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How to create an investment app: features and costs

Free trading is becoming popular: people like to have control over their investment strategies and be free in the instruments they use. Brand new investors are mobile people and they would like to have an ability to manage their investments on the go. That is why more and more entrepreneurs wonder how to create an investment app.

An investment app can be a good business idea. And we are going to prove it to you in this article by providing relevant statistics, success stories and monetization strategies for this type of app.

Reading time: 10 minutes

Table of contents

    Investing apps market overview

    Statista counted that about 55% of Americans own long-term investments. And according to Visual Capitalist, the world’s stock market worthed $89,5 trillion in 2020https://www.visualcapitalist.com/the-worlds-10-largest-stock-markets/. That’s a huge market revolutionized by informational technologies: now trading is as easy as ordering food. 

    Investment apps themselves are great profit-makers: stock trading apps generated $22,8,billionhttps://www.businessofapps.com/data/stock-trading-app-market/ revenue in 2021. And the interest in the apps is only growing: Google's researchhttps://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/app-growth-mobile-playbook-search-stock-investment/ shows that investing and stock-related app searches, such as “penny stock trading app” and “investment mobile apps,” have risen 115% YOY.

    growth of revenue for investment appsInvestment apps revenue increases with a cumulative grow of 38,7%

    Moreoverhttps://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-trends/app-growth-mobile-playbook-search-stock-investment/, 84% of people would like to consolidate all their financial activities in one place. However, there are already several types of investment apps, 81% of users want additional digital features.That, consequently, makes investment app development a prospective area for business. 

    Types of investment apps

    The main function of an investing app is to help people manage their investments. While all these apps work in the same way, we can categorize them by the amount of help provided in the app for the users. There are four types of investment apps.

    Do it yourself (DIY). Banking apps with almost no help for users. An app provides only basic information about stocks like their price, the minimum amount of purchase but no built-in analytics or investment strategy advisory.

    screen of an investment appA DIY investment app should support basic operations: portfolio outlook, investing transactions and instrument data monitoring

    Robo-assist. This kind of app is strengthened by an artificial intelligence (AI) analyzing market trends on the basis of historical data. After a quite simple analysis of a user’s behavior and preferences, an AI can provide options on how to optimize the investment strategy and create more value from trading.

     screens of robo-assist appAn Indonesian Bibit is an example of robo-assist app: an AI helps to improve investment strategy on the basis of risk tolerance and an amount of money a user would like to earn

    Hybrid. These apps combine advantages of the first two types. A user can rely on technologies or make their own decisions about the types of investments.

    Human advisor apps are the most luxurious ones. All the analytics are done by real people with relevant education and experience. That can be a killer-feature for an investing app: users are ready to pay more in order to get a piece of professional investment advice right in their smartphone.

    Features of investment apps

    There are several features that should be in an investment app. They either provide basic functions or create a unique customer experience and distinguish your app in the market.

    Account

    User’s profile should contain basic information: name, surname, portfolio status, trading and investment results for a day and the whole period of an app usage.

    Learning module with demo account

    Not every user is The Wolf of Wall Street: some of them will definitely need a trial account in order to polish their investment skills. Provide a learning onboarding module or create a knowledge base. For example, in our project with BKS, we have created a knowledge base in the frame of frequently asked questions. Learn more in our case.

    screen of FintargetA knowledge base should provide information about platform functions, financial instruments and investment strategies  — that is a way to build trust and support your users

    Transaction management

    Buying, selling, cash in, cash out… Investors like to have full and transparent information about their money flow. And you should provide them with a service that meets these expectations. Develop a service that helps users manage transactions, with a clear and user-friendly interface.

    Integration with financial system

    Users prefer to deposit their money in different services: banks, e-wallets, crypto wallets and so on. Your app should support a money deposit from as many services as possible. The more services your app supports, the wider your target audience will be.

    Features for different instruments

    Today, there are lots of financial instruments: crypto, hedge, futures, currencies, ETFs. The more of them will be available in your app, the more popular your app will be. 

    Analytics

    Market analysis and basic instrument data is a must-have feature for any investing app. Your users will definitely exploit it in order to get the information they need for decision making and investment strategy development.

    screens of an investment appYour investment app should provide different kinds of analytics, for example instruments’ price fluctuation and portfolio dashboard

    News feed

    You can broaden the analytics dashboards by customized news feed. Provide an opportunity to subscribe to favorite instruments, companies or industries’ news. That will create a more thoughtful connection between a user and your service and increase the value for users provided by the app. 

    KYC and AML integration

    Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering integration is a must for investment app compliance. Consult with a lawyer on the details and extra regulation you should consider and comply with for every country you would like your app to operate in.

    Search and filters

    This is a basic function, however an important one for customer experience. Usually users already have their choice criteria: investment instruments, amount of money, timeframe etc. So, search and filtering options become handy for choosing the one that fits the requirements.

    Notifications

    In the world of trading, real time information is as good as gold. Users will appreciate built-in notifications about favorite instruments and hot market news. 

    Sometimes, your future users will want to buy stocks for exact prices and push notifications are a great way to support them. Also you can notify your users whether any serious events happen in the market like correction of interest rate.

    alerts in an investment appUsers can set up alerts and get updates about changes in the stock price

    Push notifications can support your users’ financial strategies by notifying them at the right time. Customers will be definitely thankful to you for saving their portfolios.

    Binance Push-notificationFor example, Binance sends push-notifications to inform users about the prices of chosen cryptocurrencies 

    Investment calculator

    Investment is followed by a lot of taxes, levies and fees. You can help the users to puzzle the details out: develop a calculator in your app. You can add more value by providing extra functionality like profit forecast and investment planning.

    Support

    A technical support can be robotic (with chat bot or AI integrated), human or hybrid. That will depend on the amount of resources you have.

    Best examples of investment apps

    Now, we would like to give you some examples of investment apps. We picked 5 most remarkable apps and highlighted their technicalities for you to dive into the market and find inspiration for your future app.

    Robinhood

    It is one of the most famous investment apps. Robinhood was the first company to provide trading free of charge. They combine the investment inquiries from users and send them for execution to third parties. This model has lowered the amount of money needed to start investing. The company has also created Robinhood Gold, which lets users trade on margin, make larger deposits and access professional reports from Morningstar.  Many of today’s investment apps were inspired by Robinhood’s model.

    screens of Robinhood appSimple and user-friendly interface is also one of the app’s advantages

    Binance

    Binance is the first cryptocurrency and NFT investment platform. Their competitive advantage is a strong security system with advanced encryption and expanded users’ control system. The app also supports Secure Asset Fund for Users: it stores 10% of all trading fees in a secure asset fund to protect a share of user funds.

    screen of Binance appBinance supports all popular cryptocurrencies and provides secure trading with strict security protocols

    Acorns

    Acorns’s philosophy is to create a habit of regular investments: every time a user purchases something, the app sends the change to the investment account. Acorns offers several investment strategies based on investor’s portfolio, age and risk tolerance.

    Acorns’s screenA user can manually set up an amount of roundup to be invested from every purchase they made

    Wealthfront

    Wealthfront is a robo-assist investment app with a huge commission-free amount — $5000. It also provides a variety of investment strategies created by experts for automated trade. The most significant feature is tax optimisation service available from online advisors. The app is created for small-amount investors and does not provide discounts for large-balance accounts.

    Wealthfront screenThe app provides a strategy based on the time a user would like to retire 

    eToro

    eToro is a social network for investors with a trading mechanism. It supports crypto, shares, ETF and lots of other instruments. The main advantage of the app is a possibility to apply to investors’ communities in order to discuss the strategy, news or ask for a piece of advice. An investor can also just copy the strategy from a person they follow. That is a real killer-feature and innovative function.

    eToro screenThe app combines an investment and social apps interface in a user-friendly manner

    Monetization strategy

    Of course, an investment app creation is not a charity and you would like to make money off your efforts. As a market standard, you can choose one of four basic options on how to make money from the app development:

    • Advertising  — built-in ads help to keep an app free for users. You can accept all types of ads in your app or filter offers based on your audience’s preferences.
    • Premium account  — you can either remove ads from the app or add extra features from the list we discussed earlier as paid options.
    • Transaction fee  — you can charge a certain amount of money or a share of the volume for every transaction made.
    • Hybrid monetization model is a combination of ads and in-app purchases. For example, you can choose to show ads in your app and provide some paid functions like personal investing consultation or additional instruments to invest in.

    Develop an investment app in 5 steps

    There are two options for how to create an investment app. You can either hire developers or outsource the software development to the agency. If you hire a team, you will have to control their work by yourself: set the tasks, manage the budget and timeframe, assess the quality of their work. On the other hand, you can outsource the investment app development and save your time and money to build an investment platform.

    You will need to take just 5 steps to create an investment app.

    Step 1: Market research

    Try to use your competitors’ apps: learn their business model and features. Pay special attention to mistakes and inconveniences which you should avoid in your investment app.

    Step 2: Find an app development agency

    In order to choose a company to create an investment app, we advise to start your search from the portfolio: an agency should already have built several mobile apps for investors or bank account management both in iOS and Android. Pay attention to clients’ references. The reviews will help you to manage your expectations from app development services.

    Step 3: Building an MVP

    MVP (minimum viable product) is a working version of your app with basic features. Creation of MVP helps you to test the app before the launch and avoid useless spendings.

    Your app development team will help you with important details like tech stack, APIs and integrations you need.

    An MVP should be consonant with certain safety and compliance rules. First of all, ensure safety of user account data. The app should securely manage personal data in accordance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) for Europe and other personal data regulations for other countries your investing app will operate in. And, of course, the app should provide secure connection with bank accounts in order to replenish an investing account or withdraw money from it.

    Secondly, the app should comply with financial industry regulations. For example, in the USA the app should satisfy the requirements of SEC (Security and Exchange Commission), FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), DTCC (Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation). For other countries you should better consult with a lawyer with financial specialization. 

    Step 4: Release

    This is a stage, when all the preparations are made and your app is ready for customers. The agency will control the technical side of the launch and you should pay attention to the first users’ feedback.

    Step 5: Maintenance

    This is a continuous stage of app improvement. You should update the app functionality and design according to feedback from the users.

    How much does it cost to build an investment app?

    We roughly estimated the time and budget needed for an investment app development. These are preliminary data for the MVP development with Purrweb for every of five key parts.

    Project Estimation

    We will discuss the idea and estimate the time and costs for software development. This stage is free of charge.

    UI/UX design

    Design includes both a visual representation and key functions of a future app. In this stage, we plan all the functions from account creation to money withdrawal. 

    106 hours 

    💰 $6 710

    Development

    This is the most time-consuming stage. The team develops the architecture, the interface on both client and server sides.

    916 hours

    💰 $ 44 955

    QA (Quality Assurance)

    Testing is important. For the time of release, there must be no bugs in the app. QA engineers will take care of that. 

    495 000 hours

    💰 $ 9 900

    Project management 

    Project management is an important part of the app creation. A professional manager assigns tasks, control deadlines and costs of development. 

    💰 $4 800

    The total investment app development costs are $66 365

    Here is the detailed breakdown in terms of features

    FeatureTime for development, hoursCost of development, $
    Profile100 hours$4 500
    Learning module with demo account120 hours$5 400
    Transaction management100 hours$4 500
    Account deposit80 hours$3 600
    Support60 hours$2 700
    Analytics100 hours$4 500
    KYC and AML integration80 hours$3 600
    Notifications24 hours$1 080
    Investment calculator100 hours$4 500

    You can make a first step to your future investment app by consulting with Purrweb experts. Fill in the form to contact us and have a free consultation. We will discuss your idea and timeframe for the app development. Moreover, we will share our expertise in fintech development.

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    FAQ s

    • What is an investment app?

      It is an app for investments. There are four main types of them: DIY apps, robo-assist, hybrid, human advised.

    • How long does it take to create an investment app?

      Approximately, mobile app development takes about 4 months. The precise time will depend on features, number of developers and their experience in financial apps.

    • How much are investment app development costs?

      You will need about $60 000- $66 000 to create an investment app. As with the timeframe, the exact amount will depend on the features and experience of the team.