FinTech App Development: Step-by-Step Guide with Types, Features, Costs
The global financial landscape is undergoing a digital transformation.
The global fintech market attained a value of 194.1 billion USD in 2022 and is expected to reach 492.81 billion USD by 2028 at a CAGR of 16.8% between 2023 and 2028.
This is one of the main reasons so many businesses ponder how to build a fintech app that would succeed.
Fintech application development is the process of designing, creating, and maintaining digital applications and platforms within the financial technology sector. These applications aim to provide innovative financial products and services, enhance user experience, and streamline financial processes.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the world of fintech mobile app development, exploring its key components and best practices to help you successfully navigate this rapidly evolving sector and build innovative financial applications:
- Key statistics & reasons to invest in fintech app development
- Main types and examples of fintech apps
- How to make a fintech app with step-by-step instructions
- Key functional elements of fintech mobile apps
So, let’s dive right in.
Existing FinTech Market: Key Statistics & Trends
The FinTech market has been experiencing exponential growth in recent years, driven by a combination of technological advancements, evolving consumer preferences, and the rise of digital-first financial services.
Let’s take a look at some key statistics and trends shaping the fintech landscape:
- Mobile payments have become a dominant force within the FinTech industry. Total spending via digital wallets will exceed $10 trillion in 2025. Mobile wallets will account for 52% of the total spent.
- Digital banking has witnessed massive growth as more people prefer the convenience and accessibility of online and mobile banking services. Nearly nine in ten Americans are now using some form of digital payments.
- AI and ML technologies play a crucial role in the fintech sector by enabling enhanced personalization, fraud detection, and risk management. The market for Artificial Intelligence in FinTech is forecast to reach $11 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 29.7% from 2021 to 2026.
These trends and statistics underscore the immense potential of the FinTech market, making it an attractive prospect for businesses and investors alike. As the industry continues to evolve, fintech app development will play a crucial role in shaping the future of financial services.
Why Invest in FinTech App Development?
There has been no better time to start fintech application development than now. Let’s closely examine some reasons to create such an app.
While you might be surprised, financial illiteracy is a widespread problem worldwide. In 2022, the lack of financial literacy cost at least $500 for 38% of individuals and over $10,000 for 15% of people. All these people are eager to improve their financial literacy, which has contributed to the popularity of fintech applications.
Mobile device usage
There are around 7.3 billion mobile users worldwide and this number is projected to reach 7.49 billion by 2025. Users increasingly rely on mobile devices and financial operations are at the top of the list of what a smartphone allows you to do in a few clicks.
Banking systems have become interconnected. APIs allow companies to build fintech apps for mobile credit score monitoring, real-time capital management, etc. Open banking enables companies to build such solutions without spending years on complex financial app development and ensuring that the solution meets all regulations.
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Main Types & Examples of FinTech Apps
Fintech app development has much to offer. Looking at the market, there are various types of fintech apps that you can develop. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.
1. Digital banking
These apps provide a complete suite of banking services without needing physical branches. These apps allow users to open accounts, manage transactions, make transfers, pay bills, and access various other banking features.
Examples: Revolute, Starling, Monese
Check out the article Mobile Banking Application Development: Trends, Challenges, Key Features to learn about building a mobile banking app, the latest trends, and how to navigate challenges.
2. Mobile payments
These FinTech apps facilitate electronic transactions through mobile devices. These apps enable users to send and receive money, pay for goods and services, and manage their payment accounts.
Examples: PayPal, Venmo
3. Investment & trading apps
These apps provide a fintech platform for those interested in investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other financial assets. These apps often have tools and resources to help users make informed investment decisions.
Examples: Acorns, Robinhood, Fidelity
4. Personal finance management apps
These apps help users track their income, expenses, and savings. They often include budgeting tools, expense categorization, and financial goal-setting features to help users gain better control over their finances.
Examples: Mint, Money Patrol, PocketGuard
5. Lending apps
The apps connect borrowers with lenders, facilitating personal loans, business loans, and other types of credit. These apps often use algorithms to assess credit risk and determine loan eligibility.
Examples: PaySense, Earnin, Chime
6. Digital wallets
These wallets store users' payment information, such as credit card and bank account details, which enables quick and secure transactions. Some digital wallets also support loyalty cards, coupons, and other offers.
Examples: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Cash App, PayPal
7. Insurance apps
These apps provide a platform for users to purchase, manage, and claim insurance policies. These apps often simplify obtaining quotes, comparing policies, and filing claims.
Examples: Lemonade, Policygenius, Oscar
8. Crypto-based finance apps
Crypto-based finance apps enable users to buy, sell, trade, and manage cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. These apps often include features like wallets, exchange platforms, and tools for tracking cryptocurrency investments.
Examples: Coinbase, Binance
By understanding the different types of fintech apps and their functionalities, you will be able to identify the most suitable app category for your target audience and objectives. This knowledge will help you embark on the fintech app development journey.
How to Build a FinTech App and Succeed: Step-by-Step Process
Fintech application development is a multifaceted process that incorporates various phases and milestones.
The typical process usually encompasses the subsequent stages:
- Define the application concept and identify its niche
- Comprehend legal prerequisites
- Conduct market and target audience analysis
- Establish the application's monetization strategy
- Finalize application functionality and technological framework
- Identify and engage a proficient fintech application development team
- Design and develop the fintech application
- Thoroughly test and launch the initial version (1.0)
In the following sections of the article, we will delve deeper into each of these steps to demonstrate how to create a fintech app.
Check out the guide IT Outsourcing: Key Insights, Benefits, & 3-Step Procedure, which sheds light on the process of building applications with the help of an outsourcing team.
1. Define app idea and niche
Before diving into the fintech app development process, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of the app idea and to identify the niche to which the app will cater. This will help you design a more targeted and relevant fintech app and allow you to differentiate your product from competitors on the market.
Conduct thorough market research to identify any gaps or unmet needs within the fintech industry. Look for pain points that existing solutions may not address or explore emerging trends and technologies that could create new opportunities.
2. Understand legal requirements
Complying with legal requirements is crucial when developing a fintech app. These regulations are designed to protect consumers, promote fair competition, and ensure the stability and security of the financial sector.
To avoid legal issues and potential penalties, you must know the relevant laws and regulations that apply to your app.
Some key legal requirements include:
- Licensing and registration – depending on the nature of your fintech application, you may need to obtain licenses or register with appropriate financial authorities. For example, the United States may require money transmitter licenses for certain mobile payment and digital wallet apps.
- Data privacy – fintech apps typically handle sensitive user data, such as personal and financial information. Complying with data privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States, is crucial.
- Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) Regulations – fintech apps involved in transactions, investments, or lending must comply with AML and KYC regulations. These rules help prevent fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financing. Some key compliance measures include implementing identity verification and customer due diligence processes, transaction monitoring, and suspicious activity reports.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – if your fintech app processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data, you must comply with the PCI DSS. This set of security standards is designed to protect sensitive cardholder information and reduce the risk of data breaches.
- Accessibility – ensuring that your fintech app is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, is not only a best practice but may also be a legal requirement. Compliance with accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), can help you create an inclusive user experience and avoid potential legal issues related to accessibility.
- Jurisdiction-specific regulations – depending on the countries or regions where your fintech app operates, you may need to comply with additional laws and regulations specific to those jurisdictions. Be sure to research and understand the legal requirements in each market your app serves.
Understanding and complying with legal requirements is vital to the fintech apps development process. By taking these regulations into account early on, you can build a compliant and trustworthy app that not only meets the needs of your users but also adheres to the standards set forth by regulatory authorities.
Check out the article Enterprise Application Development: Benefits, Types, Features, Costs which highlights the specifics of building an application on an enterprise-level scale and explains how to navigate all the challenges.
3. Conduct market & TA research
Market and target audience research is essential for developing a successful fintech app. A deep understanding of the market landscape and your target audience's needs, preferences, and pain points will help you create a product that stands out and resonates with users.
Here are some key steps to conduct effective market and target audience research:
- Analyze market trends – stay informed about the latest trends in the industry of finance app development. Identify emerging technologies, business models, and consumer preferences that could impact your app's success. This will help you anticipate market shifts and stay ahead of the competition.
- Identify competitors – list competitors in your chosen niche, including direct and indirect competitors. Analyze their products, features, pricing, and marketing strategies to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This can help you differentiate your app and find unique ways to meet user needs.
- Define target audience – clearly define your target audience by creating detailed user personas. Consider factors such as age, gender, income, location, financial habits, and pain points. This will help you tailor your app's features, design, and marketing messages to appeal to your specific audience.
- Conduct surveys and interviews – gather feedback directly from your target audience through surveys and interviews. This can provide valuable insight into their preferences, challenges, and expectations related to fintech apps. Use this information to refine your app idea and effectively prioritize features that address user needs.
- Evaluate market potential – estimate your app's market size and potential revenue by researching similar products and analyzing industry reports. This will help you assess the viability of your app idea and make informed decisions about resource allocation and growth strategies.
- Monitor online communities – engage with online communities, forums, and social media platforms where your target audience is active. Observe discussions, questions, and opinions related to fintech apps to gain deeper insight into user needs, preferences, and concerns. This can help you identify opportunities for improvement and innovation in your app.
- Test your concept – validate your app idea by sharing it with potential users, industry experts, and stakeholders. Collect feedback and make adjustments to your concept based on their input. This will help ensure your app is aligned with user expectations and has a strong market fit.
- Stay updated – continuously monitor changes in the fintech landscape, user preferences, and competitor activity. This will help you stay informed and adjust to your app after you finish fintech app development as needed to maintain a competitive edge.
You can gain valuable insight to guide your fintech application development process by conducting thorough market and target audience research.
4. Define app monetization
Developing a clear monetization strategy is essential for the long-term success of your fintech app. The right approach will help you generate revenue and ensure that your app remains financially sustainable.
Here are some popular fintech app monetization models and strategies to consider:
1. Subscription model
With this model, users pay a recurring fee (monthly or annually) to access premium features and services within your app. The subscription model can provide a steady revenue stream and is well-suited for fintech apps offering ongoing value, such as personal finance management tools or investment platforms.
Example: YNAB (You Need a Budget) charges a monthly or annual subscription fee to access its budgeting tools and resources.
2. Transaction-based model
The model charges users a fee for specific transactions such as money transfers, stock trades, or loan applications. The fees can be fixed, percentage-based, or a combination of both, depending on the transaction type and value.
Example: Robinhood charges a fee for premium order types and options trading, while PayPal charges a fee for receiving payments.
3. Freemium model
This offers a free version of your app with basic features, while premium features are accessible only through in-app purchases or by upgrading to a paid plan. This approach can attract a large user base and encourage users to upgrade for additional functionality.
Example: Mint offers a free version with basic budgeting and expense tracking, while users can upgrade to access advanced features like credit score monitoring and personalized financial advice.
Integrating ads within your app can generate revenue based on user engagement with the ads. This approach can work for apps with a large user base or high user activity levels. However, balancing ad placement and user experience is essential, as excessive or intrusive ads can negatively impact user satisfaction.
Example: Credit Karma offers a free credit monitoring service while generating revenue through targeted ads and affiliate partnerships with financial service providers.
5. Affiliate marketing and partnership
Establish partnerships with financial institutions or service providers and earn a commission for referrals, lead generation, or product sales. This approach can help you monetize your app without directly charging users while providing valuable services and offers.
Example: Bankrate generates revenue through partnerships with banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions by referring users to their products and services.
6. Monetizing big data
Fintech apps are an excellent source of valuable, actionable financial data, including users' spending patterns, frequency of payments, average expenditures, usage of specific services, and more.
Many fintech companies provide paid access to anonymized data sets to third parties interested in refining their marketing or sales strategies with precise targeting and high-quality data for their AI and machine learning algorithms.
Example: Mint is one such example of a company that monetizes its user data in this manner.
7. Premium API access
Numerous fintech companies, particularly those operating payment gateways and related services, offer user-friendly APIs allowing other businesses to integrate them into their software products seamlessly. API access typically entails a monthly subscription fee, with most providers charging customers based on their API usage.
Example: Stripe provides an API that enables millions of companies worldwide to process payments in multiple currencies without investing in building their own payment infrastructure (which can be costly, necessitate regulatory compliance, and demand a team of highly skilled experts).
When defining your app's monetization strategy, consider the preferences and expectations of your target audience, the competitive landscape, and the unique value proposition of your app. It's crucial to balance between generating revenue and providing a seamless user experience.
5. Finalize app functionality & tech stack
Once you have a clear understanding of the market, target audience, legal requirements, and monetization strategy, it's time to finalize your fintech app's functionality and choose the appropriate technologies to start fintech application development.
Here are some key steps to guide you through this process:
- Prioritize features and app functionality
Based on your market research and user feedback, create a list of essential features and functionalities for your fintech app development. Prioritize these elements based on their importance, user needs, and fintech development complexity. Start by focusing on a minimum viable product (MVP) that includes the most crucial features, and plan for additional functionality in future updates.
- Select your tech stack
Choose the right combination of technologies, frameworks, and tools that best fit your app's requirements and your team's expertise. Your tech stack should deliver performance, scalability, and maintainability.
Some popular technologies used in fintech app development include:
- Backend: Node.js, Python (Django or Flask), Ruby on Rails, Java, .NET
- Mobile: Swift or Objective-C (iOS), Kotlin or Java(Android)
- Database: PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, Firebase
- Cloud and Infrastructure: AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Heroku
- Security: SSL/TLS, OAuth, JWT, encryption libraries
- Integrate third-party services and APIs
Depending on your app's functionality, you may need to integrate third-party services and APIs to enhance its capabilities. These integrations can save development time and provide access to specialized services. Examples include payment processing (Stripe, PayPal), identity verification (Jumio, Onfido), credit scoring (Experian, Equifax), and financial data aggregation (Plaid, Yodlee).
- Plan for scalability
As your fintech app grows and attracts more users, it will need to handle increased traffic, data, and transactions. Ensure that your chosen tech stack and fintech app architecture can scale efficiently to accommodate this growth. Implement best practices such as microservices, containerization, and load balancing to promote scalability and maintain optimal performance.
6. Find and hire a development team
After finalizing your app's functionality and tech stack, the next crucial step is to find and hire a fintech app development team with the necessary expertise to bring your fintech app to life.
Here are some tips to help you find and assemble the right team:
- Define roles and skills
Identify the specific roles and skills required for your fintech app development. This typically includes frontend and backend developers, mobile fintech app developers, UI/UX designers, quality assurance testers, and project managers. Ensure that your team members have expertise in the technologies and frameworks you've chosen for your app.
- In-house vs. freelance vs. development agency
Decide whether you want to build an in-house team, hire freelancers, or collaborate with a fintech application development agency.
Each option has its pros and cons:
- In-house team – building an in-house team allows for better control over the fintech mobile app development process and long-term collaboration. However, it can be time-consuming and costly to find, hire, and onboard the right talent.
- Freelancers – hiring freelancers can offer more flexibility and potentially lower costs. However, managing a remote team of freelancers can be challenging and maintaining consistent quality and communication may be difficult.
- Development agency – partnering with a development agency provides access to an entire team of experts with a proven track record. While this option can be more expensive, it often ensures a higher quality product and a smoother development process if you work with an agency that knows how to create a fintech app.
- Evaluate expertise and experience
When selecting team members or a development agency, look for a proven track record in fintech app development. Review their portfolios, case studies, and client testimonials to gauge their expertise and experience in developing similar apps. Ensure that the team understands the unique requirements, regulations, and security concerns associated with fintech apps.
- Conduct interviews and assessments
Interview potential team members or agency representatives to evaluate their technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills. Consider conducting technical assessments or coding tests to verify their expertise in the relevant technologies.
- Check references
Reach out to former clients or colleagues of the potential team members or development agency to gather insight into their work ethic, reliability, and ability to deliver high-quality work within deadlines.
- Consider cultural fit and collaboration
Your development team should be able to work well together and align with your company's culture and values. Effective collaboration and communication are essential for successful fintech app development, so ensure the team you assemble can work cohesively and maintain open lines of communication.
- Establish clear expectations
Once you've assembled your development team, establish clear expectations regarding project goals, deadlines, deliverables, and communication protocols. Provide your team with a comprehensive project brief and ensure they thoroughly understand the app's functionality, tech stack, and compliance requirements.
- Maintain regular communication and progress updates
Throughout the development process, maintain regular communication with your team to stay updated on progress, and address any issues or concerns that arise. Schedule frequent meetings or check-ins to discuss project status, share feedback, and ensure the project stays on track and within budget.
Finding and hiring the right development team that knows how to develop a fintech app can ensure a smooth development process and create a high-quality fintech app that meets user needs and complies with industry standards. A skilled and experienced team will help you navigate the challenges associated with fintech app development, including security, regulatory compliance, and scalability.
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7. Fintech app design and development
With your app's functionality defined, the tech stack selected, and the development team in place, it's time to focus on the design and development of your fintech app. In this stage, you'll bring your app concept to life, ensuring it is user-friendly, secure, and compliant with industry standards.
When working on the design of your app, consider the following aspects:
- User-centric design – prioritize a user-centric design approach by focusing on the needs and preferences of your target audience. Conduct user research and testing to create an intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface that effectively addresses users' pain points and expectations. Consider accessibility and inclusivity to ensure your app caters to diverse users.
- Branding and visual identity – develop a consistent branding and visual identity for your fintech app, including colors, typography, iconography, and imagery. This will help your app stand out on the market and create a memorable user experience.
Design and develop your fintech app with scalability and maintainability in mind. Choose a tech stack and architecture to accommodate user numbers, data, and transactions growth.
By focusing on these key aspects during the design and development process, you can create a fintech app that is secure, user-friendly, and compliant with industry standards.
Check the guide How to Hire an App Developer for Your Project aimed to help you navigate the market and hire a team that knows how to make a fintech app.
8. Test and launch version 1.0
Before releasing your fintech app to the market, it's essential to thoroughly test it and launch an initial version, commonly referred to as version 1.0. This stage is crucial in ensuring that your app is ready for public use and delivers a seamless user experience.
Implement analytics and monitoring tools to track your app's performance, user engagement, and other vital metrics after launch. This data will help you make informed decisions about future updates, enhancements, and marketing efforts.
FinTech App Development: Vital Functionality Elements
To create a successful fintech app, it's crucial to incorporate key functionality elements that enhance user experience, ensure security, and streamline operations. Let’s take a look at some of the most vital features of fintech application development.
- User Authentication & Management
Implement a secure and user-friendly authentication system, such as multi-factor authentication, biometrics, or single sign-on. This feature protects user data and financial transactions while enabling seamless user management, including account creation, password recovery, and profile customization.
- Secure Hosting
Choose a reliable and secure hosting provider that complies with industry regulations and offers fintech app features like data encryption, backups, and disaster recovery. This ensures your app's data and services' integrity, availability, and confidentiality.
- Payment Gateway
Integrate a trusted payment gateway to facilitate smooth and secure financial transactions within your app. This feature should support multiple payment methods, currencies, and comply with relevant security standards such as PCI DSS.
Build an AI-powered chatbot to provide instant customer support, answer FAQs, and guide users through various app functions. This feature enhances user experience by providing quick and efficient assistance while reducing the burden on your support team.
Take customer support a step forward with video chat solutions. Check out the article How to Make a Video Chat App: Step by Step Guide with business and technical aspects to explore the specifics of building such an application.
- Data Security
Implement robust data security measures including encryption, secure APIs, and access control, to protect user data and financial transactions. Regularly monitor and update your app's security to address emerging threats and vulnerabilities.
- Machine Learning
Utilize machine learning algorithms to analyze user data, predict trends, and personalize recommendations. This feature can improve decision-making, enhance the user experience, and streamline app operations by automating various tasks.
Introduce gamification elements such as rewards, badges, and leaderboards, to engage and motivate users. This feature can help increase user retention, drive desired behaviors, and foster a sense of achievement and competition among users.
Consider leveraging blockchain technology during fintech application development to enable secure, transparent, and decentralized transactions within your fintech app. Blockchain can enhance trust and security, reduce transaction costs, and streamline processes such as identity verification and smart contracts.
By incorporating these vital functionality elements into your fintech app, you can create a secure, user-friendly, and efficient platform that caters to the needs of your target audience. These features will enhance user experience, ensure compliance with industry standards, and help your app stand out in the competitive fintech market.
Explore the article Blockchain Architecture Basics: Components, Structure, Benefits, & Creation to learn what it takes to build a blockchain-based application.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a FinTech App?
Now, let’s get an answer to the most crucial question – how much does it cost to build a fintech app?
Basic fintech apps with limited features may cost around $20,000- $60,000, while more complex apps with advanced features can range from $60,000 to $200,000 or more.
The fintech app development cost can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the app's complexity, features and functionality, the development team's location and expertise, and the app's design and branding.
The cost of hiring a development team depends on their location, experience, and expertise. Fintech application developers in countries with lower living costs may charge less than those in high-cost locations. On average, developer rates can range from $25 to $150 per hour or more.
For example, the USA is considered one of the most expensive locations for fintech app development outsourcing, with hourly rates starting at $150. However, you can reduce the cost if you decide to work with a US company with offices in European countries where the development services are less costly.
Check out the article App Development Cost: Understand Your Budget to Build Powerful Apps to learn how the development cost is calculated and about the primary influential factors.
Final Takeaways on Fintech Application Development
Fintech app development is a complex and rewarding endeavor that can transform the financial landscape and bring immense value to your target audience.
The critical steps to successful finance app development include:
- Identifying your app idea and niche
- Understanding legal requirements
- Conducting market research
- Defining app monetization
- Finalizing app functionality and tech stack
- Hiring a development team
- Navigating the design and development process
- Considering vital functionality elements, budgeting, and post-launch support and maintenance
As a company with experience in building complex systems, we understand the challenges and intricacies involved in fintech app development. Our expertise has taught us the importance of a user-centric approach, robust security measures, and ongoing adaptation to emerging technologies and trends.
Need help with mobile application development for fintech?
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