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A Guide to Payment Testing

On this page, we have provided information and guidance to help you explore a number of key concepts, issues and challenges specifically related to payment testing.

We hope that you find the information interesting and valuable as you seek to deal with the highly complex and rapidly changing environment that we live in today.


Improving Payment Testing Efficiency Through Digital Transformation

Much like checking and depository accounts used to be, payments are now the entry point into the financial relationship with customers. 

That’s according to the ‘Banks as Buyers’ report from William Mills Agency, that claimed banks will be looking to “step up their payments offering in order to provide customers with the types of payment options offered by non-bank competitors.

In order for financial services companies to position payments at the forefront of the customer experience, they must implement effective payment testing operations to ensure every transaction is processed correctly.

Efficient and accurate testing is not only important for the support of existing offerings, it is necessary to support the rapid development and delivery of new products and services.

Paragon Application Systems serves a range of clients and business needs across the payments industry, including issuers, acquirers, processors, and retailers, as well as major card brands and networks. 

Paragon’s innovative payment testing tools and simulators help increase control, expand access, and enhance collaboration - creating a robust and flexible testing platform to improve quality, productivity, and profitability.

Our solutions deliver the features, flexibility and control required to stay connected, compliant, and competitive in today’s rapidly changing payments landscape.

Unfortunately, payment testing has long been neglected by many financial services companies, which continue to rely on time-consuming and expensive manual testing processes. There are significant benefits to be gained from introducing automation into your testing operations.

A solid testing strategy enables any payment processor or ATM fleet owner to make continuous improvements to their testing operations in order to increase efficiency, reduce costs and speed time to market for new products and services, while at the same time enhancing the customer experience.

To help your organization move away from manual testing, and instead implement efficient and cost-effective automated testing that significantly improves your customer experience and how competitive you are in the market, we have created this complete guide to modern payment testing. 

We hope this information can help you introduce new processes that ensure your company remains compliant, competitive and profitable.

Chapter 2

Why is Payment Testing Important?

Having a comprehensive and effective testing program is essential for any payment processing organization that is focused on providing the best possible user experience for its customers. 

While manual testing does play an important role in any testing strategy, the accelerated pace at which the payment industry operates today requires more speed, efficiency, and accuracy than manual testing alone can deliver.  

According to Perfecto’s annual 2022 State of Test Automation Report, “The biggest advantage of automation over manual testing is that it allows for more testing in less time. It increases productivity and expands how much you can test. While there will always be a need for manual testing, automating the right tests will help testers execute more test cases in less time, improve test coverage, and keep up with the pressure of go-to-market needs.”

Modern testing tools and technologies, such as virtualization and automation, are now required to ensure that innovative new products and services can be delivered on time and on budget to meet the demands of increasingly sophisticated consumers.

These advanced capabilities also make it easier to find and fix bugs or bottlenecks in the payment processors environment before they can cause a system outage.

Financial service organizations with the most efficient payment testing processes give themselves a distinct competitive edge in the marketplace.

In today’s world, this requires automation and new technologies - which we will discuss in more detail throughout this guide.

Chapter 3

The Complex World of Payment Testing

A robust and efficient approach to payment testing is critical to the success of any financial service organization. 

Unfortunately, this is not always easy to achieve. In fact, payment testing is an increasingly complex process that requires a significant commitment of both time and resource. 

In addition to managing the legal and regulatory requirements associated with the payment industry, financial services organizations must continually develop new products and services to stay current with market requirements, 

To complicate matters even further, each card brand and payment network uses its own interpretation of various messaging standards to facilitate the processing of its financial transactions, requiring a never ending process of analysis, testing and certification.

Testing has become a continual process that needs to be managed as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

That means leveraging tools like virtualization and automation to augment and enhance the performance of developers, testers and QA teams.

In order to meet the ever-evolving demands of an increasingly sophisticated and competitive marketplace, every payment processing organization must continually work to improve the speed, efficiency and accuracy of its testing operations.

Chapter 4

Payment Testing Technology: What You Need to Know

Most testing operations continually face shrinking budgets and demands to do more with less.

Leveraging technologies like virtualization and automation allow organizations to improve quality, expand test coverage, and deliver innovations to market without increasing headcount. 

While there is some investment required to deploy new test tools and implement new processes, the long-term savings will be significant. Every test that is automated can be run and rerun again and again automatically with no incremental cost. In fact, the more you invest in modern test tools, the more valuable they become.

Technologies, such as virtualization, automation and integrations via APIs, enable financial services companies to dramatically improve their testing processes - all with smaller budgets and fewer resources required.

Chapter 5

Improving Payment Testing Efficiency With Automation

When it comes to payment testing, the 80/20 rule applies. 

By that, we mean that 20 percent of transactions generate 80 percent of the test volume. When this testing is done manually it requires a significant amount of work (and re-work) for a company’s testing and QA teams. 

Yet many organizations are still failing to introduce automation into their QA processes, with the test automation average still sitting around 50 percent. That’s according to Perfecto’s State of Test Automation Survey Analysis 2022, in which many survey respondents stated that teams are mostly doing manual testing and/or only just starting with test automation.

In addition, 35 percent of the responses stated that manual testing is consuming most of their time followed by test failure analysis that accounted for over 22 percent.

By making the transition to automated testing, companies are able to:

  1. Improve the quality and accuracy of their testing processes, 
  2. Shorten project delivery cycles
  3. Reduce time-to-market for revenue-generating products and services 
  4. Dramatically expand test coverage
  5. Increase testing and QA team productivity 
  6. Detect issues (and fix) earlier
  7. Save money

By utilizing automation as a key component in their payment testing strategy, every issuer, acquirer, processor or merchant can improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of their payments testing operation, ensuring that all transactions are processed as quickly, reliably, and securely as possible.

Chapter 6

What are the Benefits of Moving Payment Testing to the Cloud?

According to Retail Banker International: “The banking industry has been relatively slow to adopt cloud computing compared with other industries. This comes out of a fear regarding potential cybersecurity failings of cloud, and cloud service providers’ compliance with the complex regulatory framework that stringently governs the industry.”

Yet the rise in remote work, driven largely by the COVID-19 pandemic, has driven financial service companies to rapidly adopt cloud technology, which can offer a number of important benefits, including:

  • Any time anywhere access for remote workers
  • Improved access to testing resources
  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • Improved environmental sustainability
  • Reduced costs

Use of a modern technology platform that hosts payment testing assets can help organizations to save money through shared resources, allow for secure access any place and any time, provide flexible deployment options that can be rapidly scaled up and down as needed, as well as allow for API level integration with other enterprise systems to increase speed and agility.

Additionally, moving your testing assets to the cloud will improve collaboration between technical and business users, allowing teams to easily share data, results and reports with each other. 

Leveraging cloud technologies can help organizations stay both relevant and competitive in today’s highly competitive financial services marketplace.

Chapter 7

Why is Remote Payment Testing Important?

A survey from Upwork has found that by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels. 

There's a good reason for this. Remote work provides financial organizations with benefits such as:

  • Improved access to testing resources
  • Faster project cycles
  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • Expanded test coverage
  • Improved environmental sustainability
  • And reduced costs

There’s no doubt that the future of work is remote, but does your business have the right combination of access, alignment and automation in place to ensure that your testing and QA resources can connect, communicate, and collaborate no matter where they are working from?

By investing in payment testing technology that is accessible via a simple browser-based interface, organizations can effectively support a remote or hybrid workforce, providing anytime, anywhere access to test data and improved project collaboration to improve productivity, as well as access to high-quality talent.

Chapter 8

What is the Future of Payments Testing?

While the payment industry continues its dynamic growth, participants face an ever-increasing number of internal and external challenges. 

Rapidly evolving consumer behavior, alternative payment options, disruptive competitors, as well as legal and regulatory pressures are forcing financial services providers to increase the pace at which they do business or get left behind.

Payment systems have simply become too complex and evolve too quickly for organizations to rely on manual testing practices that cannot support this need for speed.

The most significant change for the future of the retail payment industry may be the pending migration to ISO 20022. As a new unifying standard for the payments industry ISO 20022 will soon begin to replace legacy ISO 8583 systems. And it is never too early to get ready for this coming transition.

Investing in modern test tools and processes will help expand test coverage, improve payment testing quality, shorten project delivery cycles and reduce time-to-market for new products and services, as well as prepare you for the introduction and integration of ISO 20022.

Better testing not only improves operational efficiency, it helps ensure the best overall experience for your customers. 

An improved consumer experience leads to increased loyalty and client retention, helping to ensure long-term success for your organization.


We Love to Talk About Testing!

Schedule time with a Paragon consultant to review your current testing processes and talk about any testing challenges that you are facing. You can then explore together various ways that Paragon tools can be used to address your issues and improve productivity, increase accuracy and expand test coverage.