JUNE 19, 2023
13 min read
Customers have become more demanding of the fintech services industry over the last few years. Now, they are more interested in faster and more scalable solutions, so businesses should provide customers with more convenient and cost-effective ways of conducting transactions.
However, companies in the fintech space experience rapid growth, as this niche attracts more investors for fintech startups than other industries do and has generated over $1.2 trillion in value in 2021. Financial companies in the Asia Pacific or MENA regions are more exposed to growth opportunities since fintech in the Americas faces fierce competition.
Sophisticated projects necessitate architecture implementation, and every fintech project is a complex solution as it requires multiple vendors and third-party services integration. Hence, it needs a software architecture to scale, integrate with various components, and ensure high-level correspondence between features. A solid architecture lays the foundation for successful development, enabling the product to meet the complex demands of the fintech industry.
Do I Need Software Architecture For My Product
Fintech architecture is a carefully crafted strategic technology plan that is created accounting with the business needs and product vision. It involves a sophisticated and high-level framework that outlines the components, technologies, and infrastructure required to fulfill the fintech solution’s functional, security, scalability, and regulatory requirements.
The primary goal of any software architecture is to build a successful software product. Hence, the architecture ensures that all the envisioned functional business processes are effectively implemented and operational. So, you can see it as a blueprint that guides the product’s design, development, and deployment, aligning it with the specific business goals and requirements.
By carefully planning the architecture, businesses can ensure that all the necessary components, functionalities, and integrations are in place to support seamless operations. Software architecture is critical if you need a solid foundation to realize the product’s full potential.
Though, launching a product without prior architectural development is possible. This option depends on the complexity of the product. However, architecture construction is crucial for complex products like fintech. These projects involve complex financial operations, data processing, and compliance requirements. So, without it, the product’s value and quality will stay low.
Risks associated with not creating a fintech architecture before launching your product
Security vulnerabilities: Fintech products deal with sensitive user data and financial transactions. Without a robust architecture prioritizing security measures, you may expose your users to data breaches, identity theft, or financial fraud. So, paying attention to the security components of your software architecture might lead to your users losing their money to malefactors. You’ll be entitled to fix the problems that might be too expensive or cumbersome. Essentially, it entails that low-security projects have high risks of financial and reputational losses.
Limited scalability: Without a well-designed architecture, your fintech product may struggle to handle increased user demands and transaction volumes. Such faults can lead to system failures, low performance, and dissatisfied customers, hindering your ability to grow and expand your business.
Integration difficulties: Fintech often requires integrating with various third-party services, such as payment gateways, banking APIs, or card issuing. Seamlessly incorporating these services can become complex and time-consuming without a well-planned architecture. However, the system might falter under the load if you create an architecture disregarding your plans, leading to functionality issues, delays in launching new features, and frustrations for your team and customers. Without a clear architecture, maintaining and scaling your product becomes increasingly complex, leading to technical debt, slower development cycles, and higher costs in the long run. So, before you start building your software architecture, think through what partners you want to integrate with and which market you target in the future.
Compliance and regulatory risks: Fintech companies operate within strict regulatory frameworks, and non-compliance can result in severe penalties and legal consequences. With a solid architecture that incorporates regulatory requirements from the start, you may be able to meet data protection laws, Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations, or anti-money laundering (AML) requirements. Non-compliance, in turn, can put your business at risk and hinder your ability to operate within legal boundaries.
Negative user experience: User experience is crucial in the fintech industry. If your product lacks a well-thought-out architecture, it may suffer from usability issues, frequent errors, and inconsistent performance. Shutting your eyes to software architecture can result in frustrated customers, increased churn rates, and negative reviews, impacting the success and growth of your business.
Difficulty in knowledge transfer: As your fintech team expands or experiences turnover, transferring knowledge about the product’s architecture becomes crucial. However, without a documented architecture, sharing knowledge becomes more ad hoc and prone to errors or misunderstandings, making it harder to onboard new team members or maintain consistency.
Building a Resilient Fintech Architecture: Vital Stages for Success
By carefully planning the architecture, businesses can certify that all the necessary components, functionalities, and integrations are in place to support seamless operations. Planning must include defining the data flows, system interactions, and technology infrastructure to ensure the smooth functioning of the product and its ability to deliver the intended business value.
So, taking a closer look at creating fintech architecture, you can see that it involves several key stages, each contributing to developing a robust and compelling architecture. Here are the main steps in this process:
1. Product Vision and Alignment Stage:
Gaining a holistic understanding of the product and aligning strategic partnerships between the software development company and the business owner.
2. Product Requirement Collection:
Gathering a comprehensive pack of information about customers’ requirements and vision to determine what the product should be capable of. This stage involves the active participation of business analysts. It includes:
- Define the specific domain of the fintech solution, including the target market and audience, to ensure a clear understanding of the solution’s purpose and intended users.
- Identify and gather customer expectations regarding the desired features and functionalities of the fintech solution, considering their needs and preferences to deliver a tailored and relevant product.
- Conduct comprehensive market research to gather and analyze relevant data on industry trends, customer demands, and competitive landscape.
- Shape the customer’s vision for the product by engaging in discussions and collaborations, understanding their long-term goals, and aligning the proposed solution with their future development plans. It ensures that the product meets their immediate requirements and has the potential for future growth and scalability.
- Ensure regulatory compliance with the legal requirements of your particular region;
- Determine the necessary fintech integrations, such as Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), card issuing services, etc., for the current implementation and future expansion. It involves evaluating the compatibility of various integration options and selecting the ones that align with the product’s goals, regulatory requirements, and customer needs.
3. Technical Requirement Collection:
This stage determines technical requirements based on the product requirements. It describes how a system should perform or operate, considering the balance between functionality, cost, and essential factors such as desired system capabilities, security levels, and scalability. These requirements must consider the security level, customers flow, forecast on scaling and entering different markets, etc. Working on technical requirements requires technical expertise and experience to be successful. So, you would need to cooperate with a fintech-specialized team to create technical requirements according to the product requirements you compose. They will help you understand where to accentuate your attention on features and scalability and where you can be mild about it. This way, you will enhance the workflow of an app and improve cost efficiency.
4. Component Definition and System Diagram:
Identifying and defining the necessary components and subsystems of the architecture, such as user account management, balance management, transactions, and more, while creating a comprehensive system and diagram. Consider technical and product requirements to make the list of needed subsystems.
5. Architecture diagram creation:
This stage involves the creation of a detailed architectural diagram that illustrates the fintech solution’s structure, components, and interactions. The diagram visually represents the system’s architecture, including the different layers, modules, data flows, and integration points. It serves as a blueprint for the development team, guiding the implementation process and ensuring the solution aligns with the defined product and technical requirements.
Parameters of Fintech Architecture
Software architecture is the fundament of your software solution, and fintech architecture will be different from the said fundament for, let’s say, healthcare or EdTech software. So, to create high-quality architecture, you must consider critical fintech components. It defines whether this fundament will be enough for your software to stand firm. Let’s go through them.
Security is a top priority in fintech architecture, given the unique requirements and sensitive nature of personal data involved. Protecting user funds is vital for building trust and maintaining a solid business reputation. Ensuring different access levels and controlling information access are critical considerations. The distribution of personal data among these roles adds complexity to the security landscape.
Implement comprehensive measures to achieve optimal security, considering legal requirements and solution types and balancing security and usability. While significant investments may be necessary, it is essential to strike the right balance. The expertise of a technical specialist is invaluable in determining and implementing appropriate security measures and safeguarding the system while ensuring a seamless user experience.
Fault Tolerance and Reliability
Fintech companies should design fault-tolerant architecture to mitigate the risk of downtime, including measures such as multi-cloud redundancy. It involves deploying services across multiple cloud providers to minimize the risk of a single point of failure. However, no provider can guarantee you 100% uptime. AWS, Azure, and Google cloud-based infrastructures give approximately 99.99% uptime, which is sufficient for most fintech companies.
So, what is essential to understand is that you will likely still encounter faults and malfunctions. However, a reliable and fault-tolerant architecture will help you encounter fewer of them and be better prepared in case they happen.
One of the ways to ensure fault tolerance is microservice architecture since it consists of several services, and failure of one component will be less crucial than in the case of monolith architecture. Multi-Cloud infrastructure can also be a good option here. However, you should stick to your region specific rules and regulations before you choose between cloud and on-premises infrastructure.
Scalability and Flexibility
Scalability refers to the ability of the fintech architecture to efficiently handle increasing user demand, transaction volumes, and data growth without sacrificing performance. A scalable fintech architecture can seamlessly adapt and expand as the user base grows or the business requirements evolve.
Flexibility, on the other hand, pertains to the ease of making changes and adding new features or functionalities to the fintech solution. It allows for quick adjustments to meet evolving market requirements and customer expectations. A flexible architecture enables seamless integration with third-party vendors and services, facilitating the implementation of new technologies or partnerships.
The specificity of fintech architecture lies in its integration capabilities with various vendors, such as know-your-customer (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML), card issues, payment processing, etc. If you don’t plan the types of vendors needed in advance, it can pose challenges when scaling your business in the future or adding additional functionality. This lack of foresight can result in complex and time-consuming product modernization, leading to increased costs and potential disruptions to your operations. By proactively planning the vendor requirements, you can ensure your architecture is flexible and scalable, accommodating future growth and easily integrating new functionalities.
My team at DashDevs and I integrated over 100 vendors for our customers. This experience honed my skills, and now I can advise my client on what vendors to integrate with and how to make your software the closest to Evergreen. However, it doesn’t clear the skies, and there’ll be challenges in architecture development, which I’m about to tackle next.
The Challenges in Architecture Development for Financial Service Industry
1. Top-notch data security: One of the biggest challenges in fintech architecture development is ensuring data security. Fintech businesses deal with sensitive information, which makes them a prime target for cybercriminals. Fintech architectures must be designed with multiple layers of security to protect against data breaches and other security threats. So, you need to understand and monitor the legal requirements and regulations, to stay on top of the wave.
2. High costs of fintech software development: Developing a fintech architecture can be expensive due to the high costs of hiring skilled developers, designing and testing the software, and implementing it. The cost can also increase if the architecture requires specialized hardware or software. The challenge for fintech businesses is finding ways to develop the architecture while controlling costs. One way to make the development cost-effective is to choose the software development provider who will help you validate the scope of work, find issues to focus on, determine the desired and needed security level, and, finally, do so in a perfect cost-to-quality ratio.
3. Lengthy development period: Fintech architecture development can also be time-consuming, designing and testing complex systems. It can lead to long development periods that delay the product or service’s launch. Fintech businesses must find ways to speed up the development process without compromising quality. One way I recommend is using white-label solutions, as blocks can be similar in different fintech, and white-label options would allow you to cut some time by integrating ready-made functionality. DashDevs has a white-label product, Fintech Core, that could help you with KYC, customer onboarding, AML, card orchestration, and other crucial blocks so that you can launch your product in just three months.
In some instances, off-the-shelf solutions can immensely help. If you’re looking for a secure, budget-friendly, fast-to-market white label, try our Fintech Core.
4. Lack of technical expertise: Fintech architecture development requires specialized technical expertise, including knowledge of software development, security, and financial regulations. But you’d need even more than this as the company you choose to work with should have experience in the fintech field since finances are a different niche with unique needs and requirements. DashDevs has already launched over 45+ fintech projects, and we have a portfolio to prove it, so we qualify as an example of an experienced software provider.
5. Choosing the right fintech stack: Choosing the right stack for your IT system is another challenge in fintech architecture development. Regarding fintech projects, I highly recommend considering languages such as C# and Java. These languages are secure and reliable, with extensive support from major companies like Microsoft and Oracle. They are considered enterprise-level solutions that provide a strong foundation for building robust and secure fintech applications.
Additionally, the backing of major corporations contributes to the perceived security of Java and C#. The robustness and reliability of these languages make them suitable choices for fintech applications where data protection and integrity are paramount. Also, Python and Node.js can be used for specific cases.
Choosing the right technology stack is crucial for a successful product launch, and partnering with an experienced software development team can ensure the selection and implementation of the appropriate languages for your solution.
The Outstanding Cases in Financial Technology
As a part of the DashDevs team, I’ve worked on dozens of fintech projects, some of which were quite challenging. Regarding fintech architecture, iOL Pay and MuchBetter were among the most complex. So, let’s review how my team and I figured everything out.
iOL Pay is a software development kit for B2B2C that supports 250 payment methods.
Our foremost task as software developers was to create a platform allowing other customers to integrate it into their software. We had to develop tools and means to simplify the integration process.
The scheme of work which iOL Pay follows is quite simple. It allows anyone to implement it into their solution, thus providing them with means to conduct transactions quickly and thoroughly, taking worries about that out of their mind.
Let’s say you have an eCommerce website and need to integrate payment options for your customers. If you cooperate with iOL Pay, you can seamlessly do so without contemplating the complex technical side of it.
Our careful expertise allowed us to achieve easy and smooth integration for iOL Pay. This way, anyone with intermediate technical knowledge could manage the process themselves, making it easier and cheaper for business owners.
However, integrating vendors into the system was the most challenging part of the iOL Pay development. So meanwhile, we created an easy way to incorporate the iOL Pay itself and collaborated with partners to perform integrations within the iOL Pay. The system supports global card networks such as Apple Pay, American Express, Google Pay, VISA, and others and local card networks like Alipay, Bancontact, Girropay, Klarna, etc.
MuchBetter is an award-winning e-wallet. The essence of this system is a money transfer from the UK to the EU. With other e-wallets, an average user must have two separate accounts, while MuchBetter allows completing cross-border transfers between the UK and EU via just one app.
So, our main task was to create a system that could manage these two types of accounts. We needed to ensure that sending money back and forth between euro and pound balances was possible, switching currencies.
Our team integrated ClearBank (UK) and RailsBank (EU) into the system to achieve this. In compliance with different banks and geography, communication is one of the main challenges. We ensured that our customers could just harvest the fruits of our work and took accountability for these integrations.
Now, MuchBetter covers over 180+ countries and has a flexible, secure, and scalable architecture allowing the company to support two currencies. We also ensured that our client could integrate with new services and vendors when or if needed.
So, wrapping up, I want to stress that you can still create a beautiful application without dwelling on fintech architecture. However, as your business expands, you might face the risks of money loss and modernization of your product.
To avoid these troubles, create a self-sustainable fintech platform with a high-quality architecture allowing you to scale and integrate with other vendors. For this, I recommend connecting with a software development company or team with experience in the niche.
Fintech is unique, and your demands for fintech architecture also differ from other software products. So, work with those with expertise in this field to guide you, propose the best options, and find the most cost-effective solutions.
If you have any questions about software architecture, contact me! I will be happy to assist you.