How to Build an Investing App in 4 Steps
Before investing apps, investing could be a headache. Investors needed to find a financial advisor, spend hours on the phone with them, and wait for quarterly reports to evaluate their investment strategies. Nowadays, though, the financial sector is modernised. New technologies have simplified the process and made the investment market accessible to everyone.
The Robinhood app, for instance, precipitated a wave of new investing and trading platforms and opened the stock market to millions of US residents. To compete with Robinhood and attract more investors, many US stock services lowered their fees, and a spate of startups such as CashApp, Acorns, E-Trade, and Invstr (to name just a few) made investment easier and more affordable.
If you’re inspired by other startups and want to create an investment app, it's high time to get a piece of the pie. The competition is fierce, but if your product is smart, secure, and addresses a gap in the market, there’s a chance you can profit in the ever-profitable investing app niche — Robinhood’s US$13 million revenue is testament to the market’s worth. And the more accessible investing is for average citizens, the bigger the market becomes. For sure, there is a place for your cutting-edge product.
To get you started on the right foot and provide some inspiration, MadAppGang created a four-step guide to investment application, based on our experience building fintech solutions. Use it as a stepping stone to a successful end-product. But before we get down to the business, let’s take a closer look at the basic types of investment apps.
Types of investment applications
Investing apps provide information about public companies: stock quotes, fact sheets, corporate materials and so on. Professional investors use these apps to conveniently check trends and data while on the go. Besides, using “advanced” subscription plans, it’s possible to handle and monitor multiple customer portfolios at a time.
But they’re not the only user base. Plenty of people now invest excess funds thanks to several factors including increased accessibility, being able to invest smaller amounts, and the rise of cryptocurrencies and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. In fact, Statista reports that 55% of Americans own stocks. For all these people, an investing app comes in handy, as well.
Source: Listen Money Matters
Today, numerous investment apps target different types of investors and ways of investing. . They can be broadly grouped into a few categories as seen in the table below.
Let’s take a closer look at investment management apps. We can group this type of investment app into several categories according to the level of advisory services provided :
- Do It Yourself (DIY) – DIY investing apps do not provide advisory services. These apps normally feature simple interfaces that provide market fluctuation data and basic tools for trading, creating, and managing portfolios.
- Robo-advisors – Using AI algorithms to analyse historical data, robo-advisor investing apps forecast market trends. Then, taking user preferences and behaviour into account, suggest the best investment options.
- Hybrid – Hybrid investing apps combine DIY and robo-advisor to enable any style of investment. A good example of a hybrid investment solution is M1 Finance, which allows users to rely on technology or make their own decisions when managing their portfolios.
- Human advisor – You can create an investment app that prioritises human advisory services. Or, you can integrate this as an advanced feature to any investment application. In-person advisors cost more but are a better choice for those who need to examine the state of their personal finances and find opportunities for improvement.
Even if the task seems overwhelming at first glance, you don't need to spend years creating an investment app. All you need is an original idea, a robust plan, and a team of professionals to build the required platform and help you at every stage of your project: from planning to minimal viable product (MVP), and from MVP to end-product.
How to create an investment app in 4 steps
The following four-step cheat sheet helps you convert your idea into reality: set goals, plan your app’s structure, choose a monetization strategy, and find a team of developers. Use it as a primary plan to help you reach the end product stage at a good pace. Let’s start by setting goals:
Step 1: Set goals
The first and the most important step in creating an investment app is setting goals. Doing so allows you to plan the product, your budget, deadline, and marketing strategy better. As a result, you will have a clear vision of your project, intended user base, and the features your investment product offers.
Here’s a cheat sheet with a few key questions to answer before you begin your investment app development:
- What services does your app provide? Decide on the type of investment app and level of advisory services.
- Who is your target audience? Conduct market research, create audience personas, and review your competitors.
- What problem does your investment app resolve? Get to know more about your target audience and their pain points.
By answering these questions, you gain a better idea of what your investment app should provide users and how it will look and function. Then, it's time to move forward to the second step and figure out how you'll make your application profitable.
Step 2: Choose a monetization strategy
There is no universal monetization strategy for investment apps, but there are several proven strategies that work well in financial apps. Review each and remember that you aren’t limited to one — you can mix and match various monetization models and find a balance that works for your investment platform.
- Subscriptions – Charge users for access to your software, to start trading, or unlock advanced features such as robo-advisors. Examples: Fidelity Go, Acorns, Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.
- Transaction fees – Charge for fund deposits, withdrawals, or buying and selling assets. Examples: Ellevest, Robinhood, Coinbase.
- In-app ads – Place advertising in your application to keep it free. However, note that users often find in-app ads annoying so only advertise relevant products. Examples: InvestApp, Webull.
Step 3: Make a list of features
The list of features you’ll integrate varies depending on the type of investment app. Live chat, for instance, is essential if you offer consultations with human advisors, while for robo-advisory apps, you need AI tools that search for and analyse investment options. That said, all types of investment apps have:
- Registration – It's a good idea to offer users several ways to register; along with a standard email and password sign up, you can implement Apple ID sign-ups, for example.
- Login – As with all the finance app projects MadAppGang has completed, we recommend two-factor user authentication for bank-level security.
- Personal profile with a “Settings” section – For adding and managing personal data, accessing bank information, configuring preferences, and so on.
- Bank and payment systems integration – Enable your users to link their bank accounts and make secure payments and withdrawals.
- Stock search and sorting – Allowing your users to search for stocks and investment opportunities is what your app is about. Create categories for easy navigation and add advanced filtering and sorting features.
- Real-time analytics and statistics – Provide charts and graphs with as much information as possible: market trends, historical data on asset performance, data on user earnings, and similar.
- Push notifications – Notifications are a good way to communicate with your users, inform them about market trends, investment opportunities, and give recommendations from experts.
After your MVP is tested and receives feedback, you can decide on advanced features for your investment solution. For example, you could add a profit and loss calculator. These tools are very helpful for calculating cost and selling prices, profit percentages, net profits or losses and so on. Another good idea is a watchlist. When users have many stocks on their list and in trades, they may lose control or find it hard to gain a clear overview of their financial positions. Watchlists help solve this issue.
Step 4: Put your team to work
At this point, it's time to put a team of professionals to work. To create an investment app, you need a full team of specialists:
- Project manager (PM) – To help determine your needs and budget, build a robust plan and design a roadmap for the project, manage your app development team, and more.
- Android or/and iOS developers – You need front and back-end app developers to bring your project to life.
- UX/UI designers – These specialists make your app appealing and user-friendly.
- Testers and QA engineers – To thoroughly test the platform to ensure a seamless experience for users.
To build such a team you have three options. Firstly, you could hire app developers and other team members on freelance platforms, but there’s no guarantee you'll find qualified specialists or meet your deadlines.
Secondly, you could assemble an in-house team. This seems like a better idea, but it’s not cost-efficient. Not only will you spend time and money hiring specialists, but you also need to provide the necessary hardware and software.
Thirdly, and the best option, is to hire an experienced development company. You don't need to invest in expensive hardware and software, or waste time looking for specialists. And you benefit from the experience and advice of seasoned specialists at every stage of the project.
When you hire MadAppGang, for example, you just need to define your needs and set goals. Our team handles everything else: designing your investment app, developing the software, testing it, and providing consultations throughout the process. In the end, you get a smart, secure, intuitive software solution that brings value to your users and your business.
Investment app development costs
Mobile app development costs are hard to calculate until you share your vision with professionals. The cost depends on a range of factors, including a number of features, type of app (native or cross-platform) timeframes, and so on. Costs range from $15,000 to $150,000 and even higher.
For a rough idea of average hourly rates for investment app development team members, take a look at the table below:
If you want to create an investment app and tap into an ever-growing market, all you need is a new idea and the right team of pros to help you realise your project’s potential.
Investment apps are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people join these platforms for the chance to help their money grow. Low fees, simplified trading and investing processes, and efficient AI-powered advisors mean user retention is high. The market may be competitive, but it welcomes new faces, especially those with innovative ideas. Create a smart and secure solution that addresses users’ needs and you should return the development cost swiftly.
Bring your project to life with MadAppGang. Our full-cycle software development team can help you build an investment app people not only use, but trust. MadAppGang are experts in web, Android, and iOS app development. Our fintech solutions, such as WebMoney, are used by millions of people worldwide. Call us today and let's get your project off the ground.