Relay Payments, a financial technology (fintech) firm focused on the logistics and trucking industries, today launched a freight payment solution for brokers, saying it will replace slow, manual purchases with the type of secure, electronic exchanges that many consumers already use for retail shopping.
According to Atlanta-based Relay payments, its “RelayDirect” product lets brokers automate their payments to carriers and third-party factoring firms, offer flexible payment terms, improve cash flow, and reduce administrative burdens. In turn, carriers also benefit from the product through receiving instant payments and gaining the ability to use those payments within Relay’s network, which allows them to buy fuel immediately with their most recent payment and to reduce their exposure to fraud scams on fuel cards.
The firm’s technology includes a web portal, software solution, application programming interface (API) links, and smartphone app. Together they function like “Venmo for truckers,” according to Relay’s president and co-founder, Spencer Barkoff.
Without an electronic payment platform, truckers are often delayed by the need to conduct a manual exchange of cash and checks for paperwork and receipts at transportation nodes like warehouses and truck stops. Those delays add up quickly through daily routines like fuel purchases, lumper fees to unload freight, and claiming payments from brokers, Barkoff said.
To streamline the process, Relay first introduced its digital payment solution in 2019, saying it was a fast, secure way to eliminate long delays that force drivers to wait hours for payment approvals and authorizations. The startup has since attracted $100 million in venture capital backing, and Relay’s payment network now allows fleets nationwide to make over-the-road payments including diesel fuel and unloading fees. It is in use with more than 300,000 drivers, 90,000 carriers, and 1,500 truckstops across the U.S.
“This industry is underserved, but our technology can help make it more efficient to make payments, so trucks can stay within their hours of service caps,” Barkoff said. “That’s important in a world where the pandemic has changed work patterns and the ELD mandate is forcing trucking companies to be as efficient as possible.”