The fintech industry is not one to stay still, each year we observe a new boom of fintech technologies, applications and companies. And since our team regularly develops financial software, we’ve decided to explore the market and discover what types of apps are on top right now. And guess what we found out? Well, that investment applications have won 30% of the overall mobile app market share. Impressive, isn’t it?
This trend demonstrates that the number of people who actively invest or buy and sell stocks online has grown as well. According to Forbes, individual investing has become prevalent and as of the time of writing of this article there were 54 million active investors in the US alone. Here are some other interesting investment-related statistics:
What’s even more interesting is that the millennial generation and Gen Zers show very significant interest in investing and trading respectively (at least for now). According to a recent survey that included 1405 respondents, the number one reason why most millennials (64%) are ready to invest is to achieve financial independence and retire comfortably. Apart from retirement, there are several other reasons why younger people are eager to invest and take calculated risks. Here they are:
So as you’ve probably understood, there is a significant demand for new high-class online investment platforms. But what makes a great investment app? If this question is top of your mind, then this is without a doubt the right article for you to read, and even if you are simply just curious about this space then read on as there is a great deal of interesting insights that we’ve dug out through research and lay out for your discovery in this article.
We will describe key types of investment apps and their prevalent popular features, their development process and cost, and how they can bring you money. And, without further ado, let’s get started!
Main types of investment apps
When it comes to investment app development, many businesses and entrepreneurs get stuck with the question: “What kind of solution should we build?” And that is understandable, because there are so many successful apps already on the market, and you need to create a highly competitive and maybe even innovative solution in order to jostle for market share.
So to help you with your difficult decision-making process, we’ve decided to share our knowledge and experience and describe key types of investment apps that are extremely popular in 2021. We will also cover their specificities and name a couple of great examples that you can take as inspiration material.
Public investing app is a solution that offers a digital platform for independent investment. This means that you do not need to use a broker or financial advisor to help you make investments decisions and complete investment operations. All you need is to install or open the trading platform, register an account and proceed with investing. In case of sophisticated apps, you have access to general educational material, can investigate companies by reading research reports, news releases and articles, make up your own mind and consequently enter positions by executing trades.
What’s great about investment apps is that they are multifunctional, approachable and even a beginner can easily learn how to invest. Some solutions even offer digital advisory services which make it even easier to learn everything you need.
Among great examples of investment apps are solutions such as Acorns, Robinhood, Betterment and Invstr. A common element in all of these solutions is that they are all incredibly user-friendly, and they all offer personalized approaches to investing. They all grant users a convenient way to make more money, they have (for the most part) transparent pricing, and let you learn the best, ideally long-term, investment practices. We’ll get back to these solutions a little bit later and definitely discuss their successful functions and metrics in greater detail.
If you find digital investment platform appealing and feel that it would align with your business vision, then the first thing you should consider before initiating the development is the specifics of your feature set for your future application, be it mobile, desktop-compatible, or both. We have collected some key options you might like to add:
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Needless to say that by 2021 most things have shifted to mobile operations, and banking is no exception to that trend. So the next solution in the category of investment-related online products are banking apps. Banking apps let you benefit from all banking services, including micro-investments opportunities, remotely.
You can easily invest, receive, transfer money, pay bills and manage it the way you want. Modern banking apps powered up by the latest technologies offer numerous saving opportunities and also advanced savings trackers. They are perfect for people who still want to invest money but are not willing to take major risks.
There are several great banking apps that are widely used by people. Anong them are Ally Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. All of these solutions let their users benefit from investment optionaility, building out their own investment portfolios, working with dedicated advisors, and even choosing different ways to invest and comparing those strategies.
If you’re wondering what separates really great banking app solutions from not-so-great ones, and what options users appreciate the most, then check out the video below. It covers several leading banking applications and names their top options including investment-related ones:
Stock Trading Apps
Stock exchange trading applications let users easily participate in stock trading. All users can buy and sell stocks effortlessly, create and manage their stock investments portfolios, choose and change appropriate strategies and consult with more experienced traders. Speaking about how to work such an application, it is quite typical and includes several key steps that traders have to follow:
- Complete registration and link bank account;
- Set up your type of trading account based on things like your willingness to commit funds to the account and your answers about your level of experience as a trader;
- Select one-time or recurring deposit schedule;
- Buy stocks or other investment vehicles when they are traded;
- Sell the stock when it is the best time to do so, but don’t forget to take tax considerations into account.
Based on our experience, we can say that this type of investment application is the most profitable one that is always in demand. First of all, it is easy to monetize trading applications. Usually their owners charge commissions on trading (explicit or implicit through payment for order flow), commissions on deposits or withdrawals as well as share transfers to a different institution, most common is charging hefty fees on full fund withdrawals from the accounts, fees on funds that users borrow to trade on margin, and finally sweeping the cash that is just sitting idly in users’ accounts and investing it for another extra profit (revenue) for the company.
So you can imagine how profitable trading apps can be and are even after explicit commission on trading has been slashed to $0 across the industry in the U.S. Just consider payment for order flow alone, almost every major U.S. broker except Fidelity made hundreds of millions of dollars this way in 2020.
Second of all, if you have a necessary license for trading software, protect your users data and follow regulatory rules, you can be sure that this solution will keep bringing you money for years. And thirdly, trading apps are on top at the moment and there is still space in the market for new innovative solutions that can attract an influx of traders certainly outside of the U.S., but likely even domestically.
Don’t just limit yourself by looking at the U.S., as the level of retail investor engagement as a proportion of the population is much higher in the U.S. already than in other developed countries, needless to say in developing countries. Meaning that there is room for catch-up by other countries.
Of course the set of options can differ depending on the objectives of the exchange trading platform. However there is a range of important features that should definitely be present in your solution. They are the following:
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Сryptocurrency investment apps
Although there is a lot of debate and controversy about the direction and footprint of cryptocurrencies, there is no denying or doubt that it has taken the finance world by storm and topped the list of the most hotly contested, and, by extension, most discussed topics in the modern history of the finance world.
It is hard to underestimate its influence on the economy, since even some stores, including food places, sports venues, and, for a brief moment Tesla in the U.S. started accepting cryptocurrency as a method of payment for their goods and services. Therefore, it’s finally starting to settle in and be implemented as a medium of exchange in addition to transaction and lending as in the case of ethereum.
But what about the value of cryptos as a store of value and vehicles for investment? Are there a lot of people who invest in cryptocurrencies and are such investment apps in demand and going to be lucrative? Yes and yes again! You’ve probably heard about the geometric market cap appreciation of bitcoin since the depths of the coronavirus pandemic in march of 2020, as well as the meteoric rise of alt-coins such as ethereum, ripple, cardano, litecoin, and finally the absurd melt up of joke-coin Doge as a result of joke-tweets from Elon Musk.
There are different types of applications offering exposure to investing in cryptocurrencies, and the top solutions are among the most popular and trusted softwares in the finance market as a whole, despite the decentralized nature of the space, i.e. being far removed from regulatory safety and security.
The main sticking point is the storage of the coins, many preferred storing them on internal/external computer hard drives, but this faced its own set of cons since stories surfaced of people losing hardware, it getting stolen, thrown away. On the other hand, storing it digitally has its own set of pros and cons such as remembering and restoring passwords, being prone to cyber theft, who have arguably become more adept, nimble and profitable than larceny criminals.
Just look at all the hacker attacks, and an intriguing late example of the U.S. government intercepting a crypto wallet where hackers who got a ransom for halting the colonial pipeline stored their “winnings”. The other aspect of crypto wallets and the significant difference (if you want to transact vs save) with storing the cryptos, say, locally, is that the digital wallets clearly offer a way to use the money for payment. After this are the fee structures, for example Coinbase charges a % per transaction $ amount, whereas Paypal opts to charge a flat fee per trade; there are also derivative platforms such as Robinhood who ultimately send your orders to Coinbase for execution.
In terms of the types of cryptos, the main distinction is between:
- “stable coins” that are pegged to currencies and are a step towards development of e-currencies such as digital dollar or e-renminbi, which are already in the trial phase in China, circulating in the economy. However, such stabilized e-currencies where governments exercise great control are in stark contrast to decentralized, incredibly volatile traditional cryptocurrencies. Against which China is taking an increasingly aggressive stance, and the communist regime constantly comes out with negative news again Bitcoin, sending its price significantly lower every time at the time of writing of this article; which leads us to the second major type of cryptocurrencies
- Mainstay cryptos, which was traditionally bitcoin and now seemingly also ethereum
The price of Bitcoin experiences immense volatility, high liquidity and is, on the other hand, one of the most stable cryptocurrencies and highly traded. Therefore investment opportunities are endless. And while you may be hesitating if cryptocurrency investment apps are worthy of development, others already build them and make a great deal of money from this unprecedented spat of volatility in the space.
And remember, while traditional public financial markets are trading in an overwhelmingly zero interest rate environment, people are still paying fees and commissions to trade cryptocurrencies, making the space more compelling for potential entrants. But remember, if you are reluctant, you can also be more of an all-around financial trading app like Robinhood, giving access to trading all sorts of different investment vehicles.
We have explored the market and found a couple of great cryptocurrency investment solutions. One of them was BlockFi that lets you earn interest at up to 7.5% on your balance without any hidden fees, and of course buy and sell crypto easily. Here is what it offers:
Image source: BlockFi
Apart from the solution mentioned above, we discovered one more separate category that includes investment tracking applications. For example, there is an app called Delta that is perfect for multi-asset tracking. It shows live prices of all cryptocurrencies, and even lets you track stocks, ETFs, forex, bonds and many more. It is a multifunctional all-in-one investment tracker that every millennial will appreciate.
Image source: Delta
What we’d also like to point out is that the interfaces in both Delta and BlockFi are quite intuitive and visually pleasing. You can easily find everything and read the information. So we would like to reiterate that if you are going to build your own app of this kind, pay no less attention to UI/UX design than anything else as it generally matters no less than the overall feature set.
Features to consider adding
No cryptocurrency investment solution cannot exist without the key functionality that includes but isn’t limited to the following options:
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Build Your Investment App with GBKSOFT
Investment app development includes several key steps and the first and foremost preliminary one is holistic research. We also call this stage a Discovery one. The Discovery stage will let you find out all of the unknowns, polish your app idea and select the most suitable feature set and tech stack to make it. Here, at GBKSOFT, we have Business Analysts who help our clients with the research and formulation of all project requirements. They are also responsible for writing specifications and all technical documentation that will help you with further development.
So the first advice we’d give you is to explore the market, select the most proficient feature set for your investment platform, write specifications and spit your app development into epics. This will help you to minimize development risks and get a predicted development outcome.
As to the other specialists you will need to engage to build your investment app, we would recommend you to hire a team like ours that has the following technicians:
- Back-end developers;
- HTML\CSS coders;
- Quality assurance specialists;
- Scrum Master.
Each of the specialists is responsible for a certain stage and part of your project and will help you achieve the best result. The development stages your investment app will go through are the following:
Here at GBKSOFT we’ve developed several big projects relates to investment. Of course, most of the projects were under NDA, so we cannot name them. However, we can describe what kinds of solutions they are and what functionality they offer. Among the investing solutions that we’ve created you can find the following:
- Complex investing platform that allows users to manage their finance and build up the advanced reports with all-in-one tool. This project turned out to be a real digital helper for a company that developed it with us.
- Algorithmic trading software that has both web and mobile version and helps its users research market trends and opportunities, create custom trading strategies, set up personalized chart views, connect with brokers, and engage in automated trading. You can take a closer look at the case study in our portfolio that describes this solution in detail.
- Holistic database for investment bankers that collects, systematizes and helps to find easily all information about various firms. Currently this investors database contains information about more than 4000 firms and helps middle market investment bankers, corporate business development executives, and business owners explore a potential capital raise.
- Platform for cryptocurrency exchange using which people can purchase or sell digital currencies for dollars, as well as other digital assets. This cryptocurrency exchange platform offers users to trade in 5 virtual coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ripple (XRP). The platform also offers to exchange the dollars into virtual coins.
True cost of Investment Platform Development
The final price of investment app development will depend on several key aspects. The first one of them is the selection of the platform. The price of desktop and mobile applications (per one platform) will surely differ. The second factor influencing the price is the feature set, app complexity and integrations. The more complicated your desired feature set, the more time and resources it will take to develop and implement the solution. And last but not least is the presence of ready made modules, which can make your solution less expensive. The approximate price of the investment application can be $50,000 – $75,000.
Also we’d like to remind you about one great opportunity to launch your project if you are on budget – it’s MVP development. If you choose it, your investment app will be full of basic and yet very useful features. It’s like a demo version, after which, if you like the initial version, you can make further investments into developing a fully-fledged version of the software with improved and expanded processes and features. MVP is a great opportunity to initiate the development and test your idea and users’ response while committing less sunk costs upfront right off the bat.
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Best Examples of Leading Investment Apps
We have already mentioned several good solutions related to each investment app category. But now we would like to dissect two of them in detail because they can serve as great examples and inspiration material for you. Both of them are very successful, feature-rich and widely used. And we are referring to Acorns and Robinhood. Let’s take a closer look at each of them and see what makes each of them so great.
Image source: Robinhood
Like many brokerages, it offers a free cheap stock for beginners. But what makes Robinhood so unique apart from the fact that it pioneered a commission-free trading platform for everyone in the U.S. It offers so many investment options that even the pickiest user will find the best one suitable for them. With Robinhood, one can not only invest in stocks, ETFs and options, but also indirectly buy and sell certain cryptocurrencies.
Robinhood can be called a kind of modern hybrid application that combines traditional investment practices with a brand new approach to democratized investing. It is a perfect solution that combines incredible functionality with an extremely user-friendly design. And we think that this is exactly what every user wants to have on their device and use for investing their hard-earned money. So if you are looking for a great investment app idea, check out Robinhood and get ready to be inspired.
Robinhood owners also selected a perfect monetization strategy with the subtle payment for order flow centered revenue structure (a practice whereby the brokerage sells information to third-parties, typically called market-makers that are oftentimes hedge funds about what positions their traders are about to enter in real-time) and offer their users a “Gold” version of the application for a $5 monthly fee through which users can access research reports, instantaneously gain access to lots more financial capital than they possess – through [borrowing] margin funds, and get quicker access to more funds that they deposit from linked financial institutions.
Image source: Acorns
As you can see from the screenshot above, Acorns offers an investment diversity a user could only dream of before it became a reality. No wonder, since the motto of this solution is “Acorns help you grow”. It is an easy, smart and secure solution that you can use for different investment purposes.
Apart from having a great solution, Acorns creators also offer their custom investment tips, a lot of useful content and over 55,000 fee-free ATMs. There are also automated investment accounts for novice users and bonus investments.
Acorns is a subscription-based solution that offers 3 kinds of plans:
- Lite – $1 per month for an investment account only;
- Personal – $3 per month to have access to investment, checking and retirement accounts;
- Family – $5 per month for all options from personal plan plus kinds investment account.
What a well-thought out approach to business and what great opportunities for Acorns’ users. This solution can definitely be called a leading one on the market that you can draw your app idea from. Acorns is a living proof of what works the best – variety of options, easy to comprehend interface and pro tips. What else can users want from an investment app of this kind?
To wrap it up
The Fintech world will never be the same and this is a fact. Each year we observe a boom of new solutions that make financial operations more accessible and easy. One such notable type of solution is the investment app. Needless to say that people like to be sure that their future is quite certain when it comes to finances. And to ensure a bright future they are willing to spend less in the current period, embrace the unknown and learn about the stock market, invest funds that they put away, take risks and use new technologies.
The popularity of investment solutions is growing, and their development can be called a great business venture. All you need to do is identify your target audience, their investment preferences and then build an investment solution able to meet those preferences.
Banking apps, cryptocurrency investment apps and exchange trading solutions are what most investors prefer. So choose your type of investment app (can be combinative), equip it with a variety of options, strengthen its security, spice it up with something unique, useful and aesthetic- and you are good to go (and earn your profit).
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