A personal finance mobile application isn’t a new concept and for some people, using such an app is already a daily routine for tracking income, expenses, and savings. At first, functionality for such apps seems straightforward and clear but there are no limits in this area and if you want to build a personal finance app, go for it. You just have to spice it up with something unique and extremely useful for your target audience. Yalantis team would be glad to help you with this task.

In fact, the popularity of personal finance software is only increasing. According to Statista, in 2019, the size of the personal finance software market was $0.94 billion and by 2030 it’s going to reach $1.69 billion. In this post, we want to help you understand what it takes to develop the best financial planning app for your users.

Importance of your target audience needs

Before diving into actual development, conduct a thorough client survey to learn user needs and what annoys them like money management apps. Describe in detail your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) to know who you’re targeting, this way you’ll know better what to include in your app and how to promote it. For instance, if you’re targeting Millennials and Generation Z, your design and functionality choices will be different from the ones you would make for targeting Baby Boomers or Generation X.

Another wise thing to do would be to check client reviews of your competitors to see what things their users complain about and what they like the most about these apps.

When creating a finance app, you should definitely think through its functionality to make the app stand out as well as make it useful for your audience.

Basic and advanced feature set

If you’re considering building an MVP first, then it should contain the following features to convince your target audience that the app is worth downloading:

  • Money management. You should include this feature to help users manage their income and expenses as well as set saving goals.
  • Reports and visualization. It’s critical for finance app users to have the ability to analyze their financial situation over time. For example, users may want to get their quarterly spending statistics to spot any harmful patterns and make better saving decisions in the future.
  • Integration with banking accounts. Allowing your users to integrate the app with their real banking accounts can eliminate the hassle of manually entering expenses every day.
  • Budget planning. This is another critical feature of the personal finance application which allows users to use your app for short-term and long-term financial planning. By including this feature, you also create a special bond with your customers as once they start planning with your app, their loyalty and personal attachment to it increases.

Speaking of advanced features for future app releases, those could be:

  • Saving plan recommendations. With the help of AI and machine learning technologies, you can analyze your users’ financial behavior and provide them with personalized recommendations on how to improve their saving habits. Plus, you can also analyze this data to improve your product to better fit your users’ needs.
  • Notifications. If a user exceeds the set limit of monthly expenses, your app can notify them about this. Often, we may not notice that we spend a bit extra, and then at the end of the month we may question ourselves: where did all the money go?
  • Currency converter. People tend to save their money in different currencies. So, it would be convenient if your app offers the ability to check the current exchange rate.
  • Shopping list. If tracking expenses and income aren’t the tasks people may do daily, shopping is a regular chore for many people. Adding a shopping list feature can encourage people to use your app more often as well as keep them in check on spending reasonably.

The feature list is limitless, of course, but you should focus only on those features that will bring the most value to your target audience. Your option could be taking a few niche features that other similar apps don’t provide and making an emphasis on them, as covering it all may be a difficult competitive task.

UI/UX best practices

For instance, millennials and zoomers are used to the immersive digital experience. According to the Zeneration Time research by Harvard Business Review, 91 percent of teenagers are going to bed with their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. So, if you’re also targeting young generation groups, make sure you don’t make your finance app look and feel boring. 

Managing finances can be stressful and tracking daily expenses can increase the anxiety level. So make sure to provide your users with an easy-to-use and pleasant UI/UX design that can motivate them to spend less and save more rather than repel them from finance management at all.

Some of the UI/UX best practices that prominent finance apps use are as follows:

  • Clear and trustworthy onboarding. Users are always cautious about sharing their personal information, especially when connecting their banking accounts to your app. Convince them that your app is secure by, for instance, adding sidenotes on the technologies you use to secure their personal data. Make onboarding and signup as clear and simple as possible using calm colors and fonts.
  • Gamification. With this technique, you can make your app more engaging and keep the attention of users for longer. For instance, the app Fortune City uses gamification to make the process of tracking finances more fun. While managing the money, users can build their unique cities based on the variety of their expenses.
  • Modern icons, colors, and shapes. Avoid using typical icons for your app like a flat green money icon. Use something less expected instead to make your app icons pleasant to touch. Clear and light design should be your go-to to convince people that money management can be a delightful experience rather than overwhelming. But remember to add a pinch of something unique to your apps like a color gradient or a celebrating animation once the user reaches a finance goal.

Your app design is just as important as app features because if the design isn’t convenient and pleasing to the eye, people won’t stick with the app for long.

Critical technical aspects of finance application development

App development usually begins with eliciting and composing detailed functional and non-functional requirements to decide on the features and characteristics of the MVP. Developing an MVP is the right option as you can test your ideas first and decide on the improvements once you can analyze the performance of the released app. Important advice at this stage would be to compose a feasible feature map for the first release to fit in the project timeline. If you add too many features in the first release, you risk going beyond the project budget and time limits. 

When it comes to choosing the right technology stack for finance application development, your choice will primarily depend on the abovementioned requirements and the goals you set for your MVP. For instance, if your aim is to release the app as quickly as possible, you can choose Python as a primary software development language. And if you have time and want to work with more flexible and industry-proven languages and frameworks — choose Java and JavaScript.

Another critical moment when developing the finance app is ensuring its security. For the signup stage, you can implement the KYC procedure to thoroughly verify users’ identities and prevent fraudsters from registering in the app. Ensuring a proper encryption level for the data at rest and at transit will convince your clients that it’s secure to use your app as well as share the information from it. It’s also critical for your app to comply with GDPR and PCI DSS requirements.

Partnering with a skilled team of software development experts can save you much time and effort in defining the right technology stack and ensuring high-level security.

When developing the next personal finance application, remember that your major goal should be encouraging as many people as possible to switch to the light side of healthy financial management. Making people financially intelligent is a responsible task, but this way we can make people happier with their finances so that they could spare more time for living without worrying about money constantly. If you make users a priority, then all the rest will settle much easier and you’ll make better development and design choices.