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How to Develop a Trading App

How to Develop a Trading App?

Investing in stocks is trendy and reliable, so the number of traders is growing every day. Existing applications do not cover all the needs of a large-scale audience, so now is the perfect time for new creative startups to enter the market.

In this article, we show you how to develop a trading application without screwing up. We will tell you how to choose the key features, how long the development will take, and what budget to count on. Enjoy!

Wait, what is a trading application?

Trading (prop trading) is any activity, the purpose of which is to make a profit. Usually, trading means trading securities, options, currencies, or cryptocurrencies on exchanges. It is now possible to become a shareholder of Apple or Tesla even through a smartphone.

A mobile trading app is a platform where users buy or sell stocks and monitor the dynamics of the exchange in real-time, while brokers (intermediaries) secure the purchase and sale and make money on the transactions. There are two types of trading: traditional, when you buy shares of a company, and cryptocurrency trading, such as Bitcoin, Ripple, Litecoin, and others.

Don’t forget that finance is a serious subject and you need to get a license in all countries where you plan to work in order to launch a stock trading app. We recommend that you consult with lawyers to learn more about the laws of the region where you will be launching the platform.

Okay, but what about the competition?

Let’s be honest, trading apps is a saturated field, and you need to be thoroughly prepared before you enter the market. competitors need to know your face, so we have prepared a brief guide to popular companies.

E*Trade is considered a founding father of online trading. The company offers two apps – E*Trade for beginners and Power E*Trade for more advanced investors. The platforms work for Android and iOS, and allow users to easily manage their funds, receive real-time updates, report and check market news. The main advantages of E*Trade are the ability to choose the risks (small, medium, and large) and the lack of transaction fees for equities and EFTs (exchange-traded funds). Instead, they charge investors a contract fee, and the amount of commission depends on how many trades you make in a month.

Robinhood is a relatively new company that was founded in 2013, 30 years after the legendary E*Trade. Robinhood trades stocks, options, ETFs, and also conducts cryptocurrency trades. Their thing is that there is no transaction fee. How then do they make money, you ask? Look for the answer in the next chapter on monetization strategies. 

The company is keeping up with the times and is actively developing new areas. For example, in 2019, they launched a standalone Robinhood Snacks app with financial news and even their own podcast (!), which was downloaded more than 10 million times in the first 9 months.

Stash is loved for its educational content, simple interface, and detailed instructions on how to use it, which is also why it is considered a good option for beginners. When registering, the app asks users questions about their investment goals and expectations and then selects risks and a personal trading strategy. The company works with stocks and ETFs, and charges users a monthly fee of $1 to $9 depending on the amount invested.

How do trading apps make money?

Money in the morning, chairs in the evening. First is the monetization strategy, then the service development. Before you think about how to develop a trading app and what to include in it, we recommend defining how you can make money from it. There are dozens of ways to make money, but in this article, we will focus on the three most popular and effective ones:

Fee-for-service. For example, Robinhood, which we’ve already mentioned, charges a percentage of the amount of money on the user’s balance as an account maintenance fee. 

Premium subscriptions are another way that Robinhood uses to make money. They offer their users to upgrade their account to Robinhood Gold. You need to deposit $2,000 into your balance and you will get access to additional promotions and extended hours of the exchange.

Transaction Fee. Some apps ask for a fee for every transaction an investor makes.

What features do you need in a trading app?

When people ask us, “How do I develop a trading app?”, clients usually have the stuffing in mind – how do I choose the key features for the interface? Our advice is to organize a brainstorm with the team and think about how the user will move through your service: from registration to dividend withdrawal. Where he’ll click, scroll down, or need extra help.

A list of must-have features a trading app needs

Signup form

You meet people by their clothes, and apps by their registration form. If the user has any difficulties at this stage, he is unlikely to use the service further. Our main advice – make the page minimalist and clear. No one wants to spend more than 3 minutes filling in all the fields with data. 

Remember that you are working with financial information, so you need to think about confidentiality and data security. For example, many apps verify customers at the authorization stage – for this, they ask to sign in using social networks or a phone number. Also, make sure you add terms of use to the app and explain to customers that their data is safe. To make sure the page contains everything you need and doesn’t look cluttered, experienced UX designers are there to help you.


Onboarding is the process of adapting to the interface. Simply put, you need to explain to the user how the application works. If you do this right after registration, users won’t have time to get angry or frustrated that they can find a certain section. Also, don’t forget to add a “Skip” button for those who aren’t first-time users.

User Profile

The profile page should contain all the necessary information about the user – name, photo, region, and language settings of the app.


The dashboard is a smart report that is generated in real-time. On this page, the user should see his balance, the shares he owns, and their value. Yes, there will be a lot of charts, numbers and graphs, plus, the data will be constantly updated. That’s why we recommend discussing the interface structure with a UX designer beforehand, so your clients don’t get confused by the maze of numbers.

Purchase and sale functionality

The most important part of the service is the ability to invest, i.e. buy shares or currencies. This feature includes charts with bidding information that is updated in real-time, a company overview, growth metrics, and other elements that help users make a buying decision.


In order to sell and buy stocks, the app also needs payment functionality. If you want to create an app as simple and popular as Robinhood, we recommend connecting a certified payment gateway to protect transactions and user personal data.


Results motivate users to invest more, so it’s important to add a personal statistics page to the app. Some apps also generate automatic reports once a week or once a month.

As a bonus, we share an additional list of nice-to-have features to help your app grow:

  • Company Search;
  • Search sorting and filters;
  • Newsfeed to keep up with what’s happening in the marketplace;
  • Push notifications when stock prices change.

How much does it cost to create a trading app?

If you’ve been thinking about how to develop a trading app and succeed, we tell you: there’s only one winning strategy: create a user-friendly service. When you’re dealing with user money, there’s no room for ambiguity – everything has to be clear and understandable. The simpler the interface, the more people trust you and are more likely to return to the app to buy and sell stocks. 

That’s why we recommend investing boldly in UX/UI design and checking out your contractor’s portfolio beforehand. Start with a Google search or check out the Dribbble and Behance sites to see the developer’s portfolio and the style in which they work.

We know that for dynamic markets like trading apps, development time is crucial. If you decide to invest in UX/UI design and create a service with a nice and simple interface, then the rest of the development should be as fast as possible. 

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