Tech Stack Of FinTech Startups: Analyzing Popular Languages and Frameworks

Favorite Technologies of FinTech Startups in 2020

FinTech (an abbreviation from financial technology) is an already traditional industry. It exists on the verge of finance and innovations. FinTech companies cover unbanked and underbanked people, providing more accessible services. They double down on mobile hardware and software, online interaction without branches, and blockchain.

The most popular FinTech startups are neobanks, cryptocurrencies, and payment gateways. In total, there are 61 FinTech unicorns among 472 startups valued over $1 billion. You may know the names Stripe ($36 billion in valuation), Robinhood ($11.2 billion), Ripple ($10 billion), or TransferWise ($5 billion). 

FinTech brands rely on certain programming languages, frameworks, and databases in the development of their products or services. And we’re going to show you the most popular tech stacks of these startups. Let’s get to the point!

How FinTech Startups Make Decisions About Technologies

Choosing the right tech stack isn’t a cakewalk. There are different FinTech startup types that require different technologies. Moreover, each team develops its own offers that also should be matched with the chosen tech stack. The final goal of any FinTech business is to outperform both traditional finance brands and their current FinTech competitors. 

Let’s look at the general startup development flow. Thus, we can outline critical factors that affect the final tech stack selection:

  1. Decide on the market niche and ensure regulatory compliance. Probably, you’re going to develop a new mobile banking app or invest in online P2P lending. Each sector has specific requirements and the most relevant tech options.
  2. Ensure regulatory requirements. When it comes to money, financial regulators in many countries have dozens of rules. Hence, your solution should meet them and your technologies should be able to handle KYC, AML, and other procedures.
  3. Identify the required product/service features. This point is essential. Depending on the user's needs and pains, you want to implement different functions: transfers, loans, investments, etc. Each feature requires relevant tech solutions.
  4. Focus on architecture and UI/UX. General relevance is important, too. For example, you’d better use Kotlin for Android development or React Native for cross-platform applications. Technologies also should match your design vision. 
  5. Define the development approach. Based on the previously selected technologies, you can understand which dev approach is the best one. Focus on SDLC that’s familiar for your team to get the project done on time and on budget.
  6. Release the MVP and change the product/service respectively. Finally, it’s better to invest in the Minimum Viable Product before the actual release. This version helps gather user feedback and identify the strengths or weaknesses of your software. 

And here’s one tip that you could miss without this guide. Always learn from successful startups. We don’t mean that you have to mimic and copy, no. But you definitely should analyze your more seasoned competitors. In the sections below, you can find the most popular technologies used by FinTech startups around the world.

5 Popular Technologies Used by FinTech Startups

There are different statistics focused on the popularity of technologies: languages, frameworks, databases, etc. But FinTech has unique challenges to solve and requirements to meet. That’s why startups in this sector invest in specific technologies. Further, we describe the most famous teams and their tech stacks. But here, let’s check a bigger picture. 

Partially, information is taken from Coding Dojo and StackShare. Mainly, it’s from our testing cases thanks to which we have rich experience in startup tech aspects. So, let’s look at the technologies:

  • Programming languages:
    • Python
    • JavaScript
    • Java
    • C/C++
    • Ruby
  • Frameworks:
    • React
    • Node.js
    • Django
    • Ruby on Rails
    • Spring
  • Databases:
    • PostgreSQL
    • MySQL
    • MongoDB
    • Redis
    • Kafka

Talking about the tech stack of the leading FinTech startups, they often opt for time-proven efficient languages. Java and Python remain the leaders here. The former language is loved by many banks thanks to its security, convenience, and capability to process huge datasets. Java is a universal tool for banking institutions. 

Wherein, Python is useful thanks to many libraries for the finance sector, simple syntax, and fast programming times. It’s chosen by investment and hedge companies, as well as the teams that are focused on risk management and pricing. If you’re going to use Python, pay attention to open-source projects like SciPy, NumPy, pynance, and others. 

Tech Stack Behind FinTech Teams – Examples

Well, it’s time to jump to the main part of this guide. While all FinTech projects are different, you can’t just copy the tech stack of successful startups. Instead, you should analyze your project and its goals, identify main features, and select the technologies that can help you with developing the right product or service. However, it’s always a good idea to learn from the best. And you can do this right here. 

We’re presenting the tech stack of 13 famous, successful, and highly capitalized FinTech companies. Enjoy!

Chime

Chime focuses on neobanking and user-friendly financial services. It’s known as one of the fastest-growing FinTech startups thanks to various cool offers. For example, Chime has zero-fee services, including payments and deposits. It also provides automated savings and early deposit redeem options. 

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: Citus, Kafka, Snowflake.
  • DevOps solutions: GitHub, Kubernetes, Visual Studio, CircleCI.
  • Frameworks: React Native, Ruby on Rails,
  • Programming languages: Elixir, JavaScript, Ruby, 
  • Extras: Looker, Optimizely, Plaid, Segment.

Coinbase

Blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms are highly popular now. Coinbase is one of the most successful ones. It provides digital asset trading and investment services, including fiat-to-crypto exchange. It operates legally in many countries and acts as the main entry point for various individual and business customers. 

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: IronMQ.
  • DevOps solutions: Bugsnag, GeoEngineer, New Relic, CircleCI. 
  • Frameworks: Ruby on Rails.
  • Programming languages: Ruby.
  • Extras: Authy, BlockScore, CloudFlare, Mixpanel, nginx, HackerOne.

Credit Karma

Modern digital lending is a highly popular market among FinTech startups. However, Credit Karma focuses on slightly different services, not related to actual lending directly. Instead, the team offers quick and simple credit monitoring with personalized reports. Further, the company suggests the most suitable loans from partners. 

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: MySQL.
  • DevOps solutions: Git, Docker, Jenkins, Bitbucket, New Relic.
  • Frameworks: N/A.
  • Programming languages: JavaScript, PHP, Python, Swift, Objective-C, Scala.
  • Extras: nginx, Apache HTTP Server.

Klarna

This particular company is a unique mix of startup culture and traditional banking services. Klarna provides modern solutions for business-customer payments, both online and offline. Klarna ensures the safety of both buyers and sellers through handling client payments and claims. The company is located in Sweden and has a valuation of over $5.5 billion.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: N/A.
  • DevOps solutions: Docker, New Relic.
  • Frameworks: PowerShell.
  • Programming languages: Python, JavaScript, PHP, Java, TypeScript, C, C#, Ruby, Go, Objective-C, Kotlin, Go, Scala, Elixir, Rust, Perl, CoffeeScript, ActionScript, Erlang.
  • Extras: Apex, nginx, SendGrid.

Marqeta

Marqeta is a unique company, one of a few FinTech startups that work for… other startups. It’s a platform that issues cards and develops other payment solutions. The team claims that it has launched over 140 million cards, including offers for Uber and Square. Marqeta is known for its safety and guarantees.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: MongoDB, MySQL, Redis, InfluxDB, Snowflake.
  • DevOps solutions: Jenkins, Docker, GitHub, New Relic, Ansible.
  • Frameworks: Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Foundation.
  • Programming languages: Java, Python, Ruby, GraphQL.
  • Extras: nginx, CentOS, SendGrid.

N26

This FinTech startup is another neobank but located in Berlin. Its team provides modern financial services to many European customers. N26 has a simple yet powerful mobile app with financial management features, mobile accounts, bank cards, personal payments, and pretty low fees when compared to traditional banks.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: Redis, PostgreSQL, Kafka, Realm.
  • DevOps solutions: GitHub, Docker, Visual Studio, Selenium, Gradle.
  • Frameworks: Node.js, Vapor.
  • Programming languages: Python, Java, Kotlin, TypeScript, Swift, Julia.
  • Extras: Ubuntu, nginx, Debian, Postman.

Nubank

Unlike many FinTech companies that are located in California, Nubank is a disruptive Brailizan neobank. Its valuation is $10 billion which makes it the fourth in the ranking of FinTech unicorns. Nubank offers zero-fee digital accounts and credit cards. Users manage them via mobile applications which are pretty convenient and secure.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: Redis, Kafka, Datomic, Splunk.
  • DevOps solutions: GitHub, Docker, Kubernetes, Sentry.
  • Frameworks: Flutter, Foundation
  • Programming languages: Python, Scala, Clojure.
  • Extras: Jetty, Mandrill, Optimizely, Mixpanel.

Revolut

Being one of the neobank icons, Revolut offers modern and smooth digital-only finance services. It provides user-friendly app-based payments, transfers, and investment opportunities. Revolut supports currency exchange features, digital assets, P2P payments, and so on. Its capitalization is $5.5 billion.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: Google Cloud.
  • Databases and stores: PostgreSQL.
  • DevOps solutions: Docker, Git, Visual Studio, Bitbucket.
  • Frameworks: Gatsby, Node.js
  • Programming languages: Java, JavaScript, Kotlin, Python, Scala, Swift, TypeScript. 
  • Extras: nginx.

Ripple

Ripple combines modern financial technologies and blockchain/crypto solutions. Its main service is international borderless transactions with extremely low fees. Ripple works with various banks, including HSBC, Bank of America, Barclays, and many others. The team’s internal token XRP is one of the most capitalized cryptocurrencies.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: PostgreSQL, Kafka, Redis, RabbitMQ. 
  • DevOps solutions: Docker, GitHub, Jenkins.
  • Frameworks: N/A.
  • Programming languages: JavaScript, Java, HTML5, TypeScript.
  • Extras: nginx, WordPress.

Robinhood

Robinhood is a famous representative of next-gen investment solutions. It targets people who don’t want to dive into the world of brokers and terminals. Via mobile and desktop apps, Robinhood provides powerful investment opportunities for regular users. Needless to say that its fees are much lower than ones in major brokerages.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: PostgreSQL, Redis, Kafka, RabbitMQ. 
  • DevOps solutions: Git, Docker, Jenkins, Kubernetes, Webpack, Babel.
  • Frameworks: Bootstrap, Django.
  • Programming languages: Python, Go, Swift, Kotlin. 
  • Extras: nginx, Ubuntu, RxJava.

Stripe

This e-commerce platform provides modern financial solutions for businesses and individuals. It offers convenient digital tools for subscription management and online billing. Stripe is one of the most valued startups overall. With $36 billion, it’s also the most capitalized FinTech startup right now.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: Apache Impala, NSQ.
  • DevOps solutions: CircleCI, PagerDuty.
  • Frameworks: Ruby on Rails.
  • Programming languages: Ruby.
  • Extras: Framer, Mailgun, Mandrill, Mixpanel.

TransferWise

While money transfers are changing rapidly, TransferWise remains a reputable and successful player in this game. The company offers quick and cost-efficient international payment services for individual clients who want to send money to other persons. As well, TransferWise supports multi-currency business invoices.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: MySQL, PostgreSQL, Kafka.
  • DevOps solutions: GitHub, Jenkins, Kubernetes, Ansible, Selenium, Gradle.
  • Frameworks: AngularJS, Spring, Grails.
  • Programming languages: Java, HTML5, Less, Groovy.
  • Extras: CloudFlare, Postman, Mixpanel, Mandrill, Optimizely.

Venmo

Following the most popular trend in FinTech, Venmo focuses on simple and convenient P2P payments and business billing. Venmo is a universal way to exchange money between friends, family members, and service providers in regular life. The company utilizes a lot of the languages to craft solid tools and apps.

Languages and technologies:

  • Cloud services: AWS.
  • Databases and stores: N/A.
  • DevOps solutions: Docker, CMake.
  • Frameworks: Backbone.js, PowerShell.
  • Programming languages: JavaScript, PHP, Python, Java, TypeScript, C#, Ruby, Go, Swift, Objective-C, C++, C, Perl, Lua.
  • Extras: nginx, Amplitude, Braintree.

Adopt Technologies Wisely

The listed technologies and FinTech startups don’t represent everything you can find. Still, these examples are famous in the financial industry. If you’re focusing on your own financial startup, remember these stacks and utilize the most useful technologies. Look at neobanks if you’re building a new digital-only banking app or at transaction processing systems if you want to facilitate transfers.

Another essential thing to remember about is tech and software testing. Even the most sophisticated tech stack with the most relevant technologies may fail if you don’t care about testing. Proper QA ensures that your software works as it has to, delivers the required services to the end-users. Thus, start with planning and analysis, then define your tech stack, and don’t forget to test everything during development!

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Grzegorz Kłos
Co-Founder
office@apphawks.com
Grzegorz Kłos - Apphawks Co-founder
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