How to Make a Mobile Wallet App: All-in-One Development Guide

27 min read

The mobile payment industry is on the rise.

According to statistics, the market will go through rapid growth in the years to come.

In 2019, over 950 million users relied on mobile payments. In 2023, the number of mobile payment transaction users will reach 1.31 billion.

How to Make a Mobile Wallet App in 2021

If you’ve ever wondered how to make a mobile wallet app, this one-in-all guide will shed light on the matter.

Here’s what you will learn in the article:

  • reasons to invest in mobile wallet app development
  • most popular mobile wallet solutions
  • key benefits that you can get from wallet apps
  • technical aspects of mobile wallet app development
  • technologies & SDKs used during development
  • basic & advanced features
  • services and processes of app development
  • how to create a digital wallet in 7 steps

If you want to learn more, read the article to get step-by-step instructions.

Why Invest in Mobile Wallet App Development in 2021

Reasons to Create a Digital Wallet

So, what is a mobile wallet?

Mobile wallets are digital wallets that store payment card information on mobile devices. They offer an innovative and more convenient way for making payments. Users don’t need to have their payment cards on them all the time to purchase something in stores. All they need is their smartphone connected to the internet.

Now sure why it’s worth creating a digital wallet app in 2021?

The below statistics will dispel any doubts:

  • By 2023, the number of mobile payments users will reach 1.31 billion worldwide (Statista, 2020)
  • The global mobile payment market will be estimated at $3 trillion by 2024 () 
  • By 2024, the global mobile payment market is predicted to be estimated at $3 trillion (IMARC, 2020)
  • Between 2020 and 2025, the number of mobile payments will grow with a CAGR of 27% (Mordor Intelligence, 2020)

As you can see, there is no doubt that the number of mobile payments will only grow in the following years. There are a lot of successful payment mobile wallets on the market, and we’ll review the most outstanding ones in the next chapter.

Examples of the Most Popular Wallet Apps

How to Make a Mobile Wallet App: Competitors

As a part of learning how to make a mobile wallet app, let’s find inspiration by looking at some of the best mobile wallet apps on market.

  • Google Pay

Google allows the users of its mobile operating system Android to leave their wallets at home and pay for purchases with mobile phones. This digital wallet allows connecting different types of cards, such as MasterCard, Visa, American Express and others in many countries across the world. The app is available across different operating systems, including Android and iOS. Today, there are over 100 million active users of Google Pay.

  • Apple Wallet

This digital wallet app is created by the famous Apple company. The solution allows to add different types of payment cards and make online and mobile payments through the Apple Pay payment system. This application is available only for the Apple ecosystem – iOS, watchOS, macOS. Statista estimated that the number of Apple Pay users reached 500 million in 2020.

  • PayPal One Touch

PayPal is leading the game when it comes to payment solutions with over 377 million users worldwide. Its One Touch application allows making online payments and payments in offline locations using a smartphone. It’s available for both Android and iOS.

  • AliPay

If you are looking for a giant in mobile payment apps, look no further. Alipay is the largest payment app in the world created by the Alibaba Group. There are over a billion users worldwide that use this system every day.

Do you want to create a mobile wallet app that will rival AliPay?

Get in touch with the Addevice team to discuss how to create a digital wallet based on your requirements. We’ll provide you with a preliminary project estimate and timeline.

Industries that Benefit from Mobile Wallet Application Development

How Business Can Benefit from Wallet Apps

Mobile wallet development conceals the potential to change how industries operate. Explore the list below to find out how you can benefit from it.

  • Retail & eCommerce

Statista states that in 2021 retail eCommerce sales will rake $3.5 trillion and take up around 73 percent of all eCommerce sales.

Digital wallet apps in retail can store information about all purchases made by a customer and help them manage payments, bonuses, loyalty cards, coupons, etc.

Check the guide explaining how to build eCommerce applications:

How to Make Online Selling App: Tech & Business Details, Technologies, & Processes [2021]

  • Healthcare

The industry of healthcare services can also take advantage of mobile wallet apps by allowing to pay bills for medical services.

Explore the basics of healthcare app development from technical and business sides in an exhaustive guide:

Healthcare Mobile App Development: Step-by-Step Guide with Business & Technical Insights

  • Telecommunication

Mobile wallet apps are quite popular among telecommunication companies. You can pay a bill, recharge your phone number or even a third-part number, receive and send payments. As a result, users can recharge their accounts right inside telecommunication providers’ applications.

  • Banking Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI)

Banking and financial institutions benefit from the use of mobile wallet apps the most. Such applications store debit and credit card information and allow users to make secure mobile payments right in the app.

  • Transportation & Logistics 

Businesses operating in transportation and logistics can allow their clients to pay for services right inside their apps. For example, Uber allows users to pay for rides right through their mobile apps. You can integrate various payment gateways to make the use of the app more convenient for users.

  • Food & Grocery

The food and grocery industry can also benefit from mobile wallet app development. Booking and paying for a restaurant, ordering food and booking movie tickets are just a few examples of how businesses from these spheres can use mobile wallets.

Learn how to turn food delivery into a successful business in the guide prepared by our team:

How to Create Food Delivery App: Trends, Features & Tech Details [2021 Guide]

Key Benefits that Mobile Wallet Applications Can Bring

How to Make a Mobile Wallet App: Key Benefits

Why should you develop a mobile wallet app?

Such applications can deliver a number of benefits to businesses from every industry.

  • Accessibility

Mobile wallets allow making day-to-day transactions without carrying around physical cards. All they need is an app on their smartphone and a user ID.

  • Access to money from mobile

Users can start making mobile payments in no time. Users need to connect their cards to the digital wallet and make payments right from their smartphones.

  • Variety of use cases

Mobile wallets can be used for a range of uses. Users can pay for purchases, buy tickets, pay for online services and much more.

  • Bills splitting   

Depending on where you are using the wallet app, you can add the functionality allowing users to split the bill and send a link to users who needs to pay them money.

  • Automatic payments

You can add the ability to set up automatic payments within your app so users won’t forget about them because of the hectic everyday life.

  • Promotions & discounts

Digital wallets usually offer different promotions and discounts. You can reward users for buying at partners’ locations, for making a certain number of payments every month, etc.

How to Create a Digital Wallet: Technical Aspects

It’s time to explore how to make a mobile wallet app from a technical point of view starting with the key types of e-wallet mobile apps.

Types of Mobile Wallet Apps

Key Types for Mobile Wallets

Generally speaking, mobile device wallet apps differ based on the type of payment processing.

Explore some of the most popular types of digital wallets: 

  • Wallets that use mobile communication provider to send and receive money
  • Wallets that write off funds from banking accounts, cards or mobile services using SMS messages with a shortcode
  • Wallets that make mobile web payments
  • Wallets that use near field communication (NFC) built into smartphones for contactless interactions with payment terminals.

According to another definition, mobile wallet apps can be divided into three following types:

  • Closed – mobile wallets that can be used with only one merchant.
  • Semi-closed – wallets that can be used with many supported merchants.
  • Open – mobile wallets that can be used with any merchants and provide access to multiple bank accounts.

Depending on the purpose of development, you might create an app that will combine a few of the technologies, allowing both mobile and NFC payments.

Data Transfer Technologies Used in Wallet App Development

How to Create a Digital Wallet: Technologies

You can’t know how to make a mobile wallet app without understanding what technology such applications do.

Usually, mobile wallet apps use one or a combination of the following data transfer technologies:

  • NFC

NFC or Near Field Communication Protocol enables contactless money transfer between smartphones equipped with NFC chips and a transmitter in a POS device. NFC connects to the transmitter in a record time – less than one-tenth of a second. 

NFC relies on the card emulation technique. This protocol allows storing card details in a digital form inside a mobile wallet application. During payment, the protocol transmits data to the POS terminal automatically.

  • Bluetooth and iBeacon technologies

iBeacon is a technology that allows for data transfer without an internet connection. Since all smartphones today are equipped with Bluetooth, they are all compatible with iBeacon.

After users activate Bluetooth, it communicates with an external BLE transmitter, which is also called a beacon. POS terminal receives all the necessary data stored in a mobile wallet and transfers money.

Another use case of iBeacon technology is offering personalized special offers and discounts when users come within the range of a beacon’s activity.

  • QR codes

This type of payment is also popular. Users need to point the camera of their smartphone to a QR code and a mobile wallet app will transmit money. This payment method usually requires the use of a password or other user authentication technique for action confirmation.

Modern smartphones are equipped with all the necessary chips and technologies necessary for the use of mobile wallets. Camera scans QR codes, Bluetooth enables iBeacon technology, face recognition or fingerprint scanner can be used for user authentication.

Now you know how to create a digital wallet app of different types. Let’s talk about security.

Security Technologies Used in Mobile Wallet App Development

When it comes to mobile payments, users have one concern – security.

Around 40% of US consumers don’t use mobile payments because of security concerns. If you want to create an online wallet that won’t raise concerns among users, you need to use security technologies for data encryption.

Here is a list of some security technologies that you can use during mobile wallet app development:

  • Point-to-point encryption (P2PE)

P2PE is one of the most secure methods of data protection for mobile wallet applications. The encryption process starts as soon as the user swipes the smartphone over a POS terminal. The encryption goes on when the funds are in transit and lasts till authorization. If you want to know how to make a mobile wallet app, make sure you include encryption in the list of must-have functionality.

  • Tokenization 

Tokenization is a data encryption system that encrypts card information by turning it into a token – a string of random symbols.

  • Password

Passwords are old but working technology. Allow users to protect their data with a password and include a rejection feature for too short and simple passwords. The use of password protection makes a mobile wallet application more secure and offers an additional layer of protection to the data stored there.

Need help with the development of a secure wallet application?

Get in touch with our team for a free preliminary consultation. Our experts will help you choose the best technology stack and share expertise about security principles.

How to Make a Mobile Wallet App: SDKs

SDKs Used for Mobile Wallet App Development

As a part of learning how to create a mobile wallet app, let’s review some of the SDKs (Software Development Kits) that you can use to streamline the development project. There are a number of payment SDKs that you can integrate into your mobile wallet. Below, we review some of the most popular ones.

  • Mastercard Mobile Payment SDK

If you want to build a mobile wallet app that will support the use of the Mastercard payment system, consider adding Mastercard Mobile Payment SDK to provide support for both online and in-store transactions.

  • Braintree SDK

Braintree is a popular SDK for payment mobile wallets that you can use with no additional fees. It’s a great choice for new and aspiring businesses.

  • PayPal Mobile SDKs

PayPal provides a number of SDKs that can be used for the creation of digital wallets, such as PayPal Native Checkout SDK.

  • QuickPay Mobile SDKs

QuickPay is a popular payment system from the UK that offers a few SDKs for processing both online and in-store transactions. The SDKs are available for both Android and iOS. Please note that you will need to pay a fee for using these SDKs.

  • Stripe SDK

Stripe is one of the most popular payment gateways, especially when it comes to the eCommerce industry. It provides an SDK that you can integrate with a number of features.

  • Visa SDK

Visa is also one of the payment system providers whose services are available all over the world. You might want to consider adding its support to your mobile wallet to make it available for a bigger number of users.

These are just a few SDKs that you can use for your wallet app. Before you make any decision and start the development process, study the local laws and regulations. In some countries, for example, you can’t use Braintree while in others you can’t use PayPal.

Basic & Advanced Features of Mobile Wallet Apps

Basic Features of Mobile Wallet Apps

If you’re interested in knowing how to create a digital wallet, don’t skip this part. It provides examples of basic and advanced functionality that you might need to include in your application.

Let’s start with the basic features that are a must-have for any wallet for mobile devices.

  • User registration – registration of a user within your application with different authentication methods, such as mobile phone, email address, social media, etc.
  • Push notifications – a useful feature to notify users about successful and declined payments.
  • Banking account authorization – the ability for users to connect their payment cards to your wallet application.
  • Balance checking – a feature that allows users to check their account balance right from the mobile wallet.
  • Transactions – the ability to work with transaction operations, such as sending and receiving money.
  • Bills payment – a feature that allows to pay different types of bills.

Aside from basic, you might also want to consider adding some advanced functionality:

  • Loyalty cards – the ability to use loyalty cards during shopping or transferring money.
  • Gift cards – a feature that allows to add gift cards and use them to pay for purchases.
  • Exclusive offers – notifications about special offers provided by you or your partners.

During the development of the first version of your application, you might want to include only basic functionality. This approach will allow you to validate your app idea without losing a lot of money. Advanced features might be added with further iterations.

Mobile Wallet App Development: Services & Processes

The development of wallets for mobile devices is a process comprising different steps. Usually, development is divided into discovery and development stages.

Stages of Mobile Wallet App Development

1. Discovery Stage

The discovery stage is an essential part of app development. During this process, companies identify their business needs, identify them with technical requirements and match them with technologies available on the market. 

You cannot skip the discovery stage if you want to create an app with a chance for success.

At the end of this stage, you will have the following documents on your hands:

  • Market analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Functional specifications
  • Product backlog

A lion’s share of the discovery stage is dedicated to UX and UI design. The deliverables of this step include UX wireframes, UI mockups, branding elements, illustrations, animations, etc. During the part of wallet app development, you will need to identify how users will interact with your solutions and how it will look like for the end-users.

2. Development Stage

During the development stage, the coding itself happens. Developers create the code base of your application, integrate it with third-party solutions, and implement custom features. 

The development stage is traditionally divided between a number of phrases:

  • Coding – code base creation, integration with SDKs, APIs, etc.
  • QA & Testing – thorough application testing to identify any bugs that might interfere with the app’s use.
  • Deployment – release of the developed app to the market.
  • Ongoing development & Support – working on further app iterations, the addition of new features and platform support.

How to Make a Mobile Wallet App: Step-by-Step Guide

Steps to Create a Mobile App

Now that you know how to create a digital wallet from a technical point of view, it’s time to explore what the whole process looks like. Continue reading to learn how to organize app development step by step.

1. Market Research

App development usually starts with market research and competition analysis. During this stage, you need to decide for what industry you are going to develop an app, who is your target audience, and who is your competition.

Market research will help you conceptualize your application and decide on the ways to make it better from the competition.

2. App Concept Finalization

This stage is very important for the future of your application. You need to finalize the concept of your future apps. In simple words, you need to decide on the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and how to set your app apart from the existing competitors.

3. Choosing App Development Company

If you don’t have the necessary technical knowledge, you will need to find a development company that will create a wallet for you. Here are a few tips on how to choose a company that will become your reliable technical partner:

  • Start the search online on platforms such as Clutch, ITFirms, Manifest, etc.
  • Check portfolio and customer reviews
  • Conduct an interview with prospects
  • Ask about relevant experience and similar projects

During the screening process, there are also some aspects that can influence future cooperation such as the level of English knowledge, differences in time zones, cultures, etc.

Check our guide disclosing the process of finding a reliable IT partner:

Outsource App Development in 2021: How to Make It Work

4. Custom UX/UI Design

The interface creates the first impression of a mobile page. What users see first when they open a new app decides whether they will use it or abandon it right away. Thus, you need to address this part of all development with an eye for details. The user interface should be feature-rich, user-friendly and attractive to the eye.

5. Mobile Wallet App Development

At this stage, the coding process begins. Developers turn your UX wireframes and UI mockups into a working application, implement all the necessary features, and customizations.

Remember that mobile wallet applications should be created with scalability and security in mind.

6. App Launch & Promotion

After you launch the app to the market, it’s time to think about its promotion. In most cases, marketing strategy creation starts long before the app is released to the end-users.

Today, a comprehensive marketing strategy includes a number of parts, such as SMM, content marketing, paid ads, etc.

7. Ongoing Development & Support

The development process doesn’t stop on the previous stage. If you create an app with a long-term outlook, you will need to continue working on it.

After you get the first user feedback, you might want to add some functionality, improve existing features, and plan for further updates. The process of app development is ongoing.

How to Create a Digital Wallet: Sum-Up

Mobile wallet application development is not a simple process. It consists of different stages and numerous stages that gradually take you from an app idea to the first working version.

The current market state indicates that mobile payments will grow across all industries. Today is the best time to act on the idea you have to get business benefits tomorrow.

Need help with mobile wallet development?

Drop us a line to discuss your project. We know how to make a mobile wallet app that will be secure and meet all your requirements.

Why do I need to create a wallet app?

The market of mobile payments is projected to grow at a rapid pace.

In 2019, over 950 million users preferred this type of payment. In 2023, the number of mobile payment transactions will be accounted for at 1.31 billion.

How does digital wallet work?

Mobile wallets are digital applications that store payment card information on mobile devices. They offer an innovative and more convenient way for making payments. Users can pay for purchases in stores and online with the help of their smartphones.

How do I make a mobile payment app?

To create a digital wallet, start with market research and identification of key trends in the industry. After you have a general understanding of how to create a digital wallet, create an app concept, choose features and payment integrations. After that, you can either start the development yourself or find an app development company that will take on the task.

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