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Five Rules of Cost-Effective QA and Testing of FinTech Apps

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Ed Ossawa
Senior Contributor

PM on FinTech projects.

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The Global FinTech Adoption Index 2019 by Ernst & Young identifies the following Top 5 FinTech categories by adoption rate (as compared to 2015):

  1. Money transfer and payments (75%, up 57% from 2015);
  2. Savings and investments (48%, up 31% );
  3. Budgeting and financial planning (34%, up 26%);
  4. Insurance (29%, up 21%), and
  5. Lending (27%, up 21%).

You don’t actually need to be a finance and banking organization to jump fast on the FinTech bandwagon and offer respective solutions. Sixty-eight percent of consumers are willing to consider using a financial product built and offered by a non-FinTech company. These are top 7 in-demand categories expected from non-financial services companies:

  1. eWallets (52%);
  2. Digital-only banking (51%);
  3. Insurance-linked IoT products (43%);
  4. Online budgeting and finance planning apps (40%);
  5. Peer-to-peer or short-term loans as investments (37%);
  6. Online investment advise and management tools (37%), and
  7. Peer-to-peer or short-term borrowing (36%).

That being said, FinTech is here to stay for a while and if your brand fails to offer own solution based on the financial technology and make user experience as seamless as possible, the chance is high you’ll never get your piece of the pie.

Building FinTech or InsurTech solutions implies that high-level security be embedded in the product architecture and tested properly to make sure you won’t end up paying through the nose in user compensation for their sensitive data breach, like in recent case with Fiserv.

A major provider of banking software, Fiserv was sued earlier this year by a Pennsylvania credit union “over alleged “baffling security lapses,” significant bugs and rampant billing errors,” according to Axios. Its undertested software posed severe risks for more than 12,000 clients as a result of data leakage and inadequate transactions processing due to bugs and errors.

Besides lawsuit, Fiserv got a C rating from from Security Scorecard, which checks for common website security software flaws.

QA checklist for FinTech product testing helps minimize the impact of the human factor on your development process, reduce expenses and time to market your finance and banking products, and increase their safety and quality. If questions like “how to effectively implement FinTech solutions testing?” and “how to lower FinTech testing expenses?” are some of your most burning ones, you’ll enjoy some hacks from 8allocate.

1. Involve testers with strong technical expertise

Things to do:

  • Either increase technical competence within your in-house QA team or find a reliable 3rd party vendor to outsource your FinTech QA function.

Poor technical proficiency leads to insufficient testing due to a lack of understanding of how the task is implemented and how it interacts with other product functions. In case of poor/insufficient FinTech testing expertise, your team can only detect superficial errors, while a myriad of user cases remains uncovered and ignored.

For example, without knowing how cookies are arranged, your testers can overlook the errors connected with safety or miss cases with expired cookie files. Each ignored or omitted bug leads to severe consequences, including post-release overheads and significant reputational losses.

Although finding senior and mid-level QA specialists and testers with FinTech proficiency locally can be rocket science and a real challenge, QA staff augmnentation is a way to go, as it allows for fractional talent scaling at peak project times and significant cost arbitrage as a result of leveraging less expensive QA talent offshore.

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  • Increase and improve testers’ involvement in FinTech product development.

If the tester is not interested in your product success, or does not understand the final goal, they won’t likely help you with unconventional problem solving and will just search for bugs instead of thinking about how to improve your product and take it to the next maturoty level. As a result of the low involvement of QA specialists in the process of development, you deliver a solution that either doesn’t meet real user expectations or is too cumbersome and not user-friendly.

What’s in it for you:

Increase in all qualitative indicators of testing, a significant reduction in bugs and errors, decrease of software dev budget, and ongoing product improvement, which eventually results in better sales, user loyalty, and guaranteed business continuity.]

2. Train and educate your in-house or offshore QA team to understand FinTech from inside out and gain tribal knowledge

Things to do:

Without having an in-depth understanding of the FinTech landscape, its trends, challenges, and limitations, your tester will be just a task-taker and will only check the most prominent features. However, the ability to have a copter view of the problem and make proactive decisions about how to avoid or eliminate it in the future is what differentiates a seasoned FinTech tester from just a tester.

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Let’s say your solution implies that all new investment accounts be suspended until they pass AML and KYC verification. Yet, the “withdraw money” button is active in the dashboard of an unverified user. Just a tester will most likely overlook this bug, while a seasoned tester with tribal knowledge in FinTech will mostly likely detect it and send it back to the developer for fixing. The failure to detect such an error promptly may cause severe consequences, including financial losses.

What’s in it for you:

Increase in the speed and quality of testing. Understanding how business processes are organized in FinTech as well as the industry terminology, the tester does not waste time on finding out “what it is” and “how it works”, and quickly finds interconnections between the modules. Besides, it is possible to check more specific cases and notice such discrepancies as in the example above.

3. Do not skimp on tester equipment and tools

Things to do:

  • Make sure you hire enough QA specialists or have a staff augmentation partner to turbocharge your in-house/onshore team with ad-hoc testing resources at peak project times.

If you have one tester per fifteen developers, don’t wait for a miracle. One person can cope with such a flow of tasks only by very shallow testing, which deems highly ineffective.

The optimal ratio you should be aiming for is one tester per three or four developers, but at the end, it all depends on the complexity of the project, the level of developers’ qualification and the testing approaches used.

  • Invest in building a pool of testing devices and tools, as testing on emulators is only appropriate up to a certain point.

In real life, thousands of users from various devices will work with the product, and the peculiarities of these devices should be taken into account. Your FinTech app will perform differently on the iPhone 11, Samsung S10 with its front camera neckline, or Samsung with an Exynos processor and a Qualcomm processor. Plus, you need to check the case studies for interaction with other applications, such as if your smartphone is called when the application is open or if the alarm clock goes off. You need to identify target devices and test real-world user scenarios on real, physical devices to ensure compatibility and seamless UX.

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What’s in it for you:

Your testing speed and quality improve significantly. Security and user data safety should be at the forefront of any FinTech solution, so trying to save money on tester devices doesn’t make sense, as the penalties for failed security will far exceed the profits.

4. Do not separate testing processes from FinTech development

Things to do:

Make sure to integrate testers with your FinTech development team as early as possible, preferably at the project planning stage, as these bugs will be the cheapest for you to fix.

Also, testers will be able to make valuable suggestions at the planning stage, rather than waiting for the testing stage to be involved. And if a proposal is worthwhile and taken on board, there is no need to redo the whole task. If testers do not interact with the developers and do not understand how the task is “done”, it’ll take them way longer to complete and deliver a job.

For example, a developer may suggest that a connected API has a limit of five requests per minute, and if an error occurs for the sixth time, it is not a bug. If this is not explained in advance, the task may remain on the list of requests returned for improvement after testing for a few days before the developer substantiates the error.

What’s in iot for you:

Testers are involved in iterative development from start to finish, and they promptly monitor changes and project requirements, detect vulnerabilities and errors, and help prevent/eliminate them proactively. The earlier you fix your bugs, the lower your overall cost of FinTech software development.

5. Implement testing standards and monitor compliance

Things to do:

  • Always test new functionality alongside development and move away from the following scenarios: 1) the whole product is first released and then tested, and 2) many unstable, untested tasks are filled simultaneously in the test environment, which complicates bug localization.
  • Automate your testing as much as possible.

If you don’t have enough automated test specialists on your FinTech team, you have a bottleneck which will slow down all the processes.

  • Put in place and systematize the documentation.

If your functional and non-functional requirements specification is unclear, messy or poorly structured, it will create serious problems when it comes to onboarding each new FinTech team member down the road. So, make sure you develop a clean-code-driven solution and document each test case and process from the very beginning.

Ideally, your project documentation should be as comprehensive as possible and include information about artifacts, functional features, product scaling opportu, APIs and all 3rd party integrations (e.g., billing functionality and payment gateways), user stories, etc.

What’s in it for you:

You can significantly reduce time to fix bugs and errors and increase the scope of functional and non-functional features which are to be tested within a single sprint, while ultimately accelerating the product’s introduction to the market.

While these 5 recommendations don’t guarantee you’ll build and deliver a 100% bug-free FinTech solution, they can show you the direction of where to funnel your testing efforts to detect critical bugs early in development and avoid overheads related to later-stage bug fixing.

Best of luck with your FinTech product development and testing!

Do you need help building a dedicated/extended Team or getting ad-hoc resources for your software development project fast and cost-effectively?