The financial services industry is quickly moving toward an all-digital future with the rise of mobile banking and data connectivity. In 2021, fintech startups raised more than $120 billion. Companies like Stripe and Plaid have made it easier for developers to tap into banking data to deliver unique customer experiences.
Let's look at some of the most common testing requirements and challenges in financial services and how you can develop an effective testing strategy for your organization.
Fintech companies are pushing the envelope of what's possible, making tests essential to ensure a robust customer experience.
6 Fintech Testing Challenges
Fintech companies face more complex testing and quality assurance requirements than other industries. The most apparent challenges relate to strict regulatory compliance and security requirements. But more accessible banking APIs have also led to growing competition, meaning financial services companies must deliver stellar customer experiences to succeed.
Some of the industry's biggest challenges include:
- Scaling Transactions – Many fintech businesses handle massive amounts of transactional data, making load tests essential to ensure capacity and an acceptable throughput. For example, you might need to test various filters (e.g., date, type, merchant, etc.) to ensure that they return the correct results.
- Third-Party API Integrations – Most fintech businesses are built on third-party APIs. As a result, it's critical to functionally test internal APIs and ensure proper error handling for external ones. For example, you may need to mock APIs to run test suites efficiently while ensuring that the mock data is realistic.
- Website & App Experiences – Many fintech businesses rely on an exceptional customer experience to compete. Therefore, UI and UX tests are essential to ensure quality and consistency. For instance, you may want to run end-to-end tests going through critical workflows to ensure no errors exist.
- Internal & End-User Security – Fintech companies are a natural target for hackers, making security testing critical to avoid catastrophic data breaches or hacks. For instance, you may need to test biometric security measures or tests to ensure you give the proper permissions to the proper user types.
- Regulations & Compliance – Fintech companies face varying levels of regulation, ranging from open banking to data privacy. And meeting these requirements requires robust testing efforts. For example, you may need to load test open banking APIs to ensure they can handle expected volumes and traffic spikes.
- Accessibility – Fintech companies serve a diverse audience, making accessibility critical to the customer experience. As a result, testing efforts should always ensure accessibility and compliance. For instance, you may need to test to ensure UI elements function correctly with screen readers.
Most fintech companies use a combination of testing and monitoring to deliver a great customer experience. For example, they might use test-driven development (TDD) workflows along with an application performance monitoring and stability monitoring solution. That way, they can minimize bugs and quickly catch any that make it into production.
Developing a UX Testing Strategy
Most unit testing efforts are pretty straightforward. With test-driven development, developers write unit tests before code, which run before each commit or deployment. But end-to-end tests can be more challenging because testing tools are more brittle, and you may need to test across thousands of devices, operating systems, and browsers.
The most common way to run end-to-end tests involves using Selenium (for browsers) or simulators (for mobile apps). For example, Xcode lets developers write UI tests using the XCTestCase and execute them in the iOS Simulator to identify problems. Some organizations also run tests in Appium on in-house or cloud-based device farms.
Ideally, fintech organizations will run unit tests with each commit and end-to-end tests before each deployment (since they're longer running test suites). By automating end-to-end tests, you can minimize the number of regressions that reach users while reducing the time needed to run manual or ad-hoc tests.
The problem is that many end-to-end tests are brittle. And if they're constantly failing, it’s easy for development teams to feel overwhelmed and just let them slide. In addition, maintaining in-house device farms can be extremely costly due to the frequency of new smartphone releases and the time it takes to keep devices updated, charged, and working.
How BitBar and VisualTest Can Help
SmartBear provides various testing solutions that can help overcome these problems and create more robust end-to-end test suites.
BitBar is the easiest way to execute web or mobile app test suites across thousands of real devices in the cloud. With support for Selenium, Appium, and any native mobile test automation framework in all languages, you can run tests in parallel to dramatically shorten test execution time and increase device coverage.
BitBar’s device cloud offers hundreds of different devices and thousands of different configurations.
You can even integrate with TestComplete to provide less technical users with the ability to develop and automate tests. The easy-to-use code or codeless test automation tool makes it easy to build tests with a recorder or script editor. Then, you can scale those tests across browsers and devices in the BitBar cloud to maximize coverage.
VisualTest takes quality assurance a step further by automatically detecting errors in the user interface. Rather than relying on manual QA processes, the AI platform automatically alerts you when a UI changes after a code commit or deployment. Then, you can quickly compare the change with previous versions and determine if it's a problem.
In Q1 2023, BitBar and VisualTest will also include biometrics and image injection capabilities, helping test critical security features for fintech apps.
The Bottom Line
The fintech industry is quickly evolving toward a digital future, introducing new testing challenges for financial services firms. While unit tests are relatively straightforward, integration and UI tests can be much more difficult. Fortunately, tools like BitBar and VisualTest make it easier than ever to ensure your app works across all browsers and devices.
If you're interested in SmartBear's testing tools, start your free BitBar trial and sign up for the VisualTest beta today!