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4 Best Mobile App Monetization Strategies for Fintech Firms

Four Best App Monetization Strategies for Fintechs
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12 min read

Digitalization of financial operations, integration of AI technology, greater use of data analytics, and a faster pace of innovation all contribute to a more welcoming environment for everyone. People are proactively giving preference to these advances over traditional services. Digitality discloses a huge amount of mobile app monetization strategies. With the growing number of transactions migrating to digital channels, more and more businesses launch their digital-only banking apps where they leverage mobile technologies to provide investing, lending, or other specific services. Meanwhile, the promising market for fintech software solutions that help individuals better their financial lives is still significant.

Fintech Investment as an Alternative Monetization App Model?

As a consequence of financial modernization, investors from private equity and venture capital companies are seeking intriguing enterprises to invest in. There are many inspiring examples of top fintech startups in the US and UK that have grown into billion-dollar companies that didn’t use any mobile app monetization models.

After the latest funding round, Monzo is valued at over $2.5 billion, Revolut — $1.7 bln, while N26 reached $3.5 billion and turned into the most valued fintech startup. But do this vigorous growth and massive investments mean profitability? Recently the N26 executive stated that profitability isn’t their “core metric.” Most financial technology startups spend heavily on marketing and user acquisition, putting profits aside and depending on quick customer growth to continue to search for ways to monetize your mobile app with ads. But in times of strong competition, how reliable is this startup business model? Together with DashDevs fintech consultants, we’ve decided to share our extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in the financial technology niche and discuss how fintechs make money and what is the best ways to monetize an app without ads and make your business viable.

Depending on the type of your fintech company, the revenue models can vary. The major functional domains of financial technology startups are the following.

  • Personal finance management — today people can easily and efficiently monitor their income and spendings, keep track of their monthly payments, and plan out their budget via their mobile devices. Now there are many fintech products like Mint, Personal Capital, goHenry that make budgeting and saving easier. Additionally, there are solutions like Dozens, N26 and Centralway Numbrs that, except for planning, also offer payments, withdrawals, and other features of digital banking apps. For them, the best mobile app monetization strategy would be a combination of few approaches.
  • Crowdfunding — marketplaces like Seedrs, Funding Circle, Kickstarter, and Patreon enable individuals to send and raise funds from other users, as well as pool capital from a number of sources all in one place.
  • Cryptocurrencies — exchange platforms like Bitcoin.de, Coinbase, and Gemini connect customers for buying and selling various cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or litecoin. Except for peer-to-peer marketplaces, there are companies like Xapo that offer bitcoin wallets and bitcoin-based debit cards. In this business model, the monetization of an app may be tough due to the legal requirements but not necessarily.
  • Insurance — insurtech startups like Coverfox, Friendsurance, BIMA, and Metromile apply Data Science, IoT, and other digital solutions to disrupt the global insurance industry and offer better user experiences. Their services may include everything from car or bike to health assurance done in just a few hours.
  • Lending and financing — online money lending is one of the key trends in fintech mobile app development. People no longer need to travel to banks or credit unions to get a loan when they can apply for one online and receive a rapid response. Such fintech lending providers as Avant, Kabbage, and Borrowell robotize the underwriting process and assess your creditworthiness in no time.
  • Payment and money transfer — companies like TransferWise, PayPal, or Venmo empower individuals to make domestic and international payments online or on the go using their mobile devices. They use different ways of monetizing mobile apps. Banks often charge a large fee for simple peer-to-peer transactions, but fintech startups do it swiftly and inexpensively. Digital payments are essentially the largest section of the financial technology industry, and fintech innovators are attempting to shape up the money transfer company utilizing revolutionary technologies like blockchain, fingerprints, or chatbots.
  • Robo-advising and stock trading — this type of service is reasonably called one of the biggest innovations in the financial technology field. Robo-advising offers algorithm-driven recommendations for more efficient asset management at lower costs. While stock-trading applications empower users to buy and sell stocks with only a few clicks. Talking about examples of asset management fintech apps, it’s worth mentioning eToro, Robinhood, Acorns, Wealthfront, Vanguard, and Charles Schwab.

Needless to say, these are just the main categories in the financial technology market and some of the biggest fintech companies mentioned as examples. Many companies implement features from different software groups to offer better financial experiences to consumers and businesses alike. For instance, The DashDevs team has built Dozens from scratch — one of the best fintech apps in the UK that offers smart budgeting as its main feature; however, beyond that, it provides detailed spend analysis, domestic and international transfers, risk assessment and investment management, and advanced security measures in one powerful app.

We will guide you through all the ways to monetize your app.

What are Mobile App Monetization Models?

When deciding to monetize new fintech solutions or services, your first question should be: who will pay? You may launch app monetization without ads. To provide you with an overview of options, we’ve analyzed popular financial technology firms and created three primary categories of payers that software solutions rely on:

#1 Consumers (examples: Digit, MoneyLion, Truebill)

Users pay for the value that they gain from the application. For instance, Digit clients pay a monthly subscription fee ($5) after a 30-day free trial. Besides membership, MoneyLion also gets mobile application monetization from its partnership with TransUnion and Equifax, offering customers related credit monitoring services. The Truebill team helps you lower your bills and charge a 40 percent fee of your savings.

#2 Third-party sellers (examples: Credit Karma, Intuit Mint)

External sellers pay for referrals, for example in video ads. Credit Karma generates income from its financial partners. The company utilizes algorithms to select and show relevant ads to its 100 million members all over the world and get paid when you follow these recommendations. Mint combines several app earning ideas, as it also gets profit from premium subscriptions (credit monitoring service) and referrals. Additionally, it sells advertising space, and displays targeted ads based on your search history or profile.

#3 Third-party beneficiaries (examples: Chime, Intuit Mint)

The use of a fintech app itself generates direct (monetary) and indirect value for outside organizations. When Chime customers pay for purchases with a Visa Debit Card, the latter charges an interchange fee (IRF) from the trader and later pays a part to Chime. Mint raises revenue collecting and selling anonymized consumer data to merchants or other outside organizations, providing them with access to real ideas.

Nowadays, the ‘customer pays’ model is the most common software revenue strategy. Most stakeholders start with choosing one core app monetization program because creating a revenue model requires single-minded focus, thorough analysis, and constant tweaking. As fintech business matures and grows, entrepreneurs usually have more time and resources to build new revenue methods and extend app functionality.

How to Monetize an App with Ads?

Here are a few tips to monetize your app with adverts.

Mobile banners. Desktop websites often include banner ads in the headers, footers, and sidebars. Publishers of mobile apps tell ad servers where to put banner ads, making sure to put them in places where they are easy to see and won’t get in the way of the user’s experience.

In-app ads. Native ads within your app are designed to complement the appearance and feel of your app. A native ad on a news app, for example, may seem to be another news piece, but it is really ad content from an advertiser. These advertisements are often labeled with a “sponsored” tag or a similar description.

Reward for an app viewing. When done properly, rewarded advertising may have a big influence on ad metrics such as video completion rate. As a consequence, the app’s users will get nothing in exchange for seeing the ad. Players are often rewarded with in-app currency, such as points or additional lives.

Gamified In-App Ads. Premium in-app ad services, such as playable mobile commercials, are only available via high-end ad partners. Advertisements with gaming aspects are known as “gamified ads”, and they are most often used to promote mobile apps. It’s a wonderful match for the app market since the vast majority of in-app advertisements promote other apps.

How to Monetize an App without Ads?

Download fees. Charging for app downloads in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store is a frequent income technique for new mobile app developers. However, if you are offering knowledge that is really valuable to the end user, this strategy might be quite profitable. Customers are less likely to pay for an app if they can get the content they desire elsewhere rather than via the app store.

Subscription. Your app may need a monthly or annual membership charge rather than a one-time purchase. It’s also a popular method to earn money using smartphone applications.

Freemium. This is a mix of paid software and subscriptions, in-app advertising, and other income sources that incorporates the best of both worlds. The freemium app revenue model lets you give away some of your app’s features and content for free, but users who want the full experience must pay a one-time fee or a monthly subscription fee. This is the best monetization model for apps that have a lot of features and can divide them into different plans.

Affiliate marketing. Your app could be used to entice app users to download or buy other apps or products.

In-app purchases. Even if users don’t have to purchase your app, you can still sell things inside the app to generate revenue. This is one of the most common app earning strategies for brands that actually have products to sell, but it isn’t limited to that sphere.

Data monetization. Never before has first-party data been more valuable. You may use this data to learn more about your app’s demographics and how they use it. As a consequence, marketers are keen to get this sort of information. Publishers with a large and engaged user base are more likely to succeed with data monetization than those without. Without a significant number of users, the data you do have is worthless.

Transaction fees. This approach can only help an online marketplace. Users must buy or sell anything on your app, and you must get a share of each transaction.

How to Monetize Your Mobile App on Play Store?

Opting for one or more software modernization models, keep in mind that your choice affects the entire fintech product development process, as well as on the promotion strategy and customer service.

Fintech revenue models can be divided into four categories:

#1 Fee schedule — it’s one of the most straightforward ways to monetize web apps and mobile solutions. Payment schedules vary, depending on the regularity of charges and can be transactional or subscription. With a transactional approach, users pay a fee only when they actually use a service, while with a subscription model, a fixed commission is charged per unit of time.

  • Example: Most money transfer firms utilize a transactional payment schedule and withdraw commissions for every fund transfer or currency conversion. TransferWise and Payoneer can charge from 1% to 3%, while such services as WorldRemit charge a flat fee depending on the recipient country, and in most cases, it’s $3.99.
  • Example: Qapital is a personal money management tool that implements gamification principles to help people save money. The company offers a 30-day trial and three subscription options with monthly fixed fees.

#2 In-app advertising and referrals — users don’t necessarily need to pay with money to use your services. As an alternative, business owners can implement a so-called fintech p2p marketplace and capitalize on the products by offering customers’ attention or data to advertisers and business partners. Moreover, some companies turn customers into lead generators, motivating them to invite friends or relatives, and get bonuses.

  • Example: NerdWallet is a fintech consulting tool that offers unbiased advice, expert information, and useful tools to help individuals make smarter financial decisions. The company gets compensation from its partners as it reviews and promotes their services and products to NerdWallet customers.
  • Example: Robinhood is a stock-trading tool that promotes investing and helps individuals make their money work even harder. The company has a successful referral program that encourages customers to invite their friends and rewards them with up to $500 in free stocks when invitee joins the platform.

#3 Business collaboration — today even the fastest-growing fintech companies partner with traditional financial institutions or neighboring vendors, thus expanding the range of services and providing additional value to their customers.

  • Example: Coinbase is a marketplace for buying, selling, and storing cryptocurrency with over 30 million users. The firm has a partnership with large companies such as Expedia, Time, Overstock, Dell, and others, empowering them to accept bitcoin payments. Additionally, Coinbase has enabled bitcoin payment processing functionality for Braintree, Stripe, and PayPal.

#4 API as a product — application programming interface (API) is the best way to access necessary functionality without the need to invest in a costly and time-consuming development. In fact, API users send requests to some services, and these services get back with responses. With the recent introduction of open banking, the process becomes more complicated, as European banks are now required to provide API at no charge, so they have to develop both free and paid APIs to embrace this business model.

  • Example: Speedly is a payment platform with a primary focus on e-commerce. It offers an API that enables online stores to connect to several payment services at once. The company charges a fixed commission for API use monthly and also fines from 1 to 5 cents for every API call, depending on the business plan.

For fintech stakeholders exploring revenue sources, a wide variety of opportunities is available, no matter if you decide to monetize your app with ads or continuously ask yourself ‘how to monetize apps without ads.’ Choosing among these business models of fintech companies, it is critical not only to opt for the one that fits your overall strategy best but also to assume which ones could become viable after a while.

Seizing Fintech Opportunities: How does App Monetization Work?

It could not be denied that different payer categories and revenue models will be more appropriate for various businesses, depending on a range of factors, like:

  • what value is offered;
  • who is the audience;
  • what type of engagement the app generates.

To make it easier for fintech firms to reach out to their payers, we’ve prepared a short checklist to make the selected app income model achievable.

Customers:

  • Your solution brings enough value to provide users with clear economic benefits that exceed fees;
  • The value can be easily characterized and communicated to customers, so they perceive it;
  • Your software product is way better or cheaper as compared to the competitors, so it’s worth switching providers.

Third-party sellers:

  • External vendors and advertisers believe that your user base is well-qualified for their products;
  • Your user base is rather large and engaged to outweigh the advertising or referral costs;
  • You know your users well enough to create targeted offers, and they trust your source to proceed with your offerings.

Third-party beneficiaries:

  • You can make it clear for the third parties that they gain sufficient benefits from customers using your app;
  • You can explain causal relationships between your software users and the value obtained by third parties;
  • Your consumer engagement is fairly high to generate material value for third parties.

Conclusion

These days, more and more entrepreneurs create digital products to offer “banking as a service” and take customer experience to the next level. They create fresh value propositions and adhere to the principles of “doing good” and “doing well.” Fintech startups make the most of cheaper digital operations, agile and brave innovation culture, customer-centered solutions, and the lack of legacy systems to help people manage their funds more productively, including how they make a living, spend, transfer, invest, borrow, or save.

Meaningful business liability is no easy task, but with this research, we want to inspire business owners to create effective revenue streams and contribute to the growth of the financial services industry.

Wonder how DashDevs can help?

DashDevs can consult you on multiple fintech-related aspects and assist you with the proper implementation of the right app revenue strategy time- and cost-efficiently. We perform Fintech Consulting and Software Development services in the areas of technology and tool selection, security and compliance, domestic and international payments, card issuing, and general ledger systems, based on strong fintech domain knowledge, proven track record, and skilled fintech app developers and consultants. Click here for more information.

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