Fintechs are rapidly expanding their offerings to align with consumers who want to invest, manage, and diversify their portfolios with digital-first micro-investing apps, tools, and non-traditional asset classes.

During the pandemic, consumers have rapidly adopted digital finance technology, jumping from 58% of Americans using at least one fintech app in 2020 to 88% in 2021. This massive consumer base now expects seamless digital experiences akin to what they find in e-commerce and other B2C sectors. Financial consumers want instantaneous responses to take advantage of fluctuations in the market. They want tentpole features — including curated portfolios and personalized experiences — quickly, efficiently, and digitally. They expect functionality, security, and compliance. And importantly, they want to encounter intuitive UX and usability across all devices, platforms, and device types. 

As fintechs continue to scale, they will need to remain focused on experience and usability. Not unlike business software firms over the past decade, technicality, functionality, and thorough QA will be critical to their future success.

Aligning with the needs of fintech consumers

For the sake of simplicity, we are defining fintechs as financial technology sector providers — often with a mobile-first, app-centric design — who typically operate outside of the typical financial institution-oriented industry structure.

In 2022, fintech consumers will continue seeking digital access to their finances, including new ways to invest and manage wealth. 

There’s vast potential for rapid growth if companies can stake their claim on a target demographic — if providers can respond to what they say they want. We leveraged conversations with internal experts and client reports to compile the top 5 must-have features for fintech products: 

  1. Investing. Buy, sell, trade-in stocks, NFT, crypto-currencies.
  2. Resources. Access to online help from remote or digital investing managers and other experts.
  3. Curation. Assets are curated and intuitively presented.
  4. Speed. Leverage existing P2P and ACH networks to complete transactions quickly and provide instant or near-instant asset availability. 
  5. Security. Secure, yet unintrusive, identity verification — including two-factor or biometric authentication and fraud protection.

Even then, aligning with customers is difficult due to the breadth of the financial services industry. In addition to the top features above, clients want to be able to digitally: 

  • Transfer money
  • Deposit, transfer, withdraw money
  • Apply for/receive short and long term loans
  • Settle mortgage payments 
  • Download expense reports
  • Access credit history 

Alongside the demand for features and intuitive UX, our internal experts emphasized that micro-investing apps are the next large-scale fintech wave.

The marriage of fintech and micro-investing apps

Even fifteen years ago, focused investing and stock picking was for Wall St. insiders and asset managers. Now, students want to invest $5 into crypto, parents want to roll over their spare cash into mutual funds, and blue-collar professionals want to buy fractional real estate. In the past five months, investors have put more money into the stock market than combined in the past 12 years. 

Nearly half of Testlio’s financial services clients offer the ability to invest, often through microfinancing or fractional investing methods that allow users to purchase the number of shares or partial shares they can afford, something that used to be only possible through a specialized broker.

From real estate to wine to cryptocurrency investing, this wave of microfinancing will continue to build in 2022. The bar is high for consumers racked with options, and they’re demanding features like: 

  • Duty-free trade
  • 0% platform commission 
  • No lock-in period
  • Low account minimum (from $1-100 depending on platform)
  • Easy access dashboard with real-time pricing information 

For fintechs, the low barrier to entry they have provided combined with the commonality of consumers maintaining multiple accounts across different apps means more clients, with more accounts, across more devices and countries. 

This will eventually evolve into a complex ecosystem with many friction points — APIs between apps, connections to long-standing financial institutions, and, inevitably, additional regulatory considerations. With a fully developed QA team, this is an excellent opportunity for growth. For those without, the mass consumer demand and interconnectivity are a potentially rocky road paved with subpar UX, unreliable integrations, and customer dissatisfaction. 

Testlio recently completed a run with a mobile financial technology company with a micro-investing app used by over 9 million global customers. This firm pushes major releases for its mobile app five times per month on average, but for this fintech and its vast user-base, full device coverage (testing the application across devices, operating systems, and regions) was a considerable problem.

Limited QA resources and a tight releasing schedule left the client releasing with incomplete device coverage and QA assurance. These releases all followed a similar unhappy path: 

After completing an ROI analysis of hiring more internal QA or relying on a software testing partner, the client identified significant cost savings through Testlio’s fully managed networked testing offering. 

Testlio used its automated engine to match freelancers in the correct countries with the client’s project. These on-demand testers went into rapid response mode, with same-day and overnight runs proceeding rapidly to address issue verification, sanity checks, and other passes. Within days, the client tapped into 25 expert testers in 13 countries using over 70 device/OS combinations.

By scaling their testing without management responsibilities like hiring and training resources, the client received faster coverage with time to fix issues in advance of their weekly release schedule. Armed with Testlio’s end report containing insights into the run cycle, top issues, and recommendations, the client earned a spot in the top 30 finance apps in the Apple App Store.

Fintechs can get sticky by embracing QA

The rise of micro-investing apps combined with the pandemic catalyzing the adoption of digital banking tools has created a surge in consumer demand. Nearly 90% of American consumers use one or more fintech apps to manage their financial portfolios. They have their choice, too, in a 40 billion dollar industry with thousands of options. 

With such rigid competition, fintech companies need to differentiate themselves to tap the market successfully. Hitting all of the consumers’ desired features is a start. Still, fintech apps can’t ignore the demand for good quality end UX, usability, and the seamless and intuitive user experiences that only thorough QA can provide. 

Consumers are also clear: they won’t use products with bad UX. The intuitive and easy access to an app separates industry giants like Venmo from other mobile payment platforms with dwindling success. Ross Trampler, director of Business Software at Testlio, noted the demand for accessible and easy-to-use interfaces. 

“Usability is critical, and if the experience using the software or app isn’t crisp, a consumer is going to move on. User experience is a big differentiator in fintech,” Trampler said.

A quick study of the most popular fintech/financial apps shows that the true differentiator is a polished, glitch-free, seamless end UX. Creating a sticky app that users continue to come back to can’t be a secondary consideration. Keep the app simple, pure, functional, and easy to use. 

There are two significant problems facing fintech companies that want to embrace QA: complete device, location, OS coverage on real devices, and requiring personally identifiable information (PII) to create mock accounts.

Fintechs are heading into 2022 with mounting pressure to grow and enhance their platforms quickly, effectively, and safely in every country across all significant device and OS combinations. The more successful micro-investing apps get, the more QA it will need to integrate with other parties in this ecosystem while maintaining and expanding into new markets, languages, or countries. 

While some fintech companies can recruit a small in-house QA team, it’s unlikely that they can match the demand for integration across countries and devices. Not to mention the vast swath of tests required to determine proper functionality. Fintechs need fast, comprehensive functional tests, including functional, exploratory, regression, payment, and funnel testing. 

We’ve talked above about how utilizing a crowdsourced testing network can bring hundreds of testers to unique locations with real devices. 

There’s a second major hurdle in fintech that Trampler has noticed. Web and mobile apps already in production need testers to act as clients, but this hinges on creating a real account with real personal information and real money. 

This is doable but challenging at scale and often impossible to do in-house.

Tapping into a crowd of testers who can proxy as clients eliminates the issue of requiring employees to leverage their personal information as testers. Utilizing a capable, manual test QA vendor and their expertise also allows fintechs to use their skills to create test cases with test data.

Performing functional testing for fintech companies can be further aided through “shifting left” and testing earlier in the dev cycle. Waiting until after an app is in the hands of consumers to prioritize QA testing is a risk. In fintech, there’s a significant amount of competition, money, and global compliance at stake. 

For companies that already have an app released into the market, these same principles can apply — aim to bring in QA during your new releases and when expanding functionality or pushing into new markets. Release an innovative product to a market wanting to diversify its financial needs and put your fintech company on the path towards success in 2022.