How do stock trading apps work?


The stock trading applications niche is booming. Fortunes are made and lost with a few clicks on the screen of a smartphone. Regular users have access to a wide array of features that professional traders could only dream of a decade ago. Mobile stock trading has fueled the GameStop craze. The stock market is inundated with millions of unaccredited investors. Some experts even say it’s the new gold rush.

  • There is an active and growing user base of average Joes and Janes seeking wealth, trying to become successful investors. For developers, this means that there is a growing demand for new and better excavators. Or trading applications. If you’ve ever wondered how to create a stock trading app, let’s take a look at some successful cases and features that are all the rage right now.

What is mobile trading

Mobile trading applications go beyond showing their users the performance of the stock market. They provide instant access to popular brokers and online trading platforms, allowing users to trade from their smartphones.

A modern trader doesn’t need a suit or a desk. Just by having a smartphone, you can trade from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, including a tropical resort or even an arctic polar resort.

Many apps allow their users to trade stocks without paying a commission, making them a preferable alternative to traditional brokerage firms. Mobile is the cheapest and most convenient route to the stock market for non-business users.

Mobile-centric approach

Since smartphones and tablets have become the primary means for most traders to access the market, developers and brokers have gone for the mobile approach first. Adding new features and lowering barriers to entry attract new users.

A solid decision would be to focus on a seamless online trading experience that allows users to switch and sync between desktop software and mobile. trading applications with ease. Professional traders prefer complicated software that requires powerful computers to run. But even they would want the most frequently used features like alerts, watchlists, portfolio management and access to their bank account, available on mobile.

Popular additional features like financial goal management and robo-advisers allow even the less experienced users to learn more about the stock market day in and day out while still using the app.

How users choose Trading applications

For most users, the choice comes down to their level of experience, trading goals, and available capital. Most of them look at fees first, then check available assets and account types (being able to manage an IRA is a plus). After a few minutes or hours of using the app, a large part of the users can close it and delete it from the phone if they find the user interface too clunky or too overwhelming.

Features that matter most:

  • Ability to set trading goals. Most casual investors prefer a conservative, long-term, passive approach. Having the ability to set daily goals and trade aggressively will attract more active users.
  • Ratings and Reviews. Users usually choose between the 3 most popular trading applications with the highest marks.
  • Informational features, such as search tools and industry updates.
  • Supported account types. Having an IRA option is a must for most applications.
  • Fees and balance required. Most users are used to a freemium option or a free tier.
  • Available assets. Stocks, bonds, ETFs, cryptocurrencies – these are the most popular assets preferred by the general public.

In addition to buying and selling stocks, casual traders can research them, monitor their performance, and even build watchlists for potentially interesting tickers. Having the option to display short descriptions in the app of individual companies, sectors and stocks is a useful addition aimed at less experienced traders. If the app has trackers and charts that allow for more in-depth analysis of a user’s portfolio, it will gravitate towards a more sophisticated audience.

Providing stock advice and other educational resources suitable for beginners in the app is a great way for a developer to build confidence.

Technical evolution of Trading applications

If the current trend continues, more than half of all traders will take a mobile-only approach to trading and managing their assets. Professional trading which requires complex algorithms and demanding computer software will become a niche. But even these market professionals will use mobile apps to monitor their trades and even open new positions when the circumstances are right.

The earlier trading applications had limited functionality and unstable performance. Nowadays, most of them are seamlessly integrated with their desktop counterparts and allow updating on the fly. A few years ago, even the synchronization of watchlists was an almost insurmountable obstacle.

Performing heavy calculations in the cloud and enabling decentralized data storage has dramatically improved the performance of the trading applications. They are still somewhat limited when it comes to complex analyzes or graphical presentation of data. While these apps have fewer functions overall than their desktop alternatives, mobile software is reaching the point of maturity.

Developers should pay attention to current trends and industry practices when it comes to designing trading applications which will have a chance to attract a large user base.

  • Authorisation. Simplicity and security are two basic elements on which any financial software should be built. Best practices include offering multiple authorization options, Touch ID, and 2FA.
  • User profile that allows modification and updating of personal information.
  • News update. The stock market can react to many events. Having real-time updates on companies and their stock market performance will help users make informed decisions.
  • Payments tracking. All transactions should be presented in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.
  • Filtering and tracking of positions. Digital wallets need to allow their users to monitor particular assets and quote updates, filter positions, and modify data when placing trades.
  • Filing status. Users should be able to see all transfers from their brokerage account to bank deposit in real time.
  • Easy search. A fast and robust in-app search engine is essential.
  • Analyzes should include performance reports and graphics suitable for mobile screens.
  • Notification. Most of the users are used to receiving push notifications from their apps.


The best trading applications in the market have several characteristics in common. They are light, easy to use, allow great freedom in the management and monitoring of assets. They offer users the ability to buy and sell stocks, bonds, and cryptocurrencies. Timely market updates, low fees, and seamless transfers between brokerage account and bank deposit are the features most users expect from their mobile financial software.

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