Financial App Localization: Why It Matters and How to Get It Right

The use of financial and banking apps has risen rapidly. They have transformed the industry by streamlining banking operations and improving user experience. According to Insider Intelligence’s Mobile Banking Competitive Edge Study, 89% of survey respondents and 97% of millennials said they use mobile banking. And usage is set to continue its soaring trajectory. The global personal finance software market is projected to reach $1,576.86 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.7% from 2020 to 2027.

Banking apps are big business. For app creators and developers, opportunities are aplenty. To capitalize on the potential growth and improve your chances of success, you need to localize your apps. That is, make them available to your target audiences no matter where they are in the world. Non-localized apps in foreign markets are at a distinct disadvantage.

In this article, we look at the benefits of app localization and how to get it right. As you’ll see, localization goes way beyond financial translation.

The Benefits of Localizing Financial Apps

Tap New Markets

The main goal of localization is to provide a unique experience as if the app has been created especially for each user. Tailoring a financial app to specific audiences can help you enter and conquer new markets faster.

Incorporating cultural elements such as native language, icons, symbols and currency formats helps users to better engage with your app. They’re more likely to spread the word about your digital product. This increases visibility and exposure, allowing you to grow your market share.

Creating a financial app in a country’s native language is more authentic and engaging. Not all companies localize their apps. Therefore, you have a golden opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

Establish Trust and Maintain Customer Loyalty

Banking relies on trust. We trust financial institutions to take care of our money. And communication is the foundation of trust. Consumers want to relate to their financial providers and feel they’re understood. That’s difficult if there’s a language barrier.

report by CSA Research found that 76% of online shoppers prefer to buy goods with information in their language. That number jumped to 89% among those with no English-language competence.

Therefore, trust is more likely to be established if apps are adapted for specific markets and with local consumers in mind. This means understanding the specific terminology and cultural context of the target market.

Localization can also increase loyalty because new customers will have a better experience with content in their native tongue.

Drive Better Online Search Results

With the help of localization, your app can be easier found online. Adapting your messages and marketing content to your audience helps potential customers find you in organic search results.

Avoid one-size-fits-all financial translation solutions. Instead, combine localization with SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. Doing so means a greater chance of ranking on Google in target countries than if you ignored local nuances. You may also benefit from higher visibility in app stores. 

Best Practices for Localizing Financial Apps

So, you’re convinced of the benefits of localization over a financial translation only. The next step is to develop a localization strategy to support your entry into new markets.

We’ve compiled a list of best practices to make the process more straightforward for you.

1. UX Design Adjustment

User experience (UX design) refers to the entire experience from a user’s first contact with your app to the last. It’s about how users feel using your app and how easily they can complete their desired tasks. For example: Does the online banking app make it easy for people to move and manage their money?

Design refers to the process of making the app easy to use. When building your app, be sure to have UX localization in mind from the start of the development process. This can mean:

  • Using correct currencies and number conversions.
  • Ensuring the cultural appropriateness of color, icons, visuals and graphics.
  • Adapting the user interface to the space requirements of each target language.
  • Ensuring the content is appropriate for your different audiences’ cultural tastes and usage habits.

2. Be Mindful of Text Shrinkage or Expansion

Assume that the length of your text will change after localization. One common UX problem during localization is word length in different languages. For example, the word “hi” in English is “hola” in Spanish, which has more characters and is a little longer. There are also the different heights of different characters. Chinese characters tend to be taller than European ones. If you ignore these considerations, too much space or too little will be allocated to the app’s layout. As a result, the format is spoiled, and the text becomes unreadable.

3. Use a Glossary and Style Guide for Global Brand Consistency

Whether working with a financial translation agency or doing everything yourself, create a glossary from the beginning. This is a list of commonly used words and terms, their definitions and translations. It’s invaluable for any localization project to ensure consistency and more accurate translations in every aspect. These include marketing materials, manuals and user interfaces. Glossaries also save time.

The types of words added to a glossary are:

  • Commonly used terms
  • Abbreviations
  • Non-translatable terms
  • Industry-specific jargon
  • Forbidden terms

When localizing your financial app, keep it up to date to ensure the terminology stays consistent.

A style guide is another crucial element of a localization project. It encompasses the guidelines translators follow to accurately convey a brand’s message to target audiences.

A style guide ensures consistency so your brand voice remains strong and your message comes across authentically across different languages.

The guide should be comprehensive but concise. It can include:

  • Writing style
  • Brand overview and personality
  • Formatting and typography
  • Voice and tone
  • Target audience

4. Familiarize with Regulatory Differences

Can you imagine the nightmare of having your financial app banned? That could happen if you fall foul of local banking laws. Finance is one of those sectors that continually evolves due to laws, policies and regulations. And they can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, crypto is banned in some countries like China or Egypt. So if you’re developing a crypto app, it may not be worth your effort translating and localizing for these markets.

If you’re creating a banking or finance app, learning about the regulatory landscape of each market is crucial. You must ensure your products are built in compliance with local laws.

While there are some globally recognized authorities, most regulations are market-specific and overseen by a local authority. In India, for example, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expects all data concerning payment-related services to be stored only in the country.

You or your financial translation agency partner will need to do extensive research.

5. Pay Attention to Your Numbers

When localizing numbers, it’s important to be aware that different parts of the world may use a different numeral system. A numeral system encompasses the symbols and rules for expressing numbers. Western Arabic numerals (i.e., 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) are common in Western countries. However, many places use other digits. For example, Bengali numerals (i.e., ০, ১, ২, ৩, ৪, ৫, ৬, ৭, ৮, ৯).

6. Adapt Your Community Management and Customer Support

Providing localized customer support allows you to communicate in a more authentic matter. Customers find it reassuring when brands speak their language and are sensitive to their cultures.

What do you think will happen if a customer starts a conversation in Spanish and you can’t speak the language? They may stop using your products and services. With localization, you can forge better and longer-lasting relationships with consumers. This is backed up by research.

survey by customer communications platform Intercom found that:

  • 29% of businesses say they’ve lost customers because they don’t offer multilingual support.
  • 70% of customers are more loyal to companies that provide native language support.

7. Choose the Right Localization Team

Contact a reputable translation company if you don’t have an in-house team of financial translators and localization experts. Financial localization is a specialist field, and you will need professionals with extensive knowledge of the financial industry. You cannot rely on generalists or machine translation tools. Doing so runs the risk of poorly written, inaccurate material that doesn’t connect with your audience.

Final Thoughts

Localization shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be an integral part of the app development process, embedded from the start.

EC Innovations can help you localize your finance apps into more than 130 languages, allowing you to reach more people globally. Our linguists are specialists in the financial industry. We’re adept at translating and localizing financial products and services, marketing materials, legal documents and more. We’ll ensure your translations are adapted to local markets and meet local laws and compliance regulations.

We are aware of the need for strict data security, and we follow rigorous guidelines and procedures to protect your sensitive information. With industry-leading turnaround times, you can meet tight deadlines so your project remains on schedule.

If you are interested in localizing your financial app or have any questions about the process, please get in touch with us at

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