“How much of human life is lost in waiting!” penned Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Any chore that can be digitized is surely welcome. How about cashing a check?
Cashing a check takes time. You have to go to the bank, wait on line for the next available teller or ATM. If you go to an ATM at night, you have to worry about who is lurking in the shadows outside.
Is this really necessary?
More than 7,000 banks have resolved the issue, saving us all time and hassle. You can now take a check, put it on a table, click a picture with your smartphone, and it will appear in your account as a deposit.
Using remote deposit capture, mobile applications now save you a trip to the bank. But accomplishing this feat was no easy task.
Mobile Testing for Mobile Banking is Serious Business
We are dealing with your hard-earned money. All it takes is one small error, and someone has to spend three hours arguing with a bank manager why their savings is a third of what it was last week.
Then they go on social media to tell their friends how Bank A took all their money. Then the clients of Bank A decide they would be better off moving their money to Bank B. For the banking industry, mobile testing can mean the difference between offering customers a quality-of-life upgrade and losing business.
For both the customers and the financial institutions the mobile testing process has to be perfect. To do that, we must hurdle three significant challenges:
Challenge #1: Achieve mobile test automation
The test coverage for a bank is a lot larger than for most applications. It can’t be achieved without an automated process coming from a cloud-based mobile lab consisting of hundreds of devices with their own versions, and mobile operating systems running tests all at the same time.
The challenge is that testing for an item external to the device—the check itself—eliminates the chance for automation. How do we install a robot to place a check on a table, pull out a mobile device from where it sits in the lab, and place it just the right distance from the check before taking a picture?
The solution was to create a repository of more than 100 of the most commonly used checks. Each check has its own size, color and format. A tester selects a particular check from the repository, and uploads the image file of the check to a phone’s camera app, “fooling” it into thinking it is looking right at the check. Using the zoom function on the phone, the tester has the option to simulate the distance of the check from the phone, determining how far the phone can be from the check to record accurate data.
Challenge #2: Perform mobile testing on different devices and versions to make sure each picture is of sufficient quality to read the data correctly.
Some phone cameras work better than others. Some versions of smartphones work better than others. It is essential that the mobile testing tool the banks use is able to work on all operating systems, devices and versions; otherwise, the banks would have to buy multiple testing tools and hire additional staff to operate each tool. And anything that increases complexity also increases the possibility for error.
Challenge #3: Verify that the data being read is what appears on the check.
Once the picture is taken, the mobile app retrieves the following information: the date, who is writing the check, who the check is being written out to, the check number, the bank and bank account of the payer and, most importantly, the amount. There is no room for error. The best way to test is to take hundreds of checks, all with their information stored in a database, and through numerous combinations of smartphones, versions and mobile operating systems take pictures of the checks, recording what it determines to be the information each picture contains.
The phone’s recorded data would be checked with the database of the “real answers.” The mobile testing process continues until the apps are perfect in every detail from every execution.
Once these challenges were met, the arduous chore of depositing a check became a convenience that you can take to the bank–or not.