Fintech startup essentials: free and freemium tools to help you build your fintech company

5 min

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So you’re building a fintech company? That’s great! Don’t know what tools you should be using? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 
 

This article includes tools for:

  • Software development
  • Open banking
  • Payment solutions
  • Cloud computing
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Project management 
     

Software development

With software development comes conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing and bug fixing. These processes are necessary to create and maintain your software, and with that comes the need for an array of tools. 
 

JetBrains is a software development company who makes tools for software developers and project managers. The platform offers developer tools, team tools and learning tools. They offer many integrated development environments for Java, Groovy, Kotlin, Ruby, Python, PHP, C, C++, C#, Go, JavaScript and SQL. There is free access to all JetBrains tools.
 

GitHub - Public APIs is a collective list of free APIs for use in software and web development. The list has been compiled by 800+ contributors and has free APIs for finance, open data, machine learning, cryptocurrency and more.
 

RStudio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for R, a programming language for statistical inference, data analysis and machine learning. It is available in two formats: RStudio Desktop is a regular desktop application while RStudio Server runs on a remote server and allows accessing RStudio using a web browser. RStudio provides free and open source tools for R and enterprise-ready professional software for data science teams to develop and share their work at scale.

Oh My Zsh is an open source, community-driven framework for managing your zsh configuration. Zsh, or Z shell, is a Unix shell that can be used as an interactive login shell and as a command interpreter for shell scripting. It offers many helpful functions, plugins and themes. 
 

Web framework:
 

FastAPI is a web framework for building APIs with Python 3.6+. It supports Python type hints, meaning editors have great support for code completion and spend less time debugging. FastAPI is fast and easy to code with. It is fully compatible with the open standards for APIs.
 

Version control:
 

GitHub has been the largest and most popular provider of internet hosting for software development since 2008. The platform offers the distributed version control and source code management of Git along with its own features like task management and continuous integration. Along with the speed of the software, Github is known for having a beginner friendly interface that makes using Git easy.
 

GitLab is an open source end-to-end software development platform that began in 2011 as an alternative to GitHub. The platform has built-in version control, issue tracking, code review and more. It’s popularity is due to extensive functionality and great UI. Recently, users have been switching to GitLab from other services due to its flawless support of CI pipeline and Docker.
 

BitBucket is an online source code hosting service that launched in 2008 and started supporting Git-based version control in 2011. The platform allows users to plan projects and collaborate on code. BitBuckets attraction comes from the possibility to host an unlimited number of private repositories for small teams of up to 5 users. Users of Jira often prefer BitBucket due to better visibility of the overall project.
 

Gitkraken is asource control system for developers designed by Axosoft as an alternative to the command line. TheirGit Client helps developers maximize their productivity with an intuitive GUI.Developers are able tokeep a complete track of our repositories, see branches and all the history of their work and more.
 

Container tools:
 

Docker is an open platform for developing and running applications. It is like a container engine that uses Linux Kernel features to create containers on top of an operating system. Docker makes containers easy. Just from a few Docker commands and parameters, containers can be up and running in no time.The service has both free and premium tiers.
 

Text editor:
 

Vim is a highly configurable text editor. The program is continuously being improved and aims to make creating and changing text very efficient. Features of Vim include supporting hundreds of programming languages, extensive plugin system and powerful search and replace.
 

Software libraries:
 

OpenCV is a library of programming functions. The library is cross-platform. C++, Python and Java interfaces support Linux, MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. OpenCV is open source and released under the BSD 3-Clause License.
 

SpaCy is an open source software library for advanced natural language processing. The library is written in Python and Cython. SpaCy has a huge ecosystem with a variety of plugins and ability for customisation. The library is published under the MIT license.
 

Open banking

Open banking is banking practice that securely shares financial information such as consumer banking, transactions and other financial data to third-party financial service providers, like your startup. Sharing data is done through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) and only with the consent of customers. Open banking is the drive behind both innovation and competition in the financial industry.
 

Nordigen is a freemium open banking platform that provides free access to open banking data and premium data insights. Nordigen's free API connects to more than 1,000 banks in Europe and serves fintech companies and developers in 31 European countries, including the UK. Nordigen is a licensed Account Information Service Provider (AISP), regulated by the The Financial and Capital Market Commission of Latvia and authorised in 31 European countries.
 

There are no other companies that offer free open banking.
 

Cloud computing

Cloud computing delivers computing services, such as servers, storage, databases, networking, and software, over the internet. The aim of cloud computing software is to take advantage of these technologies without the need for expertise within each of them. The cloud also aims to cut costs and lets startups and businesses focus their energy on developing their business.
 

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a cloud computing platform provided by Amazon. They offer infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and packaged software as a service. AWS offers many different tools and solutions for enterprises and software developers that can be used in data centers in up to 190 countries. AWS was one of the first to introduce pay-as-you-go cloud computing. AWS Activate let’s companies build or scale with up to $100,000 in AWS promotional credits. This is ideal for startups as you can get quick access to resources that help you grow.
 

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft.They offer infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, packaged software as a service, and serverless. Azure provides tools that support all industries and users are able to use the tools and technologies they prefer. Microsoft charges for Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis but also offers a free version. With the free account you get $200 of credit to spend in the first 30 days after you sign up.
 

Google Cloud Platform is a public cloud computing services platform developed by Google. They offer infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and serverless computing environments. Google Cloud provides a range of hosted services that run on Google hardware. The platform is available in over 200 countries and territories. Google Cloud works on a pay-as-you-go basis but there is a free version. With the free account you get $300 in free credits to be used on the platform.
 

Payment solutions

Every company has the goal to generate revenue in order to grow and become successful. It’s important to choose the right payment processing solution for your specific needs. It is one of the first decisions a startup will need to make. The purpose of payment solutions is to provide a smooth transfer of funds.
 

Stripe is a financial services and software as a service company. They offer payment processing software and application programming interfaces for e-commerce websites and mobile applications. They have a “only pay for what you use” pricing model and charges 2.9% + $0.30 per successful card transaction. They have no setup or monthly fees. There is even the possibility to sign up for discounts and credits from their partners, such as Amazon Web Services.
 

PayPal is a global online payment system. They operate as a payment processor for online vendors and many other commercial users.They have no setup or monthly fees. Paypal charges 2.9% + $0.30 for every purchase. They have no setup or monthly fees. PayPal is developer-friendly and easily integrated.  PayPal accepts payments from over 200 countries and is the best alternative to Stripe especially if you have an online business with customers all over the world.
 

Braintree was acquired by Paypal in 2013 but it is more developer-centric than Paypal. Braintree has a suite of developer tools that can be used to customise your shopping cart and integrate with your existing platform. You can use Braintree to accept paypal payments, Venmo and all major credit and debit cards in 130+ currencies from 45 countries. Briantree charges 2.9% + $0.30 for every purchase. They have no setup or monthly fees.
 

Communication and collaboration

Teams that communicate well are able to complete projects quicker and more efficiently. Effective communication is important for team members to understand not just their own role, but also the roles of others. The aim of collaboration tools is to facilitate an understanding of what needs to be done and promote team collaboration and good communication.
 

Slack is an all-purpose team chat platform and collaboration hub. It offers chat rooms organised by topic, private groups and direct messaging. The platform allows for integration of other software and custom apps like Google Calendar, Jira and Github. Slack has both desktop and mobile versions so the team can stay coordinated no matter where they are.
 

Facebook Workplace is an online collaborative software too developed for businesses by Facebook. Workplace facilitates online group work, instant messaging, video conferencing, and news sharing. It connects with tools like G Suite and Office 365 so users can create and edit files. It’s like Facebook just adapted for work- those familiar with Facebook will find this software intuitive to use. 
 

Fleep is a collaboration app with project management features. It offers  private or group messaging, message and file history, file-sharing, screen-sharing, virtual pinboards, task management, and more. Fleep is able to integrate with third-party solutions such as Slack and Jira. For more advanced integrations, they offer an open API that allows developers to integrate with different solutions to extend Fleep functionality. 
 

Project management

It is important to be able to plan and delegate tasks while also collaborating with the team on different projects. Project management tools act as a detailed to-do list that assist individuals or teams to effectively organise and manage their projects and tasks. Using agile methodologies, these tools help teams to be on the same page and get things done.
 

Youtrack is a fast online tool for issue tracking and project management. The tool enables task management and team collaboration through features such as document collaboration, custom workflow creation and agile boards. YouTrack is optimized for software developers and agile teams.
 

Trello is a flexible online task management tool that provides visual overviews of projects. The app uses the kanban system and has built-in collaboration tools, such as boards and cards, to stay organised. It’s ideal for individuals or small teams that manage a small number of projects at the same time.
 

Jira is a tool that allows bug tracking as well as agile project management. With scrum boards, kanan boards, roadmaps and agile reporting the tool helps teams to manage their projects and stay organised. Jira can be used for content management, software development, and issue tracking.
 

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Andrieiev, S. (2021, May 21).Bitbucket vs Github vs Gitlab Detailed Comparison. Medium.
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Bavis, N. (2020, November 17).11 Ways to Get AWS Credits. ParkMyCloud.
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Beebom. (2020, September 30).12 Best Stripe Alternatives You Can Use. Beebom.
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Duò, M. (2021, January 22).19 Free Slack Alternatives (Hosted, Self-Hosted, and Open Source). Kinsta.
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Kissflow. (2021, June 17).10 Best Free Project Management Tools – Features Comparison. Kissflow.
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Prakash, A. (2020, December 15).Top GitHub Alternatives to Host Your Open Source Projects. It's Foss.
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Project Management Guide. (n.d.). Wrike.
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Sarid, B. (n.d.).6 Best Completely FREE Cloud Hosting Services 2021. Website Planet.
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Software Advice. (n.d.).Software Advice. Fleep Software.
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Article by

...Laura Aasheim
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