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Automated Payment Terminal Testing: The challenge to improve the status quo.

Article one of two exploring our path to automated testing success.

Where it all started

Payment terminals need to function with accuracy and security at all times. Testing is an essential part of maintaining these high standards and a perpetual process.

Abrantix continuously looks to develop processes and products which support businesses in their quest for more efficient internal systems and customer interactions.

One such product produced by Abrantix is the customer payment terminal. With its well-established and constantly developing payment software engineering department, Abrantix set out to find a solution to implement continuous integration (CI). This would enable automated testing for a system where not all parts could be virtualized.

The initial problem arose due to the nature of a payment terminal.  A payment terminal has a keypad for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) entry, a display and a number of different card readers for contact chip cards, contactless chip cards and magstripes. Some of these components, particularly secure pin entry and chip and contactless card interaction, pose significant hurdles for virtualization and therefore for CI.

Abrantix was determined to find a way to ensure its products were of the highest standard. Quality being a key factor for success, especially in the payments industry, Abrantix set its goals high. The key to ensuring ongoing quality control is testing and the most efficient way to perform those tests would be through an automated process. The Abrantix team were sure a solution could be found.

Why machine automation makes sense

Carrying out continuous testing on our payment terminals manually involved many hours of repetitive work. The need to manually check large amounts of data, often with details specific to each transaction opened the doors to human error and hiring staff to complete such repetitive work over many hours. These types of tasks were well-suited for a machine.  Most importantly, we wanted to ensure functional correctness and regulatory compliance which are a must in our industry.

We cover everything and they all need testing

The payment scene is constantly changing, becoming increasingly complex with time and technology advancements.

Payment applications now have to support;

●       More payment methods,

●       Different payment methods,

●       Different terminal models, operating systems and global standards.

Our Software supports many different payment protocols, add-on features, older terminal models with native operating systems and newer Android-based terminal models. This means there’s much more testing to be done.

With payment terminal software, there is usually a development phase then a testing phase. If a bug is found, the steps must be repeated. That’s why we set out to test and find bugs earlier in the process, saving time and bottlenecks which delay the time to market.

Our target was therefore to run regression, integration and end-to-end tests earlier in the cycle. Thereby discovering any issues as well as analyzing stability and performance as early as possible.

The answer was to develop continuous integration so developers could control testing and to automate end-to-end testing. This would surely enable Abrantix to deliver high quality payment terminal software long into the future.

Discover exactly which methods we tried and the solution which finally worked in the second article in the series.


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