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How much does it cost to make a trading app like E-Trade

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As mobile apps have penetrated almost every industry, financial and stock sector is no exceptions. Traders and brokers are betting big on mobile devices due to unstoppable rise of users, now in millions. And even though most traders have been using mobile apps for long now, the possibilities to innovate and earn on broker apps. So a trading  app like E-Trade or Stash could be your path to glory.

Mobile trading apps can be not just about news feed and conducting trades, but the whole  trading experience in mobile. One could build app with various trading tools, multiple types of bids, charts, data research, and more. Already established financial apps like TD Ameritrade, E-Trade Mobile, Fidelity, OptionsHouse Mobile, Interactive Brokers are the ice-breaking examples.

This is why we’ve decided to analyze the mobile app by the leader in broker industry and online trading, E-Trade. We’ll review what development consists of, typical features of an app for traders, technologies and cost of such app.

E-Trade is a US pioneer in online trading with over 30 years of experience. Focused on innovation, solutions for traders and investors, company has 30 branches across the USA and employs over 3,000.

One of their main trading platforms, is a mobile app E-Trade Mobile. Streaming market data, real-time quotes, dashboard, stock screeners and other features crucial for any trader. Many experts say E-Trade free mobile app is the top stock trading app today.

E*TRADE Mobile
Developer: E*TRADE Financial
Price: Free
Developer: E*TRADE Securities
Price: Free
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot
  • E*TRADE Mobile Screenshot

How does E-Trade app work?

E-Trade mobile app works great for stock traders and investors who trade regularly. The app allows to manage a trader account, place trades, get quotes in real-time. Available for almost any mobile device: iOS phones (and Apple Watch), Android phones, Amazon Fire phone, Windows Phone. Android and iOS versions come with advanced features, e.g. stock screeners, options filters, tutorials.

With E-Trade app you basically own a full-range trading and investing tool at hand with 24/7 access to markets. Besides, you get coverage of market activity, headlines, stock alerts, and much more. From the menu, you can set quotes and prices highlights, follow trends or pin certain stocks to monitor price changes.

Such mobile trading app is best for any kind of traders, fund investors and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Regarding pros and cons, a simple interface for traders, real-time quotes and more advanced features are definitely on a plus side.  

On the other hand, mobile trading is somewhat limited, involving stocks, exchange funds, mutual funds, and options. Also, iOS and Android are primary platforms for E-Trade, while other devices may lack in functionality.

E-Trade trader app features

To develop an app like E-Trade, let’s see what features does it have. Then we can determine the technologies, tools and frameworks to build an app for traders. E-Trade enlists the following features:

 Trading for stocks, funds and options

  • Dashboard
  • Real-time streaming of quotes and charts
  • Portfolios with sortable data
  • Watch lists
  • Stock filters/screeners
  • Market news
  • Stock alerts, account notifications, calendar
  • Money transferring

 This suggests several major benefits of such mobile trading app. Real-time data and research –  news and quotes from various financial agencies, market analysts, business experts. These include CNBC, MarketWatch, Briefing.com etc. In addition, the app has a barcode scanner which one can use to scan products and get more info.

app like E-Trade

Full-scale trading capabilities. All the features and tools of E-Trade’s platform are available via the app. Performance charts for investors, stock filters and options filters, watch lists, as well as extending expiration dates for placed options.

mobile trading app like eTrade

App users can trade stocks, funds and options, as well as multi-stage orders. Such financial app also synchronizes with desktop accounts automatically, so users may work from anywhere careless of any trouble.

how to make a financial app

Technologies/tools to make trading apps

What tools would a developer use to make a trading app like E-Trade? First, let’s look on what the app at hand was build with: 

  • Java programming language
  • ASP.Net, a server-side framework for dynamic web development
  • HTML5, a markup language to structure and present the content
  • Bootstrap, a front-end framework for web and mobile development
  • Highcharts, to produce charts and graphs
  • New Relic analytics platform for mobile solutions

This is not everything, of course, but we can see a basic picture. The arsenal to make a similar app has plenty of options/alternatives. For example, our Android developers may write an app using Java, Kotlin, C# or JavaScript languages; and iOS developers may use Objective C, Java or Swift.

If we take development kits and APIs, that cut the delivery time, we may use many. Android SDK, JDK by Java, RestKit, Core Data and many more, depending on project requirements and app features.

Bigger impact on the cost of making an app like E-Trade will have a developer team you hire and their rate, app features and design to create.

Back-end and services

Back-end structure for a mobile trading app would consist of 4 major elements. User/account management, payments, newsfeed and notifications. For such crucial aspect as app notifications, Android developers tend to apply Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) or Firebase services, while APNS integration is the best option for iOS devices. Also, some database storage would be required for all the intensive activities with an app. A down-to-the-basics scheme of an app would look like this (excuse our poor drawing skills):

app like E-Trade structure

Developing a trading app like E-Trade

Most probably if you’re reading this article, you’d prefer to hire an expert developer(s) to do the job. Building a financial/trading app that implies lots of real-time data and payments is no easy task. Even you strip it down to one or two features, you would need at least 2-3 developers, a designer and a tester.

To construct a back-end and then develop an ap with key features, we would require the following.    

Feature Time (hours)
Account management
Accounts 32
Portfolios 40
Deposits 16
Alerts & notifications 40
News from sources 16
Market information
General market information 16
Market calendar 16
Real-time quote updates 32
Companies information 16
Reports, charts 32
Trading management
Orders 40
Transactions 40
API
Web API 32
Mobile API 32
Total 400

Cost summary

Word of caution right away – we cannot name the exact cost estimate, neither for a proverbial ‘app like E-Trade’ nor a certain type of app. No one can with this general request term, and if someone does you should be critical to it.

The purpose of our analysis is to illustrate the scope of work and the minimum price for a mobile trading app. You should also read about what goes into app development and what are the app cost components.

This said, we can say that to build an app for traders, you would require at least 2-3 developers and 3 months or more of hard work. With median market hourly rate of $50, let’s put it all together. About 400 hours for back-end, and about 500 hours for native app (Android/iOS/Windows) development. Plus, at least 100 hours for app design and quality assurance.

400 + 500 + 100 + 100 = 1100 hours.
1,100 * $50 = 55,000

Here is your bottom line: expect the cost to make a trading app like E-Trade to be no less than $55,000.  

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