RenovITe launches REXA: automated test tool for payments platforms

QA Financial met up with Damo Sampathkumar (pictured), general manager at RenovITe, one of the most recent start-up in payments processing IT, to discuss their latest product launch and the move towards automation in payments.

RenovITe, a California and India-based firm, which opened for business just 18 months ago, has developed automated testing tools in parallel with its core RIPPS processing system. The firm’s latest launch is REXA, a test automation tool for banks and other financial firms looking to automate their payments apps in an agile environment.

We spoke to Damo Sampathkumar, general manager at RenovITe, for his take on how changes in digital payments are impacting banks, including new digital payments channels such as Google and Apple Pay,  and how automated testing can help them keep pace.

How is the payments landscape evolving?

There has been a proliferation of new payments solutions such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Traditional payments processors, like Visa or American Express, are no longer the only games in town. Banks do not know which of these new digital payments solutions are here to stay, so if they want to stay competitive they have to be ready to trial new methods of payments, and they have to be able do so quickly.

Regulation has played a role in accelerating change in what used to be a slow-moving environment. For example in Europe, the European Union’s Directive on Payment and Services (PSD2), will force banks to open up their APIs to third parties. Banks will need to get read to test their systems on both ends of the new application programme interface (API).

In India, The National Payments Corporation of India, a not-for-profit organisation backed by the National Bank of India, recently introduced the Unified Payments Interface, a system that allows people to to transfer funds over email. This happened in April 2016 and Indian banks have had to quickly develop applications that supported the interface.

Banks will have to accommodate these changes and this means developing new software that interfaces with legacy systems. The only way to do so in a quick and efficient manner in to automate that testing that had previously been conducted manually.

What is the state of test automation in payments?

Traditionally, payments has lagged behind other sectors in the financial industry in terms of development speed due to hardware constraints. We hope that test automation can help payments accelerate development time, allowing payments to catch up with other industry verticals.

Today, if a tier one bank wants to go to market with a new product or service- say a mobile payments channel like ZapPay- the only way to do so quickly is with automated testing. Any changes made to a system when introducing or modifying a new payments channel will also affect legacy back-end systems.

A bank has to work in an agile way if it  wants to be able to make changes or add new features quickly. This means frequent changes. That becomes difficult in payments because any changes you make will have an impact on legacy back-end systems. It is absolutely essential to make sure that these changes are secure. It becomes impossible then to test a system thoroughly manually and keeping a rapid pace of change. The only way to do it is by introducing automation.

This does not mean that you remove the human element altogether- you always need to create good test scripts. But if you can automate the testing then you can re-use scripts. REXA can help automate this testing.

You did not start out as a developer of testing software, so how did REXA come about?

It’s true. Testing was not initially our core interest. We developed REXA as an internal tool to test our own payments processing system, RenovITe’s Integrated Payment Processing System (RIPPS). We realised that we had created a product that had a place on the market.

We have tried to make the product as open and flexible as possible. It is built entirely out of open-source scripts. And it is not domain specific, so you are not bound to just Windows, or just Linux, for example.

It also works across different devices and platforms. It is possible to start up an automated test from a tablet or cellphone. We have seen certain tools restrict the ways you can conduct your testing. We have built something very open-ended, that allows for a high-degree of customisation.

It does come with pre-built test cases for Visa, Mastercard, American Express. We also have features for EMV processing. So there is out-of-the-box functionality. But its true strength lies in its how adaptable it is. And all of this without requiring knowledge of any programming languages.

REXA is also unique in that it allows end-to-end testing in payments. There are other tools that allow for automated testing of legacy systems, but nothing that could test from end-to-end. You might have something that can test a withdrawal from an ATM, as it goes through a payments processing system. But then there are also clearing systems, settlement systems, mobile applications. We can test all of that.

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