how to build a personal finance app
Kateryna Monastyrska Kateryna MonastyrskaHead of Sales and Marketing
Business·

Personal finance app development in 2024: Step-by-step guide

In the digitally powered world of the 21st century, people are increasingly abandoning bulky wallets and going cashless in many spheres of their financial activities. The ubiquity of mobile phones allows them to pay for various services, buy products, conduct investment operations, transfer money between bank accounts, and perform other tasks thanks to multiple financial applications “inhabiting” their gadgets.  

However, being involved in the plethora of money-related errands, many of us still lack an adequate level of financial literacy and healthy spending habits. Personal finance apps are called to make up for this deficiency and streamline the money management process for high-tech-savvy individuals.  

This article will explain what a personal finance app is, showcase examples of money management apps, explore the target audience’s expectations from leveraging such solutions, enumerate essential features for personal finance applications, and outline a development process roadmap utilized to build a personal finance product. 

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Making the case for a personal finance management app

Today, people use various mobile apps that help them improve different aspects of their everyday lives – from obtaining medical services to ensuring their property. A personal financial app is one of the high-tech tools launched by financial institutions and aimed at regulating and keeping track of your money.  

This type of financial management software’s use cases include accounting and budgeting, receiving financial reports, monitoring savings, earning, and spending, providing online banking services (such as making investments, payments, and transactions), offering insights about money management, augmenting financial literacy, and more. 

Such fintech products are in high demand and fill an ever-expanding personal finance software market worth $1.4 billion two years ago and is predicted to triple by 2032. The personal finance app market’s growth goes hand in hand with the sector’s revenues, which are also on a steady rise. 

personal finance app market revenue

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personal finance app market revenue

Such mouth-watering prospects encourage astute entrepreneurs with far-reaching financial goals to invest in building their own finance apps. What are the best personal finance apps that reign supreme in the domain? 

As you see, the competition in the field of personal financial apps is rather intense, so if you dream of launching a successful product, you should first determine the type of personal finance management solution to build. 

Types of personal finance apps scrutinized

All the finance apps are divided into several categories depending on the needs they cover. 

Personal finance app types

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Personal finance app types

No matter what type of personal finance apps we speak about, their users have similar expectations regarding their functioning. 

What do users expect from personal finance apps?

As a vetted mobile app development company that has delivered dozens of fintech products to satisfied customers, we at DICEUS know what people anticipate to receive when they make a finance app a part of their personal digital ecosystem.  

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Quicken is an example of a personal finance app. Consult DICEUS to develop your solution.

User-friendly interface 

Since, for most people, financial operations are a kind of a tall order, apps aren’t supposed to make it even taller by offering a hard-to-navigate and cluttered UI. People like to have a straightforward and easy-to-understand app’s user interface that will allow them to access and operate financial information in a no-sweat way.  

Flexibility and customization 

Each user has their own preferences regarding the look of elements or types of reports and expenditure categories they want to see in the app. Being able to tailor them to one’s tastes is highly appreciated. Besides, people like to see an identical picture on all their gizmos, so cross-device synchronization is a welcome option.  

Strong security and data privacy 

Since fintech products deal with people’s personal and financial data, their inviolability and safety are top concerns for users. That is why they want to be sure adequate security measures are implemented. App creators should adopt a security-first approach during the software development cycle and provide their product with a secure login process based on two-factor authentication and data encryption, perform penetration testing and security audits, and comply with GDPR, ISO 270001, and other legal regulations mandatory for financial organizations. 

Data visualization 

Financial analytics is not a task for non-professionals. Yet, most personal finance app users belong to this category. To make finance management accessible to them, such apps should have data visualization mechanisms in place.   

Easy-to-understand dashboards, infographics, diagrams, and charts present a user-friendly and interactive format that makes data and analytics readable for average people. The report-generating functionality can be of great help for more advanced users. 

Integration with banks and payment systems 

Modern financial service consumers have several accounts in different banks. To streamline managing finances across all of them, a solid personal finance app should pool them together in one place. Besides, it should cover all major payment systems to give users a wide range of options to employ at their discretion. 

Gamification 

Of course, fintech apps aren’t built for fun. But it doesn’t mean they have to be boring to deal with. A good personal finance management app is a gamified money app that leverages rewards, achievements, daily streaks, point/coin collection, progress bar, and other user engagement techniques. They will keep users’ interest on a high level, encourage cost saving, and make the app enjoyable to interact with. 

AI-powered assistance 

Today, artificial intelligence is rapidly turning from a new-fangled whim into a widespread technology employed in many banking operations. Naturally, personal finance app users expect their solution to rely on AI-driven assistance in many matters, such as categorizing expense areas, delivering actionable insights related to spending habits, issuing advice on optimizing expenditures, and more.  

Round-the-clock customer support 

In a field beyond our professional area of expertise, we often need help or consultation. A personal finance app should enable this option, where users can voice their complaints or ask for aid 24/7 and receive the assistance they require. 

You can live up to all these customers’ expectations by choosing finance app features correctly.  

Zooming in on must-have features of a personal finance app

The list of features of a personal finance management app is conditioned by its type and the app owner’s requirements for their product. However, there are some non-negotiable functionalities a first-rate app in this niche should possess. 

finance app features

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finance app features

Registration  

This is a departure point in the operation of any fintech app. During this phase, users enter information about themselves (name, birth date, email and physical address, phone number, social media profiles, etc.). It is advisable to split the registration form into several steps, with two or a maximum of three questions asked at each step.  

Authentication and onboarding 

It should be as secure as possible. Best practices for this routine include biometric mechanisms (face ID, touch ID, or voice recognition) and the generation of a unique access code.  

User profile 

The principal requirement for this capability is its utmost customization potential. People should be able to fill it with the personal information details of their own choice. The more facts about users are entered, the greater the ability of the app’s AI mechanisms to provide relevant options and personalized recommendations.  

In-app search 

It helps users navigate the app easily and get instant access to any information related to their accounts and finance flows. 

Account synchronization 

This feature turns the personal finance app into a one-stop shop where all credit and debit cards, loans, mutual funds, and other accounts are united. Users can manage all assets from one virtual venue.  

Spending tracker 

Users must be able to monitor their expenditures in real-time as well as receive statistics on their spending during some period (a week, a month, a quarter). To let them understand the nature of their expenses, this feature should be reinforced with a categorization capability that segments transactions into classes (groceries, auto and transport, healthcare, childcare, utilities and bills, entertainment, etc.).  

Investment tracking 

This capability does essentially the same thing but for investments. The latter can also be broken into categories, allowing the user to monitor asset allocations and changes in the stock market. 

Payment gateways 

The integration of these tools will enable people to make payments directly from the app and give the solution automatic access to any financial information from third-party systems of banks and other financial institutions. 

Analytics and reports  

All the relevant data are pooled into well-organized reports that can be scheduled for delivery at different frequencies (daily, weekly, monthly, or annually). The collections of such insights will help users analyze their income sources, spending habits, areas of expenditure, and other data. Moreover, the forecasts the app makes are a good crutch for people when planning their financial flows.  

Customer support 

The app should be geared to lend a helping hand via a live chat, support personnel, or a callback option when the user has some difficulty or questions. Customer support efficiency can be increased manifold if it is delegated to an AI-powered chatbot servicing people in multiple languages.  

Notifications and alerts 

These should be nonintrusive but timely. Such messages keep the user informed about a low balance on their account, upcoming bills, overspending, approaching credit limits, suspicious transactions, and the like. Notifications can also be employed to update the person on promising investment opportunities, special offers, and other opportunities for saving or earning money.  

Armed with the knowledge about the features your future app will contain, you can proceed to its development.  

How to build a personal finance app: A roadmap to follow

As a seasoned IT company with vast experience in fintech app development, DICEUS has its tried strategy for creating such products. 

Stage 1. Ideation  

At the first meeting with the customer’s representatives, our experts listen to them carefully to understand the mission of the app-to-be, its functionality list, and the design peculiarities envisaged by them. We also discover the customer’s profile details to be aware of the company’s business goals and policies.  

Stage 2. Market research 

Having all project requirements at our fingertips, we plunge into a thorough study of the current state of the industry as a whole and the niche in particular to reveal principal trends. Also, we analyze the competitive products to pinpoint their fortes and – especially – downsides. Finally, we identify the customer persona for the future app with their pain points, user habits, expectations, and needs.   

Stage 3. Determining the monetization strategy 

The app must not only cover the development costs but also bring stable revenue. Theoretically, you can make your solution a paid one, but since many similar products are free to download, you will give your competitors a head start by doing this. Hence, it is wiser to leverage other app monetization options like a freemium model, in-app ads, subscriptions, referral fees, selling aggregated financial data, or providing various paid services (like credit monitoring, for instance). Our vetted consultants will help you choose the most suitable model for your use case or recommend a healthy combination of several monetization strategies.  

Stage 4. Providing compliance 

In line with the security-first approach we follow during the fintech app SDLC, we ensure the solution’s compliance with the major standards and regulations adopted in the industry (PCI DSS, GDPR, FINRA, SEC, and others). They guarantee that the app will be penetration-proof and have robust data protection mechanisms in place. 

Stage 5. Tech stack selection 

Realizing what they are going to build, our specialists identify the technology roster necessary for it. Its choice is largely conditioned by the app’s operating system (iOS, Android, or cross-platform). Each of them requires a different set of tools, programming languages, and frameworks to be employed. Also, developers determine what cutting-edge know-how (AI, ML, IoT, etc.) the app will contain  

Stage 6. Assembling the team  

In accordance with the expertise the usage of the tech stack involves, we appoint team members for the project. The conventional composition of the crew includes a project manager, a back-end and a front-end developer, a UI/UX specialist, and a QA engineer. For larger projects, any of these positions can be reinforced.  

Stage 7. Building a prototype and MVP 

A clickable prototype is the first material deliverable of the project, representing the solution’s design, logic, and structure. Once it is approved, the prototype is upgraded to become a minimum viable product, with its further submission for trial exploitation.  

Stage 8. Designing the app 

The trial usage yields insights into the app’s functioning, which are considered guidelines for building the client side of the product. During the trial, designers create the solution’s UI with its color scheme, layout, buttons, etc., and ensure seamless UX through meticulous development of the app and user flows and devising customer journey maps.  

Stage 9. Back-end development 

The server side of the app takes the longest to create. First, the coding should be performed. Then, back-end elements should be aligned with UI components. After that, a system of APIs is developed to let the app play well with third-party software. Finally, the interaction of all modules is thoroughly tested.  

Stage 10. Quality assurance and deployment 

It is the responsibility of the QA personnel. They conduct an entire complex of checks, comprising performance, usability, penetration, compatibility, functional, stress, and other kinds of tests. When they report no bugs or other issues, the app goes live. 

Stage 11. Support and maintenance 

Only responsible vendors come this far, and DICEUS is one of them. We stay with the customers as long as they need to ensure the smooth performance of the newly-created product, deal with problems in case they crop up, and offer advice concerning the nitty-gritty of the app’s operation.  

Given the multitude of aspects one must take into account while creating a personal finance application, it is evident that this ordeal should be entrusted to experts in the realm. DICEUS developers have in-depth theoretical knowledge of the niche and top-notch technical hands-on skills to deliver a personal finance app of any type and scope. Contact us to obtain a high-end solution that will impress users with its efficient functioning and elegant design, bringing a stream of revenues into your coffers. 

Final thoughts

A personal finance app is a fintech product that allows users to monitor their expenditures, manage finances, explore spending habits, plan their budget, and save money. To bring maximum value to financial service consumers, such apps should have a user-friendly interface, present data in an understandable visual format, be super secure, flexible, and customizable, integrate with payment systems and banks, and offer 24/7 customer support.  

Creating personal finance management apps is a no-joke endeavor that should be delegated to seasoned professionals in the field who will fill it with proper functionalities, choose the optimal monetization strategy, and follow an efficient SDLC roadmap.  

FAQ

How do I create a personal finance tracker app? 

Its creation follows the typical SDLC roadmap for any fintech app that includes ideation, market research, selecting monetization method, determining the tech stack, identifying the development team, building a prototype, and then an MVP, creating the client-side and the server side of the solution, testing it, and deploying the finished product. What differs the creation of a finance tracker app is the choice of relevant features that will allow app users to monitor their earnings and spending, analyze the expenditure categories, plan their budget in advance, and avoid running into debt.  

How do personal finance apps make money? 

You can charge your audience for installing the app, but this is not a very good idea since most products of this kind are free to download from app stores. A wiser strategy is to leverage a balanced combo of different monetization methods, including in-app ads, subscriptions, selling financial data, a freemium model, or providing various paid services. 

How to build a personal finance app like Mint? 

A typical SDLC for building personal finance apps contains such steps as the discovery phase, selecting the monetization strategy, guaranteeing compliance, selecting the tech stack, determining the composition of the development team, building an MVP, creating UI/UX design, coding, testing, and deployment. High-profile vendors extend post-launch support and maintenance of the products they build. 
 

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