3 Considerations for Payment Testing in the Digital Age
I was recently a guest on the PayPod Payments and FinTech podcast, where I answered questions about testing digital products and Applause’s crowdtesting approach as well as my favorite testing topic: payments. Here are a few key takeaways from the conversation.
1. Test every payment method you want to accept for real-world transactions.
In-house QA teams often test workflows using fake cards or environments that aren’t tied to production. They’re just following the happy path and using a dummy credit card number that works every time. Just because you get the success message that a payment can go through doesn’t mean you’re ready to release that out to the wild.
You need to go beyond testing on cards that are meant to give you the same result every time — there’s a huge breadth of banking institutions, mobile banks, e-wallets, and alternate payment methods out there that your customers could possibly use. Any number of things could go wrong. If you’re not testing to make sure you can accept those payment methods, you’re setting yourself up to miss out on sales and revenue.
You also need to test on the devices your customers are using, both online and face-to-face, especially if you’re operating in different regions. The devices customers use in Germany versus India versus the United States versus Uruguay are going to be dramatically different. If you’re a merchant, you need to understand if someone can use their digital wallet on either their phone OR a smart watch to pay in-store. The coverage matrix is increasingly complex.
2. Understand the different use cases, local laws and customer preferences in all the markets where you operate.
Trust around payments is a huge element in capturing market share — your functionality and UX need to be rock solid. Based on Applause’s experience, we can offer some guidance on what you need to build into your testing plan, particularly when entering new regions. If you’re a merchant, you’ve got probably the same merchant needs as every other merchant out there. You’ve got to deal with the taxation in every country you enter into. You’ve got to deal with card security. If you’re a bank, you have to deal with the same concerns as other banks — documentation requirements for account set-up, regulations about foreign transactions, etc. The same for card networks and finance technology companies: members of your industry share common concerns.
We have built out a pretty extensive set of potential use cases so that if a business doesn’t know the problems that they’re going to run into, we can provide that guidance and really help build out and shape what kind of testing we can and should do for them. When we have these situations come up, we’re not starting fresh every time — odds are high that we’ve run similar tests in the past and know what issues we’re likely to encounter. And if we haven’t, we’ve typically got the creativity and experience to figure out the best ways to test.
3. Think beyond whether the immediate payment transaction works: consider all aspects of the end-to-end experience.
With any type of payment, you’ve got multiple entities involved and each one has different needs or requirements around that transaction. The customer, card issuer, payment processor and payment recipient all have different concerns throughout the process.
One of the examples I mentioned on the podcast involved a law in Argentina that required merchants to list taxes as separate line items on statements or receipts — you couldn’t just say a purchase was $0.99, you had to have $0.89 plus the ten cent entry for taxation purposes. So in that case, you might have a fintech company offering POS systems and ecommerce platforms that has to make sure their applications allow for that separation, and then you have merchants that need to make sure they have the system set up properly to separate out the tax on their receipts.
Or you might have a card issuer who offers rewards for a certain type of purchase — think 2% cash back on gas and groceries for a select time period. The card issuer needs to make sure that it can accurately identify those types of purchases, assign the correct rewards value and display it clearly in its apps and statements to make sure customers keep using that card for those expenditures. Those elements are all part of payment testing.
Check out the PayPod podcast episode for more insight on testing payments in the digital age.