How to create a personal finance management app: the ultimate guide

We all know the horror of digging through piles of bills, receipts, and payments. That's why modern people prefer financial planning apps to keep track of their budgets with minimum hassle. This trend offers businesses a golden opportunity to capitalize on money management apps.

As a professional UI/UX design firm with 20+ years of experience, we at Dworkz gathered top insights from our team to show you how to build a personal finance app. Read on to discover the best practices in building personal finance applications, must-have features, examples, costs, and more.

Fintech app market overview in 2024

The fintech market is booming, with over 13,100 startups in the Americas, almost 11,000 in Europe, and nearly 6,000 in the Asia Pacific region as of January 2024. Personal finance management is a constant necessity, ensuring a steady demand for these apps.

Key insights on the Fintech App Market:

  • The fintech industry reached around $226.76 billion and is projected to hit $917.17 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 16.8% (EMR);

  • Among the top 20 fintech companies by market cap, nine are based in the US (Google Finances);

  • Digital wallets facilitated $13.9 trillion worth of global transactions in 2023, accounting for half of all online purchases and 30% of point-of-sale transactions (Worldpay Global Payments Report).

Research by Think with Google showed that 73% of smartphone users used an app for money management in 2016. Considering the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the numbers have likely grown even more.

Why financial apps are the new trend

In 2023, the mobile app industry saw over 257 billion new app downloads , with digital tools for managing finances efficiently ranking high on the list. People are turning to fintech software for a variety of reasons:

  • Investment portfolio management

  • Bill payment reminders

  • Budgeting expense administration

  • Financial goal setting

Nearly everyone uses banking software, and most track their income and expenses to better manage their finances. This trend highlights the growing demand for personal finance apps.

Developing a personal finance app: a smart investment

Developing a personal finance app ensures a return on your investment and offers flexibility in choosing your monetization model. The most popular models include:

  • Freemium Model: Basic features are free, but advanced features require a subscription or one-time payment.

  • Subscription Model: Users pay a monthly or yearly fee to access the app.

  • Transaction Fees: The app charges a small fee for each transaction made through the platform.

  • Advertising: The app earns revenue by displaying ads to users.

Examples of successful finance management apps

If you plan to create a personal finance app that attracts users, analyzing successful competitors can provide valuable insights into the best features and tech stack to focus on.

Goodbudget

This budgeting app is designed around the envelope system to simplify financial management. It lets users allocate their income into digital envelopes, each dedicated to a specific spending category. Key features include:

  • Envelope Budgeting: Organize expenses into categories and track spending against those budgets.

  • Sync Across Devices: Shared budgets with family members and synced data across multiple devices.

  • Reports: Spending reports to analyze financial habits and make informed decisions.

By examining apps like Goodbudget, you can identify effective features and strategies to incorporate into your own personal finance app, ensuring it meets user needs and stands out in the competitive market.

Mint

Mint is a comprehensive financial management app offering a wide range of features to help users keep track of their money. The app provides:

  • Budgeting Tools: Create and manage budgets, set financial goals, and track spending.

  • Account Integration: Link bank accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts for a complete financial overview.

  • Bill Tracking: Monitor upcoming bills and receive alerts for due dates.

  • Credit Score Monitoring: Access and monitor your credit score within the app.

YNAB

YNAB (You Need A Budget) is a budgeting tool designed to help users gain control over their finances by following a set of principles. The main features of the YNAB include:

  • Four Rules Method: Implement YNAB's four rules: Give Every Dollar a Job, Embrace Your True Expenses, Roll With the Punches, and Age Your Money.

  • Goal Tracking: Set and track financial goals to stay motivated and focused.

  • Real-Time Sync: Sync data across multiple devices for up-to-date financial information.

You can also check out Dworkz's UI/UX case for the investment sector, where we applied our expertise to connect statistics with smarter, strategic decisions.

5 must-have features in your personal finance app

Based on our team's experience with similar software, here are the essential features in financial planning fintech solution with a finance app step-by-step overview:

1. Registration

The registration process is the initial step for users to start using your personal finance app. The first step is creating a user-friendly interface. Make sure the sign-up process is easy to use and quick. Users should be able to register using a social media account, email address, or phone number. Also, remember to implement secure registration protocols, such as password protection and two-factor authentication. The final step when creating a finance management app is onboarding. Provide a guided onboarding experience to help new users understand the app's key features and how to get started effectively.

2. Account integration

Account integration allows users to connect their various financial accounts to get a complete budget picture. This starts with bank syncing, enabling users to synchronize multiple bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and loans. Ensuring that transactions and account balances are updated is crucial for providing an accurate financial overview. 

Data aggregation combines data from different accounts into a unified interface, simplifying financial management.

3. Transaction tracking & categorization

This feature helps users monitor their spending habits and organize their finances efficiently. Important components when building a personal finance app start with automatic transaction categorization into predefined categories (groceries, rent, entertainment) using machine learning algorithms. You can also add custom categories, allowing users to create anything to fit their spending patterns.

When you make a personal finance app with this feature, consider researching its implementation in existing banking software. Many banks provide similar functionality, but there is always room for improvement. For more insights, read our previous article on design thinking in the financial sector.

4. Budgeting tools

Budgeting tools help users plan and control their spending. Customizable budgets allow users to create budgets for different spending categories and establish limits tailored to their income and financial objectives. You can improve this feature by providing visual insights into spending habits with charts and graphs to help users understand where their money is going.

It is equally important to provide alerts and notifications to notify users when they are nearing or surpassing their budget limits. You can combine this with goal setting, letting users create short-term and long-term goals with progress tracking.

5. Bill reminders

Integrating bill reminders during personal finance management app development helps users stay on top of their bills and avoid late fees. Therefore, it's essential to implement automated reminders for upcoming bills via push notifications and emails. It would help if you let users set up recurring bill reminders for monthly expenses such as rent, utilities, and subscriptions. You can improve this feature with custom alerts, allowing users to customize the timing and frequency of bill reminders according to their preferences.

Examples of pro features for fintech apps

After creating the must-have features, consider adding these nice-to-have features that help your app stand out. Add these to your personal finance app development checklist.

1. Investment tracking and analysis

This feature helps users manage and analyze their investment portfolios. It must include multiple elements, such as:

  • Portfolio Overview: Detailed view of all investment accounts (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and other assets).

  • Performance Tracking: Charts and graphs to track investment performance.

  • Real-Time Market Data and News: Keep users informed about market trends and events.

  • Asset Ratios: Display to help users understand their portfolio's diversification.

  • Investment Analysis Tools: Analyze investment performance, compare against benchmarks, and identify probable opportunities for rebalancing or diversification.

Check out our previous articles for insights on the best financial management software for small businesses, which features all these essential features.

2. Credit score monitoring

Credit score monitoring helps users monitor their credit health. This means adding regular credit score updates from major bureaus (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) and allowing users to access their detailed credit reports. You should also send alerts for significant changes in the credit report, like new accounts opened, hard inquiries, or missed payments, to keep users updated. It's also nice to offer personalized tips and recommendations for improving credit scores, such as how to reduce debt or how to correct errors on credit reports.

3. AI-powered spending insights

AI-powered spending insights use artificial intelligence to analyze spending patterns and provide practical recommendations. Start with spending analysis that automatically analyzes spending habits and categorizes transactions to identify trends and anomalies. To make this feature even better, you can provide personalized insights based on users' spending, like figuring out where they can save money or noticing unusual spending patterns.

A common practice is adding predictive analytics to forecast future spending and give users practical advice. Combine this with smart notifications to alert users of potential savings opportunities, budget overages, or upcoming bills, and you'll get an intelligent application.

4. Multi-currency support

Users who deal with money in many different currencies need support for multiple currencies. Some essential aspects include automatic currency conversion and account balances in the user's preferred currency. It's also nice to provide real-time exchange rate updates to maintain accurate currency conversion. If you want to create an even more sophisticated solution, allow users to manage accounts in different currencies and track transactions separately.

5. Bill payment integration

Bill payment integration allows users to pay their bills directly from the app. Start by adding linked accounts to let users link their bank accounts and credit cards to the app for bill payments. Don't forget to maintain a detailed history of bill payments for easy reference and review. Finally, ensure all bill payments are processed with data security, privacy, and encryption.

7 steps for building a personal finance app

Developing a custom personal finance app requires you to follow a well-structured workflow. Here's what our team at Dworkz has established over the years:

1. Research & validation

The discovery phase is crucial for identifying growth opportunities and assessing the feasibility of monetizing the idea. Conduct market research and analyze competitors to validate the app's potential for success.

2. Defining core features

Define the must-have and nice-to-have features to create an MVP that allows for future growth. Prioritize functionalities such as budgeting tools, expense tracking, and financial goal setting.

3. UI/UX design

Our expertise in personal finance app design brings all ideas to life. Focus on creating an intuitive and engaging user interface that simplifies financial management for users.

4. Development

Our software engineers apply their development expertise to build an efficient solution with the best tech stack. Ensure the app is scalable, secure, and performs well across different devices.

5. Testing

The QA team conducts extensive testing of the software to confirm that everything works as planned and ensures a positive user experience.

6. Feedback

Gather feedback from users and stakeholders to make necessary changes. This iterative process helps refine the app based on real-world usage and insights.

7. Updates & maintenance

Continue working together to keep your software remain modern, efficient, and reliable. Regular updates and maintenance ensure the app stays relevant and continues to meet user needs.

How much does it cost to build a personal finance app?

The cost of developing a personal finance app depends on various factors:

  • Complexity

  • Features

  • Platforms

  • Integrations

  • Team location & experience

Depending on your specific requirements, you can expect the costs to range from $50,000 to $300,000.

For example, an app like Payoneer could cost up to $700,000 due to its extensive range of features and high level of security. Book a call with our expert team to learn more about our pricing for your project.

Dworkz's experience in fintech app design

Dworkz is your reliable fintech design partner with over 20 years of experience in the market. We know how to create a competitive personal finance app that attracts users, generates revenue, and builds a community around your product. Contact our professionals today to get an estimate and launch your project now!

Conclusion

Your personal finance software must include multiple integrations, transaction tracking, budgeting tools, and bill reminders. For a more advanced tool, AI-based features provide more considerable insights and more reliable capabilities. Bringing all these ideas to life requires partnering with a trusted team like Dworkz. Contact us and start building your app's MVP today!

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