The need for QA services in the banking and financial industry is increasing with the rise of technology and innovation. Following the digitalization trend, banks and financial institutions are transforming their front-office and mid-office. The back-office operations, which were still on pen and paper, are slowly brought into the digital platform. And with this sudden burst of digitalization, banks cannot long put their QA needs on the back burner. On the contrary, alongside the digital transformation in banks and FIs, the quality assurance services are also going through a massive digital transformation.
Banks’ digital transformation journey has been in the limelight for over a decade, but the years 2020-2021 have been significant when it comes to growth in digitization. As per a report in Sensor Tower, nearly 1.24 billion financial applications were downloaded in the second quarter of 2020, which in the first quarter of 2022 has gone up by 1.74 billion.
Banks’ digital transformation journey is driven by customer demands, new trends and technologies, and market competition. Banks have no other options but to evolve and embrace the digital transformation journey. If we track the current trend in the banking sector, we will understand that banks are currently using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud services, and blockchain to digitize the banking systems. If banks must cater to customers and ensure customer satisfaction digitalization is the only option. However, in this digital transformation journey, customer experience and data security will be on focus for banks and financial institutions.
Whether in core banking, capital markets, retail banking, or corporate banking, digitalization has become a revolutionary movement across all financial and banking sectors. The financial industry now depends greatly on technology. They deal with multiple clients and handle various transactions daily. Banks need to have essential QA strategies to ensure that the systems work at all times without any disruptions. QA testing helps banks improve their systems and products and ensure customer satisfaction with an error-free transaction mechanism.
In this article, I will compare the QA services in corporate and retail banks. Is there a difference in the QA services for retail and corporate banking? What is the striking factor differentiating the QA services in these two banking segments? We will also explore the service lines in these two banks and the types of QA services offered to ensure the quality of their services.
Understanding the Retail Banking
Retail banking is also known as consumer banking or personal banking. The services in retail banking are tailored to cater for individuals and small companies. Many banks offer a basic range of services like account maintenance, lending, line of credit, mortgages, credit and debit cards and more.
Retail banks offer branch banking and online or digital services based on specific customer needs. Retail banks help the consumer maintain saving accounts, earn interest on saving accounts, withdraw funds, pay for products, loans, and more. Retail banks in the current time have undergone massive digital transformation. They are offering a range of services on the digital platform to ensure customer convenience.
Services and digitalization in retail banking
Retail banks offer the following services to consumers,
- – Customers open bank accounts to keep a track of their money, savings, transactions, and more.
- – Customers can keep their jewellery and valuables in the safe lockers available in banks.
- – Customer can maintain their deposits through CDs as the accumulation of interest amount is higher in CDs than in saving accounts.
- – Retail banks provide various loans to the consumers like home loans, auto loans, education loans, personal loans and more based on individual requirements.
Apart from the services mentioned above, a few commercial banks offer services like investment banking, commercial banking, and more. Some investment and commercial banks have dedicated services for retail customers to expand business relationships.
Digitalization in retail banking – Retail banks are building mobile applications to offer various services to customers online. Through mobile applications, customers maintain their accounts, transfer from one account to another, pay bills, pay for products and services at the merchandise, and more. Consumers can also avail of loans online without any paperwork.
These days customer bank accounts are linked with the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) platform to provide a range of services to the customers through APIs. As per a report by Business Standard, UPI processed nearly 6 billion transactions worth Rs 10 trillion in May 2022, the highest volume ever recorded since the launch of the UPI platform in 2016.
QA services in the retail banking
The number of customers in the retail banks is more. Because of the services retail banks offer their customers, the banks tend to receive multiple requests at the same time. It creates an immense load on banks’ servers and systems. Consider a scenario; a bank receives multiple customer requests on a busy weekday building a performance load on their systems. If the bank’s systems cannot handle the load and send delayed responses to the customer, it will create a negative impression on the customers.
Bank systems are expected to be up and running all the time. Ensuring that the systems perform as expected even during high traffic requires an adequate QA service. However, the QA services are not just about checking the performance criteria of the banking systems. The scope and scale of quality assurance are much broader in retail banks. From system integration to functional acceptance and maintaining system security, the banks’ systems must undergo end-to-end system validation to ensure that they offer outstanding customer services without disruption.
Ensuring the quality of systems requires thorough strategizing, planning, preparation, and execution. Standard QA services for retail banks must encompass the ability to validate core banking solutions, lending platforms, CRM, payment, various channels, digital platforms, and more. The following comes as a bundle of QA services that retail banks require to ensure the quality of the banking systems.
- Requirements Assurance – Organizations do a thorough requirement analysis of the application under test before starting with the test process. As the scope of testing is wide and varied in retail banks, it is critical to gather the requirements before executing the test.
- Integration Assurance – The systems running in retail banks need multiple features to be integrated. The integration must be validated with the application suite and system landscape. The system integration ensures that the application has all the required fields added to the applications and systems.
- Functional Assurance – The retail banks’ systems will fail if users face accessibility or usability issues. The retail bank systems must pass the functionality tests to ensure that they conform with user acceptance.
- Non-functional Assurance – Due to the heavy volume of transactions, the systems in retail banks face two common issues performance bottleneck and security. Both are essential aspects when it comes to ensuring the quality of the systems. An adequate quality assurance service cannot do without validating these critical aspects.
- Automation Testing – The time to market the banking services and products has reduced significantly due to rising customer demand. Financial software is one of the data-intensive applications and the time-to-market is less. Hence, banks and financial applications require extensive test automation. Automation testing significantly reduces the time of product launch, improves accuracy, enhances team productivity, and most importantly it saves money.
- Regression Testing – Regression testing is one of the essential testing processes for retail banks. As retail banks serve multiple customers simultaneously, the applications in the retail banks require frequent changes in the features and functionality to enable them to offer personalized services to their customers. By adding new features and functionality, the existing features may respond with some errors. Regression testing in retail banking systems ensures that the existing application features work just as fine in collaboration with additional new features.
Understanding the Corporate Banking
Corporate banks are a part of business banking that offers their services only to the corporates. Corporate banking offers several benefits to its corporate customers. Since the services are tailored to suit the requirements of the corporate customers, corporate banks offer unique propositions on customers’ salary accounts, regular salary updates on websites, corporate card facilities, multiple reimbursements, and allowances such as meal vouchers, medical reimbursements, leave travel allowances, gift cards, conveyance, fuel allowances, and more.
Corporate customers can also receive special rates on National Pension System, captive ATM within the company premises, travel cards, working capital, long-term loans, and structured finance. Many corporate banks offer transaction banking like trade finance, supply chain solutions, remittances, cash management and escrow services to their corporate customers. Corporate customers can also get facilities on investments like term deposits, mutual funds, and structured instruments. Corporate banks also offer treasury services like debt capital markets, forex and derivatives. To cater to corporate requirements, some corporate banks also offer value-added services, like cloud solutions, travel services, tax assistance, concierge services, and more.
Services and digitalization in corporate banking
The services in the corporate banks are value-intensive and tailored to suit the specific requirements of corporate customers. Following are the types of services that corporate banks provide to their customers.
- Corporate banks offer loans and other credit products to their customers to help their businesses expand
- It offers treasury services like debt capital markets, forex and derivatives and cash management services, and trade finance
- Corporate banks also offer equipment lending to help their customers grow their business
- Corporate banks also handle commercial real estate requirements and employee services
Digitalization in corporate banking – Corporate banks offer a bundle of services to their customers. They offer packaged offers to the employees of their corporate customers. The banks that serve both retail and corporate accounts, build mobile applications and based on their requirements offer tailored services to the customers. Through mobile applications, customers maintain their corporate accounts, apply for loans, invest in mutual funds and stock markets, apply for business and travel cards, and check the Forex market.
QA services in corporate banking
Corporate banking is more value intensive. As it caters to a specific customer segment, the products and services are more exclusive than services in retail banking. QA services in corporate banks are much more complicated than in retail banks. It does not follow the same line of services but customizes based on client requirements. Consider a scenario; the first payday, when companies are to credit the salary accounts of their employees. The performance requirements of banking systems will not be the same as all other days as there will be an immense load on banking systems due to their maximum usage on that particular day. There will be a delay in salary processing if the system faces performance issues. When banks opt to cater to their corporate clients, they must ensure system capability and sustainability on the days when the traffic is at its peak.
Corporate banks need quality assurance services to ensure that their systems are tenable during the days when customer traffic is high. In addition to checking the performance of banking systems in the corporate banks, it is also essential to check other quality aspects of the banking systems. Corporate accounts have distinctive features and do not follow the conventional line of retail services. As mentioned, banks customize corporate accounts based on clients’ requirements.
The corporate accounts are a mix of corporate and retail services. Hence, the applications require adequate validations. It is crucial to ensure that the systems’ elements of both the services are integrated without errors and working without any issues. It is also essential to check for the system’s security as it contains more than individual data like customer mutual fund details, investment records, loan details, and more. Corporate banking systems must also undergo thorough end-to-end testing to ensure seamless system performance.
Ensuring the quality of corporate banking systems is equally important. Banks must strategize, plan, and prepare before the start of the test execution. Standard QA services of corporate accounts encompass validating customers’ lending platforms, trade and treasury accounts, digital platforms, and more.
- Requirements Assurance – The services in corporate banks are heterogeneous in nature and tailored to suit the specific requirements of customers. Requirement analysis of corporate banking systems is necessary to understand the requirements of the application under test.
- Integration Assurance – As there are multiple services bundled together it is also essential to validate the feature and functionality integration with the application suite and system landscape. The system integration ensures that all required functionalities are added to the applications and systems and work seamlessly.
- Functional Assurance – Since the functionalities in the corporate banking systems are diverse it is essential to validate the response of features and functionality. Based on the customers’ requirements it is critical to ensure that the added functionalities are working as per customer expectations.
- Non-Functional Assurance – As the corporate banks deal with valuable information maintaining the security of these corporate platforms is of the highest importance. The corporate banks’ systems might face security and performance issues. Quality assurance services remove performance bottlenecks and address the security issues of corporate bank accounts.
- Test Automation – The customer needs faster access to financial applications. But it is impossible to release financial applications in the market without thorough testing. For a data-intensive applications like financial apps automation testing is an easy solution. Automation testing significantly reduces time to market and money. It enhances accuracy and team productivity bringing the application nearer to customers faster.
- Regression Testing – Corporate banking applications undergo frequent changes in application functionality. Regression testing in the corporate banks is necessary to ensure that the existing application features remain unscathed with new additional changes.
Comparing QA services in retail and corporate banking
Even if on the surface, we do not see many differences in QA service for retail and corporate banks, there will be a significant underlying difference between the QA services of both banks. The systems in both banks require thorough end-to-end testing. Retail banks have a high volume of transactions, whereas corporate banks focus more on value. Performance testing for the systems in retail and corporate banks is essential, but in retail banks, the requirement is more intensive than in corporate banks.
Risk-based testing is important to validate the systems in both banks. But since corporate banks emphasize more on value, it is critical to maintain the risk index score matrix for corporate accounts. The systems in both the banks are validated based on the risk parameter like regulatory, financial impact, customer servicing, operations, and systems risk. For value-intensive accounts like corporate banks, the parameter of the risk score will be higher. Corporate banking handles many critical transactions, where the risk factor will always be on the medium to high scale as compared to retail banking, where the risk factor will be low to medium on the risk scale.
Since corporate banking combines several services to form a package, microservices testing is essential for corporate banking. Testing of corporate banking systems requires both banking and testing expertise to segregate between the intensity of test case scenarios. Corporate banking offers services like trade finance, supply chain finance, and more that require extensive testing to ensure error-free performance. The regulation impact is higher in corporate banking and testing corporate banking systems is tougher and impossible without adequate domain and testing knowledge. Corporate banking is more requirement based as compared to retail banking.
Retail and corporate banking both have a digital impact. Retail banks have undergone a digital transformation of their front-office and back-office processes. Whereas corporate banks are digitalizing their workflow in front-office, mid-office, and back-office processes. In the process of ensuring the security between value and volume, corporate banking has complex system architecture, which requires a specialized risk team to ensure the platform security.
Testing the systems in both banking segments requires specific knowledge about the platform, modules, and technologies used in retail and corporate banks. If a team has to execute testing for systems in either of these two banks or the exclusive part of the retail segment in corporate banks or exclusive corporate services in retail banks, they must have adequate knowledge to differentiate between the critical aspects of testing the systems in retail and corporate banks.
At Yethi, we have a combined industry experience of more than 30 years. We have executed functional (functional acceptance, user acceptance, integration, regression, UI/UX) testing and non-function (performance, usability, security, data migration) across more than 22 countries globally. Our testing centre of excellence (TCoE) is formed with domain and testing experts who have successfully offered services and transformed business for more than 100+ clients.
Our 5th generation robotic test automation solution, Tenjin, can be integrated with a major banking platform. This intuition test automation solutions speed up your testing process, reducing time-to-market and money. Our QA services are a combination of tool-based and solution-based, always ensuring the quality of your banking platform.