Stock Market Apps: Tips to Build a Trading Platform Step by Step

Stock trading is a centuries-old proven strategy to generate income. However, to make significant gains, you will spend hours evaluating currency exchange rates, developing trading strategies, managing deals, etc. Perhaps you don’t need to spend countless hours analyzing the stock market and determining your strategy.

Stock market apps aim to make trading and investing accessible for everyone. They automate these complex steps, provide traders with handy financial tools, and minimize risks for participants.

As a win-win solution for everyone related to stock markets, trading apps have formed a huge fintech market niche. Researchers predict it to grow up to $10 billion by 2024 and reach $12 billion by 2028.

Wish to enter the promising online trading market? We know where to start. Read on to gain a firm grasp of stock market app development and discover how to create a stock trading platform to beat industry giants like Robinhood.

Understanding stock market platforms

How to use a trading app

A stock trading app like Robinhood opens the doors of the trading and investment world to the general audience. It eliminates the need for broker assistance on your way to becoming a full-fledged stock market expert.

With a trading app, stocks transactions boil down to a simple routine, just like regular online shopping. Dreaming of a Meta or Netflix share? Just get a stock market app, fill in a couple of fields, upload some documents, deposit your funds, and get your first share. That’s it!

The stock trading and investment procedures are in large part automated, thanks to the most advanced data analysis practices. Users can access stock price analysis, market insights, the efficiency of the businesses they invest in, and other useful metrics – everything in one app, wrapped in a beautiful and responsive UI.

Apart from basic functionality, different categories of apps for trading stocks have their specificities and unique trading procedures. Let’s look at the most beloved types of stock apps you can select from for your project.

Types of trading platforms

If you wish to build a quality, highly demanded stock trading app and rank among Robinhood competitors, knowing the difference between different kinds of stock trading is important. Then, you will need to follow the requirements of the chosen app type, and enrich it with specific features that polish up the trading process.

types-of-trading-apps

Generally, there are two main forms of stock trading: day trading and long-term investing.

Day trading relies on the daily monitoring of stock prices. Based on the given price, the trader decides to buy or sell. As the name suggests, the day trading time horizon is one trading day. TD Ameritrade is arguably the most popular day trading app.

On the contrary, long-term investing stocks aim at a much longer time horizon, from a couple of months or a year to even decades. A stock trading investing app helps traders create a balanced stock portfolio to maximize profits and mitigate risk. Apps like M1 Finance are more suitable for this kind of trading, as you can’t trade the same stock several times a day there.

Another group of stock market apps is also worth mentioning here, namely apps for crypto trading. A cryptocurrency trading app offers the ability to conduct transactions, and sell and buy non-traditional securities assets such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, etc. A crypto app can be centralized, decentralized, or work on a peer-to-peer basis. Coinbase is a widely-known app for cryptocurrency trading.

Benefits of using stock trading apps

Trading apps like Robinhood help you enter the stock market right from your home by using only a single application – this advantage is on the surface.

But what other benefits can a stock trade app yield for the players on the market?

Accessibility

Stock trade apps turn trading newbies into advanced stock market players. If developers design the platform thoroughly, even a first-time user can comprehend the basics of stock trading effortlessly. Explicit guides and clear information will help newcomers make their first steps in trading successfully and motivate them to drill deeper into the field.

Cost and time efficiency

Online trading platforms help you avoid additional broker and consultation expenses. In some cases, you also get the basics of financial education for free or at the lowest price. On top of that, a well-designed stock market app carries out transactions in an instant, which is crucial, especially for day traders.

More confidence and control

The best stock trading app guarantees that you control all your operations without third-party mediation. Consequently, the chances of trades failing to be executed are significantly decreased due to any unclear communication with a broker and/or their dishonesty. With control being in your hands, you can be sure everything will be done correctly.

Market analytics are close at hand

Great stock market apps happen to be trading and investment libraries with tons of useful information for both inexperienced and long-time traders. Such platforms compile companies in a list and give info about their activity, performance, and stock prices. They can also give practical recommendations and prepare reports to help you navigate the ever-changing reality of stock markets.

benefits-of-stock-trading-apps

When users first experienced all the profits of trading via online platforms, apps like Robinhood boomed. Today, it’s a competitive niche, and there is a place for your idea.

If you’re curious about how to build a trading platform, at first, get acquainted with the most prosperous stock market apps available. Let’s see what made them leaders in this sphere.

The 4 best stock trading apps in 2022

Robinhood

Trading experts often mention Robinhood within the context of the best stock app on the market. Back in 2013, this company was a pioneer in offering trading services without any commission. Later, many other popular trading services followed suit.

Robinhood allows trading of traditional stocks, but it also has Options, Gold, and Cash Management features. On top of that, you have an option to invest in cryptocurrency. The app is accessible to the general audience and doesn’t have any minimum rates to make your first investment.

Although Robinhood is among the most beloved apps in the niche, you can also stumble upon some drawbacks. Users mention the lack of support for retirement accounts as a negative aspect of the service. Besides that, Robinhood doesn’t offer opportunities for investing in bonds and trade commodities, futures, or forex.

robinhood-investment-app

E-Trade

Founded 40 years ago, E-Trade represented the origins of online trading platform development. Nowadays, the app has a wide spectrum of features for active day traders, as well as for long-term investors.

Today, E-Trade is one of the main Robinhood alternatives and has much in common with this giant. The company doesn’t require any minimum deposit, stock commissions, ETF trades, and per-trade fees. It does, however, provide retirement planning guidance.

E-Trade is an old company that went through a significant evolution. However, it still can’t please all categories of traders. For instance, the platform doesn’t support crypto trading and doesn’t provide access to international exchanges.

TD Ameritrade

With almost a half-century-long history, TD Ameritrade is now among the best trading apps. Since its emergence in 1975, it has evolved into a well-known multiplatform company with several apps and tools with desktop, web, mobile, and even smartwatch versions.

TD Ameritrade is famous as a suitable platform for almost every kind of trader. Users can perform virtually any trading operation using Ameritrade’s apps. Besides excellent trading and investment platforms, the service offers free market research, asks for no account minimums, and stock and ETF commissions, spiced up with high-level customer support.

At first glance, Ameritrade appears to be a perfect place for trading, yet it also has some weak points. The company has high margin rates and commissions, compared to its competitors.

Coinbase

Are you a crypto enthusiast? We decided to include one of the most popular and trusted cryptocurrency trading apps on our list. Coinbase is similar to famous brokerage apps but focuses exclusively on crypto trading.

The platform is a real gem for crypto newbies. The company guides you through the basics of crypto trading in an education section. You can learn what cryptocurrency is, how blockchain works, and how to set up a wallet or buy an NFT. With Coinbase, crypto trading doesn’t boil down to Bitcoin, as the platform supports a wide range of other cryptocurrencies.

However, in exchange for beginner-friendly content, Coinbase charges relatively high fees, including hefty transaction fees. Some users also complain about poor customer service.

coinbase-trading-app

Key features of stock market apps

When you come to the process of trading application development, you should define the core features of your future app. What should you consider for turning your project into a great trading platform like E-Trade?

These features ensure that traders and investors can perform all relevant operations.

Authorization

The check-in procedure should combine extreme simplicity and strong protection. Users often expect one-tap registration, and this solution will greatly improve their first impressions. For that, add several authorization options, including signing up per email, phone number, or using social media accounts.

To secure users’ sensitive financial data, incorporate enhanced protection, e.g., with two-factor authentication or Touch ID.

Dashboard

This page gives an overview of everything that’s going on in the stock market. Users discover their balance, informative charts, portfolio value, and the most beneficial investment opportunities.

Ideally, the dashboard should be personalized and offer data based on users’ financial experience. That means presenting detailed info for qualified investors and not overload newbies, rather giving them useful tips.

User and company portfolio

A personal profile is a place where users can see and analyze their performance. This will help them plan further actions and make more balanced and advantageous investment decisions.

On the flip side, an equivalent feature may apply to companies. They can add relevant information and statistics to give traders an overview of their activities and performance.

Trading

This section is the decisive component of a stock market app for most users. The best stock trading apps have a comprehensive set of tools and features for efficient trading. Among them are balance sheets, share-related info, including share number and prices, earnings per share, stock performance graphs, profit margin, reports, etc.

For maximum effectiveness, the section should contain fast search and filtering tools for currency, index, rate, commodity, and order tracking. Besides that, live market updates are vital for day traders.

Payments

Allow users to connect their bank accounts to your stock market app. Then, traders will be able to further make payments faster and more seamlessly.

However, you should also provide other payment options, such as PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc. Make sure traders can make transactions safely and then track them conveniently.

Analytics

The analytics of user performance is the embodiment of the most effective ML, AI, and data science practices. This page shows the results of traders’ activities and transactions.

It’s important to make charts and graphs eye-pleasing and easy to comprehend. Complete the section with concise and relevant advice to help users trade more effectively.

Newsfeed

The stock market ecosystem drastically depends on everyday events, even if they’re not related to fintech directly. Traders often monitor the latest news, so it makes sense to integrate trusted sources in your stock trading app.

Then, your users will not have to exit your platform just to check how their target business is doing, look through financial expert opinions, market insights, reports, etc.

Watch lists

Some users may be interested in specific companies and want to track their performance only. A watch list is a handy database that contains information about selected stocks. It’s a must-have tool for independent analytics, and many users appreciate this feature in other popular stock market apps.

Support

You should always strive to make your app navigation intuitive, so users don’t need to seek third-party assistance. However, customer support is essential for any fintech platform. Especially in stock trading apps, users want to get instant responses and clear instructions, so consider adding a chatbot to your platform.

Also, provide several ways to contact human assistants directly.

Notifications

In a trading app, this feature is not only a marketing trick but rather a must-have functional component. Personalized push notifications and alerts are a handy tool for those who want to react instantly to any change in the stock market. Make sure traders can adjust notifications to their needs.

Education

Investment apps like Robinhood usually have an education section. This feature expands your target audience and makes your app accessible even for those who deal with trading for the first time in their lives. You can add at least basic guides on investment, and make a compilation of quality resources such as videos, books, blogs, sources, etc. Finally, you can launch your company’s blog or even create interactive quizzes to engage and educate users at the same time.

Prioritize these features and make them work faultlessly. In turn, this will guarantee a high level of user satisfaction.

However, you can also include some other features if you want to get ahead and outperform your competitors. These are fractional shares, retirement accounts, dividend reinvestment, widgets, and everything that will open up new opportunities for even more clients.

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Monetization models for trading apps

Stock market apps are profitable not only for traders and investors but also for app creators. So, how to build a stock trading app that brings revenue to the platform owner?

A traditional monetization strategy is freemium. It implies free access to a limited number of features and a paid version that opens the full functionality of the app. In the case of stock trade apps like E-Trade or Robinhood, you can offer extra stocks, advanced market analytics, more searching filters, or add-free usage with a premium account. But remember that even the free version should be viable and satisfy the basic needs of a trader.

Alternatively, you can incorporate fee-per-trade monetization. That means, you charge a small percentage of each transaction the trader or investor performs. However, make sure your fees are not too high. Otherwise, they can erase all the functional benefits of your service, and you may lose your potential clients.

Sometimes, apps similar to Robinhood decide to adopt its method of collecting interest. Due to this strategy, a stock trading app charges a percentage of users’ cash deposits and uninvested funds. Robinhood’s unlucky experience shows that it’s not the best option for a stock broker app, as you may face some sharp criticism.

Eventually, the recipe for success on your way to becoming the best stock app is to find the balance between users’ convenience and satisfaction and your monetization prospects. Work on the quality content of your platform, and your income will come next.

API integration

APIs are an essential technical aspect of stock market app development. It helps you create a trading platform faster, and more efficiently, and also provides core trading-related and non-core functionality.

Besides designing APIs for the core features, you can sign up for third-party APIs for market-related aims. Here are some of them:

Fintech developers use APIs for several purposes. First, you can get access to up-to-date market data. Second, you enhance your protection system by supporting multi-factor authentication. This makes APIs a crucial part of back-end stock trading app development.

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Safety and security

Just like any fintech app, stock market apps deal with users’ money and sensitive information. Impenetrable data protection is key to becoming a top competitor of a trading platform like E-Trade. If you overlook the security aspect, the whole project is doomed to failure.

So, how to make a stock trading app secure and thus trustworthy?

On the one hand, you should protect your platform against cybersecurity threats, so the user can feel safe within your app. Use advanced data encryption methods, hybrid cloud deployment, enhanced firewalls, cross-site scripting, safe APIs, etc.

On the other hand, you need to incorporate user-related protection. These are biometric authentication, namely fingerprint scan or face recognition, and multi-factor authentication, including verification codes and passwords.

However, you need to strike the balance between data protection and user convenience, which means not bothering your clients with a lengthy login process.

Stock market app development doesn’t come down to technical perfection. Before you create a trading platform, you need to undertake massive regulatory compliance work. Here are the steps to consider.

  • Think ahead of the countries and regions where you want to launch your app, as each of them has specific regulations.
  • You need to get a license as an official broker-dealer.
  • Your business has to meet the standards of local regulatory bodies, like the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe or the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA.
  • You can engage in an investor protection program such as FINRA, NFA, or SIPC.
  • Take into account local anti-money laundering laws.

All this work may seem to burden you as a business owner or app developer. However, a simple way out is to hire a professional lawyer that can prepare the legal ground for your project.

Wrapping up

Building a solid stock market app that will get listed among alternatives to Robinhood is a huge task. We’ve shown you the current state of this app development field and revealed how to create a trading app to become a strong competitor of the niche leaders. Eventually, if you follow in this way, you will not only generate consistent revenue and a strong bottom line, but also do your part for global financial wellbeing.

If you’re planning to develop a trading platform, you may want to involve a reliable company to assist you in this task.

At Eastern Peak, we have the necessary experience in creating fintech applications, and we are ready to apply our skills to your project. Get in touch with our team for a free consultation.

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