How to Build a Mobile Banking App: A Step by Step Guide

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Yuliia Podorozhko
Market Researcher

Why make a mobile banking app in 2021? According to recent research, over two billion people use online banking apps, and this number is growing. By 2026, the global mobile banking market is projected to generate US$1.8 billion

There are three good reasons driving the significant uptick in mobile banking. 

First, the number of Gen Z users is growing. As this is a very tech-savvy generation used to mobile-first services, they are expected to cast traditional banking aside.

app-usage-stats-gen-z

Source: Techcrunch

Second, the Covid-19 pandemic meant mobile apps for banking became the norm, even among the most conservative age groups. Since the beginning of 2020, we're seeing a growing number of seniors use smartphones for various purposes, banking included.

Third, traditional banks are undergoing a paradigm shift. Now, banks play the fintech game too by rapidly adopting new technologies and switching to a customer-centric mindset. They are also creating new, client-forward products on their own and in collaboration with fintechs.

Changing customer and bank behaviours create the perfect conditions for building a mobile banking app. On one side, any traditional bank nowadays needs an app for customer loyalty and convenience, and on the other side, any fintech startup has a chance to make their product profitable faster by cooperating with traditional financial institutions.

Whether you’re looking to improve an established bank’s productivity and competitiveness or you’re planning to launch a brand-new fintech bank, it’s the right time to do so.

Best mobile banking apps in 2021

In July 2021, Business Insider named the top nine banking apps for the year. We picked two different apps (one is a pure fintech product and the other is an app from an established bank) from this list for some mobile banking development inspiration.

Chase Mobile

JPMorgan Chase is one of the largest and most trusted banks in the US. Regardless of its low interest rates, it retains a huge customer base. So, it's no wonder they have an impressive fan base of 38 million customers hooked on their app. However, the Chase mobile app’s popularity is not only due to the bank's reputation but also to the app’s functionality.

Source: Chase

In addition to core functionalities such as bank account management, investments, and credit card point tracking, Chase mobile provides handy extras. For example, Chase customers use the app to track credit scores, set up automatic savings, make mobile check deposits, and send money via Zelle and Chase’s QuickPay system.

Chime

Fintech company Chime provides a combination of digital banking and wealth management services via an advanced mobile app. There are no monthly or foreign transaction fees and balance fees are minimal. Plus, it provides fee-free access to more than 60 thousand ATMs. This would be enough to make it popular, but Chime doesn't rest on its laurels and constantly improves its app.

Source: Tools Sumo

Among the Chime app’s most notable features are its intuitive interface, TouchID or FaceID two-factor authentication, and the possibility to block cards with a single tap. Users appreciate the instant transaction alerts and daily balance updates, and integration with other apps such as Afterpay, Cashapp, Venmo, and Affirm.

Chase Mobile and Chime are two outstanding banking services. While one is a newer fintech product and the other comes from a bank with a long history, these banking apps have something in common: both are great software examples created with zest and passion by professionals. 

Curious about how apps as good as Chime and Chase are built?

How to develop a mobile banking app

At MadAppGang, we’ve been building apps for entrepreneurs and established institutions, including financial sector solutions such as WebMoney, for more than a decade. And we know that the hardest part is starting. That’s why we’ve prepared this short guide on how to build a mobile banking app to give you an idea of the development process.

Discuss your idea

It doesn't matter if you intend to build a mobile banking app for an existing institution or an innovative fintech bank, you need to have an idea of how the final product should look and function. Think about what problem you can solve with your product and how.

When you have a concept, discuss it with colleagues, existing and potential customers, and a team of developers. Everyone has a valuable opinion to share from customer-centric insights to cost information and general advice to get you underway.

Not only do these talks help evaluate if your idea is viable, but also help you pinpoint a direction for market research.

Conduct market research

Search for similar products and study your rivals. Use these products and services to identify opportunities. What could be improved, what is missing and can your product cover this gap? 

Then, check what customers say about the rivals' products. Do they have the same issues as you? If so, congratulations! You've found customer pain points. Knowing these points makes it easier to build a solid vision of your project, and understand how to make it attractive to users.

Decide which features to include

Study the best products on the market, compare them and make two illustrative lists of features. One list is for must-have functionalities like log in or payment transactions. The second list is to describe extra features that cover your customers’ pain points. Not only does this help to draw a clearer picture of your future app but helps to calculate the cost of a banking app when you discuss it with your development team.

Find your development team

At this stage, you need to find a team of developers. As you already have a vision of your project, it’s time to share it with the people who will bring it to life. Instead of hiring freelancers or building an in-house team, opt for an experienced fintech development company like MadAppGang. Not only will it save you expenditure on software, hardware, and office rent, but it also allows you to bring the final product to market as soon as possible.

When you hire MadAppGang, you get help and advice at every stage of your project. Our experts help you to create user stories and wireframes to make the initial idea more tangible:

  • User stories are an informal, general explanation of a software feature written from the perspective of the end-user or customer. A user story outlines how a feature will work and give value to the users.
  • Wireframes give you a clear vision of what your banking app should look like and the elements you need to include in each screen. Well executed wireframes allow you to determine which functionalities to build, the technologies to use, and how much time you need to build your mobile banking app.

Project timeline

The next step is a project timeline. When all discussions, user stories, and wireframes are complete, it’s possible to estimate the time necessary to create a mobile banking app. When working with MadAppGang, you'll receive a Gantt chart showing the project, so you know what to expect and when it will be delivered.

Example of a project timeline

Design your app

Currently, there are 3.48 million apps in Google Play and 2.22 million apps in the App Store. All of these apps try to present a well-designed interface to differentiate them from rivals, appeal to users, and give a good impression of the company. Think about it like this: if you develop a mobile banking app with a chaotic design that’s hard to understand and use, your customers get an impression that your business is chaotic and unreliable.

Address the priorities

Before any coding begins, the app’s features should be sorted according to priority. Prioritising features according to importance in the user’s perspective is the most logical way to run app development. Whether you go for a simple insurance mobile app, your very own POS system, or a complex mobile bank, the user’s priorities need to be prioritised.

Source: Atlassian

At MadAppGang we use special tools such as Jira for this purpose. We start every project by getting organised — prioritising software versions and noting and listing tasks and components in order of importance. This helps both our team and our clients understand the project’s workflow. 

Continuous iterations and improvements

MadAppGang uses an iterative, Agile approach to project management and software development. To develop a mobile banking app, we divide the project into small chunks of work. This allows us to deliver work in smaller increments ready to be evaluated and analysed. 

Approaching the task this way means you can check how the software performs and integrates with third-party software. Together with your development team, you can also decide how the product can be significantly improved at each stage before our QA team starts thorough testing of the complete app.

Testing

The next step in creating a mobile banking app is testing it. MadAppGang's QA team will make sure that the product is ready to be realised by:

  • Running stress tests to check how the app performs beyond its normal capabilities 
  • Cross-checking if your app is secure from hackers and malware
  • Conducting peer review to get feedback from a qualified third-party QA company
  • Reviewing the design and usability
  • Doing recovery tests to check how the app recovers from crashes or hardware failures

Release and test again

The first round of tests is done, so it's about time to submit your banking app to the App Store or Google Play. Our team will thoroughly check if the final product complies with the store’s requirements and fintech regulations. 

After that, the app is ready for the first users’ feedback. Study user feedback and don't stop improving your mobile banking app. It needs continuous support including A/B testing, bug fixes, new versions and additional features as necessary.

Final word

Changing customer behaviour and 2020's Covid-19 restrictions increased demand for stable and secure mobile banking applications. Not only did lockdowns encourage fintech banking, but also pushed conservative banks to adopt advanced technologies. As a result, only financial institutions with mobile banking apps can compete in today’s nimble banking market.

Mobile banking app development may seem like a long and hard road, but the path to success is much shorter if you have the right people around. With an experienced and reliable team like MadAppGang, you can be sure of a high-quality final product. 

Contact MadAppGang today. We know how to create mobile banking apps that are secure, user-friendly, and integrate cutting-edge mobile banking trends. As a result, you get top-notch software that gives your bank a competitive advantage and keep your customers happy.