and the rest. They quite literally revolutionized the way we make payments and conduct transactions. Now, no matter where you are in the world, you can send or receive money within seconds.
Advantages of Payment and Transactions:
- Faster and smoother transactions. These platforms speed up financial transactions. With just a few taps on the screen, customers can send money, pay for goods or services, and split bills in a matter of seconds.
- Enhanced user experience. Most platforms have a clear and easy-to-navigate interface, making it easy to manage funds for all users regardless of their computer literacy.
- Real-time transactions. Unlike traditional payment methods, where you may have to wait a few hours before you know if the payment has actually been processed, these applications let you track all payments in real-time.
- Acceptance of various payment types and cards. The best thing is that these platforms allow people to pay in any currency they want, opening up opportunities for international transactions.
While insurance may seem like a completely different niche, it belongs to fintech applications. Long gone are the days when insurance was all about paperwork and manual processes. Today, like many other spheres, it relies on technology to analyze data and provide its customers with an enhanced user experience. Despite that, the insurance industry has always been and continues to be highly compliant with legal requirements and regulations. To give you examples of the best representatives of insurance apps, look at Oscar Health, myCigna, Lemonade, or MyAmFam.
Advantages of Insurance Apps
- Personal coverage. These platforms allow customers to tailor policies to their specific needs and circumstances, avoiding bureaucracy and overpaying.
- Efficient claims processing. With insurance apps, filling and processing claims have been made easier. It’s enough to tap the screen a few times to submit claims, ultimately leading to quicker payouts.
- Location detection. Insurance apps are equipped with a geolocation feature, which may come in handy if an incident happens and a customer doesn’t exactly know where he or she is located.
- Reminders. Applications provide users with automatic policy renewal reminders, offering peace of mind to policyholders.
- Online consultations. A consultation with a specialist is just a few clicks away, which is very convenient, as anyone can get expert financial advice at any point in time.
Another group of fintech solutions includes budgeting and personal finance apps. These include tools like Mint, YNAB, and Personal Capital that give people a snapshot of their financial health. Financial planners gather info from bank accounts, credit cards, and other places where we save or spend money and help people track how much they earn, spend, and save. They also give suggestions on managing money better, which can come in handy for those who are trying to save up for big purchases, pay off debt, or just handle their daily expenses.
Advantages of Financial Planning Apps
- A high level of control. One of the biggest advantages of financial planning apps is that they give users full control over their spending. They can track how much money comes in and goes out of their accounts and make better decisions about their spending.
- No fines due to late fees. Personal apps can remind people about their bills so they can pay them on time instead of paying a fee.
- Financial goal achievement. Being able to track all spending in one place and act on it is a surefire way to handle money more efficiently and achieve financial goals.
- Budget optimization. These apps can store information about all your financial expenses, including rent, utility, food, and transportation bills. This way, people can see where their money is going and find areas to cut back on or allocate more funds to.
Lending apps, as the name suggests, provide a platform for connecting borrowers and lenders directly without the need for traditional banks. These P2P platforms have made it easier for customers and small businesses to get loans while offering investors a chance to earn interest on their money. Some popular lending apps include MoneyLion, Albert, Chime, and Dave. They’ve made the process of lending and borrowing money more transparent, quick, and comfortable for users and investors alike.
Advantages of Lending Apps
- Simplicity. Applying for a loan via these apps is straightforward. Users can fill out their details and get loan options right from their phones without heaps of paperwork.
- Fast approvals. Applications are processed within hours or even minutes after applying.
- Tailored rates. An important advantage of these apps is that they can offer customized interest rates based on a person’s financial health and credit score, which, in most cases, will be much better than those offered by traditional banks.
- Transparency. All fees, interest rates, and terms are laid out clearly, so there are no hidden surprises.
- Building credit. Regular and timely repayments on these platforms can help users build a positive credit history.
- Instant access to funds. Once approved, many apps deposit funds directly into the user’s bank account in a short time.
Neobanks, also known as digital banks or challenger banks, are financial institutions that operate exclusively online or via mobile applications without traditional physical branches. These banks are typically built on modern technology platforms and leverage digitalization to offer a range of financial services, from basic checking accounts to lending and investment products. Chime, Revolut, Monobank, and Aspiration are just a few examples of famous neobank apps that have made a name in the industry.
Advantages of Neobanks
- Lower operational costs. Without the overhead of maintaining physical branches, neobanks can operate at a fraction of the cost of traditional banks.
- User-friendly interface. Neobanks attract an influx of users due to their intuitive and user-friendly interfaces that are easy to understand for everyone.
- Global accessibility. Neobanks can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as there’s an internet connection, making them especially appealing to frequent travelers.
- Innovative features. Many neobanks offer unique tools and features such as real-time transaction notifications, spending analytics, savings goals, and much more, which aren’t available with traditional banks.
- Flexibility and customization. Digital platforms allow for a higher degree of personalization. Users can customize their interfaces and everything else in the settings to fit their specific needs.
Investment apps are all the rage in the stock market. These apps can serve a number of purposes, such as providing advice on investing, giving you a place to save money, and buying/selling securities. Many customers use them to improve the efficiency of their investments, while others use them to set goals for how the money can be saved. To get an idea of what the key figures are in this market, make sure to check Interactive Brokers, Tastytrade, Fidelity, or Acorns.
Advantages of Investment Apps
- Simple to use. Users can set up their accounts within a matter of minutes without having to call an agent.
- Small fees. A significant advantage of investment apps is that they have small fees. If you don’t trade huge amounts of money, your fees will be minimal. This makes them ideal for newbies who are looking to try their hand at trading despite their limited incomes.
- Educating. Many of these apps come with educational resources, tutorials, webinars, and news feeds that help users understand the basics of trading and keep them updated on market trends.
These are just some of the areas covered by the fintech market, but, as you can guess, any other domain that is somehow related to money and investments can be touched
by fintech innovation. So, your options are virtually limitless. Consider the domain that resonates with you the most and think about how your application may differ from thousands of other solutions.
Tell us what product you want to create, and we’ll help bring it to life!
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Gaps and Opportunities in Development for Fintech
To create an application that can pave the way toward success, it’s important to learn what gaps and challenges exist and address them in your fintech offering. Let’s delve deeper into these aspects.
The biggest gap in the world of fintech that still holds a lot of users back from using mobile banking applications is security concerns. Data breaches and cyber attacks aren’t as rare as they may seem. To give you the gist, 76% of all attacks that occur are financially motivated, putting fintech at a high risk. Taking these numbers into account, it comes as no surprise people feel rather reluctant to share their sensitive data with virtual platforms.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA). To attract more users and not fall victim to cyber-attacks, fintech platforms should implement MFA, ensuring an additional layer of security. This way, even if someone somehow gets their hands on a password, unauthorized access can be prevented.
- Regular audits and penetration testing. It’s essential to regularly examine the app for vulnerabilities and potential exploits. This proactive approach can help identify and address security loopholes early in the development process.
- Data encryption. Encrypting sensitive data, both in transit and at rest, ensures that even if data is intercepted, it remains unreadable for unauthorized entities.
- Real-time alerts. With the advent of AI and ML, fintech platforms can now keep track of user behavior and transaction patterns in real-time. Thus, if they detect any anomalies or suspicious activities, they can trigger instant alerts, informing the security team to take immediate action.
Compliance With Legal Regulations
Fintech, just like any other industry that deals with sensitive data, has to fully comply with legal regulations. If it doesn’t, the team could, at best, face serious penalties and, at worst, shut down their business permanently. For example, a fundamental requirement for any fintech app is to comply with AML (anti-money laundering). Failure to comply with this regulation can lead to huge penalties. A case in point is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The company was accused of being noncompliant with AML and was fined $700,000. And while this penalty was big enough of a problem, the company was lucky to prevent the damage from spreading to other banks it had worked with.
In addition, there’s been a talk about introducing new rules in how digital banks will operate in the coming years. So it’s highly important to stay on top of all regulations to ensure you stand on the right side of the law.
Be sure to learn everything you can about the requirements regarding the use of finance apps in your area. In some cases, it can be a good idea to resort to the service of a professional legal consultation to navigate you through all the complexities. Don’t forget that government policies tend to change over time, so make sure to keep a close eye on them so as not to miss anything important.
Many fintech apps are primarily targeted at users who already have access to banking services. However, there’s a vast untapped market, especially in developing regions, where millions remain unbanked.
- Low-cost services. The main reason many remain unbanked is the cost associated with traditional banking services. Knowing that, fintech platforms should be able to offer affordable solutions with minimal fees to attract this demographic.
- User education. The lack of understanding of how financial systems work is another barrier to financial inclusion. So, going the extra mile and offering users educational resources, tutorials, and user-friendly interfaces can work a trick.
- Collaboration with local entities. It’s a good idea to seek collaboration with local organizations, NGOs, or microfinance institutions that can help you reach out to the unbanked population more effectively.
- Offline capabilities. In many developing countries, consistent Internet access can be a problem. To address this issue, teams should develop applications that can work offline and then sync when there’s connectivity to ensure continuous service.
Must-Have Features for Fintech Applications
Now that we’ve looked at the types of existing apps and the challenges that may arise when creating them, it’s time to talk about the financial app development itself. And the best place to start is by describing the must-have features of these apps. Of course, we won’t talk about all the features since they may vary a lot depending on the app type. Instead, we’ll focus on the aspects that are critical for any finance application.
While the functionality of an app is important, its design has an equally important role, if not more. Most people stick with applications that look good and are easy to navigate, and the finance sector isn’t an exception. In addition, the application should be quite easy to understand. Make sure it’s made in line with customer expectations and contains informational content that streamlines navigation.
Here are general guidelines for optimizing UI/UX design:
- Resist the temptation to use too bright colors or symbols that customers are unfamiliar with. Most likely, this will make them feel uncomfortable and eventually drive them away from your app.
- Don’t overcomplicate things. Even if you’re creating a complex banking app with advanced functionality, it should be easy to use without a learning curve.
- The download speed should be fast. Anything that loads slower than 2 seconds doesn’t stand a chance of succeeding in the highly competitive world.
- Accessing bank accounts and transferring money shouldn’t take a long time. The simpler and more intuitive the process, the better.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, fintech applications must comply with security requirements to ensure the protection of customer’s data against unauthorized access, breaches, and cyber threats. Therefore, your app should have features like biometric or two-factor authentication, encryption, blockchain, or any other advanced security protocols that can safeguard sensitive information.
Digital experiences improve all the time. Now, it’s become important to strive for inclusivity, which is where voice technology comes into play. By implementing voice technology in fintech and banking apps, you can not only provide your customers with a much more user-friendly experience but also break down barriers regarding who can use your services, helping you significantly increase your clientele.
What’s common for all fintech mobile applications is that they involve payments. Whether it’s transferring money between accounts, paying bills, or making online purchases, an efficient and secure payment gateway is indispensable. So, when building mobile apps for fintech, look into the services that can be implemented to ensure quick and hassle-free money transfers. PayPal, Stripe, or APIs can be a good way to go.
Dashboards are an element of a UI design. They contribute to the convenience of the application by providing customers with visualized representation of their spending. Think about what information you want to be displayed on the dashboard. This can be payment history, account balances, upcoming bills, savings goals, investment portfolios, or even financial trends over time. Having a well-organized dashboard can offer users a quick overview of their financial health at a glance and boost engagement.
Notifications and Alerts
Any app benefits from notifications, but financial applications, in particular, should leverage this feature to its fullest. Notifications and alerts allow people to keep track of their financial activities and take timely action in case of discrepancies or opportunities. Not only that, but they also allow businesses to interact with their users, increasing both conversions and retention rates.
QR Code Scanner
A QR code scanner is an indispensable tool in mobile banking apps. Instead of making users enter digits, which gets on most people’s nerves, a QR scanner allows for swift and effortless transactions with just a touch of the screen. This feature alone can improve the UX of the app, making it more appealing in the eyes of customers.
Machine Learning (ML)
Machine learning is no longer a luxury but a necessity in fintech app development. By analyzing volumes of data, it can make predictions as to the user’s future behavior and preferences and offer tailored finance advice, whether they’re planning to buy or sell or are looking for investment opportunities.
Integration With Banks
While it might seem that fintech has emerged as an independent alternative to traditional banks, it’s not quite the case. It depends on the banks quite a lot. In fact, a vast majority of fintech app development companies are integrated with banks by means of APIs, enabling them to access user accounts, transaction histories, and other essential financial data.
This integration offers a number of benefits, including:
- Seamless transactions. Direct integration with banks ensures that users can effortlessly transfer money between their fintech apps and bank accounts, making transactions quicker and more efficient.
- Real-time data access. By connecting with banks via APIs, financial platforms can provide users with real-time account balances, transaction updates, and other valuable data, ensuring that users always have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips.
- Enhanced security. When apps are integrated with banks, they also benefit from the same high-level security protocols, such as end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication.
- Automated financial services. Integration with banks also gives an important advantage of being able to automate services such as investment advice, budgeting tools, and bill payments, creating a more streamlined and hands-off financial management experience for users.
- Reduced operational costs. Also of note is that collaboration with banks often results in reduced processing fees for transactions, benefiting both fintech software solutions and their users.
- Regulatory compliance. Finally, working in tandem with banks ensures that mobile banking software is more likely to stay aligned with financial regulations and standards, minimizing the risk of legal complications.
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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Fintech Application?
The cost of fintech software is directly related to the features of your app and the integrations you plan to implement. Obviously, if you want to create an investment app with ML, blockchain, and other higher-end technologies, it will take longer to develop it, and it will cost much more compared to a basic solution. And vice versa. A simple fintech application will be much quicker to get up and running and cost less.
Overall, the average cost of fintech app development in 2023 ranges from $30,000 to $350,000 and depends on the team you choose, where they’re based, and how experienced they are in the finance niche. For example, app developers from Asian and Eastern European countries charge around $20-45 per hour, whereas development teams from the USA will ask $70-$100 for the same amount of work.
Fintech Application Development Process Step-by-Step
Finally, we’ve made it to the main part of the article, where we’re going to cover the process of mobile application development for fintech in detail. To make this journey less of a hassle for you, we’ve broken it down into a number of steps. Some of these steps are going to be your sole responsibility, while others will need to be delegated to your team.
- Research the Market and Choose Your Niche
Embarking on the fintech software development journey begins with market research. This is the first and the most important step. It’s like scouting the terrain before setting up camp. You need to understand the lay of the land — the current trends, the needs of your potential users, and the competition. What’s trending? Where’s the gap that your app could fill? Maybe there’s a certain group of people who aren’t being catered to, or perhaps there’s a service that can be done better. Once you’ve got a clear picture, focus on your niche. Remember, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big ocean.
- Hire an IT Partner to Develop a Fintech Application
Once you’ve wrapped up your mind around the niche you want to grow your business in, the next step is to partner with the right IT company. Finding an experienced team that knows the ins and outs of the tech world is half the battle won. They can help you navigate through the complexities of the app development process and translate your business concept into a functional and secure digital solution.
However, finding an IT partner is easier said than done. There are many companies that claim to be professionals in fintech, but only a small part of them actually are. And which is which is often a guessing game.
To sift through the sea of contenders and find a reliable fintech software development company, start by looking at their track record. A reputable IT partner should have a robust portfolio of successful fintech projects. Don’t just take their word for it. Ask for case studies, client testimonials, and even direct references.
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