Fintech is one of the main areas of software technology used today. Banks and financial companies are actively investing money there, and the future of this market is definitely promising. It is evidenced by the growth in the number of fintech startups: from 2018 to 2020, 72 percent (from 12,000 to almost 21,000). Large-scale transformations concern, first of all, mobile solutions in the field of financial transactions and data processing.
Between 2015 and the first quarter of 2021, the growth in number of fintech applications reached a staggering 354 percent. It confirms the urgent need for such software products and their popularity among users with different locations, ages, and social characteristics. According to experts, the demand for mobile products will only grow, and they will replace most of the outdated financial management solutions.
If you want to be a part of this alluring future, our guide will be helpful. We’ll tell you about the essence and importance of the sphere and how to develop a fintech app that may well become “the next unicorn.”
What is Fintech?
Before we speak about how to create a fintech app, it is needed to figure out the terms and learn what fintech is. In a broad sense, the concept is understood as a set of technologies related to financial transactions and money management (personal, corporate, credit, etc.).
Actually, the word fintech means “financial technology.” The field includes numerous startups and large established organizations trying to improve the services provided and increase profits by optimizing costs and creating new sources of income. Fintech covers many areas: from blockchain platforms to online banking, but the market for mobile applications is developing most actively. Building a fintech app is relatively fast; customers from B2C and B2B sectors demonstrate a high interest in this kind of solution so that the owner can reach a break-even point and profit literally in months.
The idea behind any mobile Fintech product is to provide programs with an intuitive interface and clear tools to simplify specific financial transactions. It can transfer money between users (including clients of different banks), online loans, analytics, budget control, and much more.
A distinctive feature of mobile products lies in their advantages over other fintech solutions involving end-users. The reason is the huge number of smartphones: according to a Gartner report, in 2021, sales alone amount to 1.6 billion units. With such an application, businesses gain access to a vast global audience and excellent growth prospects.
Other benefits from building mobile apps for fintech are:
- Optimizing cash flow management. With a mobile app, people and even companies can track where and where funds are flowing more accurately, work with private and business accounts easily, and receive reports on each transaction. This approach reduces the costs associated with data loss, errors, and time wasted on cash flow control.
- High-quality real-time customer analytics. By tracking user behavior and analyzing colossal data amounts using artificial intelligence (AI) tools, you can create an accurate portrait of consumers, offer them personalized services, and improve user experience and loyalty.
- Reducing associated costs. For example, direct money transfer apps help avoid bank fees, smart chatbots replace call center staff (and you don’t have to pay them a salary), and simple transaction tracking and advanced analytics can reduce the number of employees in departments.
- High return on investment (ROI). It can be achieved through experienced software companies who develop user-friendly, helpful, and enjoyable to use products with optimal cost-effectiveness. Such apps attract more customers even in a narrow and highly competitive market.
Where the Fintech Market is Now and Where it Is Gonna be Tomorrow
Fintech Industry Overview
The fintech industry has experienced a real boom since the 2008 global financial crisis and has shown steady growth every year (even as the pandemic slows down). The Business Research Company conducted an analysis and found that for this market, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 24.8 percent, and in 2022 the size will reach US$310 billion from US$127 billion in 2020.
As finance moves to the mobile side, the number of transactions performed from a smartphone is growing. Inflexion has calculated that by 2022, they will account for 88 percent of all banking transactions. Of course, banks noticed the trend and took action: according to PwC, at least 83 percent of all financial institutions are now investing in fintech startups or planning to do so shortly.
At the beginning of 2021, the United States remains the largest fintech market, occupying 35 percent. However, Southeast Asia and China are catching up to the leader, rapidly embracing mobile innovation. Overall, app revenue is expected to be US$935 billion in 2023 (compared to US$98 billion in 2014), and the future for such products looks bright.
Trends and Forecasts
It is necessary to create a fintech app in the most promising market areas not to stay away from the victorious march of gainful innovations. According to world experts, in the next decade, it will be:
Blockchain. The sphere is called the fastest growing sector of fintech technology. The market value is expected to be US$6.7 billion in 2023, with a CAGR of over 75 percent. Blockchain is maximizing its benefits in applications for payments, settlements, smart contracts, and security and identity management solutions. The technology:
- Allows users to transfer money faster and cheaper,
- Perfectly integrates into existing financial systems (you can save on implementation),
- Increases the security of apps and clients’ sensitive financial data, and
- Allows you to play on the growing popularity of cryptocurrency settlements.
Machine learning (ML) and big data. AI and related technologies (primarily ML and big data processing) top most lists of leading trends in fintech. The core reason for their popularity is the ability to cut costs for companies. Autonomous Research declares that the introduction of the ML will allow the financial industry to achieve a 22 percent cost reduction by 2030. Machine learning allows business to increase additional income by:
- Increasing apps’ security due to big data analytics for detecting and preventing fraud;
- Growth of customer loyalty and user base due to personalization of offers and “customization” of products;
- Using ML models for accurate risk assessment, forecasting demand and various market events, detecting patterns and flexible pricing; and
- Improved client support provided by intelligent chatbots, speech recognition, and other AI/ML tools.
Rise of alternative ways of payment and money withdrawals. Among the main trends, one should also name the growing popularity of transactions made using voice and virtual assistants. Payments remain secured but are becoming very simple and convenient. Voice services are also used for multi-factor client authentication along with biometrics, passwords, etc.
The popularity of cardless ATM withdrawal is also growing. Paying for goods and services via the NFC in a smartphone has already become the norm. Still, PayPal and other payment services are already going further, conducting various transactions without using any bank cards.
Fintech Apps Types
To understand how to build a fintech app, you have to determine what kind of system it will be, and for what purposes it is being created. The variety of financial management products is enormous, and each “does its job” depending on the type. It can be:
Payment apps. The famous PayPal is of this type. It is the largest segment of fintech, which includes payment systems, mobile wallets, apps for cardless transactions, and similar products. Digital payments are unbelievably popular due to their convenience, and there is still room for newcomers in this market, despite competition.
The niche of apps for peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, which we have already written about in detail, is especially relevant. People actively use them to transfer money to each other, receive payment for goods in the B2C sector, raising money for charity or crowdfunding. As Bank of America found out, P2P apps are used by representatives of almost all generations, not just millennials.
Mobile banking. It is necessary to distinguish between online banking, which allows users to make transactions through the worldwide network, and mobile banking, a software tool (app) provided to perform clients’ operations.
These applications provide users with access to a wide range of services, from fast money transfers and finding ATMs to expense counters — all without having to visit a bank office. For the owner, mobile banking products provide competitiveness, improve customer focus, and help promote services by creating new revenue streams.
Loan lending. Online lending is fast, convenient, secure, and confidential, and customers love it. Therefore, loan apps are also widespread. If you want a competitive advantage in this niche, take advantage of AI capabilities, such as algorithms that determine the loan amount based on applicant data and credit history (as do the successful ZestFinance and Lenddo apps).
Wealthtech. This term refers to the field of digital investment management products. Wealthtech applications allow any person to successfully invest money, generate income and reduce risks using built-in forecasting and stock analytics tools.
The most interesting for business are the following applications:
- Financial advisors: automated tools and machine learning models help generate quality investment proposals;
- Digital Brokers: These are platforms that help investors and companies get up-to-date market data and manage money and investments; and
- Automated tools for managing savings: pensions, savings accounts, etc.
Insurtech. Apps that use financial technology to serve insurance needs help users simplify obtaining policies and receiving payments. Insurers gain access to a broader audience and can offer them a wide range of products.
Insurtech applications can be simple tools for tracking insurance payments or sophisticated AI-based systems that evaluate users using ML models and personalize insurance plans. These apps even recalculate the customer’s rating based on their behavior (to encourage, for example, careful driving or a healthy lifestyle).
Cost management and budgeting. These apps are divided into simple assistants for accounting receipts and expenses (with manual numbers’ entering) and robust systems with connected payment gateways and synchronization with a bank account.
The second type undoubtedly has more business prospects. Expense accounting apps with payment processing help users keep control of all personal finances while simultaneously offering them financial services, earning commissions from transactions, and sponsored content.
Trading apps. Mobile platforms for trading securities and assets are becoming more popular every day, as investors and traders prefer PC smartphones. Such applications support real-time data exchange, send instant notifications of the stock market situation, broadcast streaming data, and allow you to make money even without a lot of trading experience. You can read more about these products in our dedicated article.
Regtech. These apps help companies and startups solve fintech regulatory issues, assess risk, and comply with laws. The high-tech products are based on machine and deep learning and analyze big data. Analytics and automation help reduce legal errors, avoid or minimize risks associated with national and international regulations, and provide guidance on legal models.
List of The Best Fintech Apps
It is one of the key players in direct payments (online and mobile), along with PayPal, Braintree, and Venmo. In 9 rounds of funding, the app has raised nearly US$480 million, becoming one of the most popular payment gateways in a few years. It is used by individuals and e-commerce companies worldwide.
Stripe’s leading source of revenue is a digital business willing to pay for easy, convenient, and reliable system integration through APIs. Payment services can be easily added to a website or app, and customization is simplified as much as possible due to well-thought-out development tools. Stripe is very scalable, and its ML models are used to train billions of data points to help protect against fraud and increase conversion revenue.
The app made by Intuit Inc. is one of the most famous products in finance management. It is a personal adviser that helps individuals organize the money flows and control spending and saving. The app’s user base has already reached 20 million people due to careful planning, in-depth market research, and large-scale content marketing.
The core reasons for the high demand are as follows:
- Free features (all of them) — the app makes money from advertising place, referral fees, and sale of aggregate financial data;
- Broad functionality — users can bring together all their accounts, control mortgage loans and bills, create a private budget, access free credit score, and many more; and
- High security — Mint has tools used by banks.
The American startupers have created an app that became a fantastic example of mobile’s successful use in health insurance. Its total funding has already reached almost US$730 billion, and the user base is 250,000 people already. The app’s revenue was more than US$1 billion only in 2020.
The system provides users B2C healthcare services, covering, among others, people who don’t have a work contract with health insurance coverage. It is a new type of insurtech product, extremely customer-oriented, simple, and affordable. Most of such services are focused on selling the most expensive plans, which worsens the attitude towards e-health in general. However, Oscar Health is “faced to human.”
The app allows users to:
- Manage insurance policies, add and store medical records, receive laboratory reports;
- Find trusted doctors in the users’ area, connect them by call or video chat, make appointments; and
- Get the help of nurses and consultants who advise the most suitable insurance programs (rather than expensive ones).
How to Create a Fintech App?
To answer how to make a fintech app, we need to divide the entire process into several main stages: preparation, development, and launch with subsequent support. The full list of things to consider includes:
- Research stage
- Development stage
- Crucial features
- Special features
- Tech stack
The first thing to do is research to formulate the requirements and an accurate “portrait” of your application.
First of all, you need your digital strategy: how your app will attract users and earn money. It depends on your business niche, so do the target market research, competitor offers analysis, and gather relevant data to clarify project details.
At this stage, you also have to:
- Define key issues and ideas to solve them and evaluate best procedures;
- Make sure you comply with national and international regulations such as the European GDPR, ePrivacy, PCI DSS security or AML anti-money laundering policies; and
- Assemble a development team (its composition depends on the intended functionality and type of application) – product manager, business analysts, designers, frontend and backend developers, QA engineers, etc.
In general, at this stage, you must define the project’s vision, its primary goal, user problems that the app solves, and its main functions. To do everything right, you should enlist professional support in advance. An experienced developer company can quickly build a fintech app with the features you need and assemble a team of specialists for you.
In general, to make a fintech app based on a clear understanding of the project, the development team needs to do the following:
- Create wireframes — images to help present what the finished application will look like;
- Develop a prototype based on wireframes, test it, and collect feedback from the first users;
- Taking into account the test results, design a user interface (UI) and a high-fidelity prototype, test it;
- Develop a minimum viable product (MVP) and a full-fledged app with a back-end;
- Test the final version, send it to stores, provide users with support after its launch, and regularly update the app.
Crucial Fintech App Features
If you want the application to be viable and competitive, you need to think about its functionality before even creating wireframes and prototypes. Features can be divided into basic ones, necessary even for an MVP, and additional ones that make your product unique and attract users. You can use pain-and-win maps, a priority matrix, and other marketing tools to define a list of functions.
The crucial features of the fintech app include:
- User profile with registration and login page (don’t forget about multi-factor verification);
- Dashboards with a clear visual representation of the payments history, money movement, trading charts, and other specific financial info;
- Integration with a payment gateway — the easiest way to do it is third-party APIs (banking and commercial such as Stripe, PayPal, and Zelle);
- Integration with social networks, barcode and QR code scanners;
- Autonomous app’s work with a poor Internet connection or its absence;
- Push notifications about transactions, money transfers, suspicious activity, etc .;
- Feedback and support: the client can get answers to questions and help 24/7 via an integrated AI-based chatbot.
Security features are also critical for a financial application. It is necessary to envisage as many such tools as possible. It can be biometric authentication (Touch ID, Face ID) in addition to two-factor verification, blocking a profile after unsuccessful login attempts, re-enter the password when updating any information in the profile, or displaying only the last card’s digits.
To identify unique and valuable features for users, you need to conduct marketing research and competitors’ analysis. Here are examples of the features that help to distinguish your product from the others:
- The ability to use the application to pay bills, loans, fines;
- Analytics and compilation of summary reports on the money movement and activity in the account;
- Geolocation to find the nearest ATMs, cash registers, and bank offices;
- Currency conversion or settlements using cryptocurrencies;
- Integrated credit rating check and other functions (they are selected depending on the type, purpose of creation, and business model of the app).
Before creating an MVP, you need to think about the graphical UI and user experience (UX). Intuitive design and easy navigation are the second most essential requirements that customers put forward for mobile fintech products (after the safety). To improve your UI/UX, you can use guides for iOS and Android apps. And don’t forget to consider the global context (localization, placement of texts in different languages, legal requirements, etc.).
Having received an idea of the design and the list of required functions, the developers begin to create the app. The technology stack they choose for the frontend and backend depends on the solution architecture, the platform chosen, security tools, integrations required, and many other factors.
As a rule, for the fintech systems development, you need:
- Software development kits (SDKs), tools, and the environment — for instance, full-featured Apple XCode, Android Studio & Developer Tools, iOS and Android SDKs;
- Frameworks such as Node.js, Django, or cross-platform Flutter and React Native that can significantly reduce development costs;
- Databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB; and
- Cloud service platforms such as Platform as a Service and Mobile Server as a Service (PaaS and MBaaS), allowing you to focus on design and coding without the distraction of managing development infrastructure, network, or OS.
To connect as many functions as possible, ensure high security, and speed up app’s creation, pay attention to the following APIs:
- Plaid or Yodlee to connect the application to bank accounts, combine the financial data of your users on a single platform, and minimize risks;
- Stripe for setting up payment gateways and setting up storage of card data (the system complies with PCI certification and integrates with Plaid);
- Experian to extract credit ratings and reports that can be shared online with third parties; and
- Facebook, Slack, Wit.ai, Dialogflow, or other API to implement an intelligent chatbot that uses ML and NLP for service automating and customer satisfaction increasing.
Tools like Postman will help you develop and test the API, and Swagger is useful for documenting it. You also have to create rules for API requests and responses, apply transport layer security (TLS) for all network connections, and protect user data with an HTTPS SSL certificate.
After the developers have finished their work, QA engineers do complex testing so that you can send the finished and debugged application to the stores. If you partner with an experienced software company, it can offer you follow-up product maintenance and support services for scaling, implementing new features, updating, and improving the user experience.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Fintech App?
The most significant factors affecting the cost of developing a fintech application are the size, complexity of the project, and the hourly rate of the developers. The last condition can change the total price by 3-5 times, depending on the team’s localization. Specifically, hiring a software company in North America will pay, on average, US$100,000, while in Eastern Europe, it will cost US$40,000.
Here is an example of the hourly rates of different specialists depending on their localization:
|Specialization||The U.S., in US$||Europe, in US$||Asia and India, in US$|
To estimate the total cost, you also have to consider the cooperation model between customer and contractor and the time needed to develop an app. On average, creating takes 5–10 months for a native product and 4–9 months for a web application.
Our Fintech App Development Use Cases
Our company is engaged in developing all types of fintech applications, successfully implementing solutions based on AI, ML, computer vision, the Internet of things, and other intelligent technologies. Here are some examples of our case studies to illustrate the CHI Software approach:
POC for Symbiont.io
Symbiont.io is a leading blockchain technology company from New York, USA. It needed the professional Proof of Concept (POC) for its new institutional application instead of an old and unsatisfying one.
We’ve presented Proof of Concept of our vision that included our solution and required banking instructions and details. After document approval, we ensured the successful integration of security standards. Within the solution, in particular:
- The ongoing and past transactions within the solution are appropriately protected. Only specifically authorized users can review the content of the messages.
- The solution is completely decentralized. Every node submits each transaction independently, and every node signs each transaction it creates.
- CHI Software also has developed two different roles of users — custodians and investor accounts. Our team created bank instruction pages with the required logic and API integrations.
The solution was successfully integrated into the workflow and helped our client to extend web application functionality. The web application became more competitive and effective for all users.
Technologies used: React, NextJS, Redux-Saga, Material UI, Jest.
Our client, a top German automotive brand, needed to implement 3D Secure customer authentication. It would be reliable, effective, and meet EU requirements.
CHI Software developed the solution provided the migration of existing general transaction numbers to IBAN format, and established a new standard for payment processes. The app synchronizes with a bank account, whereby a list of all financial transactions forms. The solution included a set of functions:
- Account registration,
- Payment submission,
- Autopay mode,
- List of all transactions formation,
- Personal profile creation and editing,
- Viewing/editing/deleting upcoming transactions,
- Document center, and
- Virtual assistant.
Our solution allowed implementing the World Bank’s new requirements for international transactions, according to EU PSD2 Directive. We took care of the app’s vitals: in particular, it gained strong customer authentication (SCA) required for electronic payment transactions. The synchronization helped to organize daily financial routines more effectively.
Personal Financial Management System
Our client, an award-winning startup based in Singapore, didn’t have a life-planning solution to help users make better financial decisions, including the appropriate insurance plan. To solve the problem, CHI Software’s dedicated team created the life-planning simulator. The solution captures every aspect of a client’s life, including personal income, everyday expenses, education costs, career progression, retirement, wedding, investments, and insurance.
Main objectives achieved:
- The solution allows clients to set up life scenarios and goals (house, car, children planning, retirement);
- The simulator positions life and medical insurance as one of the vital components of a plan.
- The system matches clients’ investment and protection solutions precisely to the requests and needs.
- The solution ensures direct communication between clients and agents to achieve all goals.
Our simulator optimizes the making of life-termed decisions and allows involving customers in the insurance programs. The easy-to-use platform collects all information so agents and their clients can clarify plans and make them a reality.
Technologies used: AngularJS, TypeScript, Less, HTML/CSS/JS, MS SQL, Net Core 2-3.
Fintech development is by no means an easy process, but the game is definitely worth the candle. Modern technologies from the AI and data science stack have significantly reduced development costs, and at the same time, attracted more attention of the audience and financial institutions to fintech apps. They continue to conquer the world, penetrating all areas of personal and corporate finance management.
However, to be successful and become one of the unicorns of the near future, you must offer customers more than standard solutions. A broad vision of fintech developers and your clear strategy will help in this. Therefore, do not be afraid of difficulties, enlist professional support, and start moving towards your goal now.