Africa and Nigeria in particular is clearly in the most exciting phases of innovation and disruption in the financial sector.
Today, financial technology products (Fintech product) are emerging as a financial service enabler in Nigeria, improving financial inclusion and serving as a catalyst for innovation in other sectors, such as agriculture and healthcare.
The increasing need for mobile money transfers and the underserving of small and medium enterprises in rural communities has created an opportunity that many financial technology product startups have been quick to take advantage of.
No doubt, financial technology product startups are challenging traditional banking systems and are creating efficiency by opening up access to financial services to more and more people. This rise of financial technology product startups has put the demand for custom financial technology products on the rise as well.
However, building a financial technology product requires some real work. I have had entrepreneurs who have discussed with me about developing financial technology products but are yet to do the groundwork required in the early development phase.
Below, I have highlighted these points that can serve as a practical guide to building a scalable financial technology product.
1. Choose a specific niche:
When you have come up with an idea for your proposed financial technology product, you need to first find a particular niche or area you want to develop the application for. A niche constitutes a set of areas a financial technology (fintech) startup could focus on for example:
Specific Demography: You could target specific portions of the populace, like young adults or pensioners.
Specific Industry: You could also target specific industries, such as offering loans, insurance, and payments.
2. Get your legal framework right:
There are several regulations put in place by the central bank for the operation of a financial technology product.
These regulations are very important because financial services institutions are highly regulated.
Knowing the standards and regulations put in place by the Apex bank (eg. the Central Bank of Nigeria) is crucial to developing a successful financial technology product. Discovering new laws and rules while you’re already deep into the development process might result in major changes in the app’s features.
3. Know the exact problem you are solving with the app:
You need to ask these questions – What pain-point are you addressing with your financial technology product? What unique offering is the application providing for users? And what features should it include?
You need to have a clear vision of the final result you are trying to build.
When you have made good market research, your team will come up with a final idea of a business case that will be competitive and user-oriented.
4. Choose the right technology:
To choose the right technology for your financial technology product, you need to clearly define the features and functionalities that you will be integrating.
The technology you choose should allow you to add new features quickly and make changes when and where necessary, without affecting the functionality of the entire application. Your selected technology plays a major role in deciding the future of your application and choosing the wrong tech stack can cause you the loss of money, time, and resources spent building the product.
Firstly, you need to choose the right architecture. An application architecture determines how all the components will organize and communicate with each other. After choosing the best architecture for your financial technology product, you need to select a programming language.
There are many programming languages to develop an application. The language of choice often dictates the cost and time needed for development.
For the mobile version of your application, you can choose between native app development (building separate apps for Android and IOS), or cross-platform development (writing a single codebase for both).
To minimize the time of your application development, you can consider using cross-platform technologies such as React Native or flutter. (Watch out for my next article on choosing the best technology for your financial technology product).
5. Keep it simple, make it user-friendly:
Financial technology products are meant to be user-friendly. That’s the reason they are designed for. Customers know nothing about the coding. What they appreciate is simplicity, transparency, and a great user interface and user-experience. Good UI/UX is the second most important thing when talking about financial technology product after security. Keep it simple by ensuring everything your user might need is available on the dashboard without tons of unnecessary features.
6. Develop an MVP:
A minimum viable product aims at testing the application before launching it. It’s simply a basic version of the app that includes its fundamental components and features. That’s enough for the users to try it, and also a chance to attract new investors. Getting feedback from real users will show you if there are any weaknesses and also you’ll easily find out what features should be added next.
Getting it right in the early development phase of your financial technology product is very key. Above are some of the key approach to help you get it right with building a scalable financial technology product.
Do you have anything to add to this? Kindly share in the comment section below.