Seems like people are ready to go all-in with a cashless style of life and forget about clunky wallets. To achieve this, society needs an abundance of fintech apps as well as convenient personal finance apps to make a cashless society a reality and ensure a healthy competitive market with reasonable prices, great customer experience, and evolution of the sector. Do entrepreneurs who set out to create a personal finance app know all the nuances of developing one? Quite likely, yes. However, better safe than sorry. We know plenty of nuances from experience and want to share this plenty with other enthusiasts.
In this article, you’ll read about popular personal finance management apps, the core functionality of the apps, the process of developing a competitive app, and determining the costs, the ways of its monetization.
Examples of Personal Finance Apps
Managing personal budgets, controlling spending, planning for the future, and efficiently dealing with finance-related operations is quite a task. Personal finance apps automate and digitize these processes, taking all the heavy accounting lifting off a user’s shoulders. Finance management apps come in different packages, with different ‘tastes and flavors’ to suit different needs in a variety of countries with unique mentalities and preferences. That’s a lot of synonyms, but you’ve got the gist of it. Also, consider that even though most finance management apps have common functionality, they also have unique specialties. They aim at a certain audience or have unique features that separate them from the rest.
To better crack the essence of successful finance management apps let’s take a look at a pair of the most popular specimens in the industry.
Mint is already an old-school app by the modern digital market standards. However, founded in 2008, Mint is still fresh and popular. It is a free personal finance app with 15 million users, which provides the following functionality:
– Connecting all user’s credit and debit accounts to a single interface
– Managing personal budgets, with expense planning per certain time period
– Geolocations tracker to monitor where spending was made
– Statistical visualization of the relevant data: charts and graphs of spendings and profits
– A variety of notifications and alerts to keep users informed including dates when bills are due
– Extensive customization
– Credit management
Overall, Mint is your swiss knife of personal finance management systems. Mint is great, the only downer though is that the app is only for Canadians and US citizens. Also, with constant updates and proper maintenance, which helps to ensure the system’s relevance and competitiveness, Mint demonstrates the significance of proper support of software. Mint runs on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
You Need a Budget
Unfortunately, You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a rather relevant app that helps people to get out of debt and “stop living paycheck to paycheck.” The key benefit of YNAB is that the app not only provides a user with the functionality to monitor and manage budgets but also with relevant advice and support on how to handle financial crises and avoid financial distress situations in the future. So, besides providing your ‘typical budgeting app’ features, You Need a Budget has a forum for financial advice and emotional support, prioritization guides, long-term goals advice, support on dealing with debts, saving guides, etc. It has versions for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Functions of Personal Finance App
If you are to make a personal finance app, you should know its primary and additional features. The former ones make an app relevant, the latter ones — interesting. Thus, the functionality of money management personal finance apps are
Synchronization with a user’s bank and credit accounts to keep track of budgets, which also may include investments and loans. While synchronizing, an app should download data on previous transactions that occurred in recent months to provide some initial statistics.
Budgets and categories. A user should be able to create categories for expenses and set budgets accordingly. Ideally, an app should assign categories to transactions automatically based on the provided data. The rule of the thumb — the smarter your personal finance app, the better. Let the app automatically set the limits of the budgets based on transaction statistics and provide additional advice.
Goals. Setting short or long-term financial goals tied to certain budgets is a must for a personal finance app. The software should also help to reach set goals using notifications and alarms.
Statistics and reports. Sometimes, beautifully organized data showcased with the help of accurate and insightful charts and graphs as well as nicely-tuned reports are the best way of motivating people to stay on track of their financial goals. All in all, aim for the stars and try to develop the best app for creating personal finance reports
Customer support. As always, there is no reliable fintech app without proficient and stress-resilient customer support, which is always there to help newcomers and other users to figure out stuff and deal with users’ frustrations.
Monitoring of investments: keeping people informed on the condition of their investments, comparing market indices, etc
Guides and personalized advice. Guides about money management and ‘lifehack’ that help to save more are a nice feature, which also sends users the message “We care.”
Forums and support. Take YNAB, its forums with support and advice from other people who help each other to deal with financial problems or improve financial habits is a major selling point.
Talking about features and functions…
“Ahem… Hello, do you have a spare minute to talk about security of personal finance apps?”
There’s no avoiding talking about security when the deal gets to fintech. We’ve already talked about it, we are talking about it now, and we’ll be talking about it in the future again. Security is where overt repetition is justified. A lot of money and sensitive information are being lost due to crafty cyber attacks and mishaps. And while people somewhat tolerate the potential vulnerability of personal data, money security is not what they’re willing to risk.
Users want secure financial apps, and you want your app to be as secure as possible. Make security the heart of the personal-finance app development, find a team that knows how to make the software bulletproof. Security of an app starts with basics, such as an approach to writing code, lasts throughout each development stage, and ends with third-party services selection and integration, so it’s better to be cautious of each step along the way. You can read more about the basics, here.
How to Build a Personal Finance App?
Developing complex software is an epic tale in several chapters because of the initial market research, thorough planning, development, and testing required to build a robust product. Personal finance app development is not an exception. Be it a personal management app for iPad, personal expense tracker android app, or personal expense tracker app for iPhone, the plan for the development is the same. In broad strokes, if we build a personal finance app from scratch, the plan is the following:
Idea & Research
During this stage, business analysts, software developers, and QA specialists shape the blueprint of the future system based on functional and non-functional requirements, regulatory environment compliances, market research, and competitor analysis.
Creation of personal finance app’s visuals by UI/UX designers considering the results of the previous research, requirements of platforms, stakeholders, and fundamentals of intuitive user experience.
Here, at KindGeek, we combine the first and second stages into the Discovery Phase, which is a neat condensed package of all necessities required for further development, funding, and cost estimates.
The development itself is a complex process, which involves separate iterative stages, called sprints, which in turn are divided into smaller phases, such as, planning development, testing (QA phase), review. The iterative nature of the development allows for continuous building and polishing of the product. At the same time, tight communication with the stakeholders and owners is present to consider feedback.
Support & Maintenance
After the product is developed, it’s time to support and maintain it, updating its functionality, adapting it to new circumstances, and dealing with bugs.
Of course, the plan of app development can vary depending on the state of the idea, research required, state of investments, etc. However, if we are talking about creating a personal finance app from scratch till completion, that’s the route we adhere to in order to create lasting and relevant tech. However, remember that software development is flexible and adjustable, and it’s possible to find a proper approach to any case.
How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Personal Finance App?
Measuring the price of software development is … tricky. It’s not like building a table, where we know the price of materials, and with enough experience can estimate how much time it will take to complete it ‘by eye’. With software, the situation is more complicated and requires a thorough analysis. to consider requirements, regulatory environment, tech stack, third-party services, number of features to develop, time for developing each feature, etc.
Estimation of costs takes some time and depending on the thoroughness of the analysis, varies in accuracy. Perhaps, the surest way of determining the price is the aforementioned Discovery Phase, which depending on a chosen package will provide accurate cost estimates and
– product concept from Product Manager
– prototypes from Business Analyst
– visual concept from UI/UX Designer
– architecture concept from System Architect
Monetization of Personal Finance App
It’s all sweet and neat, but how exactly do personal finance apps make money? Of course, you can charge money for an app. For instance, Quicken is for sale and appears to be quite a successful contender. However, mind that people are not used to paying for apps, and if you decide to charge for the software, the marketing for the product should be immaculate and articulate why the app is worth the price in a surprisingly engaging and convincing way.
Currently, free or almost free options are the trend. Therefore, the following ways of personal finance app monetization are the most prevalent:
Ads. Ads can be frustrating and distracting, but they do the job. Also, users can pay to get rid of them.
Freemium. The free app, but extra features for sale. For example, essential features, such as budgeting and categorization can be free, while investments management or personalized guides — for sale. However, decisions about which functionality to monetize should involve a lot of market research.
Selling aggregated financial data and including product referrals is another way of monetization. For instance, Mint practices it.
Charging fees for certain services, such as investment portfolio management.
Finally, you can be creative and ‘invent’ new ways of monetization that will be unique and feasible for your product.
Budgeting, keeping track of all expenses, managing banking accounts can be a daunting task. You can make it easier for people by developing a relevant app. The market is just ripe for such endeavors; it’s just important to find the right opportunity and target the right audience.
If you are set to develop a finance management app, a personal expense tracker app, a budgeting software, or basically any other fintech tech, you’ll have to endure quite a long journey. However, we can help. With experience in developing fintech apps and mobile apps of various complexities in general, we know how to make the journey a breeze.