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    9 Key Steps to Develop a Top-notch Digital Banking App

    digital banking apps

    It was in May 1995, when Wells Fargo became the first bank to offer Internet banking to customers. That was the milestone for the initial attempt to shift online and the foundation for the revolution of digital transformation. 

    Twenty-five years later, there were over 2 billion online banking users worldwide, and the number is anticipated to reach 2.5 billion by 2024. With the increased demand for online financial services, digital banking apps have become one of the hottest niches in the fintech industry. However, it’s also a severe playing field that contains leading financial institutions, challenger banks, and even tech giants such as Google and Apple. Hence, this article will help you develop a mobile banking app that stands out with tight security and a stellar user experience.

    Benefits of a Digital Banking App

    Prior to developing a mobile banking app, you’ll need to consider its advantages to both the banks and customers. With a digital banking experience that utilizes the advantages of digital banking apps, financial institutions can have more opportunities to strengthen relationships with their business clients.

    Benefits for users

    With the banking app development, financial services will always be available within customers' reach:

    • Users can log in to their bank accounts, transfer money, manage their spending, and execute other financial activities anytime and anywhere, simply through a mobile device.
    • Fast and secure access to the account with Face ID and Touch ID. 
    • Get immediate support without going to the branches.
    • Provide a more personalized customer experience in comparison to branches. By implementing Machine Learning (ML) and Data Analytics (DA) to track and understand user behavior, banks have insights to improve their online services, such as user-friendly designs, more innovative features, etc.

    Read more: What Consumers Want From Their Mobile Banking Apps

    Benefits for banks

    There are several obvious reasons why traditional banks turn to innovative forms of providing financial services:

    • Increase the ability to serve a larger number of customers.
    • Reduce the time to approve the enterprise's profile, work on related administrative tasks, etc.
    • Reduce operational costs as banks can cut down the use of paper and costs associated with maintenance and staffing.
    • Reach more users and communicate with them more effectively.
    • By implementing electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) technology in the online onboarding process, banks can minimize redundant tasks and bring customers smoother and quicker experiences.

    Read more: Why do Banks Need to build a Business Banking App?

    Steps to Create a Successful Digital Banking App

    step to develop mobile banking app

    1. Research and Plan the Features of the Mobile Banking App

    Before taking the first step to developing the digital app, it’s essential to have a clear strategy at the beginning. The mobile app strategy will help businesses define how the product will integrate into the bank's eco-system, engage with customers, and generate revenue. By doing market research, you can discover the target customers’ pain points and requirements, as well as the shortcomings of other banking apps that can be compensated. This step is arguably the most critical part since, without it, you’ll end up wasting your time developing an app that cannot meet the customers’ primary demands in its entirety.

    When it comes to detailed ideas, you should consider some banking app must-have features that either customer expect or are mission-necessary for the app’s appropriate functioning. These prioritized features can be used to build a minimum viable product (MVP) for getting the product out sooner and on budget. 

    Here is our suggestion for the MVP’s digital banking features:

    MVPs digital banking features (1)

    2. Set the Foundation for Security

    Due to the sensitive information contained in the banking app, it has become a succulent target for cybercriminal attacks. Therefore, as early as the planning phase, you should consider the cybersecurity safeguards required for your banking app. The security base that can be taken into account before the development starts:

    • Secure password: all passwords must be encrypted before being stored in a database. Moreover, the function “Forget password” needs to be built upon solid validation facilities to recover lost credentials while ensuring app users can change their login credentials securely.
    • Auto logout: users should be automatically logged out from the system on both the front end and the back end when they haven’t interacted with the app for a particular time.
    • Secure authentication: the identity verification process should be secure and convenient for users. Besides some widely-used authentication steps such as one-time password (OTP), message confirmation, or encrypted PINs, biometrics and two-factor authentication (2FA) need to be intertwined into your banking app’s logic.
    • Data privacy: the developers of the banking app should only have restricted access to users' tokens, passwords, and other sensitive information. Instead, all customer data will be kept on secure platforms.

    3. Develop Prototype for the Banking App

    In fact, the Mobile Banking App's success depends on the level of user interactions. Creating a prototype is one of them since it simulates how your banking app will work.

    Every app needs to start with a concept: What will it look like? How can the app interact with users? Building a product from scratch requires a prototype that generally demonstrates the app’s basic functionality, structure, and design. Typically, people start prototyping with a low-fidelity wireframe, consisting of rough sketches of the banking app’s main screens, with the initial layout of the components in the app. The benefit of starting with this method is to deliver app ideas quickly, gather feedback, and revise just as rapidly. In this step, the wireframe can be built in a simple way with black-and-white content. 

    Once the mockup version has been feedbacked and approved by all stakeholders, it can be transformed into a digital prototype comprising a graphic presentation of the app, navigation components, color scheme, animations, and micro-interactions. 

    However, in terms of practicality, stability, and aesthetics, the prototype is still a long way off from the final product. To review if your ideas work, the interface and functionality should be tested by real users. From their feedback, you can analyze what works and what's not and implement changes accordingly.

    prototype (1)

    4. Design Banking App’s UX & UI

    Based on the prototype that has been carefully identified, the design team will need to roll up their sleeves and starts working. As intuitive UI design is one of the pivotal elements that make your banking app exceptional, this step should be highly concentrated. There are several best practices that you should pay more attention to:

    • The mobile app’s layout, colors, icons, buttons, and forms should obey your bank’s brand guidelines.
    • The navigation should provide a high-level overview of the app’s logical architecture. 
    • A flat menu hierarchy that users can access all activities they need from a simple page.
    • The app should be responsive in both iOS and Android operating systems.
    • The account balance feature should be easily accessible and hidden from other people.

    Explore more: UX/UI case studies for Mobile Banking App

    5. Decide on the Technology Stack and the Development Team

    Choosing the proper banking app technology stack and the development team structure is essential for your mobile banking app since it can help to improve your development time and security. Your checklist for the tech stack should include the following criteria:

    • Project scope and complexity;
    • The number of professionals involved and their level of competence;
    • Tools and software required (whether built in-house or purchased);
    • The relevant documents and specifications.

    In the case of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), the bank’s internal development team and KMS Solution’s digital team, after a thorough discussion, came up with the tech stack decision of React Native, Java Back-end, Monitoring & Log Tracing with ELK, Sentry, APM, K8s (Kubernetes), Gitlab CI. 

    tech stack

    Besides, to ensure the effective execution of translating the app plan to reality, you will need the right development team. You have plenty of choices here, from building an internal team to augmenting staff or hiring freelancers. In case the development process is complicated and requires a considerable number of technical experts, hiring a digital team that has extensive knowledge of emerging software, apps, and technology to propel your growth is worth considering.

    For instance, considering the banking app’s complexity, ACB engaged KMS Solutions for an Agile team of high seniority that work closely with an ACB’s in-house development team.

    development team

    6. Select Third-party Integrations

    Before launching the app, there’s one final consideration to take; it’s third-party integrations. To provide a seamless customer experience with a more user-friendly app flow, your app will certainly need to integrate with several different financial services. Therefore, you should carefully plan any APIs required to achieve this. This API enables safe data retrieval from large financial institutions via third-party applications. Moreover, API integrations can be smoothly swapped without modifying your app’s code heavily.

    Besides, it’s also a good idea to integrate with Super apps. This expands banks' outreach to prospects through various platforms, resulting in more frequent connections with customers. 

    7. Develop and Test

    Based on the technology stack and third-party integrations selected in the prior stage, the development team will need to construct architecture, generate life-like user journeys, and create user-friendly interfaces. 

    Moreover, as the banking app is a common target for hackers, banks need to be on the constant lookout for security threats. Testing mobile banking apps is compulsory to assist you in optimizing in-app experiences, improving core metrics, and experimenting with features that are currently in production. Some aspects need to be considered when testing the app:

    • Functionality
    • User interface and usability
    • Performance
    • Security 

    8. Release and Maintain to Improve User Retention

    With an intuitive user flow to design, security hoops to jump through, and third parties to integrate, it’s time to launch your banking app. However, according to the finding of Apptentive’s 2021 Mobile App Engagement Report, the retention rates of major apps decrease by approximately 65% after the first month of usage and continue to fall significantly from then. So, you should launch your app on some marketplaces such as Google App Store and Apple’s AppStore or promote it directly to the current customers.

    However, a successful app launch won’t guarantee customer retention. Only by proper maintenance, such as fixing bugs, monitoring performance, and introducing new features, can you deliver the best experience to users and retain them.

    9. Focus on User Growth Strategy

    Launching the app is just a start. After the development steps, you will need to work with the marketing team to gain valuable feedback from users to improve and update the app. By analyzing user behavior and their journey while using the app, you can understand their conversion points, features that need improvement, and offers that engage more users. Since the work of tracking user interactions and collecting their data is time-consuming, you can adopt solutions such as Mixpanel to build custom reports and measure user engagement and retention effortlessly.

    Besides, to have a good influence on business growth, banks should also consider the Growth Hacking strategy. One of the first steps in growth hacking is to concentrate on customers' requirements and have a clear vision of them and how you’re meeting their necessities. App proprietors and developers can come up with solutions to promote and get more users: 

    • Affiliate marketing: you can use tools such as Accesstrade to connect with thousands of publishers to promote your banking app.

    • In-app analysis: Insider's technology connects customer data across digital channels to find the most optimal touch points and predicts future customer behavior. Or by using Mixpanel - Product Analytics Solutions, you can have insights regarding how people are using the app, what is and isn’t working, and from that, prioritize the product roadmap, accelerate innovation, and improve the app.

    Develop Banking App Easily with the help of KMS Solution

    The journey from a mobile banking app concept to a full-fledged version is a straightforward process on paper. However, in reality, it’s never that smooth sailing. Numerous compliance obstacles, negative user experience, potential cyberattacks, and a host of other risks can make the path bumpier.

    So, having a trusted software service provider such as KMS Solutions can help you navigate those challenges. With our extensive experience in developing top-notch software and applications, especially for the BFSI sector, we can be the perfect partner that you need.

    Contact us today and share your idea about a game-changing banking app!