There’s a growing culture of complacency for rigorous testing in UK Financial Services. Consumers deserve better.
Author: Dave Smith, senior product manager
In under a week, there have been a series of high-profile outages in the financial services sector, supporting a growing base of evidence the industry is, at best, fragile and things needs to change.
Last week it was reported the Faster Payments system, which is used by most of the UK's banks and building societies, crashed over the weekend; and it was also reported that BP was unable to accept card payments for three-hours. This follows a huge outage from TSB back in April, along with a number of other incidents which we have discussed previously.
The same week as the Faster Payments system and BP ran into issues, FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey and the Bank of England's Jon Cunliffe said in a media statement:
"Operational disruption can impact financial stability, threaten the viability of individual firms and financial market infrastructures, or cause harm to consumers."
The regulator and BoE now demand that by October, UK banks are in a position to report how they intend to respond in case of significant disruption and further outages.
Clearly, the sector is heading toward a crossroads. Financial organisations are going to have to change; not just their systems, but their attitude toward payment solution company or services. How systems operate and are maintained - particularly at a time when technology never stops changing – must improve if the industry is to embrace an inevitable payments transformation.
A key component in reducing both the likelihood and impact of the glitches which cause breaks in an IT infrastructure is comprehensive, deep testing. Furthermore, this must be backed by an organisational commitment to invest in more robust payment testing services.
In the case of the TSB in back in April, for example, the two IT contractors who managed the migration when the bank was bought by Spain’s Sabadell Bank from Lloyds Banking Group, told the media that the outage was down to rushed, poorly designed testing.
Comprehensive, end-to-end testing already exists, and it is now up to organisations to adjust their thinking and invest in the right systems by dedicating an appropriate level of resource to the testing procedure.
Consumers deserve better.
Do you agree? How do you think the UK’s financial services sector can improve its resilience? I’d be interested to find out and discuss further. Contact me on email@example.com or LinkedIn.