How to test Banking Domain Applications
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - September 16, 2021
As with every industry, customers in the banking domain expect to have digital tools to execute transactions and access services offered by banks and financial institutions. Everything from transferring money, trading stocks, checking account balances can be done via apps and websites.
Banking apps are a constant companion for most people with a bank account. However, since banking domain apps handle the most sensitive human data (financial information), test scenarios for banking applications need to be designed with excess precision. Nothing can be left to chance, and insufficient test coverage can lead to data breaches, loss of funds, and other felonies. Needless to say, banks cannot afford to take the slightest risk of that happening.
This article will outline the salient aspects of banking domain testing – a solid starting point for QAs on banking domain testing projects.
Not testing banking apps will damage your business
- In the first half of 2020, the number of user sessions in finance apps rose by 49%.
- In the corresponding period, cyberattacks targeting financial institutions increased 118%.
- A report by the Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center in 2020 revealed that, out of 107 banking apps, 88% were affected by some vulnerability. On average, each banking app was riddled with 55 weaknesses.
Data breaches and other vulnerabilities rake up enormous losses for financial and banking apps. In 2021, financial industries encountered $5.72 million in losses (average), thanks to data breaches.
Insufficient testing of banking domain applications will not just inconvenience users with sub-par functions and features. They can also directly damage your business and reputation by allowing malicious parties to acquire customer data, or in the worst-case scenario, access customer funds.
To prevent such disasters, banking apps must be extensively, meticulously, and painstakingly tested on real mobile devices rather than just emulators/simulators.
Major features of banking applications to test
- Authentication gateways: Given that banking apps deal almost entirely with sensitive data (personal identifiers, credit, and debit card numbers, income details, etc.), they need to protect user access at all costs. Fortifying secure user access is legally binding under the GDPR and Payment Service Directive 2.
Generally, adequately secure authentication requires the following
- Login credentials or a PIN
- Physical features (fingerprint, sometimes retinal scans)
- Security questions/phases/images to be validated (CAPTCHA, for example)
Also Read: How to handle Captcha in Automation Testing
- Account management: The account management feature tracks, catalogs, and displays all relevant information to users – account balance, money transfer services, etc. It also lets them get necessary tasks done quickly and with zero errors.
Again, since all the information revolves around actual money, mistakes are intolerable in these databases. Every user should have a separate database ID for themselves. They should be able to see real-time data. Anytime a transaction fails, money should bounce back to the originating account as quickly as possible. Inactive accounts must be disabled after a certain period. In fact, the app itself should automatically log out if it has been inactive for a particular duration.
- Payment support: Banking apps must support payment options outside the usual bank-to-bank transaction. This could be QA-based payment support, integrations with other apps (delivery apps, e-Commerce apps, food apps, booking services), and the like.
- Customer support: Customers should be able to access assistance anytime they want. Most banks assign some kind of relationship manager for customers to call when they need help, but hiring workers to be available 24/7 would be expensive and a managerial nightmare.
Of course, a human presence is always mandatory. But intelligent chatbots have proved to be a favorable alternative. Bots don’t get tired, are active around the clock, and don’t make human errors. Of course, this is considered that the bot has been intelligently designed to handle a large number of common customer questions, complaints, and requirements
Bear in mind that, depending on the app and bank behind it, other features may be added on. However, these features are fundamental – no banking domain app can do without them. Thereby, any QA Requirements Documentation will have to structure tests around each of these features for comprehensive test coverage.
How to test banking domain application: A Quick Checklist
Modern banking apps must offer stability, security, and one-click access at all times. Devs and QA teams must run various tests before allowing the app to hit the production environment.
It’s easier to proceed with a framework in mind, even a rough one. Therefore, study the checklist below, and use it as a skeleton to build the QA strategy required by the application under test.
- Identify and enumerate requirements: Strictly document all requirements. Everything expected of the app should be recorded in detail. Clarity is required to design comprehensive test cases for banking applications. For ease and efficiency, catalog requirements by feature – money transfer, payment, investment, etc.
- Review requirements: Once the requirements documents are collated, they need to be reviewed in the presence of all stakeholders – business and technical. For the app to succeed, it must operate seamlessly while giving customers and users everything (or most things) they want.
- Build test cases: With requirements in hand, QAs can start crafting test cases for banking applications. Since test suites need to be extensive, automation testing is integral to the process.
QA managers or team leaders need to mark test cases for automation and create custom scripts accordingly. Certain features must be tested manually (or will require close manual supervision), in which case, an adequately skilled team must be assembled.
- Functional Tests: To start with, run tests to ensure that the primary user workflows are free of bugs and errors.
Users should be able to accomplish all relevant actions with minimal effort. For example, they shouldn’t have to click more than twice or thrice to transfer money or get their financial statement successfully. The app should be intuitive, easy to navigate, and self-explanatory.
Read More: Functional Testing: A Detailed Guide
- Database Testing: The app’s user database must be flawlessly accurate. User data must be correct and regularly updated, and the mechanisms in place to support these activities must be tested for robust, scrupulous operation.
Standard modules to test here would be data types, predetermined functions, data speed (loading and storage), schematic organization, etc.
- Cross browser and device testing: Any banking app will be accessed via thousands of mobile devices and operating systems. To ensure that all features of the app (especially usability and security) work as expected on these numerous device-OS combinations, they must be tested on real devices and operating systems.
One can’t expect to release a banking app without fortifying its defenses against malicious online elements. To check that it actually does protect user data and let customers execute necessary action, they must be tested comprehensively on a real device cloud of real mobile devices, installed with different mobile operating systems – iOS, Android, Windows, and more.
- Security Testing: When creating test scenarios for banking applications, prioritize this step over all else. As mentioned before, banking apps deal with the most sensitive user data, which must be meticulously guarded against breaches, hacks, and other malicious activities.
As part of security testing, pay particular attention to compliance with regulations such as OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) or whichever standards apply to the app’s geographical coverage.
A few standard features to be verified in this regard:
- Are authentication mechanisms working – User ID, Password, CAPTCHA, etc.?
- Do multiple invalid logins shut down app access for a while?
- Do the ‘Forgot User ID’ and ‘Forgot Password features have solid validation facilities to assist with credential recovery?
- Is the Back function disabled?
- Are the password creation rules storing enough?
- Is the app based on the secure HTTPS protocol?
- Are all user credentials encrypted?
- Are input validations in place, server-side?
- Is sensitive data displayed without encryption, client-side?
- Does the app shut down after a certain period of inactivity?
- Is the app verified for XML, HTTP header and parameter, XPATH, SQL, etc.?
- Usability Testing: Is the app easy to use? All the security and cutting-edge features in the world will mean nothing if users can’t navigate the app with fluidity. Focus groups must test prototypes of the app to verify user acceptance standards.
Sample test case for mobile banking applications
Test Case for creation of new customer account
- Create a new account with data. Use invalid data to check that it is rejecting the action in this event.
- Check that all authentication requirements are activated.
- Verify that the new data is saved and that it can be updated as required.
- Verify that everyday user actions are working as expected – depositing money, withdrawing money, and that account balance is reflected accordingly.
- Verify that the account provides services aligning with its nature – saving, current, salary, joint, etc.
- Verify that users can maintain zero balance (if it is a salary account) or the minimum balance (if it is not) in the account.
- Verify that users can get relevant notifications – credit/debit of exact amounts, alerts about low balance, warnings about upcoming deductions, etc.
- Verify that the user can safely log out.
When deciding how to write test cases for a banking application, care must be taken to run these tests on real devices (as well as real browsers in the case of websites). This is necessary for any app, but much more so for banking apps.
With thousands of device-OS combinations being used to access an app, security, stability, and operability will vary unless the app has been run on each combination. With sensitive information at stake, banks cannot afford to let their apps be breached and hacked on a device due to a lack of testing on said device. This could open them up to not just customer complaints but legal action.
Without access to an in-house device lab, banks and financial institutions can utilize cloud-based testing platforms with real devices on offer. BrowserStack’s real device cloud, for example, hosts 3000+ real browsers and devices. Thousands of mobile devices (latest and legacy, belonging to major manufacturers and installed with multiple operating systems) can be used to test apps instantly, from anywhere in the world.
QAs can test their app’s UI and functionality on OS versions ranging from Android 4.4 to 11 & iOS 8 to 14 – all installed on real mobile devices. Our cloud is consistently updated with new and latest devices, which means QA teams can keep up with their users’ choices. They can execute manual app testing on BrowserStack App Live or automated app testing via Appium on BrowserStack App Automate.
Users simply have to sign up for free, choose App Live or App Automate, select the device-OS combination they require, and start testing. They can accelerate timelines by running tests concurrently across thousands of devices. App debugging is made easy using multiple tools such as text logs, video recordings, screenshots of the test run. QAs can also test apps on internal development and staging environments or behind firewalls, with zero setup or configuration.
With data privacy becoming a key concern for digital systems worldwide, banking domain applications must be tested with precision, thoroughness, and real device support. This article provides a reliable starting point for the process, which QAs can modify, adjust and align with their specific requirements as the project advances.