5 tips for stellar user payment testing strategies

With millions of users and a 2023 evaluation of over $9 trillion, it’s time to dive into user payment testing with intent, strategy, and ferocity. These five best practices help identify and rectify common issues before causing severe problems in merchant systems.

Errors in payment gateway functionality have enormous potential to derail the relationship between consumer and vendor. Customers expect seamless, functional transactions without confusing messages or complicated steps. They expect security, privacy, and safeguards against over or underpayment. Any misstep in the payment process can lead to abandoned shopping carts, deleted apps, and consumer frustration.

Check out best practices for user payment testing

Payment testing is guided by best practices that inform how the tests are designed, executed, and reported on to deliver dependable, robust testing.

1. Combine automated and manual testing

Automated testing can help create variables, like location identifiers, postage calculations, and currency conversion rates, to test use cases. Performing a functional test of a “pay now” button or a performance test to see how the server can handle multiple payments processing at once is perfect for automation as you can quickly execute tests at your current scale.

Beyond functionality, payment gateways must offer a great user experience. This, of course, is best tested by real people on real devices. Usability testing focuses on the experience of using the payment gateway to ensure it is easy to navigate. Using real devices to test location, O/S device compatibility, and network realities allows testers to match the diversity of actual users.

Image of a payment transaction flow

2. Execute multiple integration test cases

If your e-commerce website adds a new shipping option, country, or currency, another test must be added to ensure functionality.  

Executing multiple location test cases can use region-based devices to verify that the payment gateway can handle customer locations and calculate the proper specifications (sales taxes, global shipping fees, conversion rates, import tax).

3. Use a scalable testing platform

Utilizing a scalable testing platform can significantly expand the testing functionality and test cases as your business grows. 

Platforms, a mix of software, testers, and services, should offer flexibility like testers leaping into action quickly to work in short bursts to augment your QA team during periods of peak demand. Testers then intentionally go dormant until the next run. As a result, capacity is available only when needed, and you don’t pay for idle personnel.

Testing for payment gateway performance will require developing scenarios and then running through each one to verify the payment gateway processes transactions correctly. Some test cycles may be larger than others (think performance testing for the maximum number of simultaneous transactions), and using a scalable platform will cater to specific run needs. 

Chart showing digital payment types

4. Run a pre-test pilot

Running a pre-test pilot is a handy safeguard before all of the data is loaded and scheduled to run. 

Starting with a small run doesn’t risk significant delays or reruns if anything needs to be adjusted or added before the entire run. Adopting a pilot test approach allows the test parameters and design to be assessed (and even re-designed if necessary). For example, if there’s a significant source code issue in encryption, starting with a pilot run to eliminate and rectify issues will allow the second full-production run to find more minor bugs.

Running a pre-test pilot will establish suitable time frames for test team coordination. Your team should also manage task reports transparently while accumulating data to be filed in a final report.

5. Prioritize user experience

During testing, consider the customer’s point of view and prioritize communication and clear UX. If payment is successful, a payment confirmation is provided to the customer to avoid cloned orders. Likewise, a payment failed notification must be available if a payment fails, preferably with helpful information to rectify the issue.

Customers frequently abandon carts because of technical bugs – but if the process feels overcomplicated, requires too much information, or in-app popups. Test for common triggers that can emotionally impact the end-user: time outs, discount code applications, button fails, and currency conversion issues. 

Why is user payment testing important?

Payment gateway testing will ensure customers, merchants, and financial institutions operate through a platform with the highest functionality and usability parameters.

In the best cases, testing payment gateways taps into a global network of testers that can deploy industry expertise and burstable testing as new features are explored. Skilled testers take on the role of customers and merchants to perform a suite of tests that utilize powerful test management software to perfect the user experience from functionality to usability.