American Express Co. has hatched a new name for its corporate digital payments service to drive home the message that it offers more than just cards for buyers initiating transactions.

Payve, Amex's new service, for the first time centralizes diverse types of business-to-business payments–including checks, automated clearinghouse and international wire transactions–alongside its Web-based Buyer Initiated Payments offering on a single digital platform, Amex said June 25 in a press release.

A key goal of the service is to speed up the migration of paper checks to electronic payments, Amex said.

With the new offering, clients may send Amex a file with instructions for making payments to multiple vendors using various payment methods. Amex processes the payments to clients' banks through Payve.

Amex also offers to help corporations determine the most efficient way to route payments using its Spend IQ analytics service that is linked to Payve.

Though Amex has previously touted its ability to offer corporations simplified straight-through payments, apparently it now sees the competitive benefits of integrating its services through a single channel, Aaron McPherson, practice director with IDC Financial Insights, said in an interview.

"Amex needed to move more in the direction of supporting check, ACH and wire payments along with card payments so it can compete better with banks like Citi and Chase that also offer these types of business-to-business payments," McPherson says. "In essence, Amex is relaunching its various B2B payments services under a new name."

Amex is unlikely to see cannibalization of its clients' payments moving from cards to electronic channels because buyers typically receive rebates when they pay with cards, McPherson suggests.

"Amex instead wants to make sure it isn't locked out of opportunities where corporations must use check and ACH," he says.

The service, which targets large and midsize businesses, is designed to help such corporations "streamline payments processes and better manage cash flow," Andrew Jamison, Amex vice president of global corporate payments, said in the release.


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