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    Cost of Developing a Banking App: All Expenses You Need to Be Aware of

    The number of people making financial operations online is skyrocketing worldwide: at the time when you can pay, purchase or transfer money by one click, brick-and-mortar bank offices have become a thing of the past. This massive switching to mobile banking gives an extra boost to the development of the fintech industry with multifunctional banking apps mushrooming and making this niche quite competitive. 

    So, banking apps development is very popular now, and if you are planning to build one from scratch, the first thing you need to find out is its cost. In this article, we’ll discover factors contributing to the cost of mobile banking app development and calculate indicative expenses of building a fintech application. 

    What is a banking app?

    A banking app is a mobile app where a customer accesses their bank account details and makes transactions directly from the smartphone or a tablet. The spectrum of functions available in such an app depends on a bank a customer is accessing and the functionality of the exact app. 

    Below are several classic features provided by most banking apps:

    • Authorization
    • Viewing card info, current balance and transaction history
    • Initiating secure person-to-person transfers
    • Scheduling payments 
    • Paying bills
    • Opening a new account/ordering a new card
    Most popular functions among users of mobile apps in the US

    Basically, this set of features is enough for banking app MVP. However, given the pace of industry development and high competition within the niche, some extra features will help to bring your app to the top positions in the market: 

    • QR-code scanning
    • Cashback service
    • One-click payment methods integration (Apple Pay, Google Pay)
    • Booking third-party services
    • Splitting bills (enables a group of people to pay their share when they dine together, for example)

    What affects the cost of developing a banking app?

    Banking app development cost is a core element of the total budget for building and launching a banking app. The way it’s typically calculated is shown in the first part of the formula below: to identify the exact cost of developing a banking app you need to multiply the number of hours needed for the development by the price of an hour of the developer’s work.

    What affects the cost of developing a banking app

    The total budget for the application also includes post-release costs like customer support and marketing, and additional costs not related to the actual development (analytics, design, testing and management). 

    The cost of mobile banking app development depends on four main factors: 

    • App complexity. As we said above, the number of features and their complexity directly affect the price for development. If you are going to build an MVP first, it will cost you half the price compared to the scaled product. 
    • Tech stack used in banking and finance app development. The choice of programming languages, libraries, APIs also affects the development cost. Although app developers often choose native languages – Swift for iOS app and Kotlin for Android banking app development – some apps require specific skills and programming languages that go beyond the classic approach (for example, Java is also frequently used in fintech due to enhanced security and cross-platform capabilities, while Ruby on Rails is gaining momentum thanks to high storage database)
    • Location of the development team. Just to compare: the average hourly rate of developers in the US is around $100-150, while if you decide to outsource development services in India, you will pay about $20-30 per hour. 
    • Type of cooperation. There is a significant difference between the cost of hiring an in-house team and the price of freelance services. The latter is relatively lower, but working with freelancers implies risks related to the code’s quality. 

    Primary features of a banking app: time & costs

    Let’s look at the price and amount of time needed to develop core features of a mobile banking app (prices are given for the US market):

    Sign-in (authorization)

    Every app starts with registration and authorization. The authorization process should meet security standards (passwords or biometrics checks like Touch-ID or Face-ID). 

    Authorization cost and timeframes

    Access to card details

    Users should be able to quickly access card numbers, balance, owner’s name, payment system, and account details. Moreover, this feature can include card-related services, such as card re-issuing.

    Access to card details cost and timeframes

    Transactions and payments

    The process of sending and receiving funds should be intuitive, simple and secure. Users are usually asked to confirm transactions either by biometric verification, an SMS with a code or by typing their password.

    Approximate time required: 480 hours

    Approximate cost: $48000-72000

    Transaction history

    Users should have access to the whole spending history from all the connected bank accounts. The more detailed the report is the better user experience you are getting in return. 

    Transaction history cost and timeframes

    Spending analytics

    Mobile banking app developers create this feature to help users to analyze financial behavior and set financial goals. The functionality often includes budget categories, customized reports, and saving goals.

    Spending analytics cost and timeframes

    Notifications

    This is an essential part of mobile banking app development, allowing to notify users about transactions, required authorization or special offers. 

    Approximate time needed: 120 hours

    Approximate cost: $12000-15000

    In-app chat with customer support

    Easy way to quickly get in touch with technical support, chatbot, or a personal bank manager to clarify any issues arising.

    In-app customer support cost and timeframes

    Let’s summarize the basic costs of banking app development:

    Basic featureApproximate time  neededApproximate cost
    Sign-in480$48000-72000
    Access to card details240$24000-36000
    Transactions and payments480$48000-72000
    Transaction history240$24000-36000
    Spending analytics240$24000-36000
    Notifications120$12000-15000
    In-app chat with customer support480$48000-72000
    TOTAL2280$228000-342000

    Extra features of a banking app: time & costs

    Since time and the approximate cost for developing basic banking app features are identified, let’s review some additional features you can add:

    QR-code scanning

    According to Statista, more than 27% of users in the US and UK preferred QR-code as a payment method in 2020. Include QR-code in your banking app development feature list to ensure fast and secure payments.

    QR code scanning cost and timeframes

    Cashback service

    It is one of the users’ favorite features that allows getting back a certain amount of money spent. Mobile banking app developers usually set several cashback categories and allow placing returns on a separate account. 

    Cashback service cost and timeframes

    One-click payment methods integration (Apple Pay, Google Pay)

    One-click payment methods are taking over the world, that’s why the integration of Apple Pay and Google Pay is the key step to high payment conversion and maximum user-friendliness. 

    Approximate time needed: 480 hours

    Approximate cost: $48000-72000

    Booking third-party services

    Another convenient feature, which is often included in mobile banking app development to uplevel the app. By adding access to the third-party services, you enable users to buy tickets, book hotels, and so on without leaving the app. 

    Approximate time needed: 480 hours

    Approximate cost: $48000-72000

    Splitting bills

    “Splitting bills” feature makes routine transactions more convenient: no debt repayment when you are having dinner with friends in restaurants, everyone covers their share. 

    Splitting bills cost and timeframes

    ATM and office locations

    This feature is set to make the search of ATMs and bank branches nearby easier. To enable it, mobile apps developers integrate Google Maps or Apple Maps for Android or iOS, respectively. 

    Approximate time needed: 120 hours

    Approximate cost: $12000-15000

    To sum up: 

    Extra featureApproximate time neededApproximate cost
    QR-code scanning120$12000-15000
    Cashback service240$24000-36000
    One-click payment methods480$48000-72000
    Booking third-party services480$48000-72000
    Splitting bills480$48000-72000
    ATM and office locations120$12000-15000
    TOTAL1920$192000-282000

    Security costs 

    A high level of security is a top priority for mobile banking app development. We recommend you to make a separate section in your mobile app development roadmap devoted to security issues of the future banking application. So, using the latest technologies to ensure the security of transactions and data stored in the app is another item of expenditure within the development process. Here is the list of measures that will help you to enhance banking app security: 

    • Usage of biometrical data
    • One-time passwords to confirm user’s identity
    • Risk-based authentication
    • Implementation of a password check (to avoid the situation when it’s too short and simple)
    • Limited session time

    Keep in mind that the cost for different security features significantly varies depending on the time needed for development and integration, as well as the type of technology used in a concrete feature. 

    Final word 

    We at Surf are committed to the best practices in developing mobile banking apps and always take into account clients’ goals, aspirations and existing challenges. One of our latest projects in the industry is the first version of the new smart-bank app for Rosbank

    Our goal was to create the first version of the new smart-bank app, which then would be taken by Rosbank for in-house development and upgrade. Surf has successfully built the app on Flutter (“Rosbank Business” app is the first banking app on Flutter in Russia and the world’s second banking app written on Flutter), thus enabling quicker development, reasonable lowering of production costs, and easier app management by Rosbank in-house team in future. Surf team has managed to put the old backend and the new app together by creating a middleware server, ensure seamless user migration from the old app to the new one, polish the app’s design, and lay the ground for effective further app development by the Rosbank team.