March 22, 2023

12 Questions to Ask Your Financial Data Provider Before You Launch Your App

Creating a fintech app or website that uses financial data? Need a stock market API? Before jumping in, you need to know what you're getting into with your financial data or stock market data provider. We've put together a list of 12 questions to help you navigate potential challenges and identify key success factors.

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Alen Kalac

Alen is a data scientist working in finance. He's also a freelance data scientist, and he writes about data science and machine learning as well.

If you're creating a fintech app or website—whether it's for investment analysis, portfolio management, or financial research—you need reliable and accurate financial data. Collecting and organizing financial data yourself is time-consuming and expensive though, so you'll likely choose to source your data from a financial data provider. These are companies that collect and aggregate data from financial reports, market prices, and broker and dealer desks and provide it to different financial institutions and investors.

However, relying on a financial data provider doesn't abscond you of responsibility. You're still responsible for ensuring that the data on your app or website is accurate and timely. You should ensure that your data provider offers the data you need and that their data can integrate with your app by asking them some questions.

The questions you ask should help you do two things: First, they should answer everything you need to know about the data itself—the types of data offered, how its accuracy is ensured, and so forth. Second, they should help you get to know more about the services of the financial data provider, such as their technical support, customization options, and security measures.

This article covers twelve questions you can ask your financial data provider to determine whether they're the vendor you want to rely on when you launch your app or website. Remember that the relevance of these questions will depend on your business needs. You know your business's priorities and constraints best. Use the questions in this list as your springboard, and adapt them as you see fit.

Yes/No Questions

First, let's cover four simple yes/no questions that could help you quickly flag potential issues with some providers.

 Can They Provide Sample Data to Test the Integration with Your App before Launch?

It's important to know whether your data vendor is willing to provide sample data to test the integration with their data before you launch. Detecting issues in the data once your app is launched is disastrous. You need to test it way before that. To do so, you'll need a sample of their data.

The sample you need doesn't have to be enough to build your entire app, but it should be large enough so that you can ensure the provider's data can integrate with your app.


Are There Any Limitations or Restrictions on the Use of Their Data, such as Geographic or Regulatory Constraints?

The use of some data is often restricted to certain countries or areas. If the data you get from the financial data provider comes with any geographic or regulatory constraints, you need to know about it up front. You'll need to weigh whether it still meets your needs, or it might affect how you build your app.


Are There Any Additional Costs or Fees Associated with Their Data, such as Usage or API Fees?

You need to know the cost of using a provider's data. Obtaining data from financial data providers can get expensive. There could also be hidden costs, such as usage or API fees. Before you choose your vendor, you need to be sure you know what *all* the costs related to their service are.


Can They Provide References or Case Studies of Clients Who Successfully Integrated and Used Their Financial Data?

Any data provider could market their services as the best one out there. It's your responsibility to make sure the data provider you choose has actually helped other clients with similar needs as yours. One of the easiest ways to check this is to ask for references and case studies. You can use these to verify which use cases their data have been used for successfully.


Open-Ended Questions

Next, let's consider eight open-ended questions you could ask that are more nuanced. Make sure you get more than a standard sales reply, and weigh up the answers you get against best practice and the minimum requirements for your business needs.


What Types of Financial Data Do They Offer?

The type of data you need will depend on your use case. Not all vendors provide all types of data, so you need to ensure you get all the data that you need to build and launch your app.


For example, you can get some market data via the Yahoo Finance API. If you want economic data, you can get it from the IMF. If you need only one type of data, these sources could work for you. However, if you're using various data sources, each will require a different process of data preparation. Using one source gives you all the financial data you need in one place. IEX Cloud's comprehensive set of financial data, for example, includes equities market data, forex/currency data, company data, economic data, and so on.


How Often Is Their Data Updated?

Another question, which is somewhat related to the previous one, is how often the provider's data is updated. Since data changes constantly in the financial industry, it's crucial that your app should reflect that. Using data that's not current could result in wrong or useless results.

You must ensure that your financial data provider's data updates in a timely manner. How often this is will depend on the nature of the dataitself though—stock data must be updated in seconds while some economic data may not need updating for weeks.


How Is Their Data Sourced and Validated to Ensure Reliability?

The reliability of financial data—in other words, its completeness, accuracy, and consistency—is one of its most important characteristics. Fintech apps built with inaccurate data are essentially useless, and so is the data itself.

Ascertaining what a data provider's process is for sourcing and validating their data can help you detect any flaws that could lead to inaccurate and unreliable data. At the least, a financial data provider should ensure they're using the right external data sources and that they're regularly auditing the data. For example, IEX performs trillions of calculations daily to curate its data and make it readily available for you.


Which Security Measures Protect Their Data and Prevent Unauthorized Access?

To avoid security risks, you don't want someone to get unauthorized access to the data you use. You need to make sure your financial data provider has the necessary processes and measures in place to ensure their data is protected from unauthorized access.

For example, some important security measures that IEX Cloud provides are keeping audit logs for one to thirty days (depending on the package), data encryption at rest, data encryption in transit, data permissioning by domain, as well as usage monitoring.


What Technical Support or Resources Do They Provide to Help with Integrating Data into Your App?

Regardless of how good your team is, issues such as delays in the data delivery and security risks can crop up when you integrate data into your app. If this happens, you'll want to be able to get support from your financial data provider.

For example, IEX Cloud provides detailed documentation that contains everything you need to know to use its data. All IEX Cloud plans also come with customer support.

Which Customization Options Are Available to Tailor Their Data to Your Specific Needs?

Every business has different data needs, so no data provider will have standard packages to cater for every possible use case. If you have a need that a vendor doesn't cater for, it's worth inquiring whether they have customization options that will let you tailor their data to your needs. For example, IEX Cloud provides custom functions for data management in all of their plans.


Which Reports or Analytics Lets You Monitor Data Usage and Performance?

You'll want to be able to check the usage and performance of the data you use to know whether it meets the requirements of your app. Monitoring data performance will allow you to identify and resolve any performance failures early on. Tracking data usage and performance can also give you insights on how to optimize usage and improve performance.

You want to know which reports and analytics your provider offers to determine whether it lets you adequately monitor your data usage and performance.


What Is the Latency of Their Data?

Last but certainly not the least, you need to ask about latency. Latency refers to the time it takes the financial data vendor to provide the data from its source to your app. Low data latency means your app always has up-to-date information.

Data latency is extremely important in finance. For example, a fintech app through which you can trade stocks must have real-time data about current market prices. Data that's even mere seconds late will cause your users to make suboptimal decisions about buying or selling a stock. In this context, data latency is measured as the time delay between the point when a request for data is made to the point the data is received by the user. In time-sensitive fields such as fintech, the latency of data shouldn't exceed even ten milliseconds.



This article offered you some guidance on what to ask your financial data provider before you launch your app with their data.

As this list of questions suggests, handling real-time data comes with its challenges. Using a reputable provider of financial market data such as IEX Cloud can help you tackle these difficulties. It's even better when combined with Apperate, a cloud-based platform for managing real-time data.

IEX not only provides you with data of exceptional quality; it also offers multiple ways to connect that data into your system, shape it into products, and deliver it to your desired destination. This makes IEX fit for several different purposes, including portfolio management, risk management, market data visualization, real-time analysis, and investment analysis.

Apperate, which is integrated with IEX Cloud Data Bundles, allows you to build event-driven applications with serverless event processing. It provides a purpose-built real-time data store to power those applications and an API gateway. You can sign up for a free trial of Apperate to explore what it can offer you.