Carasti is a car subscription platform that's going places in the Middle East, so the last thing it needs is a payments service that's more speed bump than open road. Instead, it needs a smooth journey for its customers, seamless and efficient payments that match the quality of its fleet and technology that puts it firmly in control.
Founded in 2019, Carasti's car subscription business enables customers to access a new or used car for between one and 24 months, with maintenance, insurance and other typical ownership costs included in the monthly fee. The business has grown rapidly across the UAE and is now targeting expansion in Saudi Arabia after securing US$2 million in investments.
As Claudio Esposito-Aiardo, Carasti's CEO and Co-Founder, explains, "Our mission is to make car ownership easy, seamless and convenient—where cars give you freedom, not frustrations." It's a sentiment that goes hand in hand with efficient payments, which is why Carasti has turned to Checkout.com to maximize operational efficiency and boost customer satisfaction.
Reliable payments for the MENA region
"Our offering is designed to make it as easy as possible to get behind the wheel of their next car," says Esposito-Aiardo, "but an ineffective payments experience is clearly an obstacle. However, Checkout.com has shown us the way forward."
Esposito-Airdo says he heard about Checkout.com from businesses in the region that used the platform, and he was keen to find out more and compare it with other payments providers. He quickly realized "not all payments providers are created equal" and that Carasti's existing payments arrangements might be detrimental to its expansion plans.
Above all, the business needed a reliable payments partner to expand into Saudi Arabia, After successfully serving the UAE for more than two years, Carasti had to be confident it could provide the same slick, no-hassle subscription model in a new market, which might have been challenging with its existing arrangements."Checkout.com made the expansion straightforward," says Esposito-Aiardo."It has tremendous market knowledge and advised us on different payment methods that consumers use as well as market trends."
On the road to better authorization
The Checkout.com team pointed out that Carasti could achieve better authorization rates and identified unnecessary friction points that might complicate onboarding and increase costs when moving into new markets.
Esposito-Aiardo says this was verified by another well-known payments provider that had recently entered the UAE, so he knew Carasti had to find a new payments solution. Checkout.com was chosen for its technology, which complements Carasti's high-tech approach.
"As a new business employing the latest technology, we were impressed with Checkout.com's technology stack," says Esposito-Aiardo. "It's similar to ours and built to modern standards, and it has built-in flexibility, allowing us to craft the solution we need."
He adds that he was also impressed by Checkout.com's track record as a payments partner to businesses in the region over the past decade. "Checkout.com's references were strong," he says, "and everyone said they'd seen a notable improvement in authorization rates since working with Checkout.com."
Now Carasti can add its name to the list of satisfied customers. "Checkout.com has delivered on its promise to improve our approval rates," says Esposito-Aiardo. "If we exclude payment failure for insufficient funds, which is out of Checkout.com's control, we now have approval rates of between 85% and 90%. This is a big improvement on what we were achieving before."
Accelerating integration with best-in-class APIs
Eposito-Airdo says it was easy to start with Checkout.com, thanks to flexible technology and the swift onboarding process. "Integration took about a month," he says, "and we integrated directly into Checkout.com's API. Given the reputation and versatility of Checkout.com's technology, this is what we expected. Most of all, we really appreciated the support provided by the Checkout.com team and the suggestions they made to ensure the payments solution was optimized for our unique requirements."
As for customer experience, Esposito-Aiardo says customers now stay in Carasti's domain when making a payment, rather than being sent to the payment providers domain—which is what happened previously—so it's a much better experience because Checkout.com is invisible to the customer.
Partnering to achieve Carasti's ambitions
In addition to the strength of Checkout.com's technology, Esposito-Aiardo says that the high level of support and customer focus provided by Checkout.com was a deciding factor in moving to a new provider. "Whenever there are issues or we have questions, the Checkout.com team is there to help," he says. This includes regular business reviews, sifting through immense amounts of payments data and producing actionable information to help the business.
"In Checkout.com, we've found a payments partner, rather than just a payments provider," says Esposito-Aiardo. "And it's a partner that will help us achieve our ambitions in the Middle East and beyond."