There are few things people tend to be more protective of or invested in than their money.
And since the advent of smartphones, financial technology (otherwise known as “fintech”) has become ubiquitous thanks to this ever-present focus on finances: There are apps for banking, apps for investing, apps for mobile payments and real estate, too.
The Value of Financial Technology Applications
The designers and developers behind fintech apps know how important money (and the making and managing of it) is to the majority of people. So their apps work to make everyday financial services—and newer financial innovations like cryptocurrency and blockchain technology— more efficient and more reliable . . . overall, creating a better user experience across one of the largest consumer industries.
It seems to be working, because users are showing up in droves. A 2018 Bankrate study said that 63 percent of adult smartphone users have at least one financial app. And it’s not just millennials either: 59 percent of Gen Xers make the same claim. A 2016 Financial Wellness survey was quoted as saying: “Vast majority of Americans majority (84 percent) feel more in control of their financial situation when using these technologies.”
Clearly, there is value and demand for fintech apps—but, of course, with great power comes great responsibility. And those who are innovating in this world know better than most that fintech is more complex than your average app!
The Risks of Fintech App Development
Financial technology understandably utilizes and provides a lot of personal, sensitive, and valuable user information—bank account info, social security numbers, and more. A 2014 study from cybersecurity firm McAfee showed that hackers steal between $375 and $575 billion annually from mobile and web applications . . . and that was four years ago.
Software bugs aren’t just an inconvenience or annoyance in fintech apps—they’re unacceptable. Bugs potentially put users personal information (and finances) at risk, so fintech requires a more strategic testing strategy. For these reasons, there are four considerations that are especially important when developing fintech applications:
- Security: Maintain confidentiality of personal and financial information
- Reliability: Provide up-to-date data at users’ convenience
- Compliance: Ensure that application complies with financial regulations
- Accessibility: Confirm that the experience of using your app is equivalent for everyone
How to Strategically and Successfully Test Fintech
As with any application, fintech apps should be tested for functionality and usability—undoubtedly, users of all kinds are turning to these apps as a more efficient and effective way to access and manage their finances. If they can’t do that easily, your app won’t last long.
But beyond performing their basic functions well, fintech apps should be specifically tested to account for security, reliability, compliance, and accessibility, too. Here’s how:
Security testing tests your application in an attempt to identify any potential weaknesses in the security of your software. Penetration testing—using methods such as “fuzzing” to test how your system reacts to random data and prepares for an attack—is a form of security testing that thoroughly tests your app and your backend system to ensure that any sensitive sent and stored data is protected from attacks.
When it comes to testing financial technology applications, there is no such thing as “one and done”. You must consistently test your fintech application to ensure that it remains secure, reliable, compliant, and accessible. However you don’t have to do it manually every single time: Automate basic user workflows and scenarios for your app, as well as any repeatable sequences to catch any errant bugs.
The financial industry has its own set of regulations that apply to every institution—both online and off. Testing to ensure compliance is just as important to the success of your app as testing for functionality. In the United States, these regulations are defined and enforced by government organizations such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And as fintech innovates and evolves, regulations will too. Compliance testing reviews your app to ensure it meets the up-to-date prerequisite standards established by the appropriate federal organization.
We’ve talked about accessibility testing before, but it bears repeating since this testing method is so pivotal (and often left out of many testing strategies). To have an accessible and truly successful app, it’s important for developers to take into consideration people with impairments—whether they be physical, auditory, visual, or cognitive—and then incorporate alternative access to your app for those people. Accessibility testing highlights the bugs in your app where the user experience may be inhibited for people with disabilities.
Improving your app is a positive move—any changes that enhance the user experience are good changes. Unfortunately, most adjustments come with setbacks, especially in technology. Regression testing ensures that your app is still secure, accurate, and compliant following any updates, big or small.
These aren’t the only testing methods to consider, of course—your specific testing strategy will depend upon your app. Just remember that an important and necessary part of the fintech app experience is not just ensuring that the user enjoys using the app, but that they trust your app, too. That means ensuring security, reliability, compliance, and accessibility throughout the user experience.
While it’s certainly a lot of responsibility to develop and deploy fintech, it’s also a powerful way to democratize financial literacy and management—and it can be done effectively and securely with the right QA testing team.
Interested in learning more about our professional team and fintech app testing experience? Get in touch!