OSN is the biggest pay-TV operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Over 1.4 million people across 26 markets subscribe to its services on TV, mobile, tablet and PC.
In 2018, Richard Farrell, Deputy Chief Financial Officer at OSN, strategically reviewed its payments operation. “Our revenues are driven by our ability to accept recurring payments from subscribers," explains Farrell. "And what became clear was that our payments weren't performing optimally, leading to lost revenue and increased costs."
To solve this challenge, Farrell and his team brought Checkout.com onboard to process its payments. "Checkout.com had an excellent reputation locally from working with many large merchants in MENA," says Farrell. "That gave us confidence it had the technology and expertise to take our payments to the next level."
Optimal payments performance increases revenues and cuts cost
OSN's payment approval rate has increased by 5% since working with Checkout.com. "This is a significant uplift in performance and has made a notable contribution to our bottom line," says Farrell.
Checkout.com enables OSN to achieve this uplift by allowing it to route payments through multiple payment gateways. It also provides OSN with the meaningful data and expert advice needed to optimize its payments.
"Checkout.com gives us all the tools required to optimize our payments performance," says Farrell. "And they're constantly working with us to analyze our performance and find innovative ways to drive further improvements."
The uplift in approval rate also allows OSN to save significant amounts of time and cost in chasing customers whose payments have failed. "If a subscriber's payment fails, they enter a cycle of repeated collection attempts. It's a very costly process," explains Farrell. "Checkout.com is significantly reducing our costs by ensuring as many transactions are successful at the first attempt."
Local payment methods attract new customers
OSN uses Checkout.com's flexible payments platform to unlock more payment methods for its customers. These include Apple Pay across the region, Fawry in Egypt, KNET in Kuwait, and MADA in Saudi Arabia.
"MENA's payment landscape is complex, but Checkout.com cuts through that complexity," says Farrell. "They show us what payment methods we need to offer our customers in each market to drive conversion and lower churn. And they allow us to switch them on quickly and without taking on any additional complexity."
OSN is expanding its subscriber base and creating a better customer experience by offering various payment methods. For instance, OSN previously put barriers around some payment methods to manage risk. That meant people subscribing using prepaid cards, for example, would be asked to pay more upfront.
"These barriers would sometimes prevent people from subscribing to our services," says Farrell. "But now we can remove those barriers by pointing them towards paying using Apple Pay to complete their purchase. As a result, we're seeing many new people in the region subscribe to our services using these payment methods. And the payment is almost always authorized successfully at the first attempt."
Finding the confidence to stop accepting cash from its customers
In 2020, OSN decided to stop accepting cash payments from its customers. In a region where cash remains a popular way to pay, this was a big step to take.
"Checkout.com gave us the confidence to stop accepting cash payments by delivering best-in-class payments performance and allowing us to offer more digital payment methods to our customers," says Farrell.
"And they've supported us every step of the way," he adds. "Even ensuring our customer service teams are prepared to support customers using the new payment methods we offer. So now our customers have a better experience and we've removed the high costs associated with handling cash from the business."