WEX, a US-based commerce platform, has launched Flume, a digital payment platform for quick, transparent payments for small and medium businesses (SMBs).

Serving as a new digital wallet, Flume, which is a ‘brainchild’ of Wex’s incubator WEX Ventures, is aimed at supporting around 30 million businesses in the US that presently depend on slow, analog payment approaches.

Flume initially intends to bridge the digital divide for ‘overlooked’ trade-oriented businesses that have less than $15m in annual revenue.

WES president for corporate payments Jay Dearborn said: “As the old saying goes, time is money. And for a small business operating in a market that often caters to the needs of the large enterprises, time is in short supply. Flume seeks to level the playing field by offering mom-and-pop shops a personal CFO at their fingertips.

“Powered by an FDIC insured digital wallet, Flume will allow SMBs to focus on growing their business while enhancing productivity, saving money, and reducing costs.”

Flume’s digital payments platform removes the requirement for a manual account payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) processes.

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Flume’s digital wallet will help in accelerated and real time payments by enabling businesses to send, store, and get funds through a mobile and web app.

WEX Flume general manager and co-founder Matt Roy said: “Most SMBs still rely on paper-based processes to power their businesses, which has served them well for decades. But looking ahead to the next 10 years, we’ve heard from many of our customers, particularly in the trades, that their current workflows can’t keep up amid skyrocketing demand.

 “Most tools on the market today are built for more modern, technology enabled companies leaving many of these physically-grounded businesses out of focus; that’s why we built Flume. Flume puts the power of customized, accessible software in their hands so they can stay focused on growth and not the paperwork.”

In the months to come, WEX intends to launch Flume in phases across the industry hubs.

During the first phase, the focus of this launch will be centred on current WEX fuel card users and new customers.

Later this summer, the company intends to launch new software add-ons that will expand Flume to builders and tradesmen to boost payment speed and transparency for customers.

Flume will be offered by WEX Payments after a tie-up with a commercial bank.