Must have Security and Compliance in Finance App Development

Yogesh Pant
Apr 05, 2024

Finance App Development

Fintech refers to the use of technology to provide financial services and goods to consumers. This rapidly expanding sector creates online and mobile applications for investing, banking, and other uses. 

Fintech app development requires strict security guidelines to guard against cyber-attacks as it handles sensitive data. Significant financial losses and reputational damage may result from these assaults on a firm. 

Fintech businesses have transformed our financial practices. They offer innovative and creative ideas, but they also risk losing critical data and falling victim to hackers. 

Fintech businesses must abide by legal and security regulations to lower these risks. These regulations are in place to safeguard confidential information, prevent unlawful activity, and ensure that businesses abide by the law. 

Fintech organizations need strong network and app security to comply with regulations. They also have to follow guidelines established by security experts such as NIST and ISO. They must abide by regulations including HIPAA, GDPR, KYC, and AML.

Take a look at these shocking facts to see how important this topic is: 98% of financial start-ups worldwide are susceptible to cyberattacks. Fintech apps accounted for almost 92% of cyber attack victims in 2021 alone. For 70% of banks, data security in FinTech is their top worry. This emphasizes how urgently the financial industry needs strong security protocols and stringent compliance.

By following these and fintech app development guidelines, fintech businesses safeguard consumer data and increase public confidence. This also keeps hackers at bay, keeps them out of trouble with the law, and makes them more competitive than other businesses. Because obeying the regulations is more straightforward, it also saves money. 

Regulatory Landscape for Finance Apps 

The regulatory environment around financial applications is complex and multidimensional, requiring businesses to follow a number of rules and guidelines for compliance. These rules are intended to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and security of financial transactions and to prevent financial crimes, including money laundering and funding of terrorism. 

PCI DSS Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is one of the most critical compliance criteria for financial applications. This standard guarantees that all businesses that receive, handle, store, or send credit card information maintain a secure environment. 

Businesses must implement a number of security measures, including firewalls, antivirus software, access restrictions, and recurring security audits, to comply with PCI DSS.

GDPR Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is applicable to all businesses that handle the personal data of EU citizens, is another essential compliance obligation. According to the GDPR, companies must get users' express permission before collecting and processing their data, provide users access to it, and implement suitable data protection measures. 

PSD2 Compliance

A Legislative framework, the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), seeks to advance security, innovation, and competition in the European payments industry. PSD2 mandates banks and other payment service providers to provide their APIs to allow third-party providers to access client account information and make payments on their behalf.  

KYC/KYB Procedures

Financial applications must adhere to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) protocols. These protocols mandate that businesses confirm their clients' identification and evaluate their risk profiles to prevent financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorism funding. 

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AML Transaction Monitoring

Another essential compliance need for financial applications is monitoring transactions related to anti-money laundering (AML). AML transaction monitoring involves observing financial transactions for unusual behavior and reporting it to the appropriate authorities. 

In conclusion, businesses must follow a number of compliance standards and processes due to the complicated regulatory environment around financial applications. These rules seek to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and security of financial transactions, as well as to stop financial crimes and protect consumer privacy. Businesses that disregard these rules run the danger of paying hefty penalties, harming their reputations, and getting into hot water legally. Thus, to successfully traverse this changing environment, financial applications must put strong compliance policies in place and work with regulatory organizations. 

Data Privacy and Protection Measures in Finance App Development

Since financial apps manage sensitive personal and financial data, data privacy and security are essential to consider while developing financial applications. The top five suggestions for security and compliance while developing financial software are as follows:

Strong Authentication

Strong Authentication is an essential security feature for financial applications. It entails employing various methods to confirm users' identities, including security tokens, biometric information, and passwords. Strong Authentication ensures that only authorized users can access the app and its contents to avoid unwanted access and data breaches. 


Encryption is an essential data security technique for financial applications. It entails transforming text material in plain form into a coded version requiring a decryption key. Thanks to encryption, data breaches and illegal access are avoided, and data security is guaranteed both in transit and at rest. 

Secure Data Storage

Secure data storage is one of the most essential security features for financial applications. To shield data against loss, theft, and illegal access, secure data centers, cloud storage, and backup solutions are used. By limiting access to data to authorized users, secure data storage helps to maintain data integrity and avoid data breaches. 

Regular Security Checks 

Financial applications must undergo frequent security inspections. These inspections include penetration tests, vulnerability assessments, and security audits to find and fix security flaws and guarantee regulatory compliance. Frequent security audits guarantee the application is safe and compliant with the most recent security patches and legal standards. 

Following Regulations

Respecting rules is an essential compliance step for financial applications. Compliance with many legal frameworks is required, including GDPR, PCI DSS, PSD2, KYC/KYB protocols, and AML transaction tracking. Adhering to rules guarantees that the application conforms to legal regulatory mandates, safeguarding users' financial and personal information and deterring financial crimes. 

In conclusion, data security and privacy are important factors to take into account while developing financial apps. The top five security and compliance recommendations for financial software development include strong Authentication, encryption, safe data storage, frequent security audits, and adherence to laws. Finance applications may comply with legal and regulatory standards, stop financial crimes, and guarantee the security, privacy, and protection of their users' personal and financial data by putting these safeguards in place.

Secure Authentication Methods 

There are three authentication methods: something a user knows, something they have, and something they are. However, not all forms of Authentication are made equal when it comes to network security; these techniques vary from providing rudimentary defense to more robust security. Several methods, such as multifactor Authentication (MFA), are advised. 

Password Based Login

Password-based Authentication, sometimes called knowledge-based Authentication, uses a username and password (PIN). It is the most widely used kind of Authentication; everyone who has ever used a password to access a computer is familiar with it. 

The most easily exploited kind of Authentication is password-based Authentication. Passwords are often reused, and dictionary terms and publicly accessible personal information are combined to produce easily guessed passwords. Employees also need help remembering passwords since they are required for each program and device they use, so they try to make them as simple as possible. As a result, accounts are open to brute-force and phishing attempts. 

Businesses should implement policies limiting the reuse of passwords. In addition to mandating frequent password changes, password rules may stipulate requirements for password complexity, such as fulfilling a certain length and including special characters.

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Multifactor and two-factor Authentication

Users who utilize two-factor Authentication (2FA) must provide at least one more authentication factor besides their password. Two or more elements are needed for MFA. Any user authentication methods covered in this article and a one-time password supplied to the user via email or text message may be used as additional factors. Factors that prevent man-in-the-middle attacks may include out-of-the-band Authentication, the second factor on a channel distinct from the first one. This authentication method enhances account security because attackers need more than simply credentials to access an account. 

The secondary factor determined how strong 2FA is. Attackers readily breach text and email. Stronger 2FA is provided by using biometrics or push notifications, which demand something of the user. However, use caution when using 2FA or MFA since it may cause additional UX friction. 

Biometric Authentication

Biometrics makes use of an aspect of the user. Its verification of users' account ownership depends less on a readily cracked secret. Because biometric IDs are unique, using them to hack amounts is more challenging.

Typical biometric forms consist of the following:               

  • The process of fingerprint scanning uses a user's fingerprints to verify Authentication.
  • Users are identified by palm scanning, which looks at their distinctive vein patterns.
  • Facial recognition verifies a person by using their facial features.
  • Iris Recognition uses infrared technology to scan the user's eye and compare patterns to a stored profile.
  • Behavioral biometrics takes advantage of an individual's gait, handwriting, or gadget handling.

Biometrics may be more familiar to users, facilitating its deployment in an office environment. Biometric Authentication is available on many consumer devices, such as Windows Hello and Apple's Face ID and Touch ID. Because biometric Authentication eliminates the need for a password or secret, it is often faster and more seamless than password-based Authentication. Attackers find it more challenging to fake.

The fundamental disadvantage of biometrics is yet technology. Biometrics are handled in a variety of ways, if at all, by all devices. Some older gadgets utilize a static image stored and may be tricked with a photo. Some modern applications, like Windows Hello, may need a near-infrared camera on the device. Compared to alternative authentication methods, this might come with higher upfront fees. Users also need to feel at ease giving businesses access to their biometric information, which is still vulnerable to hacking.

Just One Sign-On

Thanks to single sign-on (SSO), an employee may access several websites or apps with only one set of login credentials. The application (service provider) trusts the identity provider (IDP) with which the user has an account. The service provider does not save the password. The IDP notifies the website or application using cookies or tokens that the user has validated their identity. 

SSO increases security by lowering the number of credentials a user has to remember. As long as they have recently authenticated to the IDP, users do not need to log in to each account each time they use it, which improves user experience (UX). SSO may also reduce the time a support desk spends on password problems. 

Because of this authentication mechanism, attackers may be able to access several accounts with a single set of credentials in the event that an IDP has a data breach. IT must devote significant time to setting up SSO and connecting to its many apps and websites. 

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Token-Based Authentication

Users may access accounts using token-based Authentication by utilizing a physical device, such as a smart card, security key, or smartphone. Token-based Authentication may be used to provide a passwordless experience or as a component of MFA. It helps reduce frequent logins by having users validate their credentials only once for a certain amount of time. 

Attackers find it more difficult to access user accounts when tokens are used. To access the account, an attacker would need physical possession of the token knowledge of the user's credentials. 

Workers risk having their accounts locked if you don't trust them to remember their tokens. Companies must prepare for a re-enrollment procedure since users are locked out if they need to find the token. 

Certificate-based Authentication

Public key cryptography and digital certificates from a certificate authority are used in certificate-based Authentication to confirm the user's identity. The private key is kept with the user, while the public key and identity details are maintained in the certificate. 

SSO is used in certificate-based Authentication. It can issue, maintain, and withdraw certifications. Businesses that hire contractors with short-term network access requirements might greatly benefit from this kind of Authentication. 

Deploying certificate-based Authentication may be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, IT has to set up a re-enrollment procedure in case users are unable to access their keys due to theft or device malfunction. 

Best Practices for Ensuring Compliance and Security in Finance App Development 

FinTech apps should protect users' financial and personal information. While creating a safe FinTech application, businesses and startups should follow these guidelines:

Code of Security

An essential component of the application's security is the code. Take into account the following to perform the required actions and keep an eye out for any implementation gaps:

To ensure security in FinTech apps, choose a product's technological stack that includes automated security features. 

The code must be adaptable and readily portable across various devices and operating systems to enable fast updates in the event of an attack. 

Organize the data to be saved, its location, and the users who will have access to it. Minimize the amount of such data; for instance, let users make payments without storing their payment details. 

Review and update your codebase often to address bugs and vulnerabilities.

Code Obfuscation

Cybercriminals often create clones of banking apps to steal user information. To protect yourself, you should use code obfuscation. This includes adding unnecessary or useless code to the program binary, eliminating potentially exposed information, encrypting part of the code, and labelling classes and variables with meaningless names. 

Such safeguards complicate the process of decrypting and cloning the product code by making it challenging to evaluate and comprehend its method. This will discourage many hackers from putting in a lot of labor and make the remaining hackers' jab take longer. 


Encryption is a must to protect information from unauthorized users. Mathematical techniques convert data into a code only understood by the receiver. In this instance, hackers cannot access sensitive data without a unique key, even in cases like these. 

Since it is simplest to intercept data while it is in transit and at rest, we highly advise security at these times. Which data ought to be encrypted? Pay close attention to financial (bank card and account numbers, transaction information) and personal (user name, address, social security number, and phone number) data. 

The most widely used encryption algorithms are Twofish, RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman), TripleDES (Triple Data Encryption Algorithm), and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard).

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Multi-Factor Verification

Entering a username and password is necessary for identification, and Authentication verifies that users are who they claim to be. In multifactor Authentication, the client's identity (biometrics), possessions (hardware tokens, one-time codes), and knowledge (password) may all be used. 

To integrate security into financial apps, you can use dynamic PIN numbers, one-time passwords, calls, push alerts, fingerprints, face recognition, or retinal scans, for instance. 

Many FinTech businesses use adaptive or risk-based Authentication. This implies that the system examines data input, registered devices, geolocation, access timings, and other behavioral aspects to identify suspicious activity. 

Roles and Permissions

User roles and permissions must be specified to ensure that data access is safe in a financial application. Consider positions like manager, IT professional, administrator, client, support service, etc.  

RBAC role settings and permission organization are available for usage. The ACL approach, which provides users with a list of all organizations, is an alternative. This makes it possible to identify each user as having access to certain information and features. Customers and unapproved staff will only be able to view a little simultaneously. 

Establish access control guidelines for client-side caching, file permissions, and insecure identifiers. It would be ideal to restrict rights to the bare minimum required and permit their expansion when circumstances demand.

Payment Blocking 

The payment-blocking feature must be turned on to prevent fraud or money laundering. This enables you to stop any odd or suspicious transactions, such as large cash withdrawals, many transactions taking place at once, strange login locations, etc. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques may be used to identify potentially fraudulent transactions and take the necessary action efficiently.

Quality Assurance 

Maintaining strong finance app security standards throughout the development lifecycle requires appropriate QA. Determining and evaluating requirements, formulating potential business scenarios, testing functionality and databases, developing API specifications, authorizing and authenticating users, and user approval are all included in the process. 

Frequent security assessments are crucial for finding and addressing vulnerabilities. Remember to also perform penetration testing to evaluate application resilience and replicate real-world threats.


The card number, validity duration, and CVV are examples of information that cannot be kept in an open format in the database. What, then, should I do?

Using tokenization, you can safely store freshly created random character strings in a different system instead of sensitive data. Tokens are strings that can only be accessed by authorized users. Tokenization assists you in safeguarding data and online transactions in this manner. 

Since tokens are only created momentarily, it is difficult to monitor sensitive data via transactions. Use this method for online transfers, gift card redemption, NFC payments, and other procedures.

Handling Sensitive Financial Data and Preventing Fraud 

Protecting against financial fraud requires the implementation of preventative solid measures. Strict authentication procedures, staff education initiatives, and critical data protection with cutting-edge security technology are all part of this. 

Strict Authentication Protocols

The first line of protection against fraudulent activity and unauthorized access is the establishment of strict authentication standards. This entails putting multifactor Authentication (MFA) techniques into place, including token-based systems or the combination of passwords and biometric verification. Businesses increase security by demanding numerous kinds of verification, which makes it harder for fraudsters to access essential accounts or systems without authorization. 

Employee Training Programs

Workers are often the first line of defense against fraud, so providing them with thorough training helps equip them with the information and abilities to spot and stop fraudulent activity. Understanding social engineering techniques, spotting phishing efforts, and encouraging a security-aware culture should all be included in the training. Knowledgeable and watchful employees are a tremendous benefit to the company in its fight against fraud. 

Use of Advanced Security Technologies

Using state-of-the-art security solutions is essential to combating financial fraud. This involves using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to instantly evaluate large datasets and spot abnormalities and trends that point to fraudulent activity. Sensitive data is sent securely thanks to advanced encryption algorithms, which guard against eavesdropping and unwanted access. 

Regular Security Audits and Assessments

One proactive strategy to find vulnerabilities and flaws in the organization's systems and processes is to conduct frequent security audits and assessments. This includes carrying out penetration tests, assessing the efficacy of current security measures, and keeping up with the most recent security threats. Through continuous evaluation of the security environment, companies may modify their approaches to fraud prevention to tackle new threats. 

Vendor and Third-Party Risk Management

Companies often work with outside suppliers and other parties, and these alliances might come with extra risks. A comprehensive vendor and third-party risk management program must be implemented, which entails closely examining and keeping an eye on other organizations' security procedures. Elucidated contractual clauses must delineate security anticipations and institute responsibility for sustaining a secure milieu.

Data Security and Encryption Procedures

Preserving confidential information is essential to preventing fraud. Adopting robust data encryption procedures guarantees that the stolen data will remain unreadable even in the event of illegal access. To prevent data breaches, secure storage procedures include using secure, encrypted databases and restricting access to sensitive information to those with a legitimate need to know.


Fintech applications must be secure and adhere to regulations to safeguard user data and avoid legal trouble. If these requirements are not met, a corporation may incur financial losses and damage its reputation.

Adhering to security and compliance guidelines may reduce cybersecurity risks, give fintech organizations an advantage over rivals, and foster user confidence. Numerous standards, including ISO, NIST, OWASP, CIS, SANS, GDPR, PCI, HIPAA, KYC, and AML, must be adhered to by fintech organizations.

Security and compliance are critical priorities for fintech organizations. They should stay current with rules, collaborate with IT and compliance teams, and leverage technology to simplify compliance.

Fintech businesses should collaborate with IT firms that understand security and compliance. These firms may help ensure that regulations and security criteria are followed throughout the app development.

We can assist fintech companies that need security and compliance support. Our skilled staff may also provide consultancy services to suit your demands.

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