How to Create an Investment App (Process + Cost)

Demand and rush are the main battlegrounds behind the entrepreneurs’ concerns about how to build an investment app.

Alongside the clear narrative, there was a time when so many of us wished to invest in stocks, but it required special education, broker, agents, and whatnot! But today, we just need a phone and an investment app! Yes, it’s convenient even for a teenager to be able to manage micro-investments now. So, the market rush is obvious! And where there’s a rush, there’s an opportunity to sell. Acorns business is one of the intelligent in the market who grabbed this opportunity and has become the most popular mobile investment app.

Do you also aspire to build an app for investment business? Keep reading to know what it takes and what it gives.

What is an Investment App?

Investment app refers to an application that allows individuals to invest their money in various financial instruments directly from their smartphones or tablets.

Both new and seasoned investors will monitor their investments in the stock market and other financial markets through the investing app. These investment applications help investors save cash and boost their investments with a range of flexible resources at low app fees.

There are various types of investing trading applications, such as

  • Banking apps: The vast majority of modern consumers tend to use online banking and make deposits, so the software solution can be a workaround.
  • Acorns investing apps: Acorns app simplifies investing processes through the unification of brokers and advisory services.
  • Exchange-traded funds apps: This category is for all those investors who are interested to invest in stock markets widely.

So, if you are in the investing business and connecting investors with the financial institutions and stock markets, this is high time you get software built for stock funds and digitize it completely. Why? Read the below section.

Why Should You Digitize Your Investment Business?

Popularity. Because the first thing comes first. The madness for the online investing market, purchasing & selling stocks, controlling investments, and preparing savings – is at its peak. Not only locally but globally, more and more customers are trying their hands these days in stock markets.

Hard to believe? Look at the graph below, displaying the distribution as of January 2020 of countries with the world’s biggest financial exchanges.

Stock Markets Worldwide Stats

Source: Statista

In the United States, capital exchanges accounted for more than 54 percent of foreign stocks. Japan, followed by the United Kingdom, was the second biggest nation by stock market share.

Do you still need more reasons?

An array of Niches. You can build a beginners’ educational portal, or establish an alternative for those who want to open a retirement account, or even sell cryptocurrency purchase gift certificates. So many choices, isn’t it?

Nominal Cost. Those who are not professional investors, but want to invest in the diversified portfolio – banks, mutual funds, and investing agencies are charging crazy premiums to frighten the regular workforce. While a comparable job is performed by internet investing companies but at a nominal rate. This will encourage more customers to invest in your investing apps.

To be practical, let’s pick a few examples – Robinhood, M1 Finance, and Stash. These investing companies have started a new trend that allows traders to buy fractional shares. By this move, anyone is now enabled to join the trading platforms game using their worthwhile apps. As you have understood the reason why you should move to digitalization your investment business, let’s move further to discuss how to create an investment app.

How to Create an Investment Mobile App?

Below are the five steps that you need to follow to end the concerns about how to create an investing app and online mobile trading platform.

How to Create an Investment App

  1. Plan

    The banking services you want to have and the risks you are prepared to take, you need to think out – which is your first step. You might want to contact your financial planner for the same cause. You would also need to select the ETFs that you want to use in your investment app at this stage.

    For example, Robo-advisor for investment portfolios is in a trend. They work well with those who need expert advice at a fair price and those who are willing to transfer the administration of funds to third parties. So, plan out accordingly what you need and how much risk tolerance you can afford.

  2. Prepare Business Models

    You need to create your small business model at the point of financial planning. How much will you charge for your services? How much do you want to earn from the commission? For your reference, let’s take an example of an Acorn. Users are required to pay up to $1 per month to use their facilities. Besides that, it also lets users gain any commission in the trade by referrals and pockets.

    Do you also need to have such schemes in your business model? Think about it and prepare a business model as required. It is the most essential stage of building an investment app like Robinhood.

  3. Initiate

    It’s time to start working on Robo advisor and the trading app mapping. There are stockbrokers and financial advisors in the offline world who help people invest their money. But, how in the online world does the same thing work?

    There are Robo advisors that can manage the money and are connected to the servers. Inside the networks, some gateways are used to transfer business knowledge to the trading mechanism. This is where you develop drawings of the whole structure, to ensure that each aspect of the system functions successfully.

  4. Incorporate Features

    When you are thinking about how to make an investment app, you need to make a list of all the features, like

    • Do you want to make sure no fraud activities take place using the stock-broker app? Get SSL certificates.
    • Want secure login and secure services? Add two-factor authentication.
    • Does your business have so many investment options? Allow users to choose any service they want.

    These are just examples, you can go on thinking of what you want to provide your users and can integrate features accordingly.

  5. Build and Test Your Investment App

    Now, you are completely ready to build the investing application if you have plotted all the features and sketched the outline for the app with the help of investment app developers or a mobile app development company. Designers and developers will build an interactive UI (UX) design for an investment app like acorns and will ensure the results are best. Also, before you go live with it, it is wise to test the software. This makes it easier for you to uninstall the glitches from the stock market investing app if any, with the quality analysis team consisting of two to three quality analysts.

Want to Build a Custom Investment App?

Let’s talk. Discuss your app requirements and validate your app idea from our experienced mobile app consultants.

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However, if you need a detailed guide for the feature incorporation, here is the list.

Must-Have Features in Your Investment App

Investment App Features

  1. Login & Personal Accounts

    A complete financial app like Acorns that is user-oriented and conversion-driven must need to have the login feature. Also, when you log in and if you don’t have an option to create your profile, what’s the meaning?

    For buyers, a personal profile with simple and advanced features is a must. Just like the acorns app, it can act as a private office where they can build a portfolio, track existing investments, and view the business situation. In order to not scare off the investor, make the signup process light and simple. You can also provide social profile registration to build accounts instantly.

  2. Money Management Tools

    If you plan to start an investing platform, money management tools have a special spot on the feature list you need to create.

    Why? People often seek the right way to handle their funds. So offer powerful dashboards to your target audience with instruments for currency, savings, and credit management. To take advantage of infographics, pie charts, interactive bars, etc. all the content should be visually appealing and insightful. Provide daily, weekly, and monthly reports to give a consistent image of their financial and investing operation to the customers. It is an excellent way to increase customer loyalty for your investment mobile app.

  3. Security and Privacy Protection

    Enhanced protection is the golden law for a financial institution to obey in its investment app.

    The appearance of more advanced ways of financial crime is motivated by ever-developing technologies. Take personal information security seriously as users need to be sure that their information will not be hacked when engaging with your website. For example,

    • Develop a powerful IDPS (Intrusion Detection and Protection System) to take preventive steps to deter DDoS attacks.
    • Have encryption algorithms to ensure online payment security.
    • Safeguard the stock exchange app or website like Acorns from phishing methods.
    • Establish a staggered sign-up process and two-factor authentication to safeguard the funds and confidential data of investors.

    Also, make sure that your clients are aware of your security and data protection policy.

  4. Product Comparison

    Tools for comparing investing opportunities are another vital thing among the tips for features of an online investment platform. Because investors are very selective when choosing a basket to place some of their eggs in.

    It reminds you, somehow, of shopping. You can’t take back your money if you don’t like a product. That’s why it’s so important to let customers see the difference, quantify benefits, and estimate risks between investment goals.

    Therefore, creating a special segment with many choices where users can set criteria and compare available options could be the simplest approach.

  5. Real-Time Alerts

    Don’t hesitate to introduce push notifications, personalized reminders, and real-time feedback as you start creating an investing framework.

    It keeps your clients up to date with their returns, tells them about suspicious events, and offers exclusive sales and discounts. To prevent obtrusiveness, encourage users to configure their notification settings.

  6. Client Support

    Last but not least on the list is client support. The optimistic change from a customer-centered approach to a business-oriented approach helps consumers to experience more commitment and concern. Earlier, firms couldn’t demonstrate the innovative idea of helping customers when call centers were used by all. But now, there are various easier means of standing out in the real estate market.

    For example, virtual assistants are becoming popular. You can develop a chatbot that will deal with traditional requests to reduce costs and improve user experience & interaction.

What are the APIs to Develop an Investment Mobile App?

To build specific functions, you need to use investment ‘Application Programming Interfaces’ (APIs). This saves some effort for the development process. Depending on the specifications, you need to combine more than one substitute. Therefore, we have curated the below list of a few third-party API options.

  1. Plaid API For Bank Account Connection

    To introduce the main feature of linking bank accounts to the client, Plaid offers APIs for developers. It also enables users to link their bank account with their login credentials easily in a matter of seconds. By working with Plaid, consumers will be up and running with the banking items on the same day. In your apps like Acorns, you acquire more involved and loyal consumers with this API.

    Pricing: Free up to 100 live items. $500+ per month for tailored solutions.
  2. Paybook API For Financial Data

    Paybook is an API developed by Fintech Engineers, which transforms banking and other financial institutions’ raw financial data into a basic format that is easy to use and understand.

    To build a seamless financial network, it helps an investor to synchronize their software with that of financial institutions, government agencies, and utility service providers. You will have to register on the Paybook website to create a profile for you to gain the relevant credentials.

    Pricing: $50/month for an internal plan. $250 per month for a robust plan.
  3. Xignite API For Market Data Feed

    Xignite offers APIs for industry data feeds. These will assist you with the business data feed features of your iOS or Android app like acorns. They have a range of financial instruments with the stock data feed & investment portfolio, such as equities, funds, ETFs, fixed income instruments, indexes, futures, trading options feed, forex data feeds, feeds of commodities such as metals, derivatives, etc.

    Pricing: Pay as you go.
  4. Yahoo Finance API For Stock

    Yahoo Finance is a media property that offers different financial news and statistics, including descriptions of stocks, quotes, press releases, financial reports. This API is accessible in a number of languages and across different tools and frameworks. C, C#, Go, Java, Javascript, Objective-C, Ocaml, PHP, Python, and Ruby are some of the supported programming languages.

    It can also be accessed using cURL, HTTPie, and Wget using the shell. It also supports RapidQL, a query language similar to GraphQL. It supports the Node.js platform as well.

    Pricing: Free up to 500 API calls. $0.002 per number of additional API calls.
  5. Currencylayer API For Currency Conversion

    Currencylayer allows global currency translations and exchange rates to be retrieved by users. It is most fitting for start-ups involved in collecting reliable and real-time data on a currency trade and foreign investing agencies. One may sign up to get an entry key on their website.

    Pricing: Free for a basic plan. $9.99 per month for tailored solutions.

Going forward, how much does it cost to build investment apps? Read the below section to know a complete cost guide.

The Cost to Develop a Mobile Investment App

There are no ideal app cost calculators, but you can always calculate it by using a basic formula (refer to it as an app cost calculator), which is as follows,

Total App Development Cost = Development Time x Cost Per Hour

However, the hourly rate of developers may be approx $50 and it can be varying from location to location. For more, look at the below table for hours breakdown depending on the features.

Sr. NoDevelopmentHours Estimated
1Native Android (Smart Phone) App for End Users269
2Native iOS (iPhone) App for End Users269
3Backend (Admin panel + Database) + Webservices Development176
4QC Testing90
5Project Management70
6UI/UX Designing50

Above mentioned hours overview in the investment application is approximate. These hours can vary from location to location, developer to developer, and company to company.

Let us suppose that the hourly rate of an app developer is $50. And the hours required to create an investment app ranges between 924 to 1000.

As per the formula, the investment app development cost would start from $46,200 and go beyond depending requirements of the client.

For detailed knowledge of cost breakdown, refer to our blog: How much does an app development cost?

Since you know the cost, let’s even check the best investment apps.

Want to Know the Cost of Investment App Development?

Describe your custom app requirements with our skillful app developers. Get complete cost and time bifurcation for your app.

11 Best Investment Apps

Let’s have a look at some of the best investment apps.

App NameUnique FeaturesReviewsRatingsDownload Link
  • Certified Financial Planners
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Member Rate Discounts
App Store: 4.8 | Play Store: 4.1 App Store: 180.8M Google Play: 24.3KApp Store | Google Play
Ally: Banking and Investing
  • Multi-currency Support
  • Private Communication
  • Custom Offers
App Store: 4.7 | Play Store: 3+ App Store: 45.7K Google Play: 10L+App Store | Google Play
  • Multipliers
  • Acorns Gift Cards
  • Personal Alerts
App Store: 4.7 | Google Play: 4.6 App Store: 827.3K Google Play: 2.28L+App Store | Google Play
  • OTCBB/Pink Sheets
  • Live Seminars, Progress Tracking
  • Robinhood Gold
  • Interactive Learning
  • Watchlists
App Store: 4.2 | Google Play: 3.9 App Store: 4M Google Play: 4.6L+App Store | Play Store
  • Access Control
  • Administrative
  • Reporting Catalog management
  • Content Filter
  • Cost Tracking
App Store: 4.9 | Google Play: 3+ App Store: 50.6KApp Store | Play Store
TD Ameritrade
  • Investors Education/Support
  • Virtual Trade Simulator
  • Screeners
App Store: 4.5 | Google Play: 3.6 App Store: 110.8K Google Play: 13.6TApp Store | Play Store
  • SIPC Protection
  • Third-Party Clearing Agency
  • Fractional Shares
  • Auto Stash
App Store: 4.7 | Google Play: 4.3 App Store: 283.2K Google Play: 100KApp Store | Play Store
  • Custom Asset Allocation
  • Deposit, Tax-Coordinated Portfolio
  • Two-Factor Authentication
App Store: 4.7 | Google Play: 4.5 App Store: 36.8K Google Play: 10.2TApp Store | Play Store
  • Stock and ETF Screeners
  • Mutual Fund Evaluator
  • Trade Idea Generators
App Store: 4.8 | Google Play: 4.2 App Store: 1.9M Google Play: 1.14LApp Store | Play Store
  • Fractional Shares
  • Money Market Research Access
  • Technical Charting
  • Cryptocurrency Charting
App Store: 4.7 | Google Play: 4.4 App Store: 275.4K Google Play: 174KApp Store | Play Store
Meril Edge
  • Customizable Dashboard
  • Interactive Charts
  • Heat Maps
App Store: 4.6 | Google Play: 4.0 App Store: 6.3T Google Play: 105.7KApp Store | Play Store

Project Management Approach For Investment App Development

There are so many agile approaches for developing a mobile application from a scrum to lean to extreme programming, that choosing one and the right approach is quite difficult.

However, under the broader body of agile techniques, ‘Scrum’ is a well-known iterative app development strategy. The key stakeholders of the project backlog and agile software development by Scrum are the product owner, scrum master, and scrum team. The PM serves as a ‘Scrum master’ while a ‘Product owner’ (PO) in a document called the ‘Product backlog’ offers the specifications or criteria.

The scrum team calculates the attributes, and sprints are to be planned by the scrum master. The development team will build a minimum viable product at first and then will develop in more sprints. The scrum squad holds a ‘Regular stand-up meeting’ during the project implementation. This session is meant to resolve the state of the initiative, and the scrum master uses it for dispute solving.

For a detailed understanding of your particular iOS or Android app development approach, you can find a software development company and ask for their suggestions.

A Virtual Stock Trading App Developed By Us

Paper Trader: A Virtual Stock Trading App

Virtual Stock Trading App

Paper trader app is the real replica of the current trading scenarios created by us, Space-O. The primary goal of the development of this software was to assist the world of stock trading by analyzing and training the exchange simulator. Users can exchange real stocks at real prices in real-time without losing any real money with the Paper Trader app. A detailed market data collection was also carried out for this unique app through the use of the Yahoo Stock Exchange, a credible and active resource.

Unique Features We Have Integrated Into the App

  • Stock search
  • Purchase/Sell
  • Profit/Loss status
  • Professional investment advice
  • Watch list


  1. How to build a successful investment App like Acorns?

    • Have a plan
    • Think of business models
    • Start mapping and integrate features
    • UI (UX) Design and develop with a mobile app development company
    • Test
  2. May I expand investment services by building an app?

    Yes, you can. With the unique features and functionalities, your investment business can expand and reach to the next level.

  3. Which investment app is best for beginners?

    • Betterment
    • Acorns
    • Robinhood
    • Wealthfront
    • Stash
    • Td Ameritrade
  4. How does the Robinhood app work?

    • To open an investment account with Robinhood, submit your application form.
    • Move your money market funds to an account with Robinhood.
    • Start buying & selling stocks, futures, ETFs & crypto-currencies as money enters your Robinhood apps account.
    • Now you’re ready to earn money with Robinhood.


Develop Your Online Trading Platform

The persistence and reliable efficiency that makes these investing services super popular and commonly used today was just an idea before!

So, if you also have an idea, you need to know how to bring this to life. When you initiate the process, you just need to contact us and just tell us what features you want to use in your top stock product for investing apps like acorns. We, as an experienced custom app development company, will get back to you with the exact production cost for iPhone and Android investment apps.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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