How to Develop a Top Fintech App: Step-by-step Guide

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How to Develop a Top Fintech App: Step-by-step Guide

The global digital era requires safe financial transactions. The world’s consumers expect financial transactions to be fast, secure, and simple. The COVID-19 pandemic caused bank and payment app sessions to increase by 26% on average in the first half of 2020.

Additionally, the World Bank study shows that most fintech companies in 169 countries reported greater growth than they were a year ago. On average, transactions increased 13% last year in payments, digital asset exchanges, wealth management, and savings companies. It’s a good time to build a personal finance app or a fintech app.

Surf helped Russia’s big banks develop several innovative fintech products. A step-by-step guide to building your fintech app covers everything from picking a niche to understanding cost estimation.

Are you curious about how to develop a fintech app? Let’s get started!

Step 1:

Find Out What Niche You Should Go For

You have to decide what niche you’re in before starting fintech mobile app development. In the world of fintech, there are a bunch of opportunities for newcomers:

  • mobile banking,
  • P2P payment solutions,
  • personal finance management,
  • investment and trading,
  • blockchain apps,
  • crowdfunding solutions,
  • digital wallets,
  • crypto exchange,
  • money transfer,
  • insure-tech,
  • financial decision making,
  • data analysis, and some other subcategories of the market.

Come up with creative ideas or improve the existing ones. Also, you might be able to expand into a market with few fintech solutions in a country with many underdeveloped markets. Developing countries are booming with fintech app developers. Although the Middle East and North Africa have both experienced growth of up to 40% by 2020, North America grew by only 21%.

Step 2

Find Out What Legal Requirements Your App Needs to Meet

To keep consumers safe and prevent fraud, fintech apps must adhere to strict legal regulations. Big banks and big financial companies handle a lot of private information. To stop cybercrime and terrorism, the regulators keep revising and expanding their rules.

Then there are the privacy and compliance rules of every country. GDPRs (General Data Protection Regulations), privacy agreements, and consumer privacy policies are common fintech legal regulations. There are a few common compliance practices: anti-money laundering, PCI DSS (payment card industry data security standard), Know Your Customer, and digital signatures.

As a result, you need to make sure that your fintech app complies with legal requirements and compliant practices.

Step 3

Get a Handle on The Market

If you’re going to build a fintech app, make sure you know what you’re looking for. Answer the following questions:

  • Is your app helping users solve a problem?
  • Are there any features it must have?
  • Does your app make sense on the market?

A business analyst and a product manager might be needed at this stage.

Step 4

Figure Out What Technology to Use

If you’re developing apps for iOS and Android separately (also called native app development), you can do so with a single code base (cross-platform development), or you can build a PWA (progressive web app). Fintech apps can cost a lot and take a long time to develop, depending on which technology stack you choose. Here’s a quick breakdown.

Native apps

It’s better to use native apps because they’re faster and smoother. If you’re developing native apps, you need to follow the OS’s UX and technical guidelines. They use cameras and GPS without any trouble. The most expensive and time-consuming way to build apps is to make native ones.

Cross-platform apps

With cross-platform apps, you have one codebase that can be used on both iOS and Android. Such apps don’t take as much time and money to develop, and they have smaller teams. You should make cross-platform apps if you’re building an MVP. It’s challenging to customize cross-platform frameworks because a lot of them are slow and look weird. Flutter is the only exception since it’s cross-platform. With Flutter, you can build complex apps and fast prototypes due to its architecture.

Surf developed the second banking app on Flutter for the Russian market while developing other fintech products.

Rosbank, one of the most trustworthy banks in Russia, has been a client. They wanted a smart bank with help with taxes, bills, and customer service.

Step 5

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Fintech App?

It takes a lot of money to build a fintech app. You have to spend a lot of money and effort to hire a qualified team. Salary for app developers varies a lot, depending on their skills, their location, and how much experience they have. Your budget plays a huge role in who you hire. It’s still the US, where salaries are highest and India’s lowest.

Step 6

Make Your App is Easy to Use

There aren’t many customers that know how to code, so they want an app that’s easy to use. After security, fintech apps need a smooth user interface. In other words, the dashboard should have everything the user needs, not too many other things.

Don’t put too many features in your fintech app – you just need a few to make it great. You might be able to find something cheaper, faster, and easier to use by studying what your competitors are doing. But you still need a few basics:

AI-Powered Chatbots

These bots improve customer service and answer common questions 24/7. So, chatbots don’t overload call centers or leave messages unread.

API Integration

Devices, applications, and data can interact with APIs (application programming interfaces). The APIs facilitate data exchange between applications and devices. Your product will get more functionality and maybe make more money once you’ve established connections with other apps. Users can check their accounts, pay with PayPal, or find ATMs with API integration.


It’s nice to be kept updated on new features and deals or see how much money you’re spending. Make sure your app has notifications to make your customers feel special.

QR Codes and Scanning

QR scanning gets rid of errors and saves time by not entering the credit card number. Just point your camera at the QR code to use it, and it’ll scan. Currently, you can make instant transfers and payments using QR codes with a lot of banking apps.


The most important feature for fintech apps is security, as they handle sensitive data. The most common vulnerabilities in fintech apps are data leaks and storage issues, phishing, and poor encryption.

You need more approval steps, complicated passwords, two-way authentication, blocking suspicious transactions, and tracking user behavior for big things. In addition, developers have to ensure that the app restricts failed login attempts and displays only three last digits of a card number.

Step 7

Start with a Minimum Viable Product

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a simple version of the app. It only has the essential features. You can gather feedback from users and investors with it. Also, an MVP lets you see where you’re lacking and what you’d like to add in the next update. You can build the full-scale version after the minimum viable product gets reviewed.

Bottom Line

  • This is what you need to know when you’re developing a fintech app:
  • Are you trying to figure out how to build a finTech app or personal finance app? This seems to be a reasonable idea based on recent market research, especially now that COVID is over.
  • Banks and payments apps are where people spend most of their time. On top of that, there aren’t enough fintech solutions in many countries.
  • Meanwhile, building a finance app is a lot more difficult since compliance and security are so strict. It is time-consuming and expensive to remain compliant with legal requirements.
  • Getting Fintech apps developed is another hurdle. Depending on the technology stack, you can choose native or cross-platform or go progressive web-integrated. That will vary based on what you’re making.
  • Depending on where you are, the skills and experience of your team, you will have different development costs.

Fintech apps should have advanced security features and be user-friendly.

It’s not a good idea to build a full Fintech app right now. Create a minimal viable product and get feedback from users first.

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