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How to Build an Online Banking App

  • 23-24 min read
  • July 19, 2021
  • 👍 Rating — 4.9 (97 votes)

Let’s imagine what a usual business day at a commercial bank looks like. The first things that come to your mind must be the obscure amounts of forms that need to be filled out, long queues, unfriendly and tired bank workers, inconvenient opening hours, covid infection spreading. What a pain for any bank client! 

So you may be wondering if there is anything that can be done about it. Can busy people manage their finances in a better, more convenient way, and can all banks boost their efficiency? We can say that nothing is impossible if you have a reliable app. Online banking is the future of the finance industry. 

Another modern financial tendency is paying using mobile devices with Apple Pay or Google Pay. Do you remember the last time you paid for something in cash or swiping or inserting a bank card into a machine? It must have been a long time ago, right? Cashless and contactless operations are winning the world. Here is what statistics show:

online payments

And with the beginning of the pandemic, the transition from a “cash is king” to a “cash is trash” type of sentiment has been accelerated. According to the recent survey, 63% of respondents do not think using cash or cards is sanitary. And 80% claimed that contactless payments are safer

So the tendency is rather obvious. And we can surely say that now the era of mobile-only banking begins. Therefore we’ve completed our own research, analyzed the queries of our potential clients and transformed our insights into this post. 

This post is going to cover online banking, its benefits, successful examples of existing solutions, and suggestions regarding custom online banking app development. Already intrigued? Then let’s get started!

What is online banking?

online banking app

Online banking is a remote service of the common bank. In other words, it’s a website or an app where users can manage their finances and perform different operations. But… there is always a but. Users of such apps must have an account opened in that bank or financial institution. That usually implies that they need to go to the bank and open it offline, particularly for the more traditional banks. However, one visit will be enough and clients can thereafter further continuously benefit from using the online version.

So, what can you do with online banking?

  • Check the current balance on checking, credit, various retirement and personal investing accounts.
  • Check any linked mortgages, loans, savings accounts.
  • Go paperless and stop dealing with paper bills, statements, general correspondence or even tax documents. 
  • Perform various kinds of payments (credit cards, bills, etc.).
  • Receive money, whether it is a direct deposit of your paychecks from your job, Airbnb, Uber or tenants paying you for long-term rental of your property.
  • Transfer money between your business, retirement, personal accounts and make transfers to your friends, landlords accounts.

Speaking about online banking, it is necessary to mention that there are several types. Depending on your business needs and requirements, you can choose a solution that will be a perfect fit for you, and then invest in its custom development.

Mobile banking
This handy solution allows users to manage their bank accounts via smartphones or tablets using a special mobile device compatible banking app. Apart from being accessible at users’ fingertips, such apps are also majorly convenient in that they are available 24/7. They  allow users to use almost all of their functionality around the clock regardless of time zone, aside from the occasional “maintenance time off” or something of the sort. On top of that, such solutions may offer instant support in chats or chatbots powered by AI. Mobile banking encompasses different kinds of transactions performed via digital wallets, payment modes or UPI transfers. Cashback, rewards, merchant purchase discounts, vouchers, and various coupons that can be applied to future transactions are the extra that all clients of mobile banking appreciate.

Client banking
This is the PC-based service for corporate clients of a bank. The banking software is installed on a PC and it offers access to the bank’s system, database, and allows clients to make payments seamlessly. This banking solution is less convenient than the mobile one, since the clients need to have a PC or laptop handy.

Internet banking
This kind of solution works directly in a web browser and allows users to manage their accounts online. It is perfect for busy people, since they can use internet banking anytime and from any device. All they need is to have a reliable browser and stable internet connection. With internet banking, you can manage not only some simple payments but also carry out serious bank transfers.

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What is mobile-only banking?

This type of banking appeared not so long ago but as time goes by, it wins users attention. This is a solution that functions only online and has no physical banking branch. 

The main advantages of mobile-only banks is that their operating costs are substantially lower. The owners of such apps save on rent, utilities, armed security, office appliances, encashment, workers wages etc. 

For example, Robinhood barely has a customer service department, even a remote one, only after a teenager’s death (see article link) partially as a result of that have they pledged to invest more substantially into their customer service support and into improving their platform and trying to fix bugs and glitches. 

Also the functionality range of such solutions is wider. While for a common bank a digital solution is a helper, for mobile-only banks a digital solution is the main instrument for client service.

Since this solution will be frequently used by people, it should be very convenient and intuitive and offer a set of benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Low cost of the banking services. As we mentioned above, mobile-only banks have fewer expenses thus the fees for their services are lower too. That is why more people prefer these kinds of solutions.
  • Grace period. Some mobile banks offer clients a longer grace period in order to attract new clients. This strategy works like a charm since people manage to understand how everything works and what are the real pros of mobile banks.
  • Higher deposit rates. What bank client would not like to get higher rates of return on their deposits? This characteristic  expands the client base, and greatly increases client loyalty.
  • Discounts/Cashbacks. Mobile-only banks can become partners with bars, shops, cinemas, or any other businesses and offer discounts for their clients. These mutual offers are beneficial and profitable for all sides involved because it drives business.

Generally, mobile-only banks can serve only individuals, since entities require complex legal documentation to operate with a bank. Nevertheless, having only those clients who use an app-only bank for their personal needs has its own benefits.

For example, digital-only bank customers are usually more financially literate compared to usual bank clients who like to go to physical bank branches to resolve issues. Studies have shown that people who use banking apps at least once a week are, on average, more aware of their finances than those who don’t use such apps.

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Importance of banking apps
Read about the necessity and importance of creating of banking app in the articles “Why Building Mobile Banking App is Important?” and “Why Should Every Bank Have a Banking App?” on our blog.

Functions of the online banking app

Mobile banking apps gained wide popularity and continue getting high rates in mobile stores, because these applications provide a large spectrum of functions, offering the ability to perform a variety of operations. 

Bank clients do not even need to leave the comfort of their homes to pay bills, manage their accounts and credit cards, get tips or support from financial consultants, and set up investment, savings or retirement plans. And all of this and more is only possible thanks to the features incorporated in mobile solutions. 

So we would like to highlight the main and trending features that should be included in every online bank application. Of course the technologies do not stay still, so every now and then new, more advanced, nuanced and interesting features will pop up. But as for now, the must-have feature set looks like this: 

Peer-to-Peer payment systems
This feature gives the ability to send the money from your account to others` bank accounts or personal cards. There is no need to go to the bank department or look for a terminal to do this operation. Users can independently manage their funds online. And “Venmo me” has become a colloquial verb used by millennials with their friends, who resort to the Paypal-owned app to settle restaurant bills, where waiters usually bring a single bill for an entire group of friends.

Voice recognition
Thanks to this option bank clients will perform various banking operations with the help of voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant. Voice recognition technology is highly trending right now since it lets you do so many things hands-free. This technology is not yet ubiquitously applied in the banking realm. So if you do add this option to your solution, you might potentially have a great competitive advantage.

Budget and savings tracker
It is a great option for people who use only cards and bank accounts to pay for everything they buy, using no cash at all. This feature lets people track all their spendings and current balance to control their monthly budgets, balance the books and hopefully even create a surplus. You may even incorporate a holistic tracker where the users will be able to add their financial saving and spending goals and get a consultation from real experts on how to stick to their goals.

Notifications
It is a great option that provides an excellent customer experience. Depending on the location of the customer, the banking app can even show special offers available in the area at that point of time – food and beverage discounts, various coupons to buy something. Moreover, you can pay for these offers with the help of your banking app and receive cashback.

Image recognition
Images recognition is a great feature that makes your bank fully virtual. If you want to create an account or a new card, all you have to do is take a photo of a qualifying photo ID of yours and upload it, and the difference is that until recently – there was a need for some specialist to review and approve it, now – AI has the ability to take care of this task and more. The function of image recognition  reads off, analyzes, recognizes all the necessary info and issues accurate results and approvals. Also thanks to this smart technology it is possible to scan various bills, checks, etc.

AI-powered chatbot
Bank clients value financial consultations and they would prefer to get one whenever an urgent need arises. With the chatbots, this becomes possible and easy. They can answer questions, provide information about banking operations, help clients navigate to necessary sections of manual on a website, or else.

Geolocation
Banking apps with the geolocation option are made to simplify the search of the nearest ATM or bank office and show the directions to it. Also, the apps can include current info about cash availability, hours of operation, currency exchange rates, etc.

Apart from all these great options, we have collected a so-called honorable mentions that would be nice to incorporate into your banking solution:

  • QR/barcode scanner
  • Cash back service
  • Built-in currency converter
  • Version of app for wearables
  • Bill-splitting feature
  • Account activity reports
  • Off-line mode

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Need a versatile banking app for your business?

We can provide you with a free consultation and a quote. Improve your current solution or build a new banking app from scratch with GBKSOFT.

Business benefits offered by mobile banking apps

Incorporating a mobile banking solution can contribute greatly to your bank productivity and customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, these advantages are the end implications, the derivative improvements are: 

  • The customer experience will be smoother, better and faster.
  • The amount of paperwork will be reduced.
  • You will improve your bank ROI indexes.
  • Mobile banking lets you collect certain information about clients that can be used for formulating personalized offers and ranges of services.
  • You will have better process visibility and can address productivity and service issues instantly.
  • Banking apps minimize human errors and let your clients manage finances in a smarter way.
  • Clients tend to perform more transactions using mobile apps. So chances are that 60% or more of your bank revenue will be generated that way.
  • Mobile apps are more secure than online web banking, since they have multiple layers of authentication and protection. You can perform more advanced fraud detection and make your bank even more reliable for clients.
Related post
If you are wondering what the future holds for the financial industry, then take a minute and check our post about the technologies and fintech world. It also contains some valuable insights regarding the technologies of tomorrow.

Great examples of banking  apps

If you are still looking for an inspiration and compare the most popular solutions to make yours even better, then keep reading this paragraph. We have explored an online banking market and discovered the most popular and frequently used solutions. And we’d like to share some info about them with you. 

That information may help you with the selection of the feature set and app type. Also the solutions we’ve selected are very user-friendly which is so crucial when your main focus is client service. So, without further ado, let’s see what apps we’ve found.

Ally Bank

Ally

Ally Bank is a mobile-only banking app that provides better conditions  such as lower commissions and fees. Today, this online bank is considered to be the best one on the market as it has 43,000 ATMs and offers checking and investing accounts, which are conveniently linked. 

Ally Bank provides the function of savings and other common features like paying bills, available transaction history, deposits, ATM locations just like any other bank. Moreover, the app shares with its users the latest stock market news. This solution is available for both Android and iOS devices. 

What impressed us the most is an option that lets you set a certain financial goal and use app services to achieve it. For example, you may set a goal to build your emergency fund. It will help you understand how much money you need to save towards that fund. There is a special Ally Bank calculator devised for this. What can be more user-friendly and useful than this?

calculator widget

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Our expertise
Here at GBKSOFT we had an experience of building similar kinds of calculator widgets. You can read about our experience in this post. So if you already have a banking app and are considering improving it, you may add such a great option with our help. We are sure that it will be appreciated by your current clients and it can also help you attract new ones.

Bank of America

banking app

Image source: Bank of America

Bank of America is a large national bank that provides its clients with 16000 ATMs all over the country. As it is national, it has a high level of trust among the clients. It provides common banking operations as well as great modern savings  tools. 

What we like about this app is that it is totally secure and detects suspicious activity on your account and sends an instant notification about it to block or freeze it. Also, Bank of America provides the possibility of cashback for some activities. This app has paid maintenance and the rate is $14 every month.

Speaking about some extra services, we’d like to mention the Life Plan option. By using an app you can set a goal to save money for a certain purchase, benefit from pro tips and even get personalized advice from a financial expert. What a service!

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo app

Image source: Wells Fargo Mobile

Wells Fargo is another financial giant that has a wide network of 13,000 ATMs. It offers low fees on checking accounts that are easily waived if you have a $1,500 minimum daily balance, direct deposits of $500 or more per month. 

With Wells Fargo app you can easily pay any type of bills, set your Touch-ID, or Face-ID to simplify the logging in process. Also, the app provides quick commands to check the balance, review transaction history, look at credit card info, etc. 

Wells Fargo offers numerous financial planning options starting with rational crediting, planning of retirement income, and ending with investing basics. This app really simplifies the life of its users and helps them to become more competent in financial matters. 

Robinhood

online banking

Image source:Robinhood app

Robinhood is the financial app that everyone has been talking about for the last few years. It was revolutionizing and democratizing investing with it’s zero-commission trading, which the rest of the industry had to match. 

Although lately it’s been getting more negative media attention with their latest game stop trading halt scandal and questionable payment for order flow practices that was in the middle of the Robinhood scandal that was all over the news. 

Nevertheless, despite a lot of ambivalent feedback, Robinhood orders near free trading, a sleek app interface design and helping a lot of young people develop an interest and learn about investing.

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Want to improve your banking app or build a new one from scratch?

Our team has extensive experience and can help you develop a highly competitive and user-friendly solution to satisfy clients needs.

Banking app development tips

Software development of banking apps requires a skilled team of experts in the fintech field. It is better to outsource the development of your solution since this will help you to save a lot of time and costs. When looking for a team to build your online banking app, make sure that it will include the following specialists:

  • Business Analysts;
  • Web developers and mobile developers;
  • Designers;
  • Software Architect;
  • QA engineers;
  • Scrum Master.

As a business owner, you need to understand the  logics behind  banking software development and be aware of the processes. For that reason we prepared a shortlist of aspects that you should pay special attention to while building online or mobile banking apps:

Choose reliable banking APIs

Whether you are going to develop an app for an existing bank or you want to launch a banking app for your mobile-only financial institution, you need to use the APIs of the banks. In the first case, they are required to make an app work and make it possible to manage bank accounts. Regardless, you should be familiar with banking technologies, especially if your aim is to build a secure and functional mobile-only banking app.

Ensure high level of security

This is the main and most crucial feature of banking apps since users entrust banks with their money and personal information. The banking app must correspond to local government regulations and have all the needed licenses and KYC compliance. 

When it comes to the technological aspect of the app’s security, consider adding encryption systems, electronic signatures support, and tokenization of the data. Don’t allow users to create weak passwords, and don’t forget to implement multi-factor authentication.

But, that does not mean that the user has to type out the lengthy password. Mostly you can use Touch-ID or Face-ID instead of putting the password every time you log in. It brings simplicity and a higher level of security. Voice recognition option can help users perform even simpler logging in. It offers a great security level, but it is harder to implement within the application. 

Make intuitive and clear UI/UX

Though the typical users of online banking are young people who are familiar with modern technologies, your app design should be understandable to anybody. Everything should be visible, readable and easy to find. 

The color scheme should not be aggressive or overly bright. The buttons, sections logic, all loaders –  these elements are crucial and should be taken care of. 

Add customization options

Customization implies changing of the color scheme, setting personal notifications, or providing clients with personalized money management advice. Modern customers like feeling special, so allow them to get what they want. By offering a personalized approach you will gain clients’ loyalty and appreciation.

Ensure high performance rate

You may build the most beautiful and feature-rich solution, but if its performance is low and provoking long load times on users devices, they will rather abandon such an app. So while developing your mobile banking app, perform various kinds of quality checks and only release solutions that are free of bugs and errors.

Create an app for wearables

Smartwatches are used by so many people and yet app owners often forget to build a version of their solutions for these devices. A mobile banking app for wearables can be a game changer! The pioneer in introducing banking apps for wearables was Australian bank (Bank of Melbourne). Its clients were able to pay using smartwatches, they received push notifications, checked balance and could navigate to the nearest ATM. 

How GBKSOFT can help you 

Chances are that you already have a mobile banking app. So you may be wondering whether you need to do anything about it and whether you should extend your digital presence somehow. And we would definitely recommend you to do this. 

If you still offer online banking only (web version of banking solution), then it is high time to invest in advanced mobile app development. First of all, mobile apps are more secure than web apps. And second of all, they are more convenient for your bank client since they always have a mobile device on hand. It’s all about client service, 24\7 availability, and personalization, so don’t miss a chance to improve them and satisfy your clients’ needs. 

GBKSOFT team can help you improve your current online banking solution and build a mobile solution to complement it. We will update your design, make its UX more intuitive and user-friendly. And we will also help you to select the optimal feature set for your banking app and choose the right tech stack to implement all of the options. 

If you already have both web and mobile apps, but think that they are not modern and functional enough, then we can help you with the solutions update. Our software engineers will do a code review, and our designers will review the look and user experience that your apps offer. Based on the results of those reviews, we will suggest the best feature set, security method, tech stack, and some extra options that can make you stand out among competitors. 

Our Business Analysts will also explore the current market to find out what solutions are extremely popular, what best practices can be applied to your banking app, and what improvements your web and mobile services can make use of. 

GBKSOFT advocates a holistic approach to digital transformation, so whatever solution your bank may need- we are ready to consult you and take action. Thanks to our extensive experience, we can build mobile banking and online banking apps faster and better. And, we can also help you with entering the market if your goal is to create a mobile-only bank and gain a client base.

t includes several important steps that cannot be missed. Among them will be:

  • Discovery phase – when you with the help of Business Analysts will shape your idea, explore the competitors solutions and identify the functional requirements along with the desired feature set.
  • Specifications phase – when all your requirements will be structured, well formulated and written in the document for further usage.
  • Design – This is when your app will get its unique look. The designers will take care not only of UI but also of UX of your solution so that every user can enjoy your banking experience.
  • Development – on this stag the tech takes will perform coding, integration of various services and APIs and addition of all features of your app.
  • Testing – QA engineers will thoroughly check every little detail starting with the app functionality and performance and ending with its components and integrations connectivity. A manual and automated testing will be used.
  • Release – The specialists will prepare the solution to being submitted by the mobile stores. They will gather all info, screenshots and double check if everything is okay with the app performance.
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How much will the development cost?

As you’ve probably understood from the paragraph above, developing a mobile banking app is a lot of work. Therefore it cannot be cheap. You can expect that a mid-sized outsourcing company will charge you for a solution of this kind made from scratch between $30,000 and $60,000, which can help you gain maximum benefits for a very reasonable price. Of course a redesign and update of an already existing online and mobile banking app will cost you way less.

The world’s leading banks spend approximately $300,000 on the development of mobile banking app from scratch.

The price seems enormous, however, if it exceeds your budget you should not put your banking app idea aside. After all, it is a great option to build an MVP and test the market. You can add the most important features to your app and see whether the customers like it.

Also, the clients can give you feedback regarding the features they would prefer to have. So you will have a chance to take their suggestions into account and keep adding top functionality further. It is a great option at an affordable price\quality ratio.

Creating a banking app from scratch is a complex and scrupulous process that demands deep expertise in this industry. There are several main steps you need to do initially:

1. Research the market

2. Define your target audience

3. Choose the type of app

4. Define the type of monetization

5. Build the business and marketing strategy

Our Business Analyst can help you with solving all these questions and requirements, so feel free to contact us as soon as possible.

It is hard to name the exact price since it depends on the app complexity and feature set. It can be $30,000 or it can be $65,000. The development of a banking app requires the work of a team of specialists where each of them will be responsible for a particular part of building the solution. To make accurate estimations of your projects with its peculiarities, please contact us.
As the financial industry is complex and has a lot of law details and peculiarities, developing the banking app is a long-lasting and complicated process that can take several months. It all depends on the range of functions and features your solution will include.

To wrap it up

The digitalization of businesses is an inevitable process and the banking sector is no  exception. While you may already benefit from using technologies and having a banking app, the question that you should still ask yourself is: “do I benefit to the fullest or is there something that I can improve?” The competition is tough and to win your clients’ loyalty you need to offer the best possible services. 

These days people are not ready to spend much time on figuring out how the banking app works. They want to open it, find necessary options intuitively and complete necessary operations easily. And that is exactly what your banking app should offer. 

If you don’t want to end up in the shadow of your competitors, it’s time to develop your own online banking app or improve an existing one. And don’t forget about your website. Spice up all your solutions with a beautiful design, useful options, go that extra mile for the customer, and see your business prosper. 

Thanks to modern technologies the possibilities are endless. You can even make a breakthrough in the mobile-only banking sector and launch your own digital bank without boring offices and tons of papers!

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Ready to digitalize your business to the fullest?

Wait no further and start working upon your banking app today with our team of experienced web and mobile developers!

Anna

Creator

I am mainly focused on enterprise mobility (Apple, Android), and digital transformation, highly curious about all emerging tech trends, always pay close attention to crucial details and try to find answers to a lot of questions before writing about something.
Alexandra Rostovtseva

Expert

Being a proficient leader with over 10 years of experience in Project and Product Management, Business Development and Sales, I have strong skills in Negotiations, Crisis, Client and Risk management. Being an outstanding communicator I’m also a good mentor and leader in the tech industry. Experience and expertise are the key foundations in my ability to provide deep insights into the industry and as result I’ve also been published or was a contributor to several tech and business articles.
Leave a comment

Comments (3)

Sedrick Dugue
Dec 13, 2019 at 7:34 AM

Thanks for sharing those information. I hope other country in America or Caribbean will be able to have online banking

reply
Bo Technologies
Apr 16, 2019 at 1:58 PM

Thank you for shedding light upon how to build an online banking application. Truly when it comes to developing the Banking application security is given top priority.

reply
Julio
Sep 21, 2018 at 12:27 PM

Hello,

Thanks for the wonderful blog. will be waiting to see more blogs like this which is very much useful.

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