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What Are The Critical Considerations While Testing Financial Applications?

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By Author: Oliver Moore
Total Articles: 57
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One of the reasons why digital transactions using mobile devices have become such a rage is their convenience in handling financial payments. Whether it is the paying of utility bills, doing online shopping, booking movie or airline tickets, or paying for the tickets in a concert, app-driven financial transactions are here to stay. At the core of such services are the financial applications, which manage processes having an interface with money. These applications store, manage, process, or analyze financial data and information.
Since so much is underpinned on the successful functioning of these applications, financial application testing becomes critical. And with cybercrime rearing its ugly head every now and then, the stakes are really high. If statistics are to be believed then around 4.1 billion data breaches were reported in 2019 and 71% of them were motivated by financial gains (Source: Varonis). No wonder the global spending on cybersecurity is expected to touch a humongous $133.7 billion by 2022 (Source: Gartner.)
So, with financial applications becoming complex and multi-layered, cybercriminals too have upped their ante. They are using new methodologies and technologies to hack into such systems and steal sensitive data. It appears they are one step ahead of the law enforcers unless, of course, testing financial applications is made an integral part of the development of such software. A multi-tier financial application allows concurrent user sessions to a large number of users. Further, it is integrated with various APIs of third-party applications, regulatory websites, trading accounts, and payment gateways, among others. Since so many integrations generate complex workflows and value chains, they are needed to be tested rigorously. So, when it comes to testing financial applications, factors like performance and security are critical. As a greater number of customers are using financial applications for making transactions on the go, Fintech companies are looking to set up secure platforms to deliver superior customer experiences.
Factors to consider while testing financial apps
Financial services testing should follow an end-to-end methodology to test various aspects such as Business requirements and banking workflows, Functional testing, Security testing, Data accuracy and integrity, Concurrency, Performance testing, & User experience.
• Business involvement: The test specialists should collaborate with the business analysts and other stakeholders to understand the business requirements of the application. The collaboration or interaction could be with several subject matter experts within the organization as the application might have integrations with other domains. For example, a financial application may have integrations with segments such as bill payments, credit cards, loan payments/disbursal, trading, and transfers, among others. The business requirements and deliverables ought to be analyzed by specialists testing financial applications, development leads, and business analysts to obtain optimal testing results.
• Domain understanding: Given the various domain interfaces of a financial application, the test specialists should understand and possess adequate knowledge about them. The knowledge could be about the type and scope of testing - UI, security, load, stress, or functionality or aspects like brokerage, working procedures, or banking, among others. The testers by knowing the respective domains can write better test cases and simulate user actions to obtain better test results.
• Impact analysis: It is about analyzing how the changes made to the application can impact other aspects of the application. This calls for a calibrated regression testing involving automation. This way the team authorized to conduct BFSI testing can identify the affected areas of the application and get them fixed. Here, the application is tested selectively by reusing the already executed test cases.
• Functional testing: This type of banking application testing exercise requires access to all source codes and architecture to identify and fix glitches and vulnerabilities. The typical test activities comprise preparation and review of test cases and their execution. The testing includes application testing, integration testing, regression testing, and user acceptance testing.
• Security testing: Usually financial application security testing is conducted at the end of both functional and non-functional testing. However, with cybercrime raising its ugly head every now and then, security testing cannot be left or considered as ‘just another type of testing.’ In fact, according to DevSecOps, it should be the responsibility of every sinew, process, function, or department of an organization. So, apart from looking at the resident vulnerabilities and glitches, the testing should ensure the application adheres to the industry regulations related to security like PCI.
• Performance testing: As more people are using such applications, they need to be tested for load and stress thresholds. It will help make the application robust, scalable, and resilient thereby ensuring better load management.

As financial services are expanding into new territories and gaining new customers, the need to foster efficiency, security, and risk management become apparent. By embarking on a massive testing exercise, financial institutions can ensure the success of such applications and secure customers against any security breach.

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