The quick guide to testing banking applications and websites

    5 Minutes Read

    The banking industry as a whole is striving to offer more modern and utilitarian digital services to provide a better customer experience and ensure customer loyalty in an increasingly competitive industry.

    Whether it's redesigning a mobile banking application or launching a new website, creating banking software solutions is particularly challenging.

    Quality assurance (QA) testing plays a critical role in enabling banks to succeed in these efforts by successfully delivering new and improved features that provide a smooth, bug-free user journey.

    In this article, we will outline the key tests to run and the areas that QA teams should focus on to ensure the overall quality of banking applications and websites before they go into production.

    Banking application


    How to test banking applications and websites

    As a general rule, it is best to test banking applications and websites early and often to find bugs and eliminate them before they affect the end user.

    Throughout the software development life cycle, it is crucial to run a variety of tests depending on the stage and needs of the project:


    Testing new and existing functionalities - functional testing

    As banks strive to develop applications and websites with innovative features, functional testing plays a key role in validating the functionality that powers these solutions.

    Specifically, this type of testing verifies whether or not a feature works as expected. The use of functional tests is necessary whenever new features are added to an existing application or website.


    Discover bugs caused by new features - regression testing

    At the same time, regression testing is also important to discover bugs caused by the introduction of new features.

    While testing every feature is the best practice, special attention should be given to the most important features .

    This allows QA teams to pinpoint bugs or anomalies that can have a significant impact on most users and result in a frustrating user experience.


    Use automated and manual tests

    In any digital project, success often depends on two factors: 

    1. Time to market
    2. The quality of the service 

    In the banking sector, the ability to create and launch high-quality banking applications or websites on time is essential.

    During these digital projects, test automation through a SaaS platform is a major asset because it speeds up the quality assurance process by completing test cases much faster than manual testers.

    Executing test cases consistently and reliably also allows automated testing to increase the quality of real-world testing, which might otherwise be hampered by human error.

    Whether updating existing services or developing new ones, test automation is well suited to a variety of test cases that are :

    • Repeatedly performed
    • Based on the data
    • Difficult to execute manually and time consuming

    Despite the benefits of test automation, it is important to keep in mind that not all test cases should be automated.

    In fact, manual tests should be used to complement automated test combinations by running tests .

    • Usability
    • Exploratory tests
    • Ad hoc tests 

    Manual testing is a way for QA teams to extend test coverage.

    Overall, using both approaches can go a long way toward improving time-to-market and overall quality of banking service.


    Expand mobile test coverage

    Today, millions of people use mobile banking via a mobile app or website.

    Delivering the best possible user experience requires testing across a diverse set of configurations:

    • Operating system types and versions
    • Potentially customized OS
    • Hardware resources (memory, processing power, etc.)
    • Screen sizes
    • Screen resolutions
    • Storage with different available capacity for each
    • Wifi Vs mobile data (from different operators)
    This type of extended test coverage will allow QA teams to find as many bugs as possible, especially those associated with a specific version of an operating system, screen size, browser, etc.


    Testing accessibility

    Today, most people use and rely on banking applications and websites to access their accounts, including the millions of people who live with some sort of mental, physical or sensory disability.

    With Ageing populations in Europe and North America, accessibility is a major concern for banks.

    In many countries, having a website that meets specific accessibility guidelines is a legal requirement.

    Therefore, it is rather important for banks to test the accessibility of their digital services. Accessibility testing provides considerable value by highlighting issues that are a barrier to people with disabilities.

    As a general rule, websites should be tested to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA.

    While the WCAG guidelines do not address smartphones or mobile apps, it is not uncommon for banks to create unique accessibility features or ensure their app and website are compatible with the many accessibility features built into Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system.

    For applications and websites that offer these accessibility features, functional tests must be performed to validate them.


    Find vulnerabilities with security testing

    With high-level cyber attacks becoming more frequent, all businesses, especially banks, must invest in cybersecurity to protect their assets and customer data and information.

    Security testing is designed to detect vulnerabilities that could compromise banking applications and websites.

    This type of test verifies that client data is secure and that only authorized and authenticated users have access to the correct application or pages and their own data.

    Creating unexpected situations and pressures on an application, for example, can be a good way to reveal vulnerabilities or bugs that a potential hacker could exploit. It's not uncommon for banking apps to use APIs to provide additional services and an enhanced experience.

    However, API vulnerabilities can be an entry point for hackers and should therefore also be tested.

    The login portal is also an important aspect of security testing. Testing the login portal can reveal bugs that could prevent customers from accessing their accounts or, worse, allow them to access other people's accounts.

    Testing should also validate critical features such as two-factor authentication and other settings put in place to prevent customers from creating weak, predictable passwords.

    To take security testing a step further, banks may even consider conducting a penetration test.

    With this test, a bank confronts its online or mobile banking application with an external team of ethical hackers who aim to find exploitable vulnerabilities.

    Penetration testing offers tremendous value by allowing banks to identify and close any vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by real hackers.

    Banking application security


    Performance and load tests

    The main attraction of banking applications and websites is the ability to access one's account 24/7 and perform a variety of tasks. To deliver these services consistently, banks need to conduct performance and load testing.

    These tests provide crucial information by measuring the performance of an application or website under heavy load or stress .

    Preventing customers from being affected by traffic or usage spikes goes a long way in creating a reliable user experience.


    Usability testing

    Banking apps and websites serve large segments of the population, each with different levels of experience in using digital services. 

    Therefore, special attention must be paid to the design of intuitive banking applications and websites.

    With usability testing, testers explore an application or website to reveal flaws or problems that contribute to a frustrating user experience.

    This can include bumpy navigation, a convoluted user interface, slow loading pages, blurry text or images, confusing icons, etc.

    Using these test results along with end-user feedback can help teams deliver an improved user experience.


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