Vilmate Blog

What you should know before you start building
a stock trading system like E*TRADE or Robinhood

App Developmentfintechstock trading appTechnologies

Investing is, in itself, risky and it sometimes results in heavy losses but a stock trading app like E-Trade or Robinhood gives one an opportunity to save on extra fees and enjoy the benefits of numerous investment tools. We owe this improvement, in the first place, to technology innovation, new trends, and opportunities that are not only driving advancements but also causing the growth of competition in many industries, financial technology (fintech) inclusively.

If you have ever paid for some goods or services with your phone, transferred money using an app (i.e. trading software), tagged your bank statements online (be it bank transfers; client, supplier, salary, or tax payments), then you are already part of this multi-billion industry. Broadly speaking, the term fintech encompasses a huge range of products, technologies, and business models that drive changes in the financial services industry. Although this term is being heard from everywhere now, it is by no means a buzzword. Basically, it is a big business opportunity emerging from the disrupted traditional financial markets and encouraging businesses to develop trading platforms.

It is not just another futuristic fantasy, too. Cashless payments, crowdfunding platforms, robo-advisors, and virtual currencies are some of the real-life examples that support the idea. Advances in technology like these are the forms of innovative technologies that are revolutionizing the FinTech sector now.

All these original products, technologies, and models can be presented to customers in the most convenient way — in the form of iOS and Android applications right on their mobile devices.

What is a trading app?

Like all other apps supported by mobile devices, trading apps are intended to increase user’s efficiency and effectiveness whenever he or she completes a task in their private and public lives. Apps for trading stocks particularly are to support users in case they are in search of successful trading solutions that would follow their personal investment strategy and suit their budget. Accordingly, whole new trading experiences are being created by means of mobile devices.

Sometimes, commissions and multiple additional trading charges cost regular traders a pretty penny. Yet, no one wants to pay extra. Especially considering that investing implies spending money while looking forward to generating healthy returns. Therefore, it is investment apps that help reduce additional costs or even eliminate them completely. Fintech business models are meant to work, in the first place, for people and bring about the prosperity of the full-service consumer finance firms. Trading platforms also possess the mobility that allows traders to continuously monitor the stock market. Thus, transactions can be conducted at any time, which makes the number of stock trading apps at the market grow.

How investing and stock trading apps work

In principle, fintech is all about proper ways and patterns of money handling: storing, borrowing, lending, investing, spending, storing or even protecting it. The technology is meant to give assistance to people in managing their financial operations more efficiently. In other words, the form in which fintech will appear on your device depends entirely on which segment of the industry an application belongs to. These segments are the following:

    • financing & crowdfunding
    • wealth & asset management
    • payments
    • capital markets
    • insurance services

how investing and stock trading apps work

This is only a short list which implicates the presence of subsegments we are leaving out for now. What really matters here is that investing and stock market apps are meant to improve and automate the delivery of financial services in the segment of financing & crowdfunding. In fact, investing and stock trading apps are a full-function tool that gives permanent access to the market. Consequently, a user can monitor market activity changes, get real-time stock quotes and more.

According to Investopedia and Forbes, to name a few, free stock trading apps are being built and run for Millennials to start investing. This assumption is quite reasonable. Firstly, they are more likely to be aware of innovative technologies than those who represent previous generations. It implies that Millennials but not Gen Xers and Baby Boomers hold a prominent position on the market since, stereotypically, the latter are less interested in digging deeper into the peculiarities of new opportunities emerging in the IT world. Secondly, fintech just does not address Gen Xers and Baby Boomers’ problems. Millennials are used to relying on their handheld devices when completing everyday tasks. To put it another way, fintech users opt for digital channels when it comes to managing their lives. Yet, the other side of the coin is that by developing stock trading apps, companies draw young people’s attention to financing. While traditional brokerages keep taking fees on a regular basis from investors and traders, applications let customers drive trades and make investments without charging them for each transaction. How exactly stock market apps are monetized, we will discuss later in this article.

Features of the most famous stock market apps and stock market apps monetization

Although it is free for users to become investors and start selling stocks via apps now, to yield better overall profits, a trading platform like E-Trade or Robinhood still has to add premium features and take other adequate measures. Let’s take a closer look at the basic features E-Trade and Robinhood and other free stock trading apps possess.

1. Online dashboard. On a so-called adaptive portfolio dashboard, a user can see sortable data which enables goal tracking for the sake of progress and user experience improvement.

2. Real-time streaming of stock quotes and charts, which is the feature also present on a dashboard. Besides, data there can update every second automatically in modern systems to generate the most accurate analysis, price patterns and efficient strategies.

3. Stock screeners/stock scanners. Screening has to provide valid results: the aforementioned charts and quotes derived using all kinds of fundamental, technical, and descriptive metrics to take advantage of when stock-picking.

4. Watch lists that normally allow keeping an eye on stocks to plan further investments and show users price, volume, bid price, and percentage changes. Watch lists are an essential ingredient for conducting substantial stock research.

5. Recent market news. It is crucial to make rather informed financing decisions. Relevant and timely news customized to the user’s watchlist available right on their stock trading app is exactly what helps with that.

6. Calendars and stock notifications. Real-time tracking and 24/7 availability are what users expect from stock trading apps. Naturally, it is important to stay up to date with a variety of alerts.

features of the most famous stock market appsIn early 2018, Robinhood had over 4 mln accounts and E-Trade had 3.7 accounts. Yet, collecting interest on customer deposits and securities they hold is not the only way to make money from an application. So, evidently, some of those millions of users are ready to pay extra for the premium features. These features help applications make revenue and can be illustrated through the example of Robinhood Gold. It is an advanced way of interacting with the stock market. Robinhood Gold unlocks wider possibilities by allowing customers who have a minimum balance of $2,000 to trade on margin, access extended-hours trading and more.

Technologies and tools to make a successful trading platform

Long-term fruitful investing needs reliable trading software. Unfortunately, trading applications can sometimes fail to handle loads of large-scale automated operations. For this reason, building an automated rules-based mobile trading app using multi-language third-party APIs is a good idea. Choose a programming language or protocol from the wide variety available and applicable to go ahead! These include, for example, Java and .NET (C#). The choice of a language from those used in writing code for APIs will depend on what you prioritize. When building a stock trading application, software engineers may also consider .NET Core Web API as a way to do the server-side setup (web apps) and Angular / React / Vue.js as JavaScript frameworks and libraries along with the corresponding tech stacks for building Android and iOS apps.

How much does it cost to develop a stock trading app?

Any growing industry, fintech is not an exception, is not without risks. Calculating the price of stock trading application development is a trouble spot. First, one has to decide on the operating system he/she wants to build a trading system for, what features the end product will offer to its users and whether the prototype is needed. From which country the client hires software engineers for the project influences the price as much as the type of cooperation between the parties. All of these points are the impact factors. However, supposing that one needs an application with the basic set of features, the development process itself, quality testing and assurance, and app design creation might take around 1000 hours. If multiplied by the average hourly rate of $35, the total cost makes $35 000. Still, coming up with the precise sum is nearly impossible and estimates are rather made to illustrate what the minimum price for the given scope of work is.


Now, when millennials are the drivers of a new consumer era, stock trading apps are coming to the fore thus mediating financial investment decisions. Robinhood and E-Trade are just two examples of the free stock trading applications present at the market. Yet, the success these particular apps enjoy is undeniable. Nevertheless, with the answers to the key questions about creating an app for handling stocks, you stand a good chance of contributing to investment promotion among the young. Be reasonable, do your best to get informed, let others’ successes inspire you and rest assured that the development of a trading platform will be a rewarding experience!

How to create a Free Stock Trading App like E-Trade or Robinhood

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