by Darya Shmat

Why regression testing is crucial for every mobile banking app

May 17, 2018
App TestingFinancial Services IndustryMobile

Enhancements and upgrades are aimed to improve the quality of mobile banking apps and regression testing shows if the goal has been accomplished.

FinTech - Mobile Banking - Unified Endpoint Management U[EM]
Credit: Thinkstock

Mobile banking is growing in prominence, which is why offering an app to your customers makes so much sense when it comes to maintaining competitiveness. Statistics show that the number of mobile banking users in the US will go up from 133.5 million people in 2014 to 161.6 million people in 2019. The tendency is for further growth in the years to come – mobile banking transactions are set to double in the years until 2022.

Because the banking sector changes rapidly, an app will need to be functional and maintained professionally in order to attract a big number of users. This maintenance involves the introduction of upgrades and enhancements upon necessity. When such enhancements occur, regression testing will be required to make sure the innovation isn’t contributing to bugs or other issues.

What is regression testing?

Whenever apps are modified, even if a minor update is introduced, the change could have unexpected consequences. The aim of the regression test is to make sure that the modification hasn’t led to bugs or functionality problems.

Regression tests have to be thorough in order to deliver the desired results.

There have been instances of minor code modifications breaking down functionalities that seem to be completely unrelated to the change. For example, introducing a new geolocation module into a banking app could potentially lead to authorization issues. Such a butterfly effect is often experienced, which is why regression testing can’t be performed on just a few key functionalities.

Regression testing is crucial for every mobile app but even more so for banking software. Banking apps enable financial transactions. They make use of personal data that has to be protected in the best possible way. Functionality isn’t the only thing at stake here, and a regression test cannot be taken lightly.

Doing regular regression testing with every single update will result in an array of additional benefits that justify the time and the related expenditure.

The unique features of banking app testing

Mobile banking apps occupy a unique niche. These software products satisfy a highly specific need, which is why the issues aren’t similar to those faced by other app developers.

A recent survey suggests that 73 percent of people who have never used a mobile banking app in the past are concerned about security. Even when people have a mobile banking app installed, many will use it just to check their balance instead of transferring money to others.

Of all smartphone users, 42 percent believe that their personal information is very unsafe when mobile banking is being done, the study suggests. It’s interesting to point out that 84 percent of the questioned individuals believe that the installation of an app upgrade is one of the best ways to tackle security concerns.

This is the precise reason why regression testing has unique characteristics and importance in the field of mobile banking.

While 67 percent of millennials already use a banking app, there’s still a massive population that’s afraid to download and use a new application (especially when it comes to carrying out financial transactions). Developers should work to mitigate such security concerns, and regression testing of updates is an essential process.

Regression testing is needed to make sure that the safety of personal and financial data is maintained. This isn’t the only reason why such a process is essential every single time, regardless of the scope of the modification.

Giving customers the best possible experience

A regression test isn’t just about managing a massive security or data privacy concern. It can also have a huge impact on usability.

People who aren’t experienced with mobile banking could find the process to be confusing and even overwhelming. Add a bug to the mix, and you get a situation that will be difficult to control. A person that goes through such an experience may be unwilling to give the app a second try.

Bugs can lead to the loss of customers due to inefficiency.

A single hour of app downtime could cost a company $100,000, a survey by ITIC suggests. For some of the companies included in the survey, the cost of downtime reached 300,000 dollars per hour. Nearly 48 percent of customers report they’re likely to stop using an app if they’re unhappy with its performance. If an app’s performance is not up to par, 34 percent of mobile application users report going to the competition for an alternative.

We live in a world that’s defined by diversity. Consumers have a lot of power because they can easily switch between service providers. Bugs caused by the absence of regression testing can lead to the loss of loyal customers and long-term financial implications for the business.

Addressing technological changes

Upgrades are often needed to meet new OS or mobile device requirements. Technologies change all the time. The launch of a new phone could lead to serious issues for mobile app developers.

Such issues are addressed through upgrades and regression testing in this instance will be required to make sure that the mobile banking app delivers an excellent performance on every possible platform on the market.

Your banking app is probably being used by a wide array of customers. Some of them have iOS devices, some rely on Android smartphones, some will be accessing the app via a tablet or a hybrid device. The aim of regression testing is to make sure that all of these users are getting the same bug-free experience.

If critical defects are eventually identified, they can be fixed before the launch.

Keep in mind that regression testing is different from retesting. These are two very important processes, and both of them should be taking place.

Regression testing is done after the launch of an app enhancement for the purpose of identifying bugs and glitches. Once a code fix is performed on the basis of the regression test finding, retesting will have to take place. Such a process is needed to make sure that the test has delivered the desired outcome.

Thus, once a shortcoming is identified and fixed, the process does not end there. An additional test will have to be performed, and if a new issue is pinpointed, more fixes will have to be introduced.

Ensuring regulatory compliance

There’s one more situation in which upgrades may be required. Mobile banking is governed by a set of strict regulations aimed to ensure standardization and customer protection. These rules change occasionally, and the service provider is obliged to ensure regulatory compliance.

Bankers, consumer advocacy groups, and regulators have all shared their concerns about mobile banking safety during forums and industry seminars. Legislative changes have been carried out to offer customers the same quality of experience, regardless of the service provider that they opt for.

There are still complications and issues to be addressed in this area. Mobile financial transactions are currently being classified as a part of ecommerce. Consumer privacy laws, individual standards set by banking institutions and the activity of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will all have to be taken into consideration.

This means that a mobile banking app can’t just be developed and kept static.

Even if the user experience is good enough, changes could be necessitated by a new law aimed at minimizing privacy or cybercrime risks.

While updates themselves are to be planned carefully, code issues could lead to unexpected after-effects. Even if a simple privacy change occurs, a regression test will still have to be performed.

Regression testing is a comprehensive process that accounts for multiple factors – mobile device, operational system, browser, internet connectivity type, etc. From security to database and functionality testing, the process should cover it all. While regression testing can be complex and resource-consuming on occasions, the implications of not going through the process can be severe. If you are serious about growing the popularity of your mobile banking app and increasing the number of users, thorough testing during every single step of the way will be required.