How Kilo Health unified payments to optimise risk, authorisations, and cost

“We wanted to unify payment operations”

Kilo Health supports over 4 million customers globally, with a collection of health and wellness subscriptions apps and digital products. Kilo Health's diverse product range and 'borderless' customer community attract multiple market segments, demographics, and devices.

Across the company group, there are 10 merchants, all with different setups and underlying payment providers. That's where Vytautas Šernas came in.

Early in 2020, Vytautas migrated from product management into a new "Head of Payments" role to support and optimise payments across the company and create the best buying experiences for each customer

We have such a diverse portfolio of merchants who operate across the whole world, so we have very different user bases. We wanted to unify the payments operations under one roof, both from a business and 
partnerships perspective, but also from a technical infrastructure.

Before a centralised payments team was formed, every product manager had to factor in the complexities of payments. Each product team shared common challenges around risk, performance, and cost.

The main product teams just want to focus on building their products, not handling ongoing tasks related to payments.

The centralised team also aimed to build a single, unified integration for all their payments too. However, they quickly ran into challenges with traditional payment service providers (PSPs).

There wasn't one 'perfect' PSP that could successfully support every customer across every product in every region, and he wasn't comfortable with "all our eggs in one basket". The merchant-facing support teams at their payment service providers also weren't proactive in enabling Kilo Health how to drive the best performance.

The PSPs are not really good at giving advice because in some cases there's very little they can do to optimise. But even if they do, they're not in that mode of advising merchants what to optimise, how to get better approval rates, what settings to adjust, and so on.

Vytautas realised he needed to maintain multiple payment providers, but manage them all through a single unified integration.

We wanted to have one single integration for card payments so its less maintenance, and have all the tokens in one place. We'd like to route payments depending on business rules - cost optimisation, approval rates optimisation, or risk optimisation - which is basically impossible to do if you're using a single provider or if you're using multiple providers but with different integrations, then you can’t do this because they're all still siloed.

It was quickly obvious this wouldn't be easy to build in-house - hurdles like PCI Level-1 compliance certifications would take months, even years to complete. Instead, they started by evaluating different off-the-shelf 'payment orchestrators', but they found their products to not deliver.

Their sales pitch was misleading. When we actually saw the platform 
 and started testing, we saw that essential features are actually missing. Some integrations were not production ready. In general, they're a slower organisation. They do backend releases every few months.

Kilo needed to find a modern partner - beyond legacy orchestrators - to help them unify their entire payments stack. That’s where they found Primer.

"Easy to integrate, easy to use, and looks intuitive"

Kilo Health chose to partner with Primer to provide their unified infrastructure for payments.

The platform itself is easy to integrate, easy to use, and looks intuitive compared to other platforms.

Kilo Health were quickly able to test out their first use cases and realise their vision for a single payments integration.

Primer created an account really quickly. We connected several PSPs, ran our own testing and it looked promising - the core thing was working! We saw great potential, how Primer can learn from us, and how we can learn from Primer. It's a good relationship that we can grow together.

Vytautas and his team prioritised their use cases for Primer.

To manage risk, the payments team could use Workflows to control how payments are routed from riskier country markets and individual customer metadata like risk scores.

Now that we can handle risk better, we can handle more transactions. 

If we can see riskier customers, we can adjust rules where such customers should be processed.

Workflows can also be used to route payments to specific local acquirers. With Primer, 
 Kilo Health could leverage their commercial relationships and volume with all their underlying payment processors - ultimately testing payment volume through a wider range of processors for specific markets.

It's easy to route payments and report on performance within the Primer dashboard.
 Insights from testing informed how the payments team wanted to iterate on their strategy for optimising payments.

We'd prefer to have control on the Primer side, we provide custom metadata about the customer and order and set the rules in the workflow builder.

Kilo Health use Primer to manage create and control their checkout experience. Together 
 with workflows, they can manage seamless 3DS experiences. In future, they’re planning to add alternative payment methods to optimise for conversion in different markets.

We'll also go bigger on alternative payment methods, so we have a direct contract with Klarna. We'll [onboard] new emerging markets to see how they are performing.

Unlike other payment services he tried, Vytautas and his team were able to work closely together with the customer success team at Primer to deliver the solution they needed and shape the roadmap on both sides.

With Primer, Kilo Health have found a platform and partner to unify and optimise their entire payments operation.

Marc is really great. Having this is the first 
 time when a customer success manager 
is doing what the title implies instead of being just a router for messages for other teams and saying "oh, there's nothing I can do".

Payments optimisation is directly impacting the bottom line of Kilo Health's subscription business as they can process more transactions successfully.

It's much easier for us to manage risk. We have a high ROI because 
we can have a higher risk tolerance because we have the tools to manage 
 it vs. sticking with a single provider where we'd have to reduce our "risk appetite" because we have fewer tools to manage that. So, it's directly impacting our bottom line.

As well as higher payment performance, there's higher people performance. 
 Multiple product and risk teams are now 'freed up' from handling payments or being roadblocked by engineering.

Risk management is also not relying on the technical teams for our merchants. With the Primer API, we're shifting the routing to the Primer side.

As the product teams and payments team look to build out their roadmaps, 
they rely on Primer to continue to deliver a unified payments infrastructure.

I'm happy with Primer and how fast 
they're moving. The core platform is 
well established and they can move fast. Keeping in mind how many people they've hired and their last investment round - I think it's just getting started.

What's more, Primer is uniquely positioned to feed into and shape the payments strategy at Kilo Health. With a larger view of the market and an ever-growing marketplace of connections, the customer success team can inform Vytautas and his team of new opportunities and best practices.

There's constant innovation so I'm hoping that Primer will be up-to-date
 and try to coach us.