A Comprehensive Guide on How to Make a Banking App in 2024

Updated 26 Aug 2023

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Customers have associated banking with long queues and long searches for service terminals or ATMs until recently. With the advancement of the internet and technologies, there’s no need to spend extra time on those tasks anymore. According to Statista, the global mobile banking app market was over $1.5 trillion in 2021 and is expected to exceed $1, 824 million by 2026. This indicates the growing popularity of mobile banking services among consumers and their significant impact on the development of financial technologies. It clearly shows that the banking industry is among those areas that benefit the most from digitalization.

Reading these lines, you’re probably thinking about building a mobile banking experience for users. However, you must be armed with the knowledge to make this work. So we've prepared a guide to help you create a banking app that’ll meet your business goals and customers’ needs.

Reasons to Build Your Own Banking App

Banks that go mobile gain a competitive edge. They build banking apps to:

  • Level up service quality
  • Increase client base

We’ll consider the most significant benefits that banks will get by becoming mobile-friendly.

Wider client base

By providing users with an additional way to interact with the bank, you expand your customer base and offer new services. In fact, users appreciate the ability to use banking services online. There are over 57 million mobile banking users in the US and more than 130 million in Europe.

New marketing channel

Advertising is important for any business. The more distribution channels you have, the better. By developing a mobile banking application, you gain an additional way to advertise your services.

You can notify users about new app features, credit services, rates, and their changes using push notifications. This way, you’ll always be in touch with customers and your advertising will be less intrusive than direct sales in a bank branch.

Good return on investment ratio

It takes considerable investments to develop a mobile banking app. The return on investment is quite high though. While other banks without well-developed online services spend a lot of money maintaining bank branches and large staff, while companies that build banking apps for their business can gradually go digital, thereby reducing costs.

Revolut is an excellent example of this approach. Revolut is a British bank whose main concept is to operate entirely online without physical branches.

Irreplaceable source of information

When you create a banking app, you get tons of valuable customer information that gives you hints to growing a business. You can guide users on every step they make whether it’s online purchases, utility payments, or quick loans to analyze users’ behavior within the app. This analysis is crucial to build users’ behavior models and come up with ideas for further app development. Besides that, there are a few more advantages:

  • It’ll be easier to provide a personalized experience.
  • Ease of identifying app weaknesses.
  • Better understanding of the target audience’s needs and the problems to solve.

Preparations You Should Do Before the Development

Before you hire programmers and they start writing the code, you should get your idea through multiple preparations. As the product owner, you should conduct in-depth market research to shape your idea and form strict goals and requirements that can be easily delivered to the development team.

Market research

For a smooth market entry, you must know it inside and out. The market research concerns the prospects of the market, pitfalls that may arise, current and future trends.

The mobile banking market is huge and has a vast user base. According to Juniper’s study, the number of banking app users exceeded 1.75 billion worldwide. That is 32% of the total adult population.

To satisfy user needs, companies compete with each other, coming up with new features that make banking services easier for customers.

Analysts point out that the following innovations can become the main trends in mobile banking for 2023:

Voice control

This innovation is already in usage by market leaders such as ING Direct Canada, USAA, and many others. Voice commands should improve the user experience by letting quick access to features.

AI for fraud prevention

The security of personal data and financial transactions is the primary concern for banks that create banking apps. In this aspect, AI is the ultimate solution, thanks to automation and high efficiency. This technology can simultaneously monitor payments, cheques, and logins to detect and investigate any deviations from the usual activity of thousands of users.

Fully mobile banking

As we’ve mentioned earlier, this concept implies the digitalization of all services and no physical branches. Many people simply have no time for going to the bank to sign papers or arrange loans. Still, banks spend a pretty penny to maintain numerous branches.

In this case, both parties benefit from digitalization. Customers get fast and convenient service, while banks save a lot of money crossing out the branch-related expenses.

Target audience analysis

The better you know your target audience, the easier it’ll be to set requirements for the banking app.

The audience of mobile banking is very broad in terms of age and has coverage from 18 to 70 years old and above. However, their user behavior differs. The audience from 18 to 24 mostly uses mobile banking for transfers of small amounts, purchases, school or university fees, and so on. Meanwhile, a mature audience from 25 to 70 uses mobile banking for utility bills, transactions of medium and large amounts of money, cash flow control, and so on.

Mobile banking age segmentation

Mobile banking age segmentation

Competitor research

Competitor analysis will help you find out with whom you’ll be competing for customer attention. It can bring you valuable information about the competitors’ services, how they deliver them. As a result, you’ll get some ideas that’ll help you stand out from the rivals.

We’ve selected some of the most popular apps in the mobile banking market to help you with this analysis.

Ally Bank

Ally Bank is a mobile banking app available on iOS and Android. It covers basic features like deposit check, money transfers, bills payment, and ATM locator. Besides, Ally Bank has a trade stocks feature and lets users track their investment performance.

Capital One

This app is quite popular and has a user rating of 4.7 in the App Store and Google Play Store. Besides standard features, users note the convenient fingerprint login and credit history tracking via push notifications. Also, the app is at the forefront of the user’s security and lets users block the card in case of its loss.

Bank of America

It's no surprise that one of America's most popular banks has a mobile banking app. This app brings a great user experience and security level. The Bank of America app offers a convenient feature of ordering and activating the card without visiting physical branches. Besides that, the app provides a high level of security by contacting the cardholder directly in case of suspicious activity.

After the research is accomplished, it’s time to draw up a list of features for the future banking app. These features can be divided into two categories: key features and additional features.

Learn more how to define target audience in our comprehensive guide.

Key Features for a Mobile Banking App

These are the must-have features to create a banking app. We’ll cover each feature in detail so you’ll have a full picture for future research.

Account management

This feature is the basics of all banking apps and includes the following operations:

  • Balance check. The information about balance should be the same on all devices and should be instantly updated in the app and on the website.
  • Cards and bank accounts management. This category includes ordering cards, closing an account, attaching new cards to an account, and so on.
  • Recent transactions. One of the most important features that let users track their expenses.
  • Deposit check. Opening a deposit, displaying its conditions and interest on the deposit.
PNC mobile app account management screen.

PNC mobile app account management screen

KYC process

KYC (Know Your Customer) is a crucial feature of a mobile banking app that helps verify customers' identity and ensure the security of their financial transactions. Some benefits of a KYC process are follows :

  • Enhanced security: KYC helps prevent fraudulent activities such as identity theft and money laundering.
  • Faster account setup: With KYC, customers can quickly set up their accounts by providing personal identification documents and completing the verification process.
  • Compliance with regulations: KYC is often a legal requirement in the banking industry, and implementing it in a mobile app ensures that it complies with relevant legislation .
KYC process

KYC process

Admin panel

Admin panel integration is required to make it easier for you and your employees to manage the application, update information and perform other operations.

Admin panel

Admin panel

Cards management

All banking applications must have convenient and intuitive management of bank cards. The user should not have questions like “What card do I pay now?”. The interface and the “card switching” procedure should be as painless and easy as possible.

Cards management

Cards management

Payments and transaction processing

Fast and easy transactions between accounts are something that users appreciate. No banking app can do without this feature. It’s a system implemented on the server side of the bank where transactions are processed. The app simply displays the result of the transaction.

Chase quick transactions.

Chase quick transactions

Support

You can’t build a banking app and leave users on their own. They can encounter problems or can have questions while using the banking app. Therefore, it’s necessary to provide users with 24/7 access to support. You can choose between two paths how you can pull this off.

The easiest way is to connect the user to the support group via chat inside the app. The hardest one will be to create a chatbot that will take over the responsibilities of support service. However, creating a bot is a rather complicated process from a tech point of view. Besides, you must know what questions users may ask and compose correct answers. However, a chatbot can quickly pay off, as it can save you money on customer support with its implementation.

PNC mobile app help center.

PNC mobile app help center

Secure authorization and authentication

Access to the app should be simple yet secure. Let users enter the app in different ways. By far, the most popular ways to sign in are:

  • Using a password
  • Using a fingerprint

Fingerprint login has already become the standard for banking apps due to its convenience and security. This method can be used to secure every transaction, change of password, and other actions within the app.

Capital One secure authentication interface.

Capital One secure authentication interface

ATMs and bank branches

This feature is greatly improving the overall user experience and showing you care about your customers. In addition to a simple location, you can add information about the opening hours of branches and weekends. This feature can work using Google Maps on iOS and Android.

Heritage Bank ATM map.

Heritage Bank ATM map

QR code payments

This feature is another step to a multifunctional banking app. Let users pay for purchases, buy tickets, and pay anywhere using QR codes.

Nice-to-Have Features

Nice-to-have features mean that you can create a banking app without them, but they’d take the user experience to the next level. Still, they can be developed right after the key features for quick time to market.

Spending tracker

Users often worry about how much they spend and where the money goes. Banks often allow users to track their spendings within the app.

BBVA spending tracker.

BBVA spending tracker

Use graphics and smooth animations to make the information clear. Think about the categories people spend their money on. This can be food, transportation, entertainment, health, and many others. By including them in the tracker, you’ll bring more flexibility to expense tracking.

Repetitive payments

With this feature, users can speed up their routine payments. Customers often have several payments they make each month or a couple of months. So it’d be a good idea to let them put those payments on autopilot.

The repetitive payments can work in two ways:

  • Auto charges
  • Reminders to make a payment
Wells Fargo repetitive payments.

Wells Fargo repetitive payments

Cashback

The cashback is a great way to stand out from other banks and reward customers for choosing your service. Some banks even let users pick the categories they’ll be receiving the cashback for. It can be transactions related to entertainment, travel, cafes and restaurants, and other categories.

Curve cashback system.

Curve cashback system

Bill splitting

A fairly simple feature in its essence, but this is what many users expect from banking apps. This feature solves the age-old problem of splitting the bill in a cafe or restaurant. Users can easily share the bill between everyone sitting at the table and quickly pay for it.

Chatbot

Users may have questions at any time. They need to be answered to improve your app user experience. Since there are few account managers, the chatbot integration will simplify the procedure for communicating with clients. There is no need to develop neural networks or complex answer algorithms - often, users ask for help with simple questions. Thus, it is enough to issue several options for the question to which the bot will instantly give a prepared answer. The main advantage of a chatbot is an instant response, as the chat manager may be busy with work or, for other reasons, unable to respond in time.

Chatbot

Chatbot

Wearable technology

Wearable technologies are becoming more popular and more functional every year. Users with gadgets like smartwatches are interested in paying, checking accounts, and other simple actions with the help of such solutions. . The function is not new, but today only some banks pay attention to the direction of wearable technologies. If you transfer the main functionality of your application to a conditional Apple Watch, then the number of users may increase.

Blockchain

Integrating Blockchain technologies is a good idea. We are not talking about cryptocurrencies and related processes. Blockchain is a coding algorithm. Using it, you can increase the security of transactions conducted by the user. You can also add smart contracts (depending on the application's specifics and the bank). That will make transactions more flexible.

Now, let’s see what steps you need to go through to develop a banking application.

How to Create Mobile Banking App Step By Step

Now that you know what features should be added to the banking app, it's time to take a look at how to build it. We’ll walk you through the scenario of developing a banking application step-by-step.

Step 1. Find the team

Building a mobile banking solution is quite a laborious and time-consuming task. What’s more, it requires a lot of experience from the team working on it.

The best option is to turn to software development companies. Vendors that have experience in the FinTech industry will be able to bring your ideas to life. Almost all software development agencies sign an NDA so your intellectual property is protected.

Software development vendors can be found on specialized platforms that collect information and feedback about IT companies from around the world. The most famous aggregator are:

  • Clutch
  • GoodFirms
  • IT Firms

Looking to hire the right team of developers and not go broke? An excellent solution would be to hire an offshore development team.

Step 2. Choose the app type

Before developing a mobile banking application, you should also consider what kind of app you want to make. Formally, all banking apps can be split into the following types:

  • Near Field Communication (NFC). A technology that allows users to quickly conduct transactions using only one smartphone.
  • Digital wallets. Allows users to digitize all data from credit cards. Usually used with NFC, they can simply replace the card with a gadget.
  • QR code scanning. Today, virtually every mobile application offering services should have a function to scan QR codes. It will allow the user to quickly and without connecting to the Internet get acquainted with the information encoded in the QR code.
  • Internet payments. This type of app allows users to make payments online, without the need for a physical card or cash.
  • Mobile transaction management. This type of app intends to assist users in managing their transactions from their mobile devices, including monitoring their account activity, tracking their spending, and making transfers between accounts.

Step 3. Create and test a prototype

You may be asking: "Why do you need a prototype if you can go straight to development?" A banking app is a complex mechanism with many features that makes it challenging to develop from scratch.

A prototype is a great way to test your idea with your target audience. Identify what user problems you want to solve and implement the features solving them to achieve your goals.

The development of a prototype is several times cheaper than the creation of a full-fledged banking app. Besides, the prototype is flexible in terms of modification. It’s much easier to fix a bug or tweak a feature during prototyping.

Listen to the wishes of your audience, accept criticism. This valuable information will help improve the app in the future.

Step 4. Take care of the app’s security

When you build a banking app, security is what really matters. So developers must think of it from the early development stages.

Here are some basic tech methods to build a secure app:

  • Data encryption algorithms (SSL and 256-bit encryption). These algorithms encrypt the app’s data and can only be decrypted by the user with the correct encryption key.
  • Source code obfuscation. It stands for bringing the source code to a form that preserves its functionality but makes it difficult to analyze and modify during decompilation.
  • Repackaging protection. App repackaging means that a hacker obtains a copy of the app, unpacks it, adds malicious functionality, and then repacks it.

At a more superficial level, you should also protect user data. The main methods of protection are:

  • Verification of transactions through generated codes
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Reminders for users to change their password regularly
  • Fingerprints and FaceID authentication

Step 5. Design UI and UX

When you ask yourself, “How to create a banking app,” the first thing you probably see is an application open on the screen. The design must be well thought out, not overloaded, and not cause discomfort. Your application's visual helps the user conduct transactions and manage their bank account. Therefore, don’t use a lot of animations - just come up with a convenient and understandable design.

Step 6. Banking app development

Developing an application is a multifaceted and demanding process that involves various stages, from ideation to deployment and release. One of the most important steps is creating the frontend and backend of the application, which are responsible for bringing the final design to life.

When developing a banking application, combining the user interface and the required functionalities is essential to deliver a seamless user experience. To achieve this, developers must integrate external tools such as APIs, payment gateways, and third-party services that allow the application to function seamlessly and reliably.

To ensure that the application functions as expected, developers often build an MVP or Minimum Viable Product, which contains the essential features of the application. The MVP is then tested for user feedback and refined based on the feedback received. This process enables developers to create a fully functional application with a comprehensive list of features.

Finally, once the application is developed, it must undergo thorough testing to ensure it is reliable, efficient, and secure. QA engineers test the application's functionality and performance, integrations, and system components to identify any bugs or issues that must be addressed before release.

Step 7 Integrate with 3rd party services

After developing the "app’s body," 3rd party services must be integrated into the application. Third-party solutions implementation will enrich your app with external functionality without the need to make them from scratch. For instance, you can consider adding the following services:

  • Payment gateways
  • Location-Based Service
  • Push Notification Services
  • Analytics and Reporting Services

Integrating with 3rd party services can be complex, as it involves working with external APIs and ensuring that the app is configured correctly to communicate with these services. But experienced developers will evaluate the available options and choose the services that best meet the app's and its users' needs. Moreover, ensuring t app security and data confidentiality is critical when communicating with 3rd party services.

Step 8. Release the app and gather feedback

The release of a banking app in the App Store and Google Play Market is quite a tricky process. Both stores have rules and regulations that must be followed. For example, in the App Store, there are App Store Review Guidelines. If the app doesn’t meet them, the app will be rejected until requirements are met.

After the release, you’ll get your first feedback from users with comments about bugs and improvement suggestions. That’s valuable information that can help you in product development.

Step 9. Support and maintenance

After the app is released, the work is not over. Support and maintenance are crucial for the long-term success of the banking app. The app must be updated regularly to address bugs and security issues and to keep up with the latest technologies and user needs.

The app must also be maintained to ensure its functionality, reliability, and security. Maintenance includes regular backups, updating APIs and third-party services, and monitoring the app's performance to ensure it runs smoothly. In addition, developers must also consider user feedback and work on implementing improvements and new features. User engagement is vital for the success of a banking app, and developers must constantly evaluate user needs and preferences to provide the best user experience.

Price to Make a Banking App: The Rough Estimate

Now that you have an idea of the stages of development, it’s good to be aware of the approximate price of making such a solution. Roughly speaking, the banking app development cost varies from $90,000 to $250,000+. It heavily depends on the product complexity , UI/UX design, the features implemented, vendor’s hourly rates, etc. The more functionality there is , the more expensive the development will be.

Features and development time of banking app

Features/Types of workApprox time (hours)

User registration and authentication

80

KYC

85

User profile

80

Accout activity

60

Transfers

142

Bill payments

100

Cards management

75

Security

48

ATM&Bank locator

90

Settings

63

Support

120

Admin panel

321

Total time

1264

Keep in mind that software developers aren't the only specialists you need on a team to build such a complex product.

Here's the full team composition you'll need:

  • Front-end developer
  • Back-end developer
  • UI/UX designer
  • Business Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • QA engineer
  • DevOps engineer
  • Team lead

Given that team composition and the amount of work, it'll cost you approximately $160,000-$180,00 to create a banking app. Feel free to contact our experts to get a estimation of your fintech project.

Main Challenges in Mobile Banking

When developing apps for banking application, product owners and developers run into challenges typical for the FinTech industry.

Tech Challenges

The development of banking apps is full of technical nuances that developers must take into account.

Auto-inputs

Developers need to disable auto-inputs in all UI fields where any kind of information can be entered. This is important to protect the app from third-party malware extracting data from the app.

Blur view

The blur view is added when users switch between apps. This feature is implemented for additional security to protect sensitive data from being seen by strangers. The last app screen won’t be visible due to the blur effect applied to it.

In-memory data storage type

Banking apps use a specific approach to storing data, called in-memory type. Programmers implement this type to ensure that all downloaded or received data is cleared when the app is deleted. When using in-memory databases, the user data could not be “physically” retrieved from the device. Even if the device is hacked, the data cannot be obtained.

Regulations

FinTech companies and banking apps are subject to regulatory requirements like any other technology solution.

The main regulations for banking apps are:

  • GDPR Compliance. This regulation concerns any personal data and is applied to all organizations that provide goods or services for EU citizens.
  • PCI DSS Compliance. You should know how to become PCI DSS compliant since this regulation applied to any merchant or service provider that handles, processes, stores, or transmits credit card data.
  • SEPA Compliance. It covers any organization of the European Union and other European countries using the euro for transactions.
  • PSD2 Compliance. It applies to any payment that happens in the European Economic Area.

KYC compliance

KYC compliance can be a challenging procedure for financial establishments. It requires banks to verify the identity of their customers and assess their potential risk of engaging in illegal activities such as money laundering or terrorist financing. While traditional banking typically involves in-person identity verification processes, mobile banking has unique challenges. Banks must implement robust identity verification processes to ensure customers are who they say they are in a remote environment.

Mobile banking applications are particularly prone to fraud, and financial institutions must implement rigorous measures such as monitoring customer behavior for suspicious activity or using advanced fraud detection technologies. While compliance and security are paramount, banks should also strive to balance these needs with customer experience. For example, if the KYC process is poorly designed, it can cause inconvenience to the user, leading to customer frustration or rejection. Thus, banks must balance strict compliance with a simple and user-friendly user interface.

An experienced IT provider, like Cleveroad, will help you quickly bypass all the challenges related to banking app development and ensure your finance solution meets all the industry and security standards.

Cleveroad as Your Realible Partner in FinTech Software Development

We helped our customer, an investment bank located in Switzerland, to deliver a new flexible system to provide quality client-oriented services in the investment and meet high security standards. Its current solution in use was inflexible and didn't allow business scaling. The bank needed a technical partner to:

  • Replace the outdated solution with a new-built holistic system that allows simple investment and opening the digital account
  • Improve the user experience (UX) so end-users can quickly complete the registration procedure and trading in the investment bank.
  • Receive new software complying with the Swiss banking regulator's requirements, namely FMIA, so the bank can freely work under its license.

The Cleveroad team has built and designed a custom eBanking ecosystem with all the functionality required to cover the needs of B2B and B2C clients, including user-friendly sign-up, digital account opening system including KYC pass, and online banking portal. Thanks to the work of our programmers, we managed to increase user retention by 20-30%.

Explore eBanking software system case in more detail

Banking apps are complex systems and they’re pretty hard to build. It’s vital to comply with high security standards, regulations and operate with an advanced tech stack to create a banking app for business. At Cleveroad, we’re paying attention to the overall project requirements and operating only up-to-date technologies in developing personalized software for business. We’re creating cutting-edge FinTech solutions using Kotlin and Swift, bounding these programming languages with powerful server sides built with Node.js and .NET and adding reliable third-party solutions like Amazon S3, Amazon EC2 and socket.io.

By cooperating with us, you can count on:

  • Expert assistance. Our team is distinguished by proven expertise in developing software solutions for the FinTech industry, including banking software development services.
  • Customized approach. At Cleveroad, we individually approach each solution, find the best way to implement it, and help clients to optimize its time and budget. . In addition, our project managers are in constant contact with the client to complete the tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Innovations. At Cleveroad, we are at the forefront of progress and, apply new technologies to make the innovations serve our clients’ corporate objectives and needs
  • The signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to protect your intellectual property.
  • End-to-end software development with proper balance of cost and quality - our company employs many experienced IT specialists, and our staff is constantly replenished with new, skilled personnel.

Need a robust FinTech solution?

Get full-fledged banking app development services from a team with 10+ years of experience!

Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps to develop a secure mobile banking app?

We’ll walk you through the scenario of creating a banking app step-by-step.

  • Step 1. Find the team
  • Step 2. Choose the app type
  • Step 3. Create and Test a Prototype
  • Step 4. Take Care of the App’s Security
  • Step 5. Design UI and UX
  • Step 6. Banking app development
  • Step 7. Integrate with 3rd party services
  • Step 8. Release the App and Gather Feedback
  • Step 9. Support and maintenance
What is mobile banking app?

Mobile banking is a service provided by a bank that allows users to conduct financial transactions using mobile devices.

What are the features of mobile banking?

There are several must-have features for banking app:

  • Account management
  • Quick transactions
  • Customer service access
  • Secure authentication
  • Push notifications
  • ATMs and branches map
  • QR code payments
What makes a good banking app?
  • Over the top security
  • Comprehensive set of features
  • Pleasant and simple design
  • Long-time support

Now that you have an idea of the stages of development, it’s good to be aware of the approximate price of making such a solution. Roughly speaking, the banking app development cost varies from $90,000 to $250,000+. It heavily depends on the product complexity , UI/UX design, the features implemented, vendor’s hourly rates, etc. The more functionality there is , the more expensive the development will be.

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About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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