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Testing 1, 2, 3: is this fintech app even on?

Updated: 4 days ago

Have you ever frantically tapped your phone screen, convinced the app must be malfunctioning? 


Maybe you even restarted your device, only to be met with the same frustrating glitch. 


Is it your phone? Is it some cosmic error? 


No, it's probably a much more common culprit:  an app launched without proper testing.


The pressure to launch quickly can sometimes lead to cutting corners, especially when it comes to quality assurance (QA). But as we've seen, skipping QA can have disastrous consequences, especially those in the fintech business. 


Just look at the 2019 Wells Fargo outage where customers were locked out of their accounts due to a routine test gone awry. Imagine explaining that during the Monday morning meeting.


Without proper testing, you’re just another software Titanic, blissfully unaware of the iceberg of bugs ahead.


A Typical Day in Fintech Paradise... Not Quite


 It’s launch day. Your team has been caffeinating and coding for months, and the new payment processing feature is set to go live. But just hours after going live, the situation starts to unravel. Transactions are getting declined left and right faster than a freshman's fake ID at a college bar.

Any why?

An obscure line of code—shocking, right? Not! 

It was probably written during a late-night coding binge, that somehow skipped the QA party. This isn’t just fiction. Ask the folks at Knight Capital who lost $440 million in 30 minutes thanks to a glitchy trading algorithm that went live without adequate testing.


From regulatory fines to customer churn, the stakes are incredibly high. So how can thorough testing make a difference? 


 Performance Testing: Not Just for Drama Queens


Before your app can take a bow on the fintech stage, it needs to perform like a Broadway star. The app must consistently nail every line, even during the matinee show with the underwhelming audience. Performance testing ensures your app won’t turn into a drama queen the second the server room gets hot.

Did you hear about the infamous 2018 Visa outage across Europe, where businesses  lost millions because transactions couldn’t be processed for hours?

Performance testing helps ensure that your app can handle the influx of thousands, if not millions, of transactions without turning those operations into a digital rendition of a traffic jam. In real terms, failing to do this can lead to Black Friday-like crashes on days when user traffic peaks.


Security Testing: Keeping the Vault Closed


In fintech, security isn’t about installing a better deadbolt. It’s about pretending your app is a medieval castle and every hacker is a dragon trying to breach the walls. Security testing involves a lot of pretending to break into your own castle, which is, let’s face it, everyone’s childhood dream.


Skip this, and you might find yourself in a debacle like Equifax, where poor security practices led to the exposure of sensitive data for about 147 million people, hardly a minor oops in the grand scheme of things. Equifax then had to pay a $575 million settlement for failure to take reasonable steps to secure its network.


Regular and rigorous security testing should simulate all possible attack scenarios. Think of it as a continuous game of cat and mouse, except you’re always upgrading the cat.


Usability Testing: Remember, Grandma Uses This App Too


Fintech isn’t just for the tech-savvy millennial who thinks understanding cryptocurrency is a personality trait. It’s also for your grandma, who just learned how to use a smartphone and still thinks cookies belong strictly in the snack drawer.


Usability testing makes sure that even the most tech-averse users can navigate your app without accidentally sending their life savings to a Nigerian prince.

Not prioritizing this could alienate a significant portion of your market, as seen when a major banking app redesign left thousands of elderly users confused, leading to a PR nightmare and hurried roll-backs.


Real-Time Transaction Testing: Keeping the Lights On


Lastly, there's making sure real-time transactions don’t turn into a real-time comedy of errors. This involves stress-testing your system to ensure that, even at peak times, it processes transactions smoother than a con artist at a high school reunion. Neglect this, and you're setting the stage for a replay of the RBS fiasco, where 600,000 payments vanished into thin air due to untested system updates, leaving customers furious and regulators tutting disapprovingly.


Wrapping Up


In the race to innovate and capture market share, don't let QA be the last box to check. Integrate rigorous testing early and often and watch as it transforms potential face-palm moments into triumphs. 

Your users might never know the disasters you’ve averted, but hey, in the world of fintech, no news is good news, right?


So, dear fintech developers, next time you think about skipping QA, remember: the only thing worse than your app crashing is it crashing in front of everyone. And in this industry, everyone will definitely be watching.

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