financial web apps

Financial Web Apps: The 4 Main Challenges of Functional Testing

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The world of financial service provision is evolving rapidly. As a matter of fact, the number of digital banking users in the US alone is predicted to exceed 160 million in 2019. Today, 63% of Americans use financial web apps to check their balance or carry out a transaction. This prominence of financial web apps can be used to offer a superior customer service. Moreover, they boost engagement and loyalty.

Developing a financial web app, however, comes with specific challenges that must be adequately addressed. Therefore, functional testing of financial web apps is integral to the delivery of a quality product. What’s more, the testing of a financial app should be conducted with the needs of the institution in mind, as well as the specifics of the domain.




Domain Knowledge Is Paramount

When it comes to banking, financial services, and investment management, there’s no room for error in the performance of an app. A single mistake could be costly to the user. Moreover, it could ruin the reputation of the financial institution.

A lack of understanding of financial specifics by the testing organization could contribute to the omission of key details. Additionally, inexperienced testers might even introduce errors that could render the app useless.

That’s why both developers and testing engineers who are working on a financial app project must be familiar with financial processes. Additionally, they must understand financial procedures and calculations. That’s because both domain knowledge and testing expertise will play roles in the process.


Ensure Regulatory Compliance of Financial Web Apps

The financial services sector operates within a strict regulatory framework. These regulations affect every single interaction they have with their customers. Moreover, the development of financial web apps is not exempt. Additionally, the requirements often go beyond the boundaries of a country. They could affect the storage of data, the introduction of security measures, backups, and data integrity. Web app development will have to comply with this regulatory framework.

Banking portals and financial service apps are often the primary target of cyber attacks. This is yet another reason why compromise with regard to security measures is not an option.


Apps Must Comply with International Regulations as Well

Moreover, financial web apps, like the institutions they support, must comply with international security standards such as Basel III and BCBS 239.

And these aren’t the only regulations that developers and testers have to take into account. SEPA (a cross-border payment regulation) and AML (aimed at countering tax evasion) also play a role. Testing engineers must have extensive knowledge of these regulations. Only in this way will they be able to ensure complete compliance and problem-free functioning of the app in the long run.

In other words, depending on the target audience and its location, financial web apps have to meet the requirements of multiple regulatory agencies in different countries or territories. A failure to comply will result in both civil and financial (occasionally even criminal) penalties for the entire organization or the individuals responsible for the omission and its consequences.


Cover All Possible Scenarios

As already mentioned, financial apps have to be impeccable. This is due to the fact that they deal with sensitive data and customers’ money. In the event of an omission, the losses can be colossal both for the user as well as for the financial institution.

Therefore, functional testing will have to take into account all possible business scenarios. It will need to cover some of the basics. For example, testing will need to consider the quality of the user interface. It will need to look into input, storage, and output.

Testing engineers will also need to scrutinize basic software functionalities. At the same time, testers should focus on computational accuracy. Additionally, they will need to analyze scenarios that put great stress on the app. Moreover, they will need to take into account risky or time-sensitive transactions, and more.


Testers Must Envision All Possible Scenarios and Their Outcomes

What’s more, a single business scenario can lead to multiple positive and negative test cases. The QA professional who is testing the application should leave no possibility uncovered. This is the main reason why knowledge of the financial domain is so important. A professional who isn’t familiar with the specifics of the industry will be incapable of running a thorough functional test. They must be able to cover all possibilities and their outcomes.

Things can become even more complex when a financial web application is designed for integration with other types of software. Trading accounts, bill pay utility systems, and other solutions will often be compatible with financial web apps. In such instances, QA professionals will have to ensure large-scale integration and the ability of the app to support thousands of sessions occurring at the same time.


Beware the Ripple Effect

The testing process is not over once a bug is detected and a fix is proposed by the software development team. Upon the identification of a functional issue, the software team will have to come up with a fix for the respective bug. The solution, however, could have an unexpected effect on the system. A fix for one problem could contribute to another functional problem. This phenomenon is known as the ripple effect.


Then Comes Regression Testing

That’s why regression testing has to occur after the initial functional test and bug fix. The term refers to making sure that the software framework still functions normally after engineers have changed the code.

Regression testing could be the most time-consuming aspect of the development of financial web apps. Financial applications tend to be pretty complex. There are multiple components that exchange data and information. The tech team will face difficulties identifying a single affected area in the aftermath of a bug fix. This is especially the case if they don’t have sufficient knowledge of the background processes that are running simultaneously.

Functional testing is thus a multi-stage process. Moreover, it may necessitate numerous revisions. Good QA professionals should be aware of the modified parts of the application and the components these interact with. This way, they might be able to identify a potential bug in another element in the aftermath of an initial fix.


On a Final Note

Financial software testing necessitates the preliminary development of a comprehensive strategy. In addition, the testing organization must utilize the right testing tools and the proper infrastructure in order to yield the best possible outcome. Moreover, functional testing is a continuous process that involves multiple phases. Since financial web apps tend to be pretty complex, testing and revisions may have to occur over a longer period of time. Only in this way can testing engineers ensure flawless function and impeccable computation.