Consumer expectations continue to be driven by a “mobile everything” approach that demands anytime/anywhere/anyway access to just about everything. These expectations are impact all areas of financial services, including payments. Consumers want payments to be seamless and frictionless, no matter what they are buying or when. While it may seem like there are already more than enough payment options available, the number and variety continue to expand – debit, credit, prepaid, PayPal, mobile wallets or watches, all the “Pays” and now we are moving to contactless cards and wearables.
Part of the problem for payment processors is that all these new payment mechanisms simply get layered on top of all the existing ones. This means every new alternative payment method, digital wallet or e-commerce application adds to the complexity. Behind every swipe, dip, tap or click, there is a significant amount of back-end payment processing infrastructure that needs to operate perfectly 24/7/365.
Most consumers will never know about all the heavy lifting that goes on behind the scenes. All the servers, software applications, interfaces, authentication, authorization, tokenization, as well as settlement and chargeback processing remain a mystery that works every time – until it doesn’t.
And of course, everything is changing constantly. Not only are there ongoing updates to both processing hardware and software, but there are all the card schemes mandates, like 3D Secure 2.0, PCI-DSS audits, and living with realities of EMV long-term. Don’t expect the pace of change to slow anytime soon.
You Can’t Manage Change by Accident
Struggling to keep up with the pace with change, too many payment processors still rely on inefficient and ad hoc testing with no clear underlying strategy. Many organizations still rely heavily on manual testing, causing strain on limited resources, devices and infrastructure. Furthermore, most banks lack an environment capable of testing the full enterprise payments network, as well as a structure to store and act on test results. Many component systems are tested in isolation with different sets of test data and different scripts. These components are often only combined just before production (if at all) with little opportunity for full end-to-end testing before a release is put into production. With available testing time getting shorter and shorter, there are insufficient resources to perform adequate payments testing using a manual approach.
This ever-changing payments environment demands and a more strategic approach to testing. A best-in-class end-to-end payments testing environment should include the following design elements:
- Support for complete regression and QA testing
- On-demand and scheduled automated testing
- Centralized management of all test cases, media and results
- APIs to support Continuous Integration (CI)
- Extensibility to include performance and stress testing and integration with other third-party applications
- Virtualization capabilities to minimize the demand for physical infrastructure and facilitate rapid set-up and tear down of resources
- Cloud deployment options to support global access
It’s All About the Money
All issuers, acquirers and payment processors need to invest in their underlying payments testing technology to create an end-to-end testing environment. Paragon’s Web FASTest platform provides a unique and comprehensive solution. Web FASTest is a single, collaborative payments testing platform that provides a centralized command and control infrastructure, as well as global accessibility.
The typical upper limit of test cases that can be run by manually during a single work shift is around 50 (get stat/source). Web FASTest automation can run thousands of tests with every code change. The tests can even be scheduled to run overnight or whenever it is appropriate. Web FASTest also has an API so that that it can be integrated with other tools or platforms, especially important in a Continuous Integration (CI) environment.
For many organization legacy testing methods fail to measure the true cost of legacy testing. However, taking a strategic approach to testing by using a platform like Web FASTest will improve resource utilization, increase test coverage and speed time to market for new products and services – all things that ultimately improve the bottom line.