How to develop a custom trading platform: key features, costs, and development stages
There is such an index as the S&P 500 that tracks the prices of the 500 largest U.S. public companies. It tracks stock prices of large-cap companies or stocks of companies whose total stock value exceeds $10 billion. Despite tough times and the pandemic, the S&P 500 is up to 26.9% for the year. It means that even in times of global economic uncertainty, it is still relevant to keep an eye on the stock and investment market.
Online trading on mobile devices is one of the latest and greatest hype trends in the financial sector, and interest is growing every day. Users from all over the world even make Reels and TikTok videos telling how to invest and what to invest in. Obviously, it is impossible to find out about all ins and outs of custom trading platform development by surfing social networks. However, reading this article can be the first step. Here we talk through how investment apps work, what trading platform to use as a reference, what features no stock trading app can do without, and how to find the best development team.
How does a stock trading app work?
To describe what a stock trading app is, it is first worthwhile to clarify what the stock market is. The stock market provides an environment where market participants can confidently trade stocks at zero or low transaction risk. It supports democratized access to trading and capital exchange, trying to level the playing field for all types of investors. The stock trading app is a custom platform through which users can perform stock trading online. Users download the app to invest and track the market in real time on their smartphones.
Who should you look up to when creating a stock trading app?
Before starting the custom trading platform development process, there is a need to understand what types of stock trading websites exist, let’s take a closer look at the most popular stock trading platforms that have already taken their place in the market.
Robinhood. It is an app that helps users move their money into action. The app gives access to the global market and stocks to start trading. In addition to the standard online investment platform functions, the app also allows users to manage both gold and cash. Recently, users got a chance to invest and trade cryptocurrencies.
Cash app. It is a commission-free investing and trading app that allows USA and UK users to send and deposit money from and to their bank accounts. It makes it easy to invest in stocks and bitcoins. According to the Cash App management team, the app already has 40 million monthly active users.
E*Trade. E*Trade is considered a founding broker because of its online presence. They offer two easy-to-use well-executed apps — E*Trade and more advanced Power E*Trade. Both are designed for Android and iOS and allow users to manage their stocks easily, get real time updates and reports, and check market news. E*Trade offers regulated performance risk and no stock and EFT (exchange-traded funds) fees. Instead, they charge investors for each contract, and the fee depends on how often you trade.
eToro. eToro is a trading platform where local traders and investors share their secrets and strategies. To build a profitable portfolio, new users can watch investors’ trading history and follow them. eToro also gives access to certified copy traders — a group of traders with a history of successful investing, verified by the platform.
Trade Republic. It is a European investment and trading app. Thanks to easy, fast, and free access to the capital market, it quickly became the No. 2 broker in European countries such as Germany, Austria, and France. Recently Trade Republic was valued at $5.3 billion.
Why custom trading platform development is a great business idea?
We have collected a few reasons why nowadays is the right time to invest your capital in building your custom trading platform.
The skyrocketing number of investors
In 2019 and 2020 many people found themselves stuck at home and started searching for an opportunity to gain income online. The pandemic, meme stocks, and their popularity in social networks became the reason for the growth of new coming investors. That’s why in this period the number of annual trading platform users grew from 60 to 140 million users.
In the process of custom trading platform development, we can now make benefit from AI technologies. For instance, create robo-advisors that would recommend users trading strategies based on their goals or automate customer support to make the user experience smoother and raise the retention rate.
Add any features your want
There are plenty of trading platforms on the market that you can analyze. Any product has its benefits and drawbacks, so you can find the flaws and avoid them in the process of custom trading platform development. For example, you can enhance your app with a recognizable branding style, add stronger security features, or provide plenty of trading tips and real-time trading data.
By the way, during custom trading platform development, our team can install AI-aided features into your app and create a beautiful interface design. If you have a project idea, fill in the form below.
Essential features of trading platforms
Сustom trading platform development is always about developing different features. Let’s see, which of them is good to pay attention to in a stock trading app? We use screenshots of the well-known Robinhood and Binance apps to visually represent the features.
The onboarding feature is implemented in apps to show how to use the product. It is very important to help users navigate and explain how to be an online trader. When users have no difficulties with an app and understand what they need to do, it boosts their confidence, which is crucial for a financial app. In our expertise, the lack of proper onboarding can cause user outflow.
As practice has shown, in the process of custom trading platform development there is a need for an FAQ page and support. On the one hand, when you develop an application similar to what is already on the market, the audience already knows why they need such an application and how to use it. But still, it’s better to explain some things, because you never know when the users try to format fractional values incorrectly or mess up the values in the fields that require percentages and letters. So, on one of the projects we created a whole portal with training materials — from the basics of trading to the strategies.
A registration form is needed in the app to create a user profile. Users can’t start their investment journey in your app without a personal account where their activity is shown. Not many people want to spend a lot of time filling out information about themselves, so in the process of custom trading platform development, it’s better to make registration as easy as possible. Don’t forget about data security, since you’re dealing with personal financial information. For authorization, you can implement identity verification, social media integration, or two-factor authentication.
The key functions of investment apps include user’s portfolio, current account balance, and information about the stocks and the options the user owns. It is a place where users can analyze their assets in detail and make further investment decisions. The registered users can receive personal recommendations. In this way, you increase the level of user engagement in your application.
Another specificity of trading apps is the need to isolate user data and operations, both in terms of security and reliability. In the process of custom trading platform development, you can consider using a cloud infrastructure, where each user is processed in a separate private container — this eliminates any side effects. This system also allows you to “pay as you go” — it automatically scales up as users come in and shrinks as they go out.
Another thing that you have to take into account is the fact that the markets do not work on weekends, which means no operations and no users two days a week and, as a result, significant savings on cloud subscriptions of about 14%.
Integrating bank accounts
The most important part of the registration process in the investment application is adding bank account details. In the past, you had to build a server part, a trading engine, as well as payment mechanisms and connections to individual banks from scratch for this purpose. But now there are a lot of APIs that help develop custom trading platforms with the secure connection of bank accounts to fintech apps quickly and affordably, for example, Plaid API.
Users need a dashboard where they can see the amount of money they have invested and check whether their investment is growing or not. There they can also see the stocks and other securities they own and their purchasing power, i.e. the amount of money they have to buy stocks. Here it is absolutely necessary to add a feature of real-time information updates so that users can monitor the situation on the market.
Don’t forget to add this feature when developing a custom trading platform — users should be given an option to search for active stocks and their present rate in the market.
You should send users notifications of their stocks movement, but these notifications should be timed in a way that they are not bothersome for busy investors.
This screen should display real time market charts, company profiles, growth overviews, and other elements that help users make investment decisions.
Сustom trading platform development team and process
The features are sorted out, but who can help put all this knowledge together and make the development process less effortful? Here’s what an investment app development team should look like:
- Business analyst
- Project manager
- UI/UX designer
- Frontend and backend developers
- QA engineer
To determine the scope and prioritize features, business analysts gather project requirements and budget expectations and conduct a thorough analysis. This approach considers all potential opportunities and provides financial benefits for the products. The success of your app and custom trading platform development largely depends on how your business goals and priorities are defined.
What we want to say is that any transactions with finances are very sensitive and user feedback is super important. It’s one thing when users experience difficulties with posting a picture of a pet, but it’s another thing when they face a threat of losing money for any reason — be it a bug in the code or a flaw in the interface. First and foremost, during custom trading platform development, it is important to consider the requirements for security, scalability of the environment, and understandability of the interface, the rest can be added after release.
Learn more about how to estimate the project at Stories & Articles..
The design of your app depends on your research. It is extremely important that your audience finds your app user-friendly and understandable. The app market is overcrowded right now, and it’s easier for users to reject a tool if its user experience design isn’t perfect. Quality research and proper interface design can help position your business and differentiate it from other trading platforms. To provide the best user experience, the team tests the product with both stakeholders and end-users.
Depending on the project request, the development team involves IT developers in the custom trading platform development. Developers consider the mobile app platform, managed cloud services, third-party APIs for core and additional features, and other important tools.
Since a trading application is partly professional software — it’s important to rely on reliable and supported solutions. That’s what React Native app development has become for us. Hybrid apps solve the problem of users and give us the possibility to support as quickly as possible through wireless delivery of new software (OTA) and a single code for iOS and Android.
Quality assessment (QA)
The testing process is integrated into the custom trading platform development process. QA engineers make sure that the code works when they commit it to the repository and when they upload the changes to the server. They test how the app works and make reports to the developers to fix bugs.
Release and support
Stock trading projects are usually built on cloud infrastructure, as it ensures app scalability. If the number of users increases rapidly, it will scale up and become more expensive. But the case when the number of users goes down, while the costs stay the same is also possible. And it without permanent monitoring of the app cannot be tracked immediately, but only when the bill arrives at the end of the month. So, make sure that the services your team provides include post-release support to make sure the product works as intended.
How do you assemble such a team? There are three ways you can follow:
- In-house team. You can gather your own team to involve in custom trading platform development. If it’s your first experience, you are going to face many tasks: rent an office, buy necessary equipment and software, and hire employees. This process is time and money-consuming, but if you are not afraid of difficulties — go ahead! In the end, you get a well-coordinated team that can solve any problem.
- Freelance team. If your budget is limited, you can hire freelancers. There are many contractors on the freelance markets who willingly take on the task. But remember that in the case of working with freelancers, it is difficult to predict the result of the work, and you can’t be sure that at some point any member of the team simply will not stop responding to you.
- Outsource team. If you are just beginning your dive into the world of custom trading platform development, turning to an outsourcing agency may be the best option. You get a coordinated team of experienced designers, developers, and testers, as well as business analysts who help define business goals, and a project manager who plans deadlines, provide updates during development, and troubleshoots problems.
Ronas IT Services can help you develop web or mobile apps from zero to hero. We can create the user experience for your digital products to solve real problems and improve crucial business metrics with up-to-date yet friendly interfaces.
How do I start custom trading platform development?
If you want to test your electronic trading platform, instead of developing a complete product, we highly recommend creating a minimum viable product (MVP). This approach allows you to develop a product with basic functionality without spending a lot of time and money on it.
A rough estimate for mobile or web MVP development at Ronas IT is 3–4 months and $40–50K. Please remember that any custom development requires proper planning in terms of budget.
We hope that after such a detailed guide, you don’t have any doubts about custom trading platform development. But if you still have any of these, do not hesitate to contact us, and our manager helps you determine what your app should look like and what its goals are and find the best approach to build a good trading platform.