A Complete Guide to Testing Banking Applications: BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) Testing Process and Tips.
Nowadays, digitalization has spread to every domain, and every product and service industry needs to have online access. This applies to the banking domain as well. Banks provide millions of customers with numerous services.
Banking applications handle various functions including money transfer, stocks, trading, loans, maintaining account balance and statements and much more. But these applications would be handling the most sensitive data, the customers’ financial information. So testing has to be rigorous, leaving no stones unturned. Even minor issues can lead to data breaches, frauds, loss of money and other felonies. Needless to say the complex structure, multi-layered workflows, and a broad range of features in the Banking application.
What is the domain in testing?
In the context of testing, Domain refers to an industry or a business model for which an application is built and tested. To understand the domain we have to learn the basics of the industry.
Examples of Domain: Amazon-Ecommerce Domain, Walmart-Retail Domain, Royal Bank of Scotland- Banking domain, Facebook- Social media Domain, etc.
What is the Banking domain?
The banking Domain includes all sets of activities and tools that are required to provide various financial services for an individual or business. Banking Domain Applications help in the internal processes for the bank staff and external processes for the customers.
A software company can provide custom-made and comprehensive Bank and financial application testing services and can provide support and maintenance as well.
What is the BFSI domain knowledge?
BFSI is an abbreviation for Banking, Financial Services and Insurance, which refers to a group of organizations that provide a variety of financial services and products. It’s frequently used by IT/ITES/BPO businesses who deal with data processing, application testing, and software development activities in this field.
BFSI domain knowledge is one of the most important things that you need to know if you want to work in the financial sector. This domain knowledge covers a wide range of topics, from banking and insurance to investment and asset management.
How to test the Banking domain application?
To perform testing in banking domain applications, the thumb rule is to start testing as soon as possible. We can identify bugs and eliminate them before the application goes for deployment.
In banking applications, just testing the functionality of the application is not enough. We have performed testing in the database too, we have to check other non-functional characteristics of the application which include security, compatibility, and performance.
When we look at the banking system as a framework, it can help us define the checkpoints which we have to improve for the performance of the institution. Banking and Finance application developers and testers also heavily rely on the banking domain knowledge components to work in the application
So before we go further into how to test banking applications, let’s look into the basic domain knowledge about banking.
Functions Of Banking Domain
Basic concepts of the banking domain are vast, so we can categorise them into two sections to understand them better.
Primary Functions – Traditional Banking
- Core Banking
- Retail Banking
- Corporate Banking
Secondary Functions- Service-Based Banking
- Trade and Stacks
- Private Banking
- Front End Delivery
The Primary Function or the traditional banking sector embraces the concepts related to transactions based on depositors and borrowers.
It can be further divided into savings and lending which in turn maintain the cash flow in the economy and market. Here when we talk about savings, it includes current accounts, fixed deposits, recurring deposits and much more, when lending is mentioned it includes cash credit, overdraft, bill discounting etc
The secondary functions in banking are commonly termed non-banking functions. Those functions banks offer other services which generate profits or margins. The secondary functions include managing payables, checks collection, portfolio management etc. Also, the other subpart termed utility function is provided to customers like demand drafts, locker facility, underwriting and reporting etc.
With the help of the Banking application, we can check an account balance, pay bills, pay loan instalments, transfer money, exchange currency, view an account statement, and receive alerts or reminders. and many more.
Banking and Financial organizations, in turn, benefit from reduced labour, minimising human errors, operating cost reduction, improved customer service, workflow optimization, and plenty of other lucrative opportunities.
But these online banking service providers can be exposed to numerous risks like data breaches, security flaws, faulty transactions, loss of funds, criminal prosecution, destroyed reputation, etc. if we don’t comprehensively test the banking application.
Basic Banking domain knowledge
Major features in the banking application
Let’s look at some significant features that are common for most Banking applications.
- Sign in and Sign up
- Enables us to check account details such as account number, branch name, and account balance for various accounts such as savings, current, demat, etc.
- Transfer Money between accounts
- View transaction history
- Helps us to pay Third-party bills such as mobile bills, utility bills, etc
- Pay credit card bills
- ATM locator
- Pay Loan instalments
- Manage various banking products such as Fixed Deposit, Recurring Deposit
- Alerts and notifications
Services provided by banks
Banks provide several services to the users, let’s look at some common services provided by banks.
- Retail banking
- Corporate banking
- Investment banking
- Mutual funds
- Internet banking
- Trade Finance
- Capital Markets
New technologies implemented in a Banking application
Similar to any other field, there are rapid changes and improvements in the Banking industry through technology. Here are some trends or existing technology that are implemented in different sectors of banking and finance applications.
- Multi-level functionality
- Numerous dependencies
- Dealing with sensitive financial data;
- Sessions with multiple concurrent users
- Integrations with numerous third-party applications and payment gateway systems
- Complicated business workflows
- Real-time data processing and display
- Robust security
- High performance
- Precise tracking and reporting of day-to-day transactions
- Customer issue troubleshooting
- Massive data storage system
- Recovery management
- QR payment support
- Strict adherence to state and federal regulations
- Keeping up-to-date with new technologies.
Why do we need Banking application testing?
Banking application testing is essential as it provides us insights regarding the application’s flaws. It is better to fix the issue during development.
Banking application encompasses a lot of risks as it deals with finance. Even a small mistake can lead to jeopardy. So we have to provide full attention to the bugs in the project in the development process
#1. Detecting and fixing performance issues:
Testing helps us to predict user behaviour and pinpoint defects in the application that a user might find. With testing, we can gain confidence that our application is bug-free.
#2. Better workflow:
We will be able to ensure banking modules don’t clash with each other and check all important workflows work independently. Testing ensures that the application is secure and transparent.
#3. Reduces Maintenance:
Banking applications are highly complex and contain multi-layered procedures and hundreds of interconnections. So maintaining such codes can be a complicated procedure. Testing can help us to analyze and monitor such a system thoroughly.
#4. Improves customer retention:
Testing can improve the performance of the software. It can ensure that we deliver high-quality financial services to the entire user base that are both quick and simple to use for any user.
Challenges in testing banking Domain Applications
#1. Multi-Tier Architecture:
Banking applications are multi-layered architecture that includes server, database, payment, client interface and more. Our job is to make sure that the application runs smoothly as a single whole system.
#2. Complex Business workflows:
The banking application takes care of several business processes, each consisting of several stages and parts. Let’s take the example of opening a new bank account. It involves multiple steps: receiving a customer’s request and checking the data verifying ID and opening an account. Here we need to confirm that all stages work properly and the workflow runs without gaps.
#3. Real-Time And Batch Processing:
A banking application deals with a vast amount of users, data, and transactions. It is crucial to test it at peak loads, as it processes thousands of operations per second. We must ensure the application performance is as quickly as possible with the existing number of clients and processes. Also, we have to ensure that it has sufficient headroom to expand the customer base and functionality.
#4. Third-Party Integrations:
Banking application interacts with many external services. We have to perform API testing to ensure a third-party connection is working fine. Also, we should often check each data entry manually.
#5. Cross-Device Testing:
Banking applications can be accessed through various smartphones and tablet devices. When we test the application we cannot cover every device, so there would be some glitches to be expected. We have to count on data synchronization when logging in from different devices. We must check every device and ensure the data is updated in time.
How to test Banking domain application step-by-step process?
Banking domain application testing has multiple stages, it requires careful preparation and also we should have an in-depth understanding of the system.
Let’s look at some important steps that usually take place:
Step 1: Requirements analysis
Here we collect all the requirements-related documents and the business analysts analyses them. We create a detailed work plan with the help of a trusted bank representative.
We document each requirement and build them into Use Cases or Functional Specifications. These requirements are usually divided into various modules. We document each requirement and sort them as Use Cases or Functional Specifications. Requirements are usually divided by modules
Step 2: Requirements review.
Here the requirements are reviewed by the business analysts, project manager and the team lead to ensure the correctness. These stakeholders review the requirements in both business and technical aspects. Later, we submit a draft and pass it to the Business Analyst to develop a final paper.
Step 3: Test plan preparation
Here, we testers thoroughly go through the business requirements and prepare a test plan. We’ll also discuss it with the technical lead and plan testing. Testers start writing test cases, as the test suite would be extensive we have to plan about automation too.
Step 4: Building test cases
Here, We start building test cases for the banking application. We need to ensure that the test suite is extensive and provides good coverage, also automation testing needs to be an integral process in our testing. We should hire resources who can create automation scripts and also skilled manual teams with adequate knowledge.
Step 5: Database testing
We should check the application’s data validity, integrity, and loading speed. We should have deep knowledge of the database procedures to perform database testing, we should be equipped with the knowledge about functions, indexes, keys, and sound practical SQL.
Step 6: Unit & Integration testing
Initially, we have to check each unit in isolation and check whether the functionality works properly. Then we have to integrate these units and check how these units interact with one another. We have to ensure that the system works as a whole.
Step 7: Functional Testing
Here, we run the test on the main user workflow to check for bugs and errors. In the banking application, we should ensure that all the internal and external operations within the banking chain are effectively created, integrated, updated, and deleted.
Step 8: Security testing
Security testing in the banking application is the most crucial step, we have to ensure that the customer information and data are secure, confidential, and protected against any leaks.
We have to perform vulnerability testing, security scanning, penetration testing, risk assessment and much more.
Step 9: Performance testing
If our banking application crashes when a customer is performing a money transaction, it can be a huge problem for them. So in performance testing, we’ll be checking whether the banking application works as expected and provides a seamless service to customers. Here we test the banking application under extreme loads and stress to see how it handles such situations.
Step 10: Usability Testing
Here, we have to ensure that the Bank application is user-friendly. Internal applications used by bankers should be straightforward. We cannot expect them to have technical skills.
Similarly, the external applications would be used by the customers who come from various backgrounds. We should focus on the user experience and ensure that the developer has built an easy-to-understand and navigate kind of application.
Step 11: Compliance testing
Here, we have to be aware of the banking standards and regulations to perform compliance testing. Normally Banks deal with a lot of complicated regulations which apply to the Banking application. These Regulations ensure that the bank doesn’t make any mistakes in the application and if any error is found, the bank may have to pay a hefty fine, which can even lead to a loss of profit and reputation.
So we have to ensure that our application follows these standards and regulations. The application should be built according to the rules of the financial sector. If we don’t perform the testing in compliance with the regulations, the financial organizations could reject the testing results.
One of the main particularities in banking applications is that they should meet numerous guidelines, standards, laws, and regulations based on a geographical location of a targeted market.
Step 12: Compatibility testing
Here, we have to ensure the application works smoothly on mobile devices with different screen dimensions as well as low-end smartphones. We require a wide range of physical devices or emulated environments to run performance testing in the banking application
Banking application has a wide range of target audience who might own a variety of devices. Our users might access the application or websites through these devices which can have various OS, screen resolutions, multiple browsers and other hardware/ software configurations.
Our job is to ensure that the application performs consistently both internally and externally regardless of the device through which it’s accessed.
Best Practices Banking Domain Applications Testing
- Regular Testing: We have to perform regression testing whenever there is an update in the application or quick bug fixes.
- Organized Testing: We have to be involved in the entire lifecycle of the testing from collecting requirements, reviewing them, composing a testing scenario, etc.
- Collect real user feedback: To obtain reliable, unbiased results, we should ask the real users to check the application and collect their feedback. This can help us to improve our application.
- Prioritise both manual and automation: Automate most functionality in the application, Manual testing can help us in testing new features and get better insights about the user interface and experience of the application.
- Use real devices: Emulators cannot be the long-term solution for our device testing. Using real devices can provide us with the proper results and we can identify bugs that might be seen in the emulators.
- Check with vast and real data– To mimic the real scenarios in the application to check for the vulnerabilities in the application.
Checklist for Banking application testing
#1. Functional testing
- Check whether an error message is seen when the mandatory field is kept empty, ex: Account number.
- Check whether the field accepts invalid values.
- Check whether the field accepts values beyond the character limit.
- Check whether all the links inside each page are clicked and on clicking navigate to the expected page.
- Check whether all the buttons inside each page are clicked and on clicking navigate to the expected page/ action.
- Check whether the credit/debit calculations are done expectedly.
- Check whether the application scrolls seamlessly.
- Check whether the transaction gets affected due to phone calls, SMS, or any other notifications.
- Check whether the application installation, uninstalling and update procedure works as expected.
#2. Database testing
- Check whether the data in the system is organised in a structure.
- Check whether the data fields have the correct format.
- Check whether the calculation of values in the computed field is correct.
- Check whether each table contains the required constraints- primary keys, foreign keys, and unique indexes.
- Check whether there are any duplicate data in the table.
- Check whether there are any null values in the table where it should not have such values.
- Check whether the data gets updated in the database when the user enters, edits or deletes the value.
- Check whether the application works when the database server is down.
- Check whether the data is still there even when the operation fails.
- Check whether the database backup is routine.
- Check whether the database has proper access rights for each user.
- Check whether the database performance smoothly even when multiple users use the application the simultaneously
#3. Security testing
- Check whether the application has proper authentication protocol and systems set.
- Check whether the application allows multiple invalid logins.
- Check that the ‘Forgot Password’ and ‘Forgot User ID’ features have secure and proper procedures to recover the password and User ID.
- Check the password policies, and verify whether error popups if those policies are violated.
- Check if all the user IDs and passwords are encrypted.
- Check whether the application has secure protocols like HTTPS.
- Check if the data is encrypted when sensitive information is displayed on the client-side.
- Check whether the server-side performs proper input validation.
- Check whether the user’s password is stored in cookies or not.
- Check if the information is encrypted inside cookies.
- Check whether the session times out at the expected time.
- Check whether the application works when the user clears the cache.
- Check whether all URLs of the application to verify if they have sensitive information such as a password.
- Check the application for SQL, XML, HTTP header, HTTP parameter, XPath, and regular expression injections.
- Check whether the Back button in the keypad/ icon in the browser is disabled for certain pages.
#4. Usability testing
- Check whether the Application’s navigation is intuitive.
- Check whether the visual elements in the application are consistent.
- Check if the terms and labels of each function are followed through the application consistently, one page should not mention FD and another page as fixed deposit.
- Check whether all pages in the application’s links and buttons have clear titles.
- Check whether the error and warning messages are self-explanatory.
- Check whether essential fields in the application have placeholders and tips.
#5. Performance testing
- Check whether the application’s performance deteriorates when several users use the same or different functionalities.
- Check the application’s performance during the battery is low, medium, high, or charging.
- Check whether application performance changes at different times.
- Check whether application performance with slow Internet.
- Check the performance during the transaction when the Internet goes down.
- Check the application’s performance when the Internet changes from low to high.
#6. User acceptance testing
- Check whether the applications run smoothly in the client environment or live environment.
- Check whether the application performs as expected when dealing with real-world scenarios.
- Check whether the application allows utility payments and many other third-party integrations payments.
Apart from the above-mentioned phases, there are many other important phases. In the bank application testing process we include applications such as regression testing, accessibility testing, etc.
Banking Domain Application Testing Sample Test Cases
Banking Domain Testing Use Cases
To create a use case for each functionality in the application, we should know how to write test cases for banking application and ready to prepare test cases. Here QA specialist analyses the positive and negative scenarios to check all the possibilities of the system for vulnerabilities.
Let’s look into some common use cases in the banking domain application
Use case 1: New Branch
There is a new branch for the bank, we have to make sure that updates from the new branch sync with the existing system. We should check whether the user data is shared with all the other branches of the bank.
Use case 2: Authenticate Logins
Here we have to check the user identification method monitoring and check if it blocks if it is an invalid ID. Also if an unauthorised login attempt happens, the system should report the incident and send the details to the admins.
Use case 3: Data Deletion
Here a customer discontinues their services, our database needs to update accordingly. The user records should be permanently deleted. They must be logged out of every application/platform related to the bank.
Use case 4: Confirmation
Without the user’s confirmation, financial transactions or operations should not be executed. Proper confirmation through authentication via email, messages and secret code and questions should be used.
Use case 5: Valid transactions
Users should be able to transfer money within the limits of their balance. We should make sure that the application user cannot transfer an amount of money that exceeds the current balance. If such actions are taken by the user, the application should warn the user regarding the insufficient balance.
Regardless of the domain, the most integral part of any software application’s development process is testing. Banking application testing covers various techniques that can check the application’s usability, performance, security and more. It is important to ensure that all nuances of the application are intricately captured so that even if the server crashes, all the critical data won’t be lost. We ensure that the application is highly intuitive for all user groups.