The rise of a digital technologies requirement in the post-Covid-19 world implicates that most industries are either already affected or will be affected by the technological revolution. Talking about the finance industry, investors, brokers, etc. have already adopted technology to stay relevant in the changing world. This shift has triggered stock trading app development, with apps likeE*TRADEandRobinhoodleading the fintech market space.

As per a report by Statista, stock trading apps have an awe-inspiring penetration rate. In 2019, Android finance apps penetration stood at 25.75%.

What are Stock Trading Apps?

In general, the purpose of websites and mobile apps is to make a product or service delivery convenient for digital-savvy customers. Like many other industries, the finance industry has also decided to reap the benefits of mobile technology. Among other digital transformation activities, the brokerage companies figured a way to automate their traditional trading system via Stock Trading Apps.

The brokerage companies and startups like E*TRADE were right about their desire to democratise the stock trading market. Stock trading apps allow traders and investors (including individuals) to conduct all sorts of transactions in the stock market whenever they want. These apps allow users to manage their portfolio without having to pay a commission to a broker. This eased-out opportunity to invest has built people’s interest in stock trading.

The year 2020 has seen record demand for digital trading mobile apps. While the United States saw massive unemployment, the stock market, on the other hand, wasexperiencing growthbecause people saw trading as a way to make money. In June 2020,Robinhood realised its highest trading volumeever. Not only Robinhood, but even TD Ameritrade alsoreported record tradesduring the second quarter of 2020.

Best Stock Trading Apps

Robinhood is a stock trading platform that allows users to invest in stocks and ETF funds without charging any commission. The app caters to both beginners and seasoned trading pros. The platform provides users with the ability to compile personal lists of financial credit documents and security papers and know real-time information about quotations. The company’s monetisation strategy includes accumulating interest from the user accounts.

E*TRADE is a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley. The E*TRADE mobile app is an electronic trading platform that allows users to trade financial assets, including preferred stocks, common stocks, exchange-traded funds, futures contracts, mutual funds, and fixed-income investments. The users won’t have to pay any charges for US-listed stocks, ETF, and options contracts. However, some services are chargeable. You can find thepricing details here.

eTorois a social trading platform that allows users to not only invest but also communicate with renowned traders. The app is considered to be the original idea for stock market app development. The eToro application is beneficial to people who want to learn about stock market trading while earning at the same time. eToro users can do Stock and ETFs trading, CFD trading, and invest in cryptocurrencies.

StockTwitsis a social media platform where investors, entrepreneurs, and traders can share their views or ideas. The company was founded in 2009 by Soren Macbeth and Howard Lindzon. Though the company started with a simple app built on the Twitter platform, it is the first to organise conversations using cashtags (i.e., $AAPL). Since then, it has grown its social network of professionals from the investment domain. Currently, StockTwits has more than 3 million registered users and audience.

Stock Trading App Monetisation

In early 2018, E*TRADE had over 3.7 million accounts, and Robinhood had 4 million. Both of these fintech institutions have been trying to prove that the conventional methods of fintech app monetization, such as collecting interest on customer deposits, are not the only way to make money from stock market apps.

An online stock trading app can also make money by offering premium memberships to the customers. The idea behind this is that some of the several million users will be ready to pay a premium to get access to the premium features that the software has to offer. The premium memberships unlock the advanced potential of the online trading platform for the users.

To help you understand the premium membership model for monetising the stock market app, we can take the example ofRobinhood Gold. Robinhood Gold is the premium way of interacting with the stock market. It opens up the possibilities of the platform to allow users who have a minimum balance of USD 2k to access extended-hours trading, trade on margin, and many other features.

Must Have Features For Your Stock Trading App Development

  1. Simplistic Customer Onboarding.It is problematic for many stock market app developers to keep the customer onboarding experience simple yet secure and compliant. The KYC, data privacy, AML, and other regulatory compliances make it necessary for the fintech companies to follow norms. The customer sign-in process can be made simplistic via the phone number, email, and social sign-in options such as Facebook, Google, etc. However, there will be a need for ID verification for KYC, which can be done after sign-in. The app must support Touch ID for authentication; it will keep the user-experience simple & secure while making authentication less-frustrating.
  2. User Profile Page.It is crucial to provide the user with the ability to modify necessary information about them. The information user profile page often contains personal data.
  3. Trading.This is the key feature for your stock trading app development process, and therefore, you should give this feature your most attention.
  4. Payment and Transactions.This feature enables users to make payments and monitor their flow of funds.
  5. Newsfeed.You would be surprised to know that a newsfeed is a crucial part of the stock trading app development. The stock market is very prone to both local and global economic and political environments. For example, if a famous food chain brand has been alleged of doing something wrong, their stocks are very likely to fall. The investors make buying decisions based on such information. The feature should import news from multiple reliable sources such as news agencies, and also, the user should have an option to pick the type of news they want to be notified about.
  6. Portfolio Management.The user should be able to track their portfolios in real-time within your stock trading app. The feature should be equipped with filter options to make the search and analysis easy for the users. Also, you should include total investment, capital gains, etc. within this feature.
  7. Quote Monitoring.It is essential to provide the users with an ability to see and control the quotes in real-time.
  8. Flexible Search.Every app has a search option but having a flexible search feature is a stand-out feature for your stock trading app development. It makes sure that users get relevant information, even if their search term is wrong or not available.
  9. Advanced Analytics.Data is not easily understandable when it is just listed in text format. Users will appreciate it if they get an opportunity to observe the statistics in charts and graphs. Hence, it becomes crucial to include advanced analytics in your stock trading app development process.
  10. Sort and Filter.While accessing your app, users get a list of stock options that they can trade-in. It will help the users if your app provides them with a sorting and filtering system, by which they can quickly go through their favorite stock options.
  11. Personalised Notifications.And last but not least, a must-have feature for every app: personalised notifications. Yes, notifications that are personalised as per the user’s behaviour and preferences. Look, people stay with their mobile devices all day, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll open every notification that you push to them. Sometimes, sending too many irrelevant notifications causes app abandonment, which I’m sure you won’t want. Hence, to improve user retention and satisfaction, you should personalise the notifications using customisable preferences orAI & ML technologies.

How To Develop A Stock Trading App?

Here, I won’t be talking about the general mobile app development process; I will take you through what needs to be done for stock trading app development. If you’re interested in knowing the general mobile app development process, you can read out my recent blog post here –Understanding The Mobile App Development LifeCycle

Know the difference between a Mobile Site and Mobile App

If you’ve already decided to create a mobile app, you don’t need to read this and can skip to the second step. However, people need to understand the difference between a mobile app and a mobile site before getting started on the stock trading app development process. Going mobile will leave you with two options:

A Mobile Site.If you already have a website and are short on budget, you can consider going for a mobile site. Building the mobile version of your site will eliminate the need to create a new Android and iOS version, since mobile sites will work on all mobile devices. However there are downsides with this option. Due to a lack of push notifications, sites do not have the same level of user engagement as mobile apps.

A full-fledged mobile app.Undoubtedly, having a mobile application is a boon. There are tons of useful features (key features are mentioned above) your app can have, which aren’t possible with mobile sites. Mobile apps help to build brand image and customer loyalty by improving service delivery.

Indeed, the mobile app is the best option in current times. So, I would recommend you to pick a mobile app strategy when embarking on your stock trading app development.

Choose the Mobile Platform

It isn’t essential to develop your stock trading mobile app for both Android and iOS. Depending on your region of operation, you can search for data about which mobile platform/OS is used by most of your target audience.

Apps like E*TRADE is compatible with both the mobile platforms because their target audience relates to both the mobile operating systems. If budget is a major concern for you, I suggest you start small and test your beta app on the platform where most of your target customers are.

Also Read:Native vs Hybrid App Development – How Hybrid Wins the Game?

Know Compliances For Your Niche

Every industry has some common as well as unique regulatory compliances for digital companies. These regulations and compliances are related to data security, consumer protection, money laundering, etc., and will vary as per political boundaries. However, I’ve created a list of fintech compliances that will help you understand what should be taken care of. Read it here:Fintech Business Compliances – An Overview

Design the Trading System

The majority of the target user base of a stock trading mobile app is highly educated and has less or no time to waste. Hence, it becomes critical to design the stock trading app in a way that justifies the purpose. The following factors should be taken into consideration during the designing phase of the stock trading app development process:

  • It would be best if you started thinking about the user interface and experience of your trading app at the stage of idea formation and requirement documentation.
  • When your designs are ready, you should perform usability testing. It is the only chance in your app development lifecycle to ensure that the app is consistent with the original plan.
  • It would help if you worked along with your app designer so that your app UI/UX facilitates the process of stockbroking. However, the designer will first design wireframes and then create a prototype for your app.

Also Read:How To Do User Experience Testing – 10 Methods and Tools

The Development Phase

Once you have clarified your requirements and have the app design ready, it’s time to jump straight to the Stock Trading App Development. Every stock market app development phase has three stages:

  1. Mobile Development.To develop your stock market mobile app, you would require help from Android and iOS developers. Your iOS developers will need to be familiar with programming languages such as Java or Swift, and the Android developers will know C# or Kotlin. Of course, there are other language options as well; I’ve just included the best examples.
  2. Backend Development.For your stock trading app development, you will also be required to hire a backend developer. A back end developer is a specialist who deals with server technologies, including software architecture, database management, and software logic. The developer uses programming languages such as PHP, Ruby, Python, Net, Java, along with MySQL, SQL, and Oracle to ensure the proper functioning of server and database. In simple terms, the backend developer is the one responsible for creating sign-in, alerts, transactions, and other sorts of features.
  3. Frontend Development.The front-end part of the stock market application app development includes designing mobile apps and web interfaces. Web interface design will only occur if you’ve decided to build web-interfaces for your stock trading platform. The front-end developer will know programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The developer will also learn how to work with different frameworks such as Bootstrap, AngularJS, and libraries like jQuery.

During the development phase, apart from the developers, you’ll need a project manager, a graphic designer, and a QA engineer as well.

Cost of Stock Trading App Development

The cost of any software development directly depends on the time required for the development. Based on our experience of developing fintech apps, the time needed for stock trading app development is as follows:

  • Environment Setup and App Design: 10 – 18 Weeks
  • iOS development: 21 – 40 Weeks
  • Backend development: 12 – 20 Weeks
  • Admin panel development: 2 – 5 Weeks
  • Production and final release: 1 Week

Total time required for Stock Trading App Development: 5-8 months (some of the steps above will be completed simultaneously)

Considering 40 working hrs per week, the total working hours required will be 1840 – 3360 hrs. Therefore depending on your requirements, a rough estimation for themobile stock trading app development cost will be $60,000 – $90,000.

The stock trading software development cost will be less as these are web only platforms, and not designed for mobile use. The cost of stock trading software development is roughly $50,000 – $70,000.

The per-hour development cost for IT professionals varies as per their geographical location. For example, according to a survey by Codementor, in the UK, the average hourly rate IT developers charge is $63. However, Nimble AppGenie charges 25-40 USD per hour for fintech projects.