Christina Constantinou
24th September 2020 · 22 min read

Thinking of creating a mobile wallet app? Want to know the best development process?

You’ve come to the right place!

Did you know that the Mobile App Payments market is estimated to reach over $4500 billion by 2025?

That’s an amazing reason to develop your own wallet app ASAP!

Before you start though, think about this...

Since their launch in 1998, PayPal have had huge amounts of success as leaders in the wallet application business - both on web and mobile.

But did you know that PayPal developers had to spend a tonne of time and money making sure their product was able to handle their constantly increasing user base?

That may not be a huge deal for a multi-billion dollar company like PayPal...

...but for an up-and-coming business that’s trying to break into the market?

Something like that can be a disaster.

apps on a device screen
Take inspiration from industry leaders.

But don’t panic!

That’s exactly why I wanted to write this blog post.

I want to help you develop a wallet app that is high-quality enough to compete with the big names like Google Pay and Apple Pay, all without spending a ridiculous amount of money.

I’ve compiled everything I’ve learned throughout my years of mobile application development, using all my experience to guide you in the right direction.

Read on to find out each step you’ll need to take to start creating the perfect wallet app today.

Outpace Competitors

You might know the tricks of the trade - but you need a technology team beside you every step of the way.

Chapter 1
Creating A Wallet App - Overview

The start of any app development process is always a time full of excitement and big ideas.

It almost seems like the possibilities are endless!

And the more snazzy features you include, the better - right?

Actually, that’s definitely wrong!

So many first-time app developers make the mistake of trying to include too many features right from the start.

This may seem like a good idea, but people often fail to realise that the more complex their app is, the more money they’ll need to spend.

That’s why I always recommend beginning by building a strong MVP, or minimum viable product.

Basically, an MVP contains all the most essential features an app needs to function as it claims to.

So for a wallet application like the PayPal app, we can start by looking at which features are truly crucial:

Fund Transfer

Users will need to be able to send and receive funds easily.

Payment Features

It is important to offer the ability to make payments both online and in person.

History

An easy to find and detailed transactions history is key to a wallet app.

Encryption

Security is paramount to any app that deals with money.

Chapter 2
Ecosystem Of An MVP

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you begin by developing a reliable, easily scalable and structurally sound foundation for your wallet mobile app.

It will save you so much time and money in the long run - trust me!

Here’s an example of an MVP ecosystem that you can use:

graphic of a MVP ecosystem
The architecture of your new app.

This architecture is ideal for a wallet application as it allows you a number of different storage options, separated by the type of information they hold.

This will then improve app load and launch times, leading to much better app performance and happier customers - which is always a good thing!

Now let’s look at how exactly we can build this:

1. Server

Creating the foundation of your mobile payments app is without a doubt the most important part of the development process.

It doesn’t matter how many cool features your wallet app has, or how visually appealing the interface is - without a strong base to build upon, the whole thing will come crashing down fast.

And you definitely don’t want that to happen.

That’s why building a backend that is structurally strong is completely essential to the development of an MVP.

The first step to creating your server is to choose a database management system. This is where all your data will be stored.

There are a lot of fantastic options available to you here, but before you make your decision there is something you need to consider...

Scalability.

So many app developers completely forget to ensure that their product is easily scalable right from the start.

As you become more and more successful and gain more users, the amount of data you’ll need to store will drastically increase. That’s why it is so important that your database has the ability to grow alongside your business, and your app should be able to be up to this task right from the beginning.

Because of this, I always recommend adding more than one server.

Using a combination of servers as opposed to just one reduces the pressure of trying to store everything in one place, and often leads to a much smoother in-app experience.

Some popular choices for database management systems include MySQL, MongoDB and Amazon AWS - what you choose is up to you.

After this, I would recommend using a load balancing algorithm such as Round Robin or IP Hash to redirect traffic to the appropriate server, which can dramatically reduce downtime.

The last step here is to decide on the programming language you’d like to use to build your backend - common choices include Python, PHP and Javascript.

2. Payment

A wallet app will need to be able to handle money - that’s the entire point of a wallet app!

Users will need to be able to link their credit card or bank account to the app in order to deposit funds, which can then be used to make payments.

Using a payment gateway such as Braintree Direct will allow users to enter their payment information quickly and securely without hassle.

After this, you will need to consider how in person and online payments will be made.

There are a couple of ways you can go about this:

NFC Technology

graphic of NFC technology
Keep in touch with the latest technology with us.

NFC is a type of contactless remote technology that can provide users with the ability to make secure payments between smartphones and point-of-service devices, up to 10 metres away.

There are three main ways NFC technology can be used:

Card Emulation

Here, the NFC device acts as a contactless card

Reading Mode

A NFC device can be used to read RFID tags

P2P Mode

This is where two NFC devices are able to connect to each other and exchange payments

This offers amazing versatility, meaning that you can provide a number of different payment options using only one technology.

NFC functions by automatically extracting payment information from the smartphone and transferring it to whatever payment terminal is being used.

iBeacon

iBeacon technology uses radio beacons to provide a contactless data transfer, all with very little power consumption. On average, the range for this is about 70 metres.

As most smartphones already accept this technology, all users will need to do to access it is turn on the bluetooth on their device. This will then allow uninterrupted data transmission between smartphones, making for easy and quick payment processing.

Both NFC and Bluetooth/iBeacon are useful and valid options, so take some time to consider which option is best for your business.

3. UI and UX Design

I find that people often greatly underestimate just how important UI and UX design is to any application development process.

Think about it...

The look and feel of your app is what will shape the experience a user has when interacting with your app, and will ultimately influence how a user views your company and whether or not they will keep using your service.

UI (User Interface) incorporates everything related to the layout of an app. This includes everything from text to images, menus to colours - a UI designer will help you ensure your app is visually appealing.

UX (User Experience), on the other hand, focuses on a user’s experience when they are actually using the app. A UX designer will look at everything from how quickly a user can access information to how easy a menu is to understand. Essentially, they concentrate on how easy it is to use the app.

Here are some things to consider when designing a wallet app:

How quickly the user can access their funds

How easy is it for the user to add funds or make a payment

Where all the buttons are placed

Quick access to account information

Easy to understand language

If you consider all these different aspects of UI and UX design, you will find your finished app will be both visually attractive and super user friendly.

4. Security

As mobile wallet apps deal with sensitive personal information such as bank account numbers, it is vital that security measures are put in place.

To do this, you will need to ensure that you integrate Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE).

P2PE captures payment information (such as credit card numbers) from payment terminals and protects it until it reaches a secure decrypting end point. This is done by encrypting this information i.e. transforming it into something unintelligible, and therefore unusable to any potential hackers.

Unlike End-to-End Encryption (E2EE), P2PE is always PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant, making everything much easier for you in the long run.

Offering security through P2PE will allow your users to feel secure when using your app, meaning they are likely to use it more often and even recommend it to others.

In order to encrypt data you will need to use an AES-GCM technique, which will allow you to encrypt sensitive information securely. Then, you can also choose to generate a salt initialisation vector (IV), which is used as an extra step for password security.

graphic of end to end Encryption
Here's how you can keep user data under wraps.

So, to summarise, here are the steps to developing a wallet app MVP:

1. Choose database management system/s e.g. MongoDB

2. Select programming language e.g. Python

3. Implement payment services e.g. by using NFC technology

4. Work with UI and UX designers to create a high-quality app

5. Ensure security through P2PE

Now that we know what we need to do to develop an MVP, we can begin to look at how to build a fully-fledged wallet app.

Chapter 3
Creating an Advanced Wallet App
1. Reward System

A lot of apps offer some sort of rewards system or loyalty scheme as a way of enticing new customers and keeping existing one engaged and active.

A simple example of this would be offering points for a certain amount of money transferred to the wallet app, which could then be exchanged for perks such as gift cards or money off purchases.

This system gives users an incentive to keep coming back to the app and to use it as much as possible - which will be hugely beneficial to your business!

To implement this, you will need to work alongside your UI designers to create an attractive system that shows users how many points they have and how they can redeem them.

2. Push Notifications

Push notifications can be a very useful feature for a mobile wallet app.

Enabling notifications will allow your users to be made aware of incoming and outgoing funds as well as any reward points they have acquired.

And this can drastically increase how often a user engages with your app.

Which is exactly what you want to see!

And the great news is that implementing push notifications is a super easy process.

For Android, you’ll need to use Google Firebase and for iOS you’ll need Apple Push.

It really is that simple!

3. Customer Service

Never underestimate just how important creating and maintaining a good relationship with your customers is.

Any successful business owner will tell you that failing to provide customer support can have a hugely detrimental effect on your company’s performance.

That’s why it is so important when developing your mobile wallet app to make sure you offer first-class customer support services.

Your users will need to be able to easily contact support if they have any questions or issues, and you will need to offer fast and effective answers and solutions.

If you don’t offer this, you’ll quickly find customers become frustrated and unhappy with your service.

Unhappy customers, of course, are highly likely to leave bad reviews on mobile app stores and social media...

So implementing this feature into your messaging app can be a good idea - even WhatsApp includes a story feature!

...and that can be disastrous for your business .

So I would definitely recommend integrating a customer relationship management (CRM) service into your wallet app.

There are a whole bunch of CRMs that are simple to use and high-performing, including the popular choices of ZenDesk and Salesforce.

But what you choose is all down to personal preference.

These CRM services give your app the ability to offer in-app customer support that is both easy to access and helpful, leading to a much better user experience overall.

CRMs also automatically collect data from a user’s smartphone which will give you access to a whole host of useful data - bonus!

woman and child looking at smartphone
Elevate the user experience with us.

Hopefully you should now know everything you need to know about creating a mobile wallet app.

But, unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go as planned and issues arise.

Not to worry, I’ve got you covered!

My years of experience and in-depth knowledge of app development means that I can help you tackle some of the most common problems I’ve seen time and time again.

So let’s look at some issues you may face and how we can solve them…

Chapter 4
Developing a Wallet App - How to Tackle Your Biggest Challenges

Problems usually pop up in a few main areas:

1. Lack of Testing

A big mistake first-time app developers make that can cause major problems down the line is not testing the app thoroughly and regularly.

Testing is such an important part of app development!

It allows you to see any bugs that may not be immediately noticeable when using the app, as well as anything that may clash with software updates that are so frequent on device operating systems.

In fact, PayPal themselves have teams that regularly review code in order to improve quality and minimise any potential risks.

This is a great idea that would be hugely beneficial to your company, as not only does it allow you to be prepared for any issues straight away, it also gives team members the opportunity to share knowledge with each other and to grow as developers.

This, of course, will improve your wallet app’s quality to a massive extent.

2. Performance Issues

App performance issues can cause serious damage to a business.

That’s why it is so important that you deal with issues of app performance as soon as they arise.

A really common problem that many developers face is slow launch times - when an app takes too long to start up.

This can be incredibly frustrating for a user, who may even abandon the app completely if there are issues immediately upon launch.

But before we can start to think about how we can fix this problem, it’s important to look at the different types of app launch. These are:

Cold Launch

A cold launch is basically the first ever launch of an app on a device, meaning the smartphone system has not yet generated the app’s process. This type of launch generally presents the biggest challenge for developers when it comes to app launch times.

Hot Launch

This type of launch occurs when an app has been launched before but has then been suspended (minimised and sent to the background). This means this ‘launch’ is actually the device bringing the suspended app to the foreground.

Warm Launch

Here, an app is re-launched on a device after being completely closed, either by the user or the device itself. A warm launch is often considered to be ‘in-between’ a hot and cold launch.

There are a number of reasons why users are experiencing slow launch times on your wallet app, but one of the most significant reasons in my opinion is the use of far too many dynamic frameworks.

This is another reason why building an MVP is the optimal choice, as the more complicated and feature-heavy your app is, the more frameworks you will need which will then cause your app to be slow.

In order to fix this, I would suggest rigorously checking your dependencies and trying to merge as many of them as possible without damaging your app’s infrastructure.

It is also a good idea to convert some of your dynamic frameworks to static frameworks. This will significantly improve app launch times, with the added bonus of reducing the overall size of your app - which means faster load times and a better app experience for your users!

two women in a shop using contactless payment
Reivent the customer experience with the user in mind.
Conclusion

Now you should have a clear understanding of how exactly a mobile wallet app is made, and all the features that you’ll need to create the perfect app for your business.

Let us help you!

At Lolly, we pride ourselves on our first-class technical abilities. Our app development team can work alongside you to create a mobile wallet app tailored to your specific business needs.

Contact us today and get started with creating your perforfect wallet application today.