Andrew
Burak
CEO at Relevant

How to Develop a Personal Finance App like Mint

Fintech

Let’s be honest, nobody wants to track their expenses by digging through piles of receipts. Still, keeping a record of personal finances is vital, since saving has become a matter of survival. 

Today, personal finance management apps are a real remedy for inefficient budgeting and impulsive spending. Because they deliver substantial value to users and are high on demand, developing a money management app is a good investment. Let’s discover the benefits and pitfalls of budget planner and tracking app development by looking at one up close.

Read further to find out what personal finance apps, such as Mint, have to offer. 

Personal finance app market review

Let’s start by exploring the market. 

Your new personal finance app must be equipped for survival. So before launching and even designing your mobile application, research and study your competitors fiercely.

Meet the major players

Your product’s closest competitors are other personal finance management apps. Though they may differ in functionality and focus, they hunt for the same audience and market segment. The most popular personal finance applications are:

  • Mint — one of the best personal finance and money management apps
  • You Need a Budget (YNAB) — budget, personal finance and expense tracker that offers educational resources 
  • Mvelopes — a simple personal finance app that helps plan and track a household or personal budget
  • EveryDollar — budgeting tool and expense tracker 
  • PocketGuard — a money management tool with nice UI

Banking apps enter the game 

Traditional banks have set their eyes on the personal finance management segment. Today, almost any banking app has budgeting features. Take Alliant Mobile Banking or Ally Mobile, for instance. This means more competition for your product. The good news is, it also means you can sell the app to a bank.  

Chatbots and virtual assistants steal users

Apart from banking apps, your product’s competitors – those working in the same segment – will be FinTech chatbots. Either integrated with messaging platforms and banking apps or made as standalone applications, chatbots and virtual assistants help users manage their personal finances. They keep track of finances, offer budgeting options, and provide personal finance advice in a conversational manner. Cleo, Plum, Digit are just a few FinTech chatbots to keep in mind.  

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The audience gets younger

About 26% of the world’s population is under 15. And every year, this number increases. For that matter, many personal finance management apps choose to serve a younger audience. Apps that teach kids and teenagers how to manage their personal finances become popular on the market. Look at Greenlight, Plan’it Prom, and BusyKid, for example. 

Cryptocurrencies matter 

Today, the ability to connect crypto wallets the same way as you do bank accounts is vital for an app. Allowing users to track and manage their crypto expenses has become a competitive advantage. Apps like Mint allow managing Bitcoin balances. And other solutions, such as OSOM and Coinbase, are focused primarily on managing crypto wallets and trading cryptocurrencies.  

Seize the business opportunity: inclusion

Personal management apps promote and expand financial inclusion. They increase financial literacy and money management by teaching users how to understand income and expenses. And this is exactly what customers need today.

According to CB Insights, millennials will inherit the largest amount of personal wealth of any generation. Yet, they are illiterate when it comes to their personal finances. Credit Karma’s survey shows that 56% of millennials feel their financial goals are out of reach. 85% of them say they’ve felt so burned out that they avoided thinking about or dealing with their personal finances. Budgeting apps must seize the opportunity and come to the rescue. 

What do people expect from personal finance apps?

Do you know what features users find essential in budget tracking apps? Let’s explore a few.

Data visualization

Beautiful data visualization is necessary for a budgeting app. Because that’s what makes it appealing to users. Infographics, charts, and dashboards attract attention and impress. Also, displaying data in charts and infographics makes the information understandable and manageable.

 data visualization in personal finance apps
Source: https://budgetbakers.com/homepage/phones_desktop 

So, if you want to create a successful money app, create one with stunning data visualization. Check out the beautiful dashboard in Airthings. Relevant’s engineers helped the Norwegian tech company visualize air quality data in the user-friendly interactive web solution. 

Top-notch security and standards compliance 

In any kind of app, sensitive data has to be secured. But security is especially vital in a budgeting app since it has direct access to a user’s financial accounts. In fact, financial/banking data is the kind of data people fear losing control over the most, according to this survey. That is why high security is a must for a budgeting application.

Moreover, a personal finance management app has to comply with modern data processing and management standards, such as GDPR and ISO 270001. For that matter, always build apps with secured cloud infrastructure, conduct penetration testing, and security audits. And if you don’t know how to comply with the standards, ask Relevant

Integration with various banks and payment systems

The obvious advantage of a budgeting app is the ability to link all your accounts together. Thanks to this convenience, an app can cover and monitor all users’ finances in one place. However, to make this happen, the budgeting application must support integration with various banks and payment systems. 

What features the personal finance app must have in 2021

Let’s discover the main trends in creating a personal finance app. What features will be high in demand soon?

Gamification

For a budgeting app, gamification is a way of keeping its users engaged. By gamifying the experience, you motivate them to interact with the app more frequently. And from the user’s perspective, a gamified money app is an effective and fun application that helps them achieve their saving goals better.

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Look at Kaizo case for inspiration. Relevant’s team helped Kaizo gamify their management platform for support teams. Our engineers created a scalable and maintainable solution with stunning UI/UX. The gamification of customer support led to increased user motivation, improved morale and engagement.

Personalization

Personalization is already trending, and it will continue into 2021. By tailoring the experience to the user’s needs, personal finance apps become appealing to the customer. The app’s personalization shouldn’t end with simply displaying transaction history in a beautiful infographic. You can make your app customizable in many different ways, such as creating a helpful chatbot. 

AI-driven financial coaching

Budgeting apps have to use AI technology to align user’s expenses effectively with spending goals. It analyzes large volumes of data fast and turns them into meaningful insights. AI algorithm is what enables Smart Savings and other advanced features. It can calculate how much a user can save safely and the app puts away this sum automatically. 

Personal Finance App like Mint
Source: https://www.getchip.uk/ 

Moreover, AI can study the user’s spending behavior. With its help, a personal finance app can analyze the banking account’s data and find the card owner’s financial habits. This allows an app to anticipate certain expenses and provide useful tips on how to manage money better. 

Developing an app like Mint 

Mint is one of the most successful personal finance management apps out there. But it’s not just a simple budgeting app. It’s also a bill tracker and a financial planner. Let’s look at the app’s basic features.  

Mint’s Functionalities:

  • Accounts aggregation 
  • Categorization and budgeting
  • Setting financial goals 
  • Tracking bills and expenses
  • Savings tips
  • Investments analysis
  • Reports (including credit score and net worth calculation)
  • Refinancing
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Notifications and alerts (including fraud and identity alerts)
  • Synchronization with Mint.com
  • MintSights 
  • Personalized offers
  • Help and support

Advantages

Mint’s strong sides are:

  • Ease of use
  • A quick overview of all user finances 
  • Beautiful UI/UX
  • High security
  • Actionable saving tips and financial advice
  • Keeping track of the credit score 
  • Live updates on any financial activity 

Disadvantages

Unfortunately, like any other app, Mint has its weak sides. These include:

  • No support for multiple currencies
  • No support for users from outside the US and Canada
  • Categorization issues
  • No separation between a user’s income and budget

How Mint makes money

Mint is free to use. The question is, how does the app generate profit? Well, Mint has a very clever monetization model. 

In the “Offers” section, Mint displays personalized best deals. It analyzes the user’s financial activity and recommends certain financial tools. Credit card offers, personal loans, the best investment and exclusive saving options – these are just a few examples of the offers you can get. Whenever a user picks one of those, Mint gets financial compensation. So, the app’s offers work as a sort of ads that help users improve their finances at the same time. 

Just recently, Mint also added a subscription option. By subscribing to Mint Live Services, a user gets access to a certified financial planner, certified public accountant, or certified enrolled agent. Those services are available at the price of $24.99 for US users only. 

Other ways of monetizing money management apps are:

  • Paid apps. There’s no need to make your app free to use, you can just sell it. By purchasing your app just once, users will gain access to all its features.
  • In-app purchases. You can sell some advanced features inside the app.  
  • In-app advertisements. Having access to a users’ transaction history makes advertising a feasible option. The reason is, you can always tailor ads to the user’s preferences. But, a heads up, some may find in-app ads annoying.
  • Subscriptions. Users can unlock your app’s full potential by subscribing and paying a monthly fee.

Don’t forget you can combine several ways of app monetization or come up with a unique approach.                    

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Assemble a team for on-demand budget planner app development

You can either choose a native or cross-platform budgeting app development. If you go with the native approach, you will have to build two separate apps using different technologies, which means hiring two development teams. For an IOS app, your developers will use Swift or Objective-C. For an Android app, the team’s tech stack will include Java or Kotlin.

For creating a personal finance app for both iOS and Android at the same time, you’ll need only one team. You can choose different tools for cross-platform app development. The modern ones are Flutter and React Native development frameworks.

One team for building a custom money management app will consist of:

  • A project manager
  • A UI/UX designer
  • At least 2 mobile developers (or more, depending on the project’s complexity and time frames)
  • At least 2 backend engineers 
  • 2 QA engineers

Personal finance app development cost

Before calculating the cost of app development, you’ll need to choose a hiring approach: 

  • You can hire freelance developers. They charge less than others, starting from $10-15/hour. The downside is, you risk getting a low-quality product. 
  • Hiring an in-house development team is a more reliable option. But it’s also the most expensive one. So if you aren’t ready to pay $80-150/hour to every team member, you shouldn’t consider this approach. 
  • By outsourcing app development, you’ll get the best of both worlds. You can hire professionals at a considerably lower rate. Your outsourcing developers can build an app end-to-end or just be a temporary reinforcement to your company’s capacities. 

In essence, developing a personal finance management app, such as Mint, takes 2000-2500 hours.

Summary

All in all, you’ll need to consider many aspects of building a custom money management app. You should research the market first, study the latest trends, and meet the competitors. Also, be aware of the features users prefer now and what will be trendy tomorrow. 

Money management apps vary in colors and functionalities. Before creating a personal finance app, search for the right hiring model and write out all your requirements upfront. If you want to build a successful budgeting app, such as Mint, recruit a talented and experienced team. 

Need inspiration? Check out these beautiful FinTech apps with stunning dashboards and UI – Payroll and FirstHomeCoach. And if you want to create a budgeting app that has a chance of dethroning Mint, drop us a line.

Written by
Andrew Burak
CEO at Relevant
My company has helped hundreds of companies scale engineering teams and build software products from scratch. Let's connect.

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