Personal financial app

How to Create Your Own Personal Finance App

Image source: Dribbble - Anadea

There are many things money can’t buy. Still, everyone aims at saving and multiplying their capital. For that, mobile apps for budget management are highly demanded these days. Learn how to build a personal finance app that’s gonna be a success and what you need to start.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Do People Use Financial Apps
  2. Types of Finance Apps
  3. Top Personal Finance Apps for iPhone and Android
  4. Technology Stack
  5. Features of a Finance App
  6. How Much Does it Cost to Develop Personal Finance App?
  7. How Can You Make Money with Money Management App Development?
  8. How to Make a Budget App Users Will Love: 7 Tips
  9. How About Creating Your Own Financial App?

Why Do People Use Financial Apps

Although it’s the society of overconsumption we live in, money management is now a trend. It has emerged in response to the market that creates new needs every day and pushes people to buy more and more stuff. As a result, they keep wondering where their money is going.

For some, managing their budget is quite a challenge as altering spending habits requires a lot of willpower and motivation. In other words, people use budgeting apps to increase their financial awareness and well-being. For that, financial apps are of much help, and there are lots of ways they can come in handy. With this in mind, you can start researching how to create a budget app that will be useful and profitable.

Let’s dive into different types of personal finance applications and see what people use them for.

Types of Finance Apps

Budgeting apps can combine the three types below or only have a set of features specific to only one type. Before you build a budget app, think about what you’re into more - a narrow solution or a more complex one. There’s no answer to the question of which type, simple or complex, is better. Decide on this depending on the kind of problem you’re up to solve.

Spending Trackers

Financial trackers are apps linked to the user’s bank account that upload all card transactions for further analysis. Based on transaction types, apps analyze users’ behavior, highlight the most “expensive” spending categories, and reveal certain trends, e.g. the user tanks up every Monday. Trackers can help start useful habits and finally understand where hard-earned money goes. The user can draw conclusions based on graphs with info on expenses.

Budget Planners

Apps of this kind are designed for managing a set amount of money, e.g. a user has $5000 in hands and needs to organize an event for this sum.

Also, budget planners allow setting financial goals, such as putting away 20% of monthly salary instead of spending it all. Such apps have to include at least the following categories of spending after taxes: rent, groceries, gas, insurance, etc. The budget planner will notify users when they reach their budget ceiling even when the app is closed.

Investment Apps

While ones want to save more by spending less with the help of personal finance apps, others are willing to invest their money in order to receive more over time. It’s a popular opinion that money’s useless when it’s just lying there - the owner has to put them to work. That’s what the investment apps, or apps for traders, have in their core, offering traders the ability to buy and sell stocks.

Not only such a philosophy is a driving force of the trend for investing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have reduced such lines of expenditures like travel, clothes, and transport. Sudden extra money encourages people to invest in stock exchanges as well as trade in currencies. Thus, significant growth in the investment apps popularity and demand for their development is anticipated.

Top Personal Finance Apps for iPhone and Android

There is a couple of the most remarkable apps in each niche. In that of personal finance apps, here are some top examples with pricing information for the full picture. Finance apps are utility tools with no viral component, and in view of that, the popularity of the ones below looks even more impressive.

Mint

Practically any budgeting apps listing will put Mint in the first place, and so will we. Mint has long been a reference for apps alike for a reason and has over 20 mln downloads so far. It’s a complex solution yet easy to use, offering access to credit scores, flexible categorizing and personalizing settings, visual statistics for selected periods, credit control, and geotags for places where purchases were made.

Based on the user’s spending history, Mint automatically suggests an envelope budget. In a broad sense, “envelope budget” means that the user’s income is manually or automatically distributed into categories (envelopes): groceries, clothes, eating out, etc.

One inconvenience with Mint is the unavailability of reports in the app - user needs to visit the website to see them. Unlike the rest of the apps listed here, Mint is free to use with no additional fees. It generates revenue via referrals and showing ads.

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

This one is as good as Mint and has pretty much the same set of features, however, many people prefer Mint over YNAB since the latter has no free version. However, YNAB offers a 34-day free trial which is just enough for the user to understand whether they are ready to pay $98.99/year for the app. Availability of reports on the phone is a huge plus for You Need a Budget compared to its biggest competitor.

Otherwise, YNAB is a complex financial solution that allows putting saving goals and planning ahead. The app has gathered a large community of users around it and even has its own forum where they share spending advice and help each other deal with financial problems. Not that alone, YNAB has its own subreddit, a YouTube channel with over 100k subscribers, and a podcast!

Personal Capital

Personal Capital is another cloud-based financial application. Like many similar ones, Personal Capital allows users to track their cash in and outflow, but that’s not all - the app’s main focus is investments making investors Personal Capital’s target audience. It provides users’ real-time net worth and a detailed investment portfolio - more detailed than any other instrument.

Another advantage over many finance apps is 24/7 customer support while most of the others only have a chat. And an interesting thing about Personal Capital is that it’s frequently used by couples who try to agree on their budget and be transparent about their spendings with each other.

Speaking of pricing, Personal Capital draws a management fee starting from 0.89% at a minimum balance of $100.000.

Goodbudget

This one uses the same envelope technique as Mint and others, however, in the case of Goodbudget, it’s manual only. The plan was to make users analyze their habits themselves since automation, according to the app creators, doesn’t allow for making proper conclusions. The user allocates a threshold for each of the envelopes and if it’s surpassed, the envelope turns red.

The app is free if the user has up to 20 envelopes. An unlimited amount of envelopes is available for $7/month or $60/year. Reports are a must-have, and for sure, Goodbudget creates them too.

Thus, categorizing is Goodbudget’s key perk. Not everyone would like to allocate transactions into categories manually, which makes it quite a niche tool.

Technology Stack

For finance app development, we at Anadea can apply the following technologies and more:

S.No.
Application Area
Technologies Used
1 Frontend HTML5, CSS3, SASS, LESS, JavaScript, ES5/ES6, React, Angular.js, Redux, Mobx, Apollo, GraphQL, Webpack
2 Backend & Servers Ruby on Rails, Ruby, Java, Scala, Spring, Kotlin, Python, Node.js, Apache, Tomcat, Nginx
3 Cross-platform Mobile Development React Native, Flutter
4 Android Development OkHttp3, Room, WorkManager, Android SDK
5 iOS Development Swift, Objective-C, iOS SDK

Features of a Finance App

See some features most personal finance apps include, and perhaps your should too.

Simplifies Finance

Budgeting apps simplify users’ access to all of their spending activities, be it payroll accounting or buying a cup of coffee. All transactions are in one place thanks to syncing with users’ bank and credit card accounts via credit/debit cards integration. Having their spendings and receipts in front of them, users will have a clearer picture of their financial behavior and have a clue on resolving possible problems, such as overspending.

Takes Care of Security

All that concerns money requires maximum precision, control, and security. When building a finance app, up-to-date standardized security protocols have to be used. The user should not experience data leakage and confidentiality breaches, otherwise, you can wave goodbye to your rock-solid reputation.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven features are used for the analysis of user behavior, predictive analytics, and much more.

  • AI tools can help users find the best ways to invest money and get useful financial advice in accordance with the current market conditions and exchange rates.

  • AI is often implemented for credit risk assessment and accounting.

  • AI will select the information relevant for each specific user and recommend them info on the subject, be it advice on trading or loans.

  • AI is indispensable for customer support to answer frequently asked questions or redirect users to a financial consultant in case of complex issues.

Personalization

Many financial apps enable users to create categories of expenses (“envelopes”), set personal goals and reminders. Customization helps an app fit the needs of the maximum possible number of users and reach out to the widest audience.

Analytics

Seeing big numbers displaying the amounts of money spent during some period might be uncomfortable for some people, and still, many use personal budgeting apps exactly to be aware of how much they are spending. Financial apps give users the opportunity to see how much they’ve spent within the set or pre-set timeframes, generate graphs and pie charts, and give advice based on the user’s goals. Also, don’t forget reports are a must.

How Much Does it Cost to Develop Personal Finance App?

Coming with a precise estimation for financial app development is tricky. It all depends on the complexity of the solution and the scope of problems it’s designed to solve. Creating one with Anadea will take around 5 months and cost $50.000-70.000. Developing a more elaborated application can cost up to $110.000 with an approximate project duration of 13 months. Contact our Sales representatives to get a more precise estimation.

How Can You Make Money with Money Management App Development?

The idea of paying for an app that is designed to help save money may sound ridiculous, but it actually isn’t. People are ready to pay for a high-quality product and they like to feel a part of a community. In 2020, around 70k people have been using the YNAB subscription, and this number has grown so far, which makes a subscription still a working option for monetizing your app.

If you find adopting the subscription model too risky, offer users a free trial period so that they investigate the app’s paid features. From the examples of stellar personal finance apps above, you can see that they are relatively affordable for most users starting from $7 to $15 per month, and subscriptions to less popular ones, such as Buxfer, cost around $5/month.

How to Make a Budget App Users Will Love: 7 Tips

Follow these tips on how to make a financial app secure and usable.

1. Security in the First Place

  • Make sure the app protects users’ personal and financial data and ask your development team whether they use modern encryption protocols.

  • Make provisions for notifying users about taking all the necessary safety precautions that depend on nobody but themselves - practicing cyber-hygiene (not reusing passwords but coming up with complex ones, not clicking on suspicious links from email) and avoiding fraud on the phone, when scammers pretend to be bank workers.

  • Enable authorization to the app via PIN/password or biometric data for better security and confirmation of transactions with a special password/SMS code.

  • Make sure your app sends minimum data to external sources since it may cause leakage. Prevent injection of foreign thus possibly harmful code in your solution by including input validation when any data is entered.

  • Don’t neglect the Quality Assurance service when developing a solution that concerns someone’s money.

2. Think as Your Users

We’d propose putting yourselves in the user’s place and that would not be wrong, however, theoretical assumptions don’t always work in practice. Before you start financial app development, better open App Store or Google Play Market and go through reviews on the most used apps similar to the one you have in mind and point out what users like or dislike about them most.

3. Start Small

There’s no need to start huge and try to implement all of your best ideas at once. When creating a finance app, focus on key functionality that makes your app stand out. Consider building an MVP to give your idea a test drive. Start small as a simpler solution can always grow into something bigger while a complex app development takes more paid man-hours that don’t always come necessary in the end.

In addition, apps overly complex from the start have a higher risk of security breaches as bugs are harder to notice in a too elaborated solution.

4. Keep It Simple

Banks’ mobile apps surely do a good job of simplifying financial control, and still, specialized personal finance apps have gone much further in offering users maximum simplicity for easier information perception. Use graphs and colors instead of dull listings. For categories, assign pictograms or customizable colors schemes. You may consider working out an introduction to the app explaining its main features and perks. Be concise - otherwise, users may simply skip this onboarding step and miss something important.

5. Clear UX Design

Yet again, thoughtfulness and simplicity go hand in hand. The design is not only about esthetics but also about logic and convenience. Same as departments in supermarkets are thoroughly arranged, no random sections and buttons should be in your financial management app. The UX design has to correspond to the user flow diagram you build with the development team. Don’t overwhelm users with excessive details and dozens of buttons on a screen - instead, focus their attention particularly on what that one screen is about.

6. Go for Mobility

Under mobility, here we mean syncing between multiple devices and the ability to use the app even with a poor internet connection, i.e., it should be lightweight and not take too much space on the device. Mobility is about optimization and speed as well as giving users the opportunity to access their data either from the app on the phone or from the website/web app if there is one.

7. 24/7 Customer Support

Customer support is good if you offer it, but around-the-clock support is priceless. However, hiring specialists in finance to help you is worth considering only once your app reaches a solid amount of downloads - otherwise, there will be no one to consult and you spend extra money. Look at the YNAB project that came up with an original idea of a forum for users to support each other and exchange their insights on finance management.

How About Creating Your Own Financial App?

Make your own money work by developing a custom personal finance app. You have your idea and we have a team of experienced finance app developers for whom quality & security are the #1 priority. Get in touch with us to share your thoughts, and we will do a great project together!