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Performance Testing for Banking Applications

May 5, 2020
8 min read

In a world where the global economy is connected, banking plays a foundational role in connecting companies financially regardless of their location. However, due to the critical nature of finances and the risk of fraud, security, and privacy, banking applications enabling these transactions are extremely complex, perhaps more complicated than most enterprise software.

Even a single account in the banking application holds several records are at a time. Since reliability and scalability are a major requirement, banking applications need to go through extensive performance testing. In this article, we will highlight key stages and techniques banking application testing and discuss why performance testing for banking applications is critical.

Why Performance Testing is Needed for Every Finance Business?

Due to the rise of digital culture, there has been an urgency of reinvention and transformation in the finance industry. Technology is the most powerful driver for change in finance.

With digital technologies influencing everything from online banking, bill payments, cash transfers, cash withdrawals, and other transactions, we are seeing software applications being designed for each specific financial process. Likewise, mobile and wearable devices are greatly influencing consumer behavior. 

Because of this, security and consumer behavior have become major challenges for banking applications. Likewise, these applications need to ensure performance to provide better consumer satisfaction and experience.

Legacy banking applications are not robust enough to support the maximum no. of users while also allowing business transactions. At the same time, they are also less responsive and reliable for faster transaction processing. These applications must be upgraded to get maximum support for testing.

Also, most advanced performance testing tools are not aligned with the architecture of legacy banking business applications and their transactions. Sometimes, these applications fail to process business process the first time.

This means that these applications may miss recording important business transactions. Even if a single process is missed during scenario recording, the software may fail to reflect the true business load on the server, resulting in useless testing. In legacy applications, it’s essential to cover each and every business process while recording.

Aside from that, since performance test consultants must record processes multiple times and verify the recorded script, it can be really hard to replicate in legacy applications. Even when they do that, they must perform this task repeatedly until all the records have been processed.

The latest performance testing tools that have legacy banking applications also fail to fulfill “Roll Back” and “Commit” actions. Commit and rollback actions are critical for banking apps and monitor the status of the transactions executed by different users.

If the banking application executes all the processes successfully, the commit action validates all the transactions at the end. If that doesn’t happen, the Roll Back feature postpones all related processes and returns the failed status. Both these issues are critical to banking applications ad must be handled carefully.

This is why using the right tools is critical for effective load testing for banking applications. Performance testing allows testers to evaluate the true load capacity of banking applications and ensure that the application keeps working optimally even in peak hours.

Digital banking involves a range of services, such as bill payments, marketing, financial management, analytics, and more. These emerging applications in finance force software developers to incorporate other emerging technologies and come up with new features to meet with ever-changing customer demands.

Amid social distancing measures, we can expect virtual banking to become the next best thing. It has the power to transform the banking sector and considerably improve the customer experience. Nevertheless, it is essential to ensure performance while implementing these features.

Performance testing helps software teams test the efficiency of any given application. It involves a wide variety of tests that assist testing teams in gauge the performance of different technologies. Performance testing not only helps teams measure the speed and scalability of the application, but also its consistency and resilience.

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However, many banking applications still rely on technology that is obsolete in other industries. Therefore, the majority of the current testing tools lack the functionalities to implement performance testing in these legacy applications.

Performance testing is necessary because
The quality of any software system hinges on how well you identify underlying vulnerabilities. Unless you perform load testing, there’s no way of knowing how an application will behave in a real-world environment. Furthermore, the risk of the application crashing will be significantly higher in the absence of performance testing.

This is why many testers rely on performance testing to detect significant performance issues such as buffer overflow, memory leaks, and memory mismanagement. At the same time, the testing procedure has the capacity to expose major issues in an application like bandwidth limitation and load balancing problems. 

When It Is Needed to Start Thinking About Performance Testing

For evaluating the performance of current systems, software teams must determine when to start performance testing in the development process to get the maximum benefits. Many testing teams are not sure about when they should start thinking about performance testing; in the beginning, alongside development, or in the last phase.

First, we have to understand what does performance means in terms of testing for banking applications. Banking applications must process billions of thousands of transactions every day without making any errors.

An iota of miscalculation can have grave consequences for the bank. This is why performance goes beyond speed in banking applications. The system should be performing reliably without stressing the servers too much.

For instance
A system that processes transactions quickly but utilizes 100% of server resources is bound to fail. Whenever the servers report a surge in user requests, such a system will crash due to excessive load.

Likewise, only paying attention to response times, means that we only see symptoms of performance instead of the actual vulnerabilities causing those problems. Performance testing needs to focus on those bottlenecks so we can improve the overall performance instead of chasing after symptoms.

This is why it’s best to begin testing at an earlier stage. Doing so helps software teams identify major issues in the beginning and continue the testing process along with the entire evolution of the application.

Types of Performance Testing for Banking App

Load Testing 

As we discussed above, it evaluates a system’s ability to perform under real-world user loads. The primary objective of this text is to identify performance bottlenecks in the application before deployment.

Endurance Testing 

Since it is a subset of load testing, it is also considered a part of performance testing. Here we measure the application’s performance against anticipated user loads over a long time. The performance is measured against benchmarks set during initial performance testing.

Volume Testing 

In volume testing, a large amount of data is injected in a database suddenly, and testers evaluate its effect on the overall behavior of the software system. Therefore, testers are able to check how the system behaves under changing database volumes.

Stress Testing 

Stress testing is used to measure an application’s performance against extreme workloads, such as high data processing or traffic. The primary objective of this test is to identify the breaking point of the application.

Capacity Testing 

Capacity testing helps software testers identify how many users a software system can handle before the performance of the application goes below expectations.

Scalability Testing

Software testers use scalability testing to determine an application’s ability to scale up depending on the increase in user load. It helps us identify the system’s ability to adapt to increasing user loads. 

Spike Testing

Spike testing refers to the process where testers evaluate how a system responds to large spikes in user load.

How to Start Performance Testing For Banking Applications

QA Banking App Testing needs to have a clear testing strategy so you can expand it to all other projects. Without a clear outline or framework, it’s difficult to schedule a timeline accurately, allocate roles and responsibilities amongst the testing team, or estimate the entire budget.

This is why having the step-by-step knowledge of your bank application testing process is crucial. Depending on the scale of the banking app, business objectives, and its features, you may need to add or remove steps from the framework. That said, the banking app testing process usually follows the same procedure as any agile application. 

Each component of the software development lifecycle is designed for maximizing speed and efficiency. This is why you need to break down testing into the usual software testing lifecycle. Doing so ensures that every component of the banking app is verified in terms of quality. 

Requirement Gathering and Analysis

Requirement Analysis is the step where the performance testing for the banking app begins. Here the testing team tries to evaluate the requirements of testing and outline which of the given requirements they can test. 

The specifications of any given system can be either functional or non-functional. This means that the testers must check functional business features as well as metrics such as speed, reliability, availability, and security.

The QA specialist must have domain knowledge and be well-versed in industry-specific terms to create a comprehensive testing process. Based on the gathered information, the testing team has to identify the requirements of each testing session.

Test Case Development

The Test Case Development phase results in the creation of test cases and their corresponding scripts. The test team needs to create, verify, and remake specific test cases based on given features and their requirements. Furthermore, they also need to come up with testing data they can use on their test cases and scripts.

Remember that the QA specialist must create an online banking application test suite where each case is separated by functionality modules. Doing so helps testers cover all major aspects of the banking app, i.e., user experience, functionality, load-balancing, and security.

Environment Setup

The test environment comprises of testing conditions such as hardware and software specifications used during the testing procedure. Ideally, it should imitate the environment used by the end-user in his/her working space. The testing team is required to set the testing environment completely and check the readiness of the testing environment (smoke testing).

This means that the testing team needs to have the knowledge of the architecture, software, and hardware specifications of the environment. 


In the Test Execution phase, testers carry out testing according to the test plans and test cases created by the team. They will evaluate if all the requirements in the RTM match out and report any errors they find in the testing procedure. They will then report the testing errors to the developers working on the project.

Furthermore, the team needs to document all test results and log any case that has failed. Afterward, they need to map the bugs with the test cases in the RM and keep track of these bugs until closure.

Analyze Results, Report, and Retest

In the end, the entire testing team will meet, exchange information, and analyze testing documents to optimize the testing strategies. These teams have to analyze the data individually, as well as a cross-functional team.

Based on their findings, they have to reprioritize the remaining tests and re-execute them as required. After all metric values fall within acceptable limits, no thresholds are violated, and the team has gathered all of the desired findings, the testing procedure of that scenario is completed.

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Practice Projects at PFLB

Performance testing is crucial for ensuring the maximum performance of banking applications. Thorough testing is critical for banking applications since they have to deal with large volumes of sensitive data. An error-prone banking web application testing procedure puts the customers at risk and endangers their financial assets. 

PFLB has considerable experience in testing banking applications. Our professional expertise allows us to identify underlying vulnerabilities inside banking applications and ensures that these apps perform securely, reliably, and with maximum efficiency.

To learn more about the company feel free to visit our website at PFLB.

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