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How to create a mobile banking app that users will love

Nick Perzhanovskiy
Nick Perzhanovskiy Business Development Manager
11 minutes to read

Financial technology solutions have greatly simplified our lives in many aspects. A decade ago you would go to a bank branch and wait in the queue to make basic transactions — paying bills, transferring money, or depositing your funds.

Complex deals like investing money or signing insurance contracts would take weeks or months. Today all this is available with a tap of your finger — in your favourite FinTech app.

The figures are overwhelming. In Great Britain alone, the share of individuals using online and mobile banking on a regular basis has tripled over the last 10 years.

Source: statista.com

Statista reports that in the US, 48% of respondents aged 18-24 use mobile bankings apps at least once a week while 24% of people in their thirties do it a few times a month.

The market is full of solutions for any business needs – personal funds management, mobile banking, crypto trading, and investing.

Apps’ features are becoming more and more sophisticated and, who knows, maybe in the nearest future the digital-only entities will replace traditional banking business.

Source: statista.com

Until then, let’s talk about how to create a mobile banking app that will turn the industry upside down.

Why you should build a mobile banking app

Here are a few reasons why you should contemplate creating a FinTech app:

  • the share of mobile traffic is going to grow up to 63.4% in 2019, which marks even a greater shift from desktops to smartphones;
  • 36% of respondents consider mobile banking as the most favourite activity, which means every third person with a smartphone in their hands is verifying deposit or transferring funds;
  • millennials tend to use mobile apps more frequently than other generations. If your services are geared towards the younger generation, you should take note;
  • 33% of respondents admit that mobile experience is the key reason why they stay with a current bank. Just imagine, it’s one-third of your clients!
Source: statista.com

The fundamentals of creating a fintech app

We hope we’ve convinced you that a mobile app is a must-have for your financial business.

Now let’s talk about how to make a mobile banking app that everyone will fancy.

Essentials of FinTech apps

When a user goes to a Play Market or iTunes, they are looking for a solution with predefined features.

Earlier it was you who offered a solution. Today clients are well-aware of what they need to solve their pain points.

No matter who you design your app for, it should have a set of core functionality:

  • Basic financial transactions such as balance checking, digital payments, money transfers, and mobile deposits are among the most demanded tasks users want to compete on their smartphones.
Source: statista.com
  • Security and sensitive data protection come first and foremost. To get a win-win, think about integrating voice and face recognition, fingerprint authentication in addition two traditional passwords sent by SMS.
Source: statista.com
  • Custom notifications are another fundamental feature for engaging user experience. Everyone likes customisation when it comes to comfort and lifestyle. Let users set their own notifications about money transfers or monthly withdrawals.
  • Offline mobile experience. It would be great if you follow this hot trend. Offline mobile apps are to function flawlessly in every environment. If your FinTech application supports the offline mode, people will be able to use it with poor or no Internet access.
  • Support is huge. Someone likes the interaction with humans, others prefer chatbots. Why not combine them? Build a reliable support service to provide a helping hand to everyone in need.

Extra features

And something that will make you stand out:

  • Personal finance management. Not all FinTech apps provide this feature. However, if you’re going to make a difference, consider integrating budgeting, saving and expenditure tracking tools. Also, users like it when they can manage multiple accounts in one place.
  • Texting banking. We personally like using text commands to fulfil tasks without launching an app. For instance, at Wells Fargo, you can use HELP to get contact information or TRA to make a transfer between your accounts.
  • Apps for smartwatches. You don’t necessarily start creating a fintech app for wearables but it may bring you an advantage over competitors. For example, Ally Mobile App sends locations of the nearest ATM right to users’ smartphones making a search process real fun. You may opt for sending reminders, alerts for unusual activity or check account balances.

A stepwise guide on mobile banking development

How to begin mobile banking application development and make an app that will bring millions of downloads?

Here’s a list of the essential steps that you can incorporate in your roadmap.

  • Conduct research and make a plan.

The preliminary stage is very important and shouldn’t be skipped at any costs.

The first task is to conduct market research. You need to identify your competitors, check alternative solutions on the market, and learn what is popular among the crowd.

Source: statista.com

Without doing this, you may go in the wrong direction.

Once you’ve got the research results, continue with defining your target audience. Your application may be for corporate clients, families, individuals or institutions.

Knowing your clientele will help you find out their pain points which are crucial for sketching an app toolkit.

For instance, State Bank of India has two applications – SBI Anywhere Corporate and Personal – each has a different set of features and works well for the particular market.

Source: Google Play

In this step, you should make a detailed plan for mobile banking development which includes expenditure projections that will become a foundation for your budget.

  1. Create a prototype

Every FinTech or banking application starts with an idea in your mind.

To live it out, you need to create a sketch or prototype explaining in general terms the structure and order of design elements, visuals, and content.

You may start with low-fidelity wireframing to sketch a home screen, users’ accounts, personal dashboards, and the layout for a  landing page.

As a rule, wireframes consist of boxes, lines, texts and are made in the white and black colour scheme. You can use an app wireframe to validate your concept and collect early feedback.

Next, you can turn your wireframe into a hi-fi prototype that will include a graphic presentation of a product, layout, interface components, the colour scheme, and micro-interactions.

InVisionApp – a prototyping tool

Just like wireframes, use your app prototype to demonstrate its toolkit to your focus group, test functionality, and interface.

You can add default texts, placeholders, and test data so that people can feel how your app works.

  1. Make a graphic design

Be ready for hard work in this step as the design of your app is its business card that should be recognisable.

There are tons of tips on how to make a perfect design for a mobile application. We’ve made a short list of the most important recommendations. Check them below.

  • make sure that typography, icons, colour palette, buttons, and forms of your solution match your corporate style and brand;
  • the navigation should reflect the logical architecture of your solution;
  • all the design elements – buttons, links, forms, icons – should be clear and comprehensive;
  • choose colours, images, video files that evoke certain emotions and feelings;
  • consider cultural differences if you’re going to operate globally;
  • adjust your app to iOS and Android standards to easily market it earlier on;
  • your app icon should be unique and make your solution stand out;
  • think about extra bells and whistles like sticker packs for messengers.
  1. Choose a technology stack

When choosing a technology stack for your FinTech app you should concentrate on four areas: front-end, back-end, cross-platform frameworks and other prerequisites such as robustness and security.

Make a checklist that would include the following criteria

  • project scope, complexity, and scalability;
  • the number of specialists and the level of their competence;
  • necessary tools and software;
  • outside solutions;
  • docs and specs.

There are different kinds of applications: native apps, hybrid solutions, cross-platform applications. Each has its own pros and cons and special features.

Native apps are robust and demonstrate high performance. They’re ideal for an established business. Native apps allow specialists to use native functionality of Android and iOS devices without utilizing third-party APIs.

Hybrid apps are developed using web technologies and can be built for different platforms thanks to a unified code base. Based on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, hybrid apps can function as progressive web apps.

There are lots of frameworks for creating hybrid apps from scratch – Ionic Framework, Xamarin, Phone Gap.

Phonegap – a framework for hybrid apps
  1. Develop and test

There are two mobile banking app development paths you can choose from – an app builder or an outsourced team.

The DIY approach implies that you pick an app builder, choose a template, tweak the settings, change the layout and get a ready-made app in a matter of minutes.

App makers will be ideal if you lack tech skills, don’t possess enough time or funds to build a fintech application or have a simple project.

In addition, the team behind an app maker will take the job on maintaining your app and provide you with cool analytics tools.

When you should hire a professional team?

If your idea is brand-new and it requires a custom approach, you can’t do without external help.

Despite being more expensive and lengthy, the development process allows to build a well-thought-out architecture, develop life-like user paths and journeys, create a user-friendly interface that won’t have analogues, choose a technology stack that suits best.

The most difficult part is to get a team together as the quality of work will influence the overall outcome.

AppyPie – a builder for mobile FinTech apps
  1. Market your app and get feedback

The most popular app marketplaces – Google Play Market, AppStore and Microsoft Store – have different requirements to applications which you should follow to avoid rejection.

In case you opt for an app maker, you can be sure that your off-the-shelf product will adhere to these standards by default.

If you’re building an app on your own, you should control this process to save time on future improvements and changes. Once your app appears on the Play Market, iTunes or Microsoft Store, first ratings and stars are to come.

  1. Improve and update

The app launch is just the beginning.

To get valuable feedback and learn what to improve and update, ask the mobile audience for feedback, contact app review sources, ask influencers and bloggers to test your product.

If you focus on Apple users, you may submit your application to Apple’s editorial team to get an expert review.

Another good idea is to apply your app to Top Apps lists or mobile app awards.

Once you’ve got feedback, you can define the weak and strong aspects of your product and decide on the ways how to make it better.

Cost to develop a mobile banking app

Now that we’ve covered the essential features, let’s see how much money you need to budget for creating a mobile banking app. The ideal way to estimate a project is to understand how everything will work and figure out the tiny details that matter. This process

At JustCoded, we split the app development process into several stages.

PHASE 1. DISCOVERY

We conduct a thorough business analysis to determine how the app will work in detail, what users can do, and whether third-party services are required.

What you get: functional specification with user flows, diagrams, and wireframes.

Cost: USD 2,400 – 3,200.

PHASE 2. UI/UX DESIGN

Based on the user flows and features we determine during the discovery stage, we’ll come up with user experience design to make sure we’ve covered all the business requirements and user needs at the same time. Then we’ll produce a user interface design of the app that includes the visual representation.

What you get: high-fidelity prototypes ready for implementation, along with a style guide.

Cost: USD 16,800 – 24,800.

PHASE 3.1. WEB DEVELOPMENT

Mobile apps require administration and it’s usually a web-based admin dashboard.

What you get: a user-friendly admin back-office with functionality to manage the mobile app.

Cost: USD 135,000 – 153,000.

PHASE 3.2. MOBILE DEVELOPMENT

We develop an API to communicate with the server-based app developed in Phase 3.1 and put all things together: design, functionality, API.

What you get: a fully-working app ready to upload on Google Play Market or AppStore.

Cost: USD 45,000 – 64,000

Here’s a more detailed break-down of stages together with the time needed for implementation.

The numbers in this table are indicative and may go up or down depending on the findings during the discovery stage

Top fintech applications for Android and iOS

Check our rundown of the best Android and iOS applications for 2019.

Varo Banking

The Varo app is a completely free solution that has no fees for maintenance, foreign transactions, ATMs withdrawals, and no minimum balance requirements. Varo Savings accounts offer appealing interest rates that increase according to the sum on your account.

Varo Banking

Revolut

Revolut is an alternative solution to traditional banking that offers built-in money management tools, cryptocurrency trading, spending notifications, international money transfers, and budget trackers.

Source: standard.co.uk

Aspiration Banking Services

The app is for those who are keen on conscious spending. Using the app allows you to get higher rates on deposits, low ATM fees, cash back and bonuses on purchases. What we like is that with Aspiration you can see what impact your shopping experience has on society.

Aspiration Banking Services

Baxter Credit Union (BCU) Mobile Banking

BCU Mobile Banking is a FinTech project launched by the BCU. The app comes in a bundle with lots of features – the fingertip authentication, mobile and bill payments, money transfers between accounts, online deposits, etc.

BCU Mobile Banking

ESL Mobile Banking

The ESL Mobile Banking app provides a swift and secure user experience. Among its features are checking balance and deposits, making bills, transferring funds and finding local bank’s branches and ATMs.

ESL Mobile Banking

Finn by Chase℠

Finn is a mobile bank for everyday usage. The app is designed to meet personal financial goals through expenditures tracking and automated saving. Finn lets you manage your buying habits to discover the most vital and less important purchases.

Finn by Chase℠

In closing

A FinTech industry is very specific and building a successful mobile solution requires sufficient efforts.

However, everything is possible if you stick to your plan, make a realistic budget, and create a team who are committed to the project idea.

The takeaway – a good banking app is not about cool bells and whistles, but about delivering proper financial experience.

How to make your mobile bank deliver value:

  1. Security is the number one priority at all times. People won’t care about seamless user experience if their bank accounts are easy to hack.
  2. Personal financing is what adds that extra value to your app. If you allow users to track expenditures and plan budgets, there is no need for them to use other budgeting apps.
  3. If security is the king, then impeccable customer support is definitely the queen. It’s what makes people feel secure and cared for. Allow your users to reach out to you via messaging apps of their liking and make sure your support team are helpful and maybe a bit less formal.

If you’re going to jump on the bandwagon of fintech app development and would like to know how to start, drop us a line and we’ll be sure to help!

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