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Modern Mobile App Development for Financial Institutions

Large FSIs can benefit from modern web application development alongside their native app strategies, and help improve user engagement, streamline development, and ensure search engine visibility.

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Published 25 Oct, 2023 6 minutes of reading

Remember when we needed different devices for taking photos, video recording, and communicating? Instant cameras, camcorders, cellphones, pagers, the list went on. That wasn't so long ago, and today unless you’re a professional photographer or videographer, you probably do just fine in your day-to-day life with a single device that cost a fraction of what any of these individual devices used to cost in the past.

Fortunately, there are now similar opportunities in web application development for FSIs, where organizations have more flexibility in their approach to building feature-rich applications that deliver great experiences with less development overhead and cost.

The Value of Engaging Mobile Experiences

Over half of all traffic on digital channels is on mobile devices. In fact, a study by Statista showed that 58.3% of global website traffic is via mobile devices as of 2023. This preference for mobile experiences has directed FSI organizations to think deeply about creating engaging experiences on these devices. 

And although historically mobile devices have taken advantage of responsive web design (RWD), there’s always been an opportunity to gain deeper user engagement by focusing on native applications, as native development provided several advantages over the traditional mobile web technologies such as:

  • Improved Performance 

  • Access to Device Features 

  • Brand Visibility

  • Personalization 

  • Increased Accessibility

This opportunity for deeper engagement does come with a cost, as native app development historically required building in technologies not shared with cross-platform web technology frameworks.

The challenge of having to develop within the native languages of multiple mobile devices does have solutions, with many hybrid app development frameworks growing in popularity as simplifying app creation and management tries to keep pace with customer demand for feature-rich experiences.

Although costly for most FSIs, native app development has been a necessity in order to remain competitive as customers sought better customer experiences. Simply put, native apps offer the capability to access native features and have an inherent advantage in increased customer engagement and loyalty.

But what if many of the benefits available in native app development that FSI organizations are looking for can now be accessed through web technology tools, developed, deployed, and maintained more efficiently?

Similar to when we used to need separate devices, for calls, photos, and videos, the need for having separate parallel development efforts across different mobile devices to provide engaging financial experiences has also evolved. More and more, FSIs are now realizing the opportunity to simplify how they build and maintain engaging customer experiences that keep pace with demand in a way that is potentially much more efficient.

Web Tech Has Caught Up to Native Tech

You’ve probably heard of Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) and Hybrid apps. PWAs were first coined by Steve Jobs in 2007, who announced a new form of mobile development. This was then reiterated in 2015 by developer Alex Russel and designer Frances Berriman at Google's 2015 world conference claiming that PWAs "will become a radical shift in the understanding and use of tools to build better experiences across multiple devices and contexts in a single code base."

Fast forward to 2023, many disruptive digital companies, from Uber to Spotify, are now fully leveraging the capabilities of PWAs to reach and acquire more customers while providing engaging experiences to retain them. This is all achieved with highly maintainable single codebases, reutilizing and building upon most of what was already created in the past.

As an evolving technology, PWAs have continued to mature at a steady pace. Closing the capability gap they had when initially announced, today’s PWA tech is capable of resolving most points of customer engagement that FSI organizations have sought from native apps, while maintaining all of the intrinsic efficiencies and advantages of cross-platform web applications. It is our belief that in 2024, financial institutions will continue to take advantage of this approach to mobile experiences for a number of reasons.

What are some advantages that PWAs offer over Native Apps?

1. Unified User Experience: PWAs provide a unified experience across devices, ensuring consistent user engagement and satisfaction. Users can experience congruent financial services, irrespective of their preferred platform or device.

2. Cost-Effectiveness: Adopting PWAs allows financial institutions to streamline development efforts, reducing costs associated with maintaining separate native apps for each platform. Moreover, PWAs can leverage existing web assets, reducing time-to-market and development overhead.

3. Expanding Market Reach: With PWAs, financial institutions can target broader audiences, including users in emerging markets or those with low-speed internet connections. PWA's lightweight nature ensures fast loading times, catering to users when on slow networks or experiencing weak connections.

4. Seamlessly Integrated Updates: Unlike native apps, PWAs can be updated without requiring user intervention. Financial institutions can deliver new features, security patches, and improvements with ease, ensuring a continuously evolving and secure user experience.

Who’s using PWA globally?

Company PWA Results
Starbucks Doubled the number of orders through the website. Additionally, desktop users now place orders at a similar pace as mobile device users.
Trivago Increased user interaction by 150%, expanded to 55 countries, and led to a 97% rise in clicks on hotel offers through its PWA.
Uber Outperformed its previous native app, booking more trips, providing greater speed, compact size, and robust performance even on 2G networks.
Twitter Lite (X) Faster, more efficient, and cost-effective than the native version. 97% less storage space, 70% reduction in data consumption, 50% less latency, and 30% less loading time.
Pinterest Outperformed the mobile web and native app versions.
Spotify Achieved a conversion rate of 46% from free users to paid users, compared to the previous rate of only 26.6%.
Facebook Offers high agility and minimal mobile storage. Enhances desktop performance with a more intuitive interface.
Google Maps Reached a broader audience, offering most features of the standard app while using minimal space on the user's mobile device.

PWAs are written in JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. They’re web apps, and as such, are searchable in internet browsers. However, they also deliver functionalities identical to those provided by native mobile apps: they’re fast, can work offline, send push notifications, and use native features of user devices.

What’s more, PWAs can be uploaded to popular app marketplaces like AppStore and Google Play.

What's in it for large financial institutions?

PWAs offer an opportunity for new FIs creating their digital presence, and to those who haven’t yet invested in native app development but want to improve customer engagement. But why would a large financial institution that already has a native app development strategy in place consider building a PWA?

Whether you’re creating new digital experiences, are looking to completely redefine existing digital assets, or want to continue evolving your mobile experience strategy, it’s important to note that PWAs aren’t a silver-bullet, but rather they’re a cost-effective tool in your digital tool kit. Simply put, PWAs and native apps can coexist with one another, and support you in the sustainable evolution of your digital ecosystem.

When PWAs make sense alongside native apps

If you’re a financial organization with digital assets already built on native apps, you may consider embedding PWAs when you are looking to build new features that:

  • Should also work on the web.

  • Be indexable by search engines.

  • Can be shipped faster, because you don't have to go through an app store publishing process.

  • May need periodic updates without depending on user action.

Modyo Supports your Web App Development 💚

Progressive Web Applications offer a flexible approach to digital experiences, bridging the gap between web and native apps. Large FSIs can benefit from PWAs alongside their native app strategies, improving user engagement, streamlining development, and ensuring search engine visibility.

At Modyo, we recognize the potential of PWAs in helping you build your customer experiences. If you're interested in the possibilities of PWAs and wish to explore how the Modyo composable frontend platform can enhance your web and mobile development strategy, digital onboarding, transactional channels, and more, reach out to us and tell us about your latest project. Let's collaborate to simplify your path to delivering outstanding customer experiences.


1: Team, A. E. C. (n.d.). Examples of progressive web apps (PWAs) done right | Adobe.

2: Lee, Z. (2023, August 10). Uber PWA: The Perfect Case Study For Progressive Web App. Tigren. 

3: AppYourself. (2022, October 5). Success Story: Trivago relies on Progressive Web Apps - AppYourself. AppYourself.

4: Surur. (2018, May 9). Starbucks afirma que su PWA es un gran éxito - MSPoweruser. MS Power User. Retrieved August 24, 2023, from

5: Twitter Lite PWA significantly increases engagement and reduces data usage. (2017, May 17).

6: Osmani, A. (2018, June 21). A Pinterest Progressive web app performance case study. Medium.

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