It’s no secret that the payments landscape has evolved significantly over the several years and the pace of change continues to increase. Consumers expect to pay for just about anything, anywhere, anytime using any device. There has been a surge in online commerce that is driving additional requirements for cardholder authentication and security. We have also seen significant innovation at the physical point of sale, with a wide variety of mobile wallets and in app payment options becoming available, including all the “Pay” apps. Next up are contactless payments and wearables. Consumers are all about convenience and they expect these payment solutions to be reliable (as in always on), intuitive and “frictionless.”
It seems natural to assume this rapidly changing landscape would drive additional investment and innovation in payments testing. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Next generation testing solutions do exist, but many payment processing organization continue to rely on legacy testing tools that existed long before the current “mobile everything” environment.
Unfortunately, while fintech innovation is driving up the number and complexity of payment use cases and test scenarios, many organizations are dealing with increasing pressure to improve efficiency, reduce costs and do more with less. In this environment, it is not uncommon to find that payment processors who rely on old-school testing methods are able to manage only 20% coverage of their total test cases.
The Benefits of Next Generation Testing Solutions
The good news is that there are Next Gen payment testing solutions available today that can truly help organizations do more with less. One critical element that can dramatically improve the efficiency of a test team is automation. Recorded tests cases and data can be built into regression scripts and scheduled to run after hours with results delivered back to testers the next morning. Tests can even be set-up to run after every code change.
In a test-driven development process, i.e. Continuous Integration, developers run tests while they’re coding so that they can find and correct any errors as early as possible in the development cycle. Studies have shown that it can dealing with a coding error that makes it into production can be 100 times more expensive to fix than if it had been caught early. And this cost does not factor in the brand damage that may be caused by issues that have a negative impact on customers.
The use of automation for payments testing also allow organizations to dramatically improve their overall test coverage. Setting up an automated test harness – a framework comprised of software and re-usable test data – facilitates comprehensive testing of programs under across multiple use case and test scenarios. A server-based implementation with centralized command and control also allows the test environment to be accessed globally, but monitored and managed locally.
When evaluating Next Gen payments testing solutions consider the following:
- Recognize the difference between strategy and tactics. Strategy involves people and processes. Understand your overall test strategy first and then research partners and solutions that can help you execute the strategy.
- Understand the test tools your organization uses today. Leverage these resources as much as possible. You may not need to shop for a full replacement of your existing test management infrastructure. Most modern enterprise systems expose services through an API that can be used to integrate and automate with best of breed solutions.
- Examine all manual steps in the testing process. Don’t just focus on test execution. Make sure the any new testing solution allows other systems to automatically setup test sessions, execute them and access the results. If other systems cannot perform those three operations effectively, your ability to automate the testing workflow will be limited.
- Consider legal and regulatory compliance. These are critical components for any payment processor. Look for solutions that provide the levels of access, control and security that your organization requires.
Because Paragon believes that automation is a critical component in any payments testing strategy, we offer a comprehensive suite of applications and services that are specifically designed to help the financial services community deal with the ever-increasing rate of change. Built on our server-based Next Gen architecture, solutions tools like Web FASTest and VirtualATM enable organization deal with change more quickly, completely and cost effectively.