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How to Create an Investing App: What You Need to Know?

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With the evolution of technology and many businesses venturing online due to the pandemic, the fintech sector is recording significant growth. The new normal is now having most of the financial options in the palm of your hand and on a mobile device. 

Easy investing apps are in high demand since more Americans invest in the stock market and over 15% own cryptocurrencies. People want a simple way to purchase and sell stocks, convert money, and earn passive income. 

So why don’t you take it to them?

Today, developing an investment app offers a lot of possibilities for making money in your business: you may monetize the app through commissions on premium adviser features, trading, and money management, and even sell it to a huge financial firm. 

At Surf, we have built apps for cryptocurrency exchanges and banks and have firsthand experience with stock trading apps and several fintech tasks. We’ll look at how an investing app works, the features it requires, and the time and money you will require to create one in this article.

Leading Investment Apps in 2021

Knowing your competitors is crucial when establishing any business. In this case, we’re discussing different money-investing apps. Let’s look at some of the greatest investment applications available.


Robinhood is an app widely used by experienced traders and beginners. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, and cryptocurrency using the app. It’s a good option for active day trading because of the convenient real-time charts. 

The app has no trading commission because it gets money via rebates from trading venues and market makers and, as well as fees for premium features and money management. 

Robinhood can manage your paychecks and bills, as well as offer interest on the money you haven’t invested in, in addition to a selection of investment options. Is Robinhood a decent app for investing? Yes. It wouldn’t have over 18 million customers if it didn’t. 

However, if you asked us, “What is the best investment app?” we wouldn’t say it because the company is plagued by lawsuits and issues, implying that there is still potential for improvement.


You can automate the investing of your free funds and spare change into a varied portfolio with the Acorns app. The program offers a simple and easy-to-use layout, making it ideal for those who don’t want to use much of their time studying the ins and outs of investing or keeping up with current stock market updates. Depending on the kind of account, the monthly charge for the application starts from $1 to $5.


Betterment is an app that belongs to the robo-advisor investment app category. The software robotizes the investment procedure by rebalancing portfolios and reinvesting dividends using AI algorithms. 

Customers can invest in instruments that have a beneficial influence on global problems and climate change through a tool called Socially Responsible Investing. 

 The Betterment app assists users in keeping track of their funds, act as a budgeting tool, and improve tax tactics. The app deducts a single annual charge of 0.25 percent of the amount invested.


Another investing program is commission-free and offers a fractional investment option, allowing users to purchase a portion of a single share, making even the super costly instruments accessible to all. 

The app is designed for long-term investors and does not support margin or real-time trading. Another fascinating feature of Stockpile is gift cards that can be exchanged for the stock – a great idea for a birthday present for kids.

How an Investing App Operates

We’ll look at what a potential user can do in our app and the functionality it should have. 

Login and Profiling

The user can have already registered and created an account with the brokerage business (in person or through a website), and they have a login and password when they start using the investing app. 

As exchanges and banks move toward a mobile-first strategy, your consumers should be able to sign up and create accounts from within the app. This procedure may be sped up by allowing sign-up via social media and integrating OCR (optical character recognition) technology, allowing new clients to just point their cameras at their papers. 

The app will instantly input the information. Integrating Touch and Face ID features is particularly important: an investing app contains a lot of sensitive financial information, but no one wants to input a pin every time they want to monitor the stock market.

Following the first registration, the app should gather more information to provide customized investment options and modify the user experience. This may be done by having the consumer fill out a short questionnaire about their financial objectives and investing experience, as well as the projected annual return, the amount of risk they are prepared to accept, and the amount of money they have to invest.

Making Investments

After creating the profile and moving money to the trading account, one may want to buy trading instruments. What this will look like is very dependent on who our target audience is. If your app caters to long-term investors with little to no expertise, like Acorns or Stockpile, the screen can be separated into a series of cards, each of which offers a specific investing plan with predicted risk and rewards.

If the app is aimed at active investors, it should have real-time trading charts and an easy-to-use interface for placing purchase and sell orders. Include multiple sorts of orders, such as trailing stop and stop-loss, to attract experienced traders.

Recommendations and Notifications

The app may prioritize specific instruments and alter the user interface based on the user’s profile. If a consumer shows no interest in crypto trading, the option might be removed from the main screen. 

An integrated robo-advisor — an Artificial Intelligence system that evaluates how clients use the app and proposes new methods to generate money depending on their available cash and risk tolerance — may be added to the investing app for a more sophisticated approach.

It’s critical to inform investors about market developments by delivering market news as stories and detailed analytical pieces. Push notifications should be used to communicate the most important news about the stocks that a client owns. 

Overall, the quantity of news and notifications should be proportional to the user’s behavior – rarely frequent traders and long-term investors require significantly less market information to make educated judgments.

Detailed Analytics

Regardless of their experience level, every investor wants to know exactly how much money they made and the amount they lost. The essential message here is to not skimp on an investment app’s UX/UI design. 

If consumers can’t tell the amount they’ve made using your app, they’re likely to move to another business. An investment app should provide statistics in the form of easy-to-read charts and graphs and the ability to compare dynamics across time and between instruments.

You should also not forget to include a dark mode. People frequently trade in international markets and have free time to ponder their financial condition in the evening. Surf used a dark gray backdrop with bright orange and white text to create the Twim crypto exchange application. This was to ensure that it is less straining for the eyes during the night and does not inhibit the release of the melatonin sleep hormone.

Customer-Oriented Support

Not everyone is a finance expert, but this doesn’t rule out their possibility of becoming investors. Your app should be able to give timely support to clients who have questions. This may be accomplished with a substantial FAQ section that is easy to navigate and responsive chat help. 

A chatbot can handle first-line assistance, but your clients shouldn’t experience trouble interacting with a person in the event of an unusual request.

Because most investors trade on international markets, you should have a simple area where customers may obtain tax returns and other papers that financial institutions may want. When Surf created Rosbank’s corporate banking app (part of the Société Générale group), for example, we included a ‘repeat’ function that lets clients create documents from available templates in only 3 clicks.

Essential Features

You should include the following features if you plan to build a successful investment app in 2021. 

Portfolio Categorization

Make it possible for your clients to categorize their assets. For example, a normal user would put the bulk of their lasting minimal-risk assets in the ‘Retirement’ category, while the balance is split between ‘Speculative, high-risk’ purchases and ‘Savings for a new car.’ 

Categorization makes money management easier and allows you to track the success of certain parts of your portfolio individually.

Financial Education and Robo-Advisors

An investment application that educates its users is inherently more valuable than one that merely allows you to buy and sell. Include financial literacy education for novices in the form of short films or interactive articles, as well as an AI advisor that assists in making the best decisions by immediately delivering required analytics.

Automated & Regular Investing

For long-term and inexperienced investors, regularly investing part of their money in ETFs and other reasonably secure and diversified securities may be highly enticing. The program acquires the appropriate assets automatically when the user specifies the desired sum of recurring investments, risk levels, and projected returns.

Regulatory Compliance

Creating an investing app has a lot of red tapes. Your business should have a license for brokerage services with the relevant authorities to run in any country legally. If you want to set up in the United States, your app should be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), join SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) and FINRA, and make sure it complies with AML (Anti Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) requirements. 

These specifications differ from country to country and even state to state. Hiring a lawyer to assist with the paperwork is a good idea, even if you’ve been in the brokerage market for a while.

Investing App Development Plan and Costs

The creation of a stock trading app, like the development of any other mobile application, maybe broken down into four phases. Each one has a separate set of objectives and includes various team members. Let’s have a look at them in detail.

Discovery Stage

The first stage focuses on market research and competitive analysis and establishes the app’s user flows and features. A project manager and business analysts do the majority of the work at this stage.

Design Stage

With a clear picture of your app idea, it’s time to enlist the help of a design team to create prototypes and mock-ups for the app. Designers enhance and improve the user interface of the app after testing and obtaining input from focus groups.

Development Stage 

This stage mostly centers on developers. They will write the app code, and you will get a working application prototype in the long run but with finite performance.

Test & Improvement Stage Phase

With an MVP in place, QA engineers and developers keep testing and improving the performance and features of the application, continuously presenting all functions depending on their priority level. This stage offers a fully working application, which is published in app stores. 

Time & Costs

The ultimate cost of your investment app will be determined by the features provided, platforms supported, their complexity, and other variables. Building a native investment app may take anything from six to ten months, or around 3000 hours. 

At a $100 hourly rate, hiring a development team in the United States will cost $300,000. Looking for development teams abroad, in Asia or Western Europe, where hourly prices for high-quality programmers range from $20 to $40, will be the best move. By hiring developers from these areas, the identical application will only cost $100,000. 

Another approach to cutting expenses is using a cross-platform framework that lets you develop Android and iOS apps with the same code. Surf, for example, saved 40% of the client’s actual budget by ditching native development for Flutter cross-platform technology when developing applications for the Rigla pharmaceutical chain.


The development of investment applications in 2021 is a strong potential for profitable business as more individuals come to the stock market and contemplate investing in cryptocurrencies. Begin by identifying your target market: casual investors, seasoned day traders, or a larger group of people with varying income levels and objectives. Then, according to your users’ demands, develop your future app and incorporate relevant functionality and established security measures.

The success of this type of business is mostly outlined in the development process quality. Technical issues with stock-investing applications come at an added cost: it’s not unusual for consumers to submit complaints and seek reimbursement if they could not sell an asset due to a stopped app. As a result, selecting developers with a track record and suitable experience is preferable. For almost a decade, Surf has been developing mobile applications using both cross-platform and native technologies. We have developed fintech apps for banks and other financial bodies.