September 16, 2020 Jonny Steiner

The Challenges and Solutions of Testing your Financial Mobile App

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I live outside of the USA and have bank accounts in several countries. For the longest time, I wondered why my financial mobile app at home did not have a way to deposit checks. My US banking app did, so it seemed like a basic feature. Then one day, after an update the check deposit feature appeared. Good times.

Banking and financial apps provide varied functionality. One example was given above, and there is so much more like checking balance and investments or transferring money. Within these apps, there are millions of transactions taking place daily. There needs to be enough coverage to handle all of them. Beyond that, the application needs to keep a database and history of every transaction for every user. This adds up to millions of interactions every year. In order to develop that sort of an environment and app, you will need great financial app testing.

Creating the Financial mobile app team

When testing a financial or banking app assembling the testing team is of critical importance. This will likely be a cross-functional testing team which you can read more about here. The reasons for needing team members across different departments are not immediately apparent but make a lot of sense.

Developers and Testers don’t know banking or finance – Your usual testing team members are not trained in Finance. It is possible that they may leave out some of the details in development and testing. In the banking and finance industry, there is n0 room for error and even the slightest change in an app could lead to losses.

That is why these teams need people with real and current financial knowledge. This goes deep into the process and procedure level. Having these people on your testing team will ensure that they do maximum to test each app. “With your powers combined” Captain Planet would say. This combination will lead to a balance that will ensure that every aspect of the financial app will be tested and tested well.

This is also true because…..

Financial experts don’t know software testing – Digital transformation is changing the traditional industries of banking and finance. To meet digital needs technology trends need to be followed as well. With help from developers and testers your finance experts will better understand your app’s potential and help minimize functional issues and errors.

The good news is that it does not matter which department a financial expert comes from. The important factor is that they are able to use the app proficiently. It costs a lot to develop and test a financial app so the right people and the right processes will go a long way to boosting app and organizational performance.

Benefits of getting your team right

We can see how important it is to combine the right mix of people with different skills for your financial banking app testing. Letting people with technical and financial experience will lead to some amazing benefits.

  • Quality Cost Reduction – The chances of getting it right the first time will go up and reduce your QA costs.
  • Eliminate Redundancies – Performance efficiency will be enhanced by minimal operation and process recurrence.
  • Unity – Your app is easily and effectively integrated into any third-party apps that your organization uses.
  • User Friendly – With Financial and QA specialists combined your end-user experience will be improved. Users will easily orient themselves on your app as a result.
  • Meeting Potential – With an improved UI and a better UX your users will understand your app, use it to its fullest potential and stay happy.

Once your team is in place and the benefits have been communicated it is time to get down to the task of testing which has a unique and diverse set of challenges.

Challenges of testing a banking app.

So let’s take a look at some of the largest challenges that financial enterprises face when testing their apps prior to release.

  • Omni Channel Banking – Consumers have grown to depend on the ability to be able to carry out their banking needs at any moment and from anywhere. It has even led to the development of digital-only banks that do not have branches. The challenge is in offering great functionality on the level of a brick and mortar branch coming from a mobile app.
  • Security Testing – An obvious concern for any banking or financial institution. Security concerns stem from monetary transactions since these apps aim is to make transactions simpler. There are also compliance issues with the large number of international security standards that have arisen since 2008. Additionally, it is important that not only are the apps themselves secure, but the testing environment needs to be as well. This leaves QA in the delicate position of considering both positive and negative security tests for each baking app.
  • Correct Customer Data – Millions of transactions are happening each year, so maintaining correct data and records is essential. Testers need to consider each transaction scenario from internal history to parallel transactions from other platforms. Part of this includes the ability to update transaction information in real-time so that users can see their account balance, for example, go up and down with each transaction. If these are not cataloged correctly it will lead to organizational and customer losses.
  • Performance Testing – With the number of users each banking app has, performance testing is needed to be sure that the app functions properly under different load conditions. Poor connectivity and multi-tier functionality support without downtime are two examples of performance issues that arise. Infrastructure, connectivity, and backend integration must be taken into account. Testers also should monitor transaction spikes as well as test Stress and Load regularly. Failures on that level will lead to loss of customers and revenue.
  • Device and OS fragmentation – With the number of manufacturers, devices, and OS versions at an all-time high, attention has to be paid to ensuring that the best user experience is available to any user no matter what combination of device/OS they are using. As devices become more sophisticated developers working on banking apps need to constantly upgrade their UX with more dynamic features.
  • Current market trends – Banking consumer requirements change, so do market trends. Your financial mobile app needs to keep up. As a result, and you must consistently update your app features and usability. That leads to a need for more and better in-depth testing.

Banking Application Trends

The challenges and need to have secure financial mobile apps tested in secure environments are one aspect. The other as we alluded to above are some of the trends that are moving the industry. Here are a couple of the most relevant ones.

Banking and E-commerce integrations – With E-commerce and baking apps integrating with one another it is essential that going forward these transactions are monitored and tracked in real-time.

Live Support – Banks and financial institutions are starting to provide live support for various informational requests. This type of assistance is even becoming available on banking and finance apps so that they can offer advice on investments, interest rates, and loan offers. Most importantly this is functionality that must be tested in order to be sure that customers do not have bugs when using it.

Financial mobile app testing Best Practices

With all of these benefits and challenges, there are several best practices that will help you test your banking and financial mobile app.

In short:

  • Your end-to-end testing methodology needs to be clear and well defined.
  • Overall testing must encompass every requirement in the workflow.
  • Performance security and functionality need priority in testing.
  • UX, UI, and Data testing is no less important.

Implementing these practices requires a substantial investment in effort and ultimately expense. With the right partners in place for your testing efforts, you will be able to save money and time, while making sure that your financial institution and customers stay protected.

Digital.ai App Protection

We covered the topic of boosting your mobile banking app testing before and it is still a relevant article. You should definitely check out the article for tips about:

  • Improving QA Environment availability
  • Combining API in your UI functionality tests
  • Testing in the cloud

With the addition of Experitest to the Digital.AI family of products, we have been able to connect with Digital.ai’s application protection. Formerly known as ARXAN their app protection capabilities will shield your banking apps from any type of attack that might put your business and customers at risk. These include reverse engineering, tampering, API exploits, and more.

Digital.ai’s app protection works on the code level to:

  • Obscure source code, while inserting deceptive code patterns like honeypots, to deter and confuse attackers.
  • Trigger automated defenses when detecting suspicious activity. This includes shutting down the app and self-repairing code.
  • Insert app code threat detectors and protections, into the CI/CD cycle after development and before testing without disrupting the DevOps process.

SeeTest and App protection

That third bullet point above is perhaps the most relevant to our testing process. Our goal is to enable cross-device application testing before and after injection of the App Security (Arxan) security controls to ensure performance and functionality remain intact without any deterioration.

Once you have injected your security controls you can then test your mobile financial app against the devices in our Digital.ai mobile device labs (US, Canada, UK, Germany, Middle East, Singapore, Australia, and Japan). These environments are all SOC2 and ISO27001 certified.

What we offer financial and banking institutions is the ability to not only better secure their apps but also to test them in a fully secured environment. For more about that, click here. Otherwise, stay tuned for more details and a demo of how you can test your financial mobile app while keeping it more secure than ever.

Jonny SteinerContent Manager

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