How Much Does Cleo Like AI App Development Cost?

Sudeep Srivastava January 5, 2024
ai budgeting app cost

When it comes to saving money, millennials often find themselves in a tough spot. They go through many problems like high levels of student debt, rising costs of living, and stagnant wages. This can make it difficult to make money and put it into savings. However, there are a number of AI-based saving apps/budgeting apps that can help millennials get their finances on track.

One such app is the Cleo money app, which is setting just the use cases for creating a fintech app with AI technology. In this article, we are going to look into the details of Cleo-like AI budgeting app costs and the various factors that affect the same.

However, to give you a rough estimate, the development cost of an AI-based money management app is around $30,000 to $300,000.

Exact cost estimation of your AI-based App

Now before moving ahead to discuss the AI-based budgeting app development costs and various factors affecting them in detail, let us first quickly understand what Cleo app is all about and how it works.

Analyzing the Cleo AI Budgeting App

Cleo is an AI money management app that acts as a sassy Siri for your budgeting and financing needs. Cleo is one of the best budgeting apps that makes a budget for you, helps in building your savings, and talks to you about financial life and spending habits. It also comes with a wallet account, which helps in saving funds and gives users some sort of an overdraft protection.

All in all, with the Cleo AI finance app, users feel comfortable to interact with a sassy friend who can keep them in line when it comes to spending more than they can afford.

Till date, the app has been able to witness a market share of $137.39 million and the number is expected to grow in the coming future. As per CBI Insights, Cleo AI’s app was capable of bagging the Series C for $80M on June 20, 2022. The series of funding rounded by Cleo will be used by the organization to further expand its services, hire more professionals as well as address the broken areas of the FinTech services sector.

Between the established market space and the news occurrence, the Cleo budgeting app has become one of the standard Fintech applications that entrepreneurs are willing to clone, something for which they are willing to pay a good sum of money.

On that point, let us move ahead and discuss the main objective of our blog – development cost of an AI based app.

[Also Read: How to adopt artificial intelligence in your business? A complete guide]

How Much Does AI Budgeting App Development Cost?

Calculating the development cost of an AI-based app is a complicated process. Of course, the actual price will vary depending on the specific features and functionality you want to include in your app. But as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay $30,000 to 300,000+. However, this is a rough estimate, and the actual cost could depend more or less on the factors and complexity.

Let us now offer you a rough estimated cost of the AI budgeting app per the complexity levels and brief you about the timeframes.

AI Budgeting App TypeEstimated CostTime Frame
Lightly Complex$30,000 to $70,0003 to 6 Months
Medium Complex$75,000 to $120,0006 to 9 Months
Highly Complex$120,000 to $200,0009+ Months

Here is the feature list of the AI budgeting app as per the complexity:

  • Light complexity – User registration, fetching account details, social media integration, search, and settings.
  • Medium complexity – The light version features, plus an interactive chatbot, notifications, track spending, and budget creation.
  • High complexity – All the above features, plus multi-media chat and savings estimation.

Since one of the significant factors determining the AI budgeting app costs is the hourly rates of developers in the hired development organization, let us offer you an unerring formula to determine the exact cost of your project.

Development Cost of Budgeting App = Total Development Hours X Hourly Rate of Developers

Here the total development hours is the time frame required to complete the app’s wireframe, UI/UX design, coding, quality assurance, maintenance, etc.

Now that you clearly understand the cost of the AI budgeting app, let us discuss the factors that affect the price in detail.

Factors Affecting the AI Budgeting App Costs

There are a plethora of factors that impact the overall cost of a budgeting app. From the location of the hired app development agency to its hourly rates, the various factors that define the price can vary per the app type and the development process. Understanding these factors can help you make better budgetary decisions.

Factors Affecting the AI App Development Costs

1. Setting up the right business goal

A thoroughly carried out market analysis and project requirements phase are one of the most vital things that set up your app for overall success or failure. Since there are many AI-based fintech apps in the market, analyzing them and finding the loopholes your app can address are critical factors that will help you achieve more significant ROIs.

A dedicated AI-based fintech app development organization like Appinvetiv can help you put things in perspective, offer you a clear market insight, and set up your business goals. Now, coming to the cost factor in setting up business goals, the overall budget can increase or decrease based on the time frame required to conduct thorough market research, create proper documentation, etc.

2. Determining the variables

Another factor that will hamper the overall cost of an AI-budgeting app is determining the app development variables. Based on the type of the AI or FinTech app to be developed, the variables that affect the cost can be divided into:

Number of features implemented in the app

The overall cost to build a fintech app like Cleo depends on the number of features it has. For instance, a lightly complex app with a basic feature list will cost you less as compared to a highly complex AI-based FinTech app with an extensive feature list. Simply put, the more the app features, the more is the associated cost. A budgeting app with a wide range of features is capable of getting more traction in the market while guaranteeing you a maximum ROI.

Business application of Artificial Intelligence

An AI-based app can have multiple applications integrated so as to offer a unique user experience while ensuring more engagement and user retention. Implementing these applications in your mobile app can help you increase your app’s overall performance and improve its efficiency and scalability. Some of the AI-based applications that can affect your overall app budget include:

Process Automation: It is the way to automate processes like app quality assurance, assembly lines, etc.

Machine Learning: To build a fintech app like Cleo, one of the foremost measures that come at an additional cost is implementing the Machine Learning protocols. They are capable of offering accurate results to the users by learning from previous experiences.

[Bonus Read: A Guide to Implement AI and Machine Learning in Your Existing Application]

Voice Recognition: Implementing voice recognition in the app can increase the overall cost but also ensure great productivity and improved user retention rates.

Chatbots: Implementing chatbots in the app is also one of the vital features that affect the app’s overall budget. Chatbots are capable of offering your customers 24×7 support, thereby improving your business’s efficiency while at the same time attracting a wide user base. To know more about how a chatbot can contribute to your business growth, checkout this blog – How Chatbot Development is Shaping the Business Growth Story.

Implement AI-ML in your FinTech mobile app

App Platform

One of the major factors that affect AI app development costs is the underlying app platform. Even though building iOS or Android apps have negligible cost differences, it is usually preferred to start with the latter considering a wide user base. After your app gains traction in the market, you can then upgrade to a cross-platform app at an additional cost.

3. Location of the app development agency

The location of the hired app development agency further affects the overall AI-based app development costs. For instance, the hourly rates of developers in locations like Asia or Africa are quite less as compared to the organizations based in the UK or US. In order to keep your budget in check, it is highly recommended to outsource your app development projects to India. Let us give you a brief idea of the hourly app development rates in multiple regions.

RegionEstimated Hourly Rate of Development
Eastern Europe$30 – $40
Asia$20 – $30
Latin America$40 – $60
Africa$20 – $40

4. UI/UX Design

Another prominent factor that determines and affects the overall cost of the app development is the UI/UX design of the app. UI/UX is an important element of the app development process as the more aesthetically pleasing and seamless the app design is, the more is its user retention rate as well as user engagement. Since landing on a seamless UI/UX design that resonates with your brand’s essence requires multiple testing iterations to be carried out, the overall budget of the app can increase or decrease according to them.

5. Team size

The hired team for app development is one of the major factors that affect the overall app development costs. Hiring a dedicated team for app development is usually preferred as compared to the freelancers as the latter lack professional expertise and experience required to execute complex projects with efficiency.

An outsourcing organization like Appinventiv, with its professional team of experts, can help you achieve the desired results based on your requirements and goals while guaranteeing maximum ROI.

A standard team to develop an efficient AI-budgeting app must include the following:

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 2-3 Backend Developers
  • 2-3 iOS/Android Developers
  • 1-2 AI developers
  • 1-2 Designer
  • 1-2 Quality Analysts

6. App Maintenance

App maintenance can further affect your overall app budget. Since it is important to keep the app up and running in the market while adhering to the latest technology standards, the app’s maintenance cost is one of the unavoidable aspects of the entire app development process.

The maintenance costs for an app can sneak up in order to keep it bug-free as well as to offer the necessary upgrades as per the market requirements. If new technology is to be implemented in the app, the overall costs for your project can further increase.

7. Tech Stack

The underlying technology associated with AI-powered apps affects the cost of app development. Implementing AI-ML, voice recognition, and more comes at an additional cost but, at the same time, makes way for the app’s increased robustness and scalability.

Here is the a general tech-stack required to build an AI-based budgeting application:

Tech-stack required to build an AI-based budgeting application

8. Features

The feature-list of your budgeting FinTech app also affects the overall app’s budget. For instance, a budgeting app with a basic feature list will cost you less as compared to the one with an extensive feature list. Even though the latter might increase the overall cost, an app with an extensive feature list is capable of putting your business at the technological forefront.

Let us move ahead and understand various features of the Cleo-like app in detail.

Must-Have Cleo Like App Features

Feature-set is the key to developing effective personal finance apps. The same stands true for AI-based fintech applications too. As the general formula goes, the more the features, the higher would be the price range. In our case, the more the feature set, the higher would be the cost of AI app development.

Cleo is a one-version Fintech assistant application that majorly operates around two sub sections: A. Basic B. Advanced

App Features

Here are the main features present in both the versions, individually.

Free/Basic Version

Track Spending

The most basic feature of Cleo AI app is the ability to track spendings. Once you link the bank account to the app, you’ll be able to view the account balance, spending category, etc.

You can also ask the app questions, like:

  • How much do I spend on a specific item? (Such as food, rent, etc.)
  • What is my biggest expense?
  • How am I doing on budget?
  • Show my upcoming bills.

Create Budget

The app makes it very easy to set budgets according to different categories and track them throughout the month.

The users can either create their own budget or rely on AI recommendations for setting the limits. The app then monitors purchases and notifies when the budget limit is approaching.

Predict Savings Amount

The application doesn’t just track your spendings, upon detailed analysis it also tells the users when it’s time to save some money for rainy days.

Advanced Version

Cleo Cover

Cleo Cover is an overdraft available to Plus members. The feature allows you to borrow $100 from the app. Cleo does not charge an interest on the loan, and gives users 3 to 28 days to pay back the loan.

Daily Cash

Daily Cash gives users instant cashback on their spendings in the Cleo wallet. The users choose ‘Money Makers’ on the basis of the stores that they shop at most and get cashback when they spend money at those Money Makers.

The next element after the feature set that answers the AI-based development cost of budgeting apps like Cleo is the design element of the Cleo clone app.

build a Cleo-like AI-Based FinTech app

A Design System That Guarantees Your Cleo Like App’s Success

What is enticing about Cleo-like AI money management apps is not the core service set rather its the seamless user experience that they offer to their users. At the core, these are chatbot applications – meaning the user interface focus should majorly be on conversational innovation.

Noting how the user base of such budgeting and assistant–based apps is millennials, the focus will have to be on conversational design. A thing to note here is that on paper, the design cost to build a fintech app like Cleo will be somewhat more expensive than your non-conversational design elements.

AI app like Cleo

When we were designing Mudra, an app similar to Cleo in context, there were some key things that we considered in the UI and UX development of the application.

Tone of the bot

The tone that you set for your assistant will play a major role in its success. In the case of Cleo, a sassy tone was used which roasts millennials – something that gives users viral content. In our case, we went with a subtle but funny personality, which users could see as an advisor and not a friend.

Multiple content

It is important to note that people don’t like interacting with any specific content type. Meaning, that they would sometimes need explanations in words and sometimes a snarky comment in the face of memes. Noting that, we integrated multiple content types in the application – video, images, quiz-like, and textual.

Keep users on track

When designing interactive applications for humans, it is important to note that we are designing for humans. Meaning, apart from conversation(y) content, we will also have to prepare the AI system or human representative for the time when the users get off track. Mudra was designed in a way that both human and AI systems were included in it. This made it possible to keep the users on the agenda when needed and engaged when needed.

Set reminder

In addition to push notifications, it is also important to remind users of the activity they have to perform or which is pending on their end.

Conversation window-like UI

When finalizing the UI design of your Cleo AI personal finance assistant, the most important thing that you will have to note is that it has to be made like a chat-based application compared to one that gives advice and insights to the users.

Now that you have a clear idea of the various features that come together to create a Cleo-like AI-based app, let us share a few facts on why investing in a FinTech app market now is one of the best decisions you can make for your business.

Understanding Why Investing in the US Finance App Market is Valuable Business Idea

According to Statista, the in-app purchase (IAP) revenue in the FinTech market is expected to reach $301.70 million in 2022. In addition to this, the total revenue for the FinTech apps is expected to witness a CAGR of 8.20% from 2022 to 2026. The total downloads in the FinTech app segment is further expected to reach 2,656.2 million in 2022.

US Finance App Market Stats

When we look at the Fintech industry trends as a whole, we can find that the subset of budgeting apps is still very small. While presently not in abundance, the market players of the digital finance system are bound to grow by leaps and bounds. As the AI budgeting app market is preparing for its mass popularity, Cleo AI is already sitting on top of the digital budgeting sector. So, now in the last segment of our article, how is the AI-based Cleo money management app making money.

How Does Cleo App Make Money?

One of the most common follow-up questions about how to create apps with artificial intelligence is how to make money with them, especially when the invested cost is already very high.

Cleo app makes money mainly from Cleo Plus – its advanced version.

For $5.99 a month, they give users a number of features like Cleo Cover, Daily Cash, and Interest Checking account.

While the monetization model is indeed best suited to build fintech apps, there are other approaches as well that you can follow, as mentioned below:


This is the most common monetization option for apps. Ads can be displayed in the form of banner ads, interstitial ads, or video ads. You can run relevant ads on the app and charge advertisers on a CPC or CPM basis.

In-app purchases

This is another common option, particularly for budgeting and investment apps. You can offer users premium features that they can purchase within the app. This can be done on a one-time basis or as a subscription.

Transaction fees

If your fintech app handles payments, you can charge a small transaction fee on each transaction. This is a common practice and helps to generate revenue while also keeping the app free for users.

Subscription services

You can also offer a subscription-based service, which gives users access to premium features and content. This is a good option if you have an app with regularly updated content.

Now that you know about the monetization model for fintech apps, you can start planning your app development process, which will require a development team and tech stack.

Development team is a team of skilled professionals who are experts in AI, machine learning, and related programming languages. You will also need a project manager to keep the development process on track and within a budget.

Moreover, hiring a development company that specializes in AI can help you get your app developed quickly and efficiently. Such companies have the right resources and expertise to get the job done right.

When looking for an AI development company, be sure to check their portfolio and read reviews from past clients. This will give you an idea of their capability and whether they are a good fit for your project. For instance, Appinventiv recently helped a leading bank in Europe develop an AI-based software which led to 35% reduction in manual processes and 20% increase in customer retention rate.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help finding the right AI development company for your project. We would be happy to assist you.


Q. How much does it cost to make a budgeting app?

A. Making a budgeting app like Cleo can cost you around $30,000 to $300,000. The price of the app is further affected by various factors like its wireframe, the tech stack implemented, the feature list, its design, location and hourly rate of developers, etc.

Q. How to develop an AI-based FinTech app?

A. Here are the various steps you can follow as a business owner to create a robust AI FinTech app:

  1. Decide on your app niche and get legal compliance
  2. Choose your monetization strategy
  3. Design an effective UI/UX design
  4. Develop the product MVP
  5. Choose your development approach
  6. Improve  your Fintech App with desired changes
  7. Launch and get customer feedback, and upgrade as per the requirements

Q. What are some of the best budgeting apps in the market?

A. Apart from Cleo, some of the best budgeting apps whose business model you can follow for your application include:

  1. Mint- used for every finance related issue
  2. YNAB- used for zero-based budgeting
  3. Goodbudget- used for envelope budgeting
  4. Personal Capital- used for tracking wealth
  5. PocketGuard- used for a seamless budgeting snapshot
  6. Honeydue- used to manage budgets with a partner
  7. Fudget- used for budgeting without syncing your bank account
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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