Fintech app development: 6 ways to delight your users
Wed 30 Oct 2019 | Hugh Simpson
By focusing on security, safety and user needs, fintech app developers can empower users to do more with their money, writes Hugh Simpson
Fintech apps are changing users’ relationships with money. Whether your users are freelancers, amateur investors or just trying to gain more control over their finances, fintech apps offer new and innovative ways to move, save and invest funds.
If you’re a fintech app developer, chances are your users are looking to you to help them make their financial lives easier. Popular apps like Twine help users automatically move money into a savings account to achieve financial goals or build emergency funds, and apps like Steady help string together payments from multiple sources to help paint a detailed picture of a freelancer’s income.
In the gig economy, these modern approaches to banking and finance help bring financial literacy into the 21st century, empowering users to take greater control of their finances.
Whether you’re in the development planning phase or have already started coding, here’s a look at six insights that will delight the users of your next Fintech app.
Security may not be the most glamorous feature, but it’s certainly the most important.
Keeping your Fintech app secure gives your users the peace-of-mind that their data (and, crucially, their money) is in good hands.
But even if your app is built using industry-grade encryption and security protocols, users still control access to their accounts through passwords and authentication practices.
It is critical therefore to ensure your app and any associated accounts employ strong password policies. Common best-practices for password policies include the 8+4 rule, requiring a password made up of at least eight letters, one uppercase character, one lowercase character, a number and a special character. Even better, password generators can create random strings of text that users can use exclusively with your app.
To encourage users to stay vigilant in protecting their password, you can even require a monthly password reset to turn back the clock every 30 days on any potential account breach. On the backend, it’s also your responsibility as a developer to securely store password data. Ensure passwords are hashed and encrypted to prevent possible decryption in the event of data theft.
Be even more secure
We can’t stress this enough: for Fintech apps, security is paramount.
For an added level of security, consider implementing multi-factor authentication. Apps like Google Authenticator can supplement your security by allowing the second method of authentication to ensure the proper user is being granted access to your app.
Physical security tokens can take security one step further, requiring a hardware device to access app data. Such financial organisations as American Express, ING Bank, OutBank DE and Deutsche Bank have already integrated Apple’s biometric system, TouchID, in their mobile banking applications to verify user identity.
Be data compliant
Data security isn’t just something your users expect — it’s something government agencies demand.
Thanks to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), any company doing business with EU citizens must follow strict rules on consumer data privacy. For Fintech apps, this means any access to user data such as name, photograph, banking information or identifying computer data like an IP address is legally required to be stored and processed securely. Companies not compliant with GDPR can face steep fines.
One of the key principles of GDPR is Privacy by Design and Default, meaning apps and systems that access user data should be built with privacy in mind from the ground up. This is great news for your users: by developing your Fintech app with GDPR in mind, your users will be at ease knowing their personal data is stored and accessed privately and securely by design.
If you’re developing custom APIs for your Fintech app, ensure they’re not designed to inadvertently expose identifying information or other private data. Programming your API to auto-increment record IDs may save time, but also may expose your data to hackers familiar with how to exploit your record keeping. Your data is only as safe as your weakest entry point — make sure it’s not your programming!
Be payment compliant
It’s not redundant to require multiple data security protocols: it’s the best way to keep your data safe. If your Fintech app handles credit card payments, make sure your credit card data is compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Even if your Fintech app uses a third-party payment processor, PCI DSS still requires credit card information to be stored with a PCI compliant host.
Be aligned with customer goals
Depending on the type of fintech app you’re developing, make sure you understand the needs of your customers and that your app creates user experience that reflects trust. Customer empathy, building trust and incorporating innovations is the trifecta that lies at the heart of the perfect app. While developing an app around changing customer expectations, make sure you have the agile team that can put themselves in the customer’s shoes and react to customer feedback.
Be scalable and specific
Many Fintech apps offer a variety of microservices, those often provided by a large bank or lending company. Microservices enable Fintech companies to offer consumers highly specific services like lending and payment on a smaller scale, offering greater levels of focus for your app’s particular domain. Many users appreciate being able to have one specific Fintech app for one specific financial task without having to sign up for an entire bank’s portfolio of services.
APIs have been beneficial for fintechs taking their offering to customers through other firms as a distribution channel. Steve Ellis, Wells Fargo’s Head of Innovation Group, recently said “APIs and microservices are creating ease of integration, ease of connectivity and ease of distribution”.
But the downside to microservices is that they are exactly what they sound like: microservices. In order for your fintech app to grow, your services must offer an amount of scalability — at the same time, you don’t want to saddle your microservice with too much additional functionality. Make sure you’ve clearly defined the purpose of each of your microservices before scaling up.
As a fintech development company, make sure you’re putting the needs of your users first. You may be tempted to add bells, whistles and other design chrome to help delight your users, but there’s nothing more attractive than a strong, secure programming foundation. By focusing on security, safety and your user’s needs, you’ll empower users to do more with their money — and do more through your fintech app.
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