How to Make a Mobile Wallet App in the Digital Money World

People worldwide are moving away from “physical” payments to digital tools, and most transactions are done through applications called digital or mobile wallets (m-wallets, e-wallets). The latest reports show that every week more than 25 percent of customers make purchases via mobile devices. Therefore, e-wallet app development is of particular interest. Let’s consider how such systems work and how to create them.

What Is a Mobile Wallet App?

A mobile wallet is a financial tool that allows users to operate money via smartphones or similar gadgets. Users can link their card or banking account to perform financial operations. E-wallets store money transaction records, not physical currency. The software part ensures the safety and data encryption of transfers. User info, like the name or phone number, is stored in a database.

There are several types of e-wallets:

  • A closed m-wallet is created for individual purposes, and only a specific company’s clients can access it;
  • A semi-closed wallet is accessible online and offline, but the coverage sphere is relatively limited; and
  • An open m-wallet works in partnership with banks and can be freely used for purchases, money withdrawals, and ATM transactions.

Benefits of E-Wallets

Today, the e-wallet is an excellent environment for all who use money online. Such platforms allow easy access to payments and convenient m-money storage. To individuals, they bring many benefits:

  • Accessibility: entry is as simple as logging into a social media account;
  • Simplified payment process;
  • Convenience and functionality: users can perform various operations with fiat and/or non-fiat currencies; and
  • Fast transactions: the process takes seconds, and clients can use the wallet anywhere and anytime.

Benefits for B2B or B2C businesses are also numerous. Digital wallets make it possible to make payments with coupons or bonuses, engage new buyers, and enhance clients’ loyalty to retail and e-commerce merchants. Financial, transportation, logistics, and healthcare companies, as well as different stores, can benefit from cardless bill payments and other services the app offers.

Features, Security, and Technology Stack

If you review the most popular mobile wallets, such as Google Pay or Apple Pay, you will find similar functionality. So, to make your app successful and convenient for users, you need to provide essential functions, including:

  • Unique user ID across all payment channels;
  • Bank account linking;
  • Performance and tracking of financial transactions;
  • POS and gateways integration to make payments for goods and services;
  • 24/7 support; and
  • Additional features like loyalty cards, digital receipts, ratings, cloud integration, etc.

When it comes to financial apps and sensitive user data, security must be multi-layered. Therefore, you have to provide complex passwords, P2PE (point-to-point encryption), tokenization, and protection via biometric access and files of keys. One of the primary functions of e-wallets is point-of-sale (POS) payments. To implement them, you need to integrate near-field communication (NFC), Bluetooth, iBeacons, or QR code tools into the app.

The typical e-wallet technology stack also includes:

  • Third-party APIs (application programming interfaces) like Stripe, Twilio, or Nexmo;
  • SDKs (software development kits) — PayPal Mobile, QuickPay, or similar;
  • MBaaS (mobile-service-as-a-backend) and cloud infrastructure — AWS, Azure, Salesforce, Google Cloud, etc.

These ready-made tools and third-party integrations simplify the project’s work and allow you to get a high-quality application in a short time.

M-Wallet Development: Process and Costs

The first stage of the app’s development is analysis and research. This process helps you to learn clients’ expectations and demands, prevailing market trends, and business and user requirements. The investigation enables you to meet customer needs and highlight your offer’s uniqueness. After research, you can form a team of UI (user interface) designers, mobile and backend developers, QA engineers, and other experts.

Next, you design the UI and implement all the features through coding and third-party integration. You may need such technologies as:

  • UI design: Photoshop, Sketch, After Effects, InVision, Illustrator, Flinto, etc.;
  • Mobile: Objective C, Swift, Java, Kotlin, XCode;
  • Web: HTML 5, Backbone.JS, Angular.JS, Vue.JS, React.JS, Node.JS;
  • Backend: Node.JS, Angular.JS, Ruby, Python, PHP, Django, MongoDB; and
  • Database: MongoDB, Apache Cassandra, HBase, Postgres, MySQL.

The app has to be tested by QA engineers who use manual testing, automated tools, written scripts, and many other test design techniques. When the mobile wallet is successfully developed and tested, it’s time to launch and place it in the app stores. After release, you must maintain and upgrade your system to ensure it works correctly across devices and platforms and supports the latest OS versions.

The development price depends on the solution complexity, the number of supported functions, the target platform (iOS, Android, or cross-platform), and the specialists’ hourly rate. In general, the m-wallet can cost anywhere from US$20,000 to US$150,000. An average estimate is around US$80,000 for iOS and $85,000 for Android.

To learn more about how to develop an e-wallet app, read the full article on our blog.

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