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How to Build a Personal Finance App That Makes a Statement on the Market?

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The trend of consciousness and minimalism is influencing our daily lives. And personal budgeting is not an exclusion here.

Today people understand the importance of proper planning of personal finances, and the demand for personal finance apps is growing. As of 2021, the market value of mobile finance apps reached $573.1 million from downloads in the US. This number is 19% higher than 2020, with $ 481.9 million.  

All these facts make one clear: building a personal finance app is a great business opportunity that you can’t miss!  

But how to make it right to the users' hearts and stand out in the harsh competition of personal finance apps?

Short answer: learn your users' needs first. A more detailed explanation you will find in this article.  

So let's dig right in!

Some Words On Personal Finance Apps

All personal finance apps have one thing in common – managing the users’ financial cycle. When creating a personal finance app, you should keep in mind that it should help the user manage their finances and track their revenues and expenses.

Whether a simple app or a complicated multifunctional product, there are some essential functions that it should complete:

  • Tracking the balance between the expenses and revenue;
  • Provide analytics once in a certain period.

But these are just the basics. You can also make integrations with multiple payment systems to add more “colors” to your finance app. Or you can add gamification elements by allowing users to set spending or saving goals and badges once they achieve them.

2 Alternative Types of Personal Finance Apps

When building a personal finance app, you must assess not only your direct competitors but also those less obvious ones. Here are 2 types of personal finance that do not seem so obvious.

how to build a personal finance app

Banking Apps

Strangely enough, banking apps are entering the niche of personal finance apps. By integrating the features of financial analytics and saving achievements, they become a formidable competitor that provides banking and finance management features in one place.

Examples: Alliant Mobile Banking.

Chatbot Assistants

Interestingly, another competitor to keep in mind is not even an app! These chatbots are either integrated into banking or a messaging app. Despite its parasitizing nature, they do not concede to full-fledged apps in terms of functionality. They help to manage the finances, assist with planning options and even give individual advice.

Example:  Plum.  

Top Personal Finance Apps on the Market

It is hardly news that the market of fintech apps is swarming with personal finance apps. But one of the major players in this domain is Mint – a personal finance management app with more than 30 million users worldwide.

But besides Mint, there are other competitors to pay attention to:

  • PocketGuard – a budget management app, that helps to use budgeting tools for free, with an opportunity to extend the functionality in a premium version;
  • Mvelopes – a budgeting app that allows its users to manage their budgets by managing the money before and after spending;
  • EveryDollar – a simple and straightforward budgeting app for beginners.

4 Must-Haves When Building a Personal Finance App

Making a budget app requires an individual approach, including in-depth business, user, and tech research. However, as apps are abundant on the market, the user has become somewhat spoiled with top-notch service. And well, they will not settle for worse!

So not to disappoint them, here are some of the must-haves for your personal app’s service that I retrieved from my own experience:

Visualization Matters

The person’s most sensitive organ is the eye. The bad news is that you can hardly do anything about it. The good news is that you can easily handle it using graphic items like diagrams or infographics. Using graphic visualization of data is a great tool to help manage and understand data.

how to build a personal finance app

Security is a Top Priority

Giving up a part of your privacy to gain more benefits has become usual practice in the modern tech-driven world. However, things tend to get very sensitive when it comes to health or money. Solid data protection systems are paramount when building a personal finance app.

Instruments that you can use for higher security are:

  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA);
  • Ended-to-end encryption;
  • Instant notifications or alerts in case of unusual activity in the app;
  • A unique encryption key for every user;
  • Secure KYC process ( a multi-step process of users’ identity verification).

Intuitiveness is a Standard

In such a complicated topic as finances, there is nothing more precious than easeness. To bring real value to users, you need to make sure that completing a goal is no harder than switching on the TV or airing the room.

To reach easiness and intuitiveness in your app’s flow, you should work hard on your UX. Or hire a team of UX designers who can do an excellent job for you.

Uptech’s Protip: To make your UX effortless for users, you should know their pains and needs very well. Moreover, you should understand how your users live, how they spend their days, and when they go to sleep (well, maybe this one is too much). My point is – to make your app a part of users’ lives, explore their lives first!

To learn more UX design tips for fintech apps, please check our blog post How To Build A UX Fintech Design With A Human Face?

Keep Up With the New Reality

Make sure your personal finance app provides as many opportunities to your audience as the reality requires. For example, many users might want to have a chance to connect their crypto wallets to their personal finance app.

Cryptocurrencies are becoming so popular that excluding the opportunity to manage them in your app can become a severe problem for you. Moreover, the leader like Mint allows users to retain and manage Bitcoins on their accounts.

So developing a financial app, you could start with the most popular coins, like Bitcoin or Ethereum.

how to build a personal finance app

Profound Discovery – Key to a Successful Personal Finance App Development

A Discovery phase is a cornerstone of any product development process, helping to better learn users’ needs and tackle their pains.

A discovery phase is a stage in product development, where the team makes a number of researches in order to sum up and better understand the restrictions that you have.

As for personal finance app development and similar cases, Uptech usually carries out the following types of research:

how to build a personal finance app

User Research

To get to know the user better, “grasp” their tone of voice, learn about their problems, desires and lifestyle. This way we will be able to build a fintech product, tailored to the lifestyles of the users.

Tech Research

What tech possibilities do we have? What APIs should we use and how exactly will it help us? – tech research is supposed to answer all of these questions.

Business Research

The business research stage is necessary to assess all the business restrictions that would influence the development process. To this end, the team will have to take the following steps:

  • Stakeholder interview;
  • Problem statement;
  • Competitors Research;
  • Business Model Canvas;
  • CJM (Customer Journey Map).

The discovery phase also includes making assumptions and validating the ideas.

Read more about the value of Discovery stage for your fintech business in our article Building A Fintech App, That Stands The Competition.

Must Have Features to Make a Budget App

Once you’re done with the research and testing, you can start building your personal finance app. At this stage, you should have a list of must-have features figured out. Here are the ones that you cannot miss:

how to build a personal finance app

Authorization and Personal Account

Make the process of authentication and onboarding fast and easy, as much as you can. Yet, keep in mind that it should be secure, as you are dealing with large amounts of personal information.

The User’s Profile is necessary to allow users to keep all their personal information and be able to edit it at any time.

Income/Expense tracking

Let the users control the transactions, get quick access to them, and use filtering to see the data for a certain period of time.  

Categorization

This feature allows users to categorize their expenses for a clearer vision and management of their budget.  

Notifications

By Notifications you can notify the users on upcoming payments or expense rises. Besides that, you can add additional functionalities to your personal finance app.

Financial goals setting

This one will allow users to set their financial goals, whether big or small. For example, saving up $200 weekly or working out a new financial habit.

Integration with other financial accounts/payment systems

You can link your personal financial app to other financial services to streamline and synchronize financial services for users.

📲 Every fintech app need to be fast, secure, reliable and user-friendly. Uptech team is here to help you develop one. Check out what financial software development services we offer.

Tech Stack and APIs to Build a Personal Financial App

Once you have a list of functionalities for your budget-tracking app on your hands, select a list of instruments and technologies which you will use to develop the personal finance app. These can be libraries, programming languages, frameworks, etc.

The list of tech stack to build a finance app would include:

tech stack for a personal finance app

APIs

The list of APIs to build your personal finance app will depend on the feature list and the location of the bank you are partnering with.

Most often, the users are asked to share their personal information from a banking app for analysis in a personal finance app.

For such a case, the Plaid API is a perfect choice.

Cost of Building a Personal Finance App in 2022

The cost of the personal finance app development depends on a number of factors, like:

  • Complexity of features;
  • Model of partnership with the team;
  • Hourly rate of the developers.

But let’s imagine you are building a classic personal app. Let’s take into account the average features for such an app, the cost breakdown will look the following way:

how much does it cost to build a personal finance app

Uptech’s Expertise in Fintech App Development

Uptech Product Development Studio has ample experience in 6 years of building products. In this experience, fintech app development takes the lion’s part of our portfolio.

For example, in one of the green investment projects that Uptech has worked on, we conducted a Discovery Stage to understand the users’ needs and problems better, keeping them from satisfying them. We ran a row of user interviews and tests to see if the solution we had offered worked well in real life.

Uptech is also apt at providing effective technical solutions. This is exactly what we did in the Aspiration case. Aspiration is a financial service app that helps users manage their budgets while tracking their ecological footprint and giving back to the community. In this case, we had to develop a platform allowing users to visit the website 24/7.

Uptech development team bravely took on the challenge and came up with a solution: migrate the iOS app to Swift from Objective-C.

In the long run, the Aspiration mobile app that Uptech had built is now used by 70% of Aspiration customers. Also, it has a 4.9+ App rating on App Store with 40k monthly active users.

We blame our success on the Product Hypothesis-based approach used in our work. It helps us to build a user-oriented app that allows users to accomplish their goals.  

Conclusion

Building a personal finance app has all the preconditions to become a lucrative business investment. However, the standards are pretty hard for this type of app, saying nothing about the market competition.

Profound discovery and exploration of user needs will help you build a tremendously competitive app that users like.

Uptech’s Design and Development Team has 6 years of experience building competitive apps with profound research and learning user experience. We code, validate ideas, communicate with the users, and help companies find their product market fit.

Contact our Sales Manager to discuss the details of our cooperation.  

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