By: Dwolla,

A restaurant delivery platform leverages Dwolla’s API to send ACH payments to its couriers.

According to Business Insider, the U.S. food takeout and delivery market soared to an estimated $70 billion industry in 2014. Relay Delivery is an online management and fulfillment platform that provides restaurants with an interface that consolidates orders across all order applications and a scalable courier force to meet their delivery needs.

Problem: Outdated and manual payment processes created a productivity black hole, client onboarding obstacles, and scalability problems for a fast-growing management and fulfillment platform in the restaurant delivery space.  

Results: With only one developer available, the software platform integrated Dwolla’s API for ACH in two weeks, cutting time spent performing manual payout processing tasks by 100 percent and reducing payouts processing costs by an estimated $1,200 per month.

The Situation

Restaurants leverage Relay to get a unified interface across all order platforms (Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, etc.). Additionally, restaurants can tap into Relay’s scalable delivery force to empower their delivery needs, regardless of unpredictable factors influencing demand—such as weather and holidays.


Previously, Relay gathered couriers’ banking information through a paper signup process, collecting voided checks and manually typing routing and account numbers into their online banking interface. Relay invoiced the restaurant for the service provided, and paid-out its couriers through its online banking portal, logging in and initiating single payments to each courier’s bank account on a weekly basis.

The Challenges

To attack and capture the market opportunity, Relay knew a seamless onboarding experience and automated payments would be key to attracting and retaining couriers. But, its existing courier onboarding and payouts process created a tremendous burden. Time was spent manually onboarding new couriers, collecting their bank account information and tediously disbursing payments weekly.


Relay explored many payment providers to replace their manual payouts process, but quickly discovered that many options required Relay’s couriers to create an account with the payments provider directly. Additionally, most providers charged high per-transaction fees to facilitate ACH payments.

Relay also explored expanding its relationship with their banking provider, but the bank’s proposed solution did not fit Relay’s need for a quick-to-integrate technical solution with a well-documented RESTful API.

Growing its business without changing its existing courier onboarding and payouts process would restrict Relay’s ability to scale efficiently, require an excessive amount of manual work, and in-turn, impose a growing financial burden.

Creating a seamless courier onboarding experience and automating payouts processing at a predictable price point was critical for Relay to grow and scale its service reliably.

Onboarding new couriers to work for Relay was a manual and painstaking process. From collecting bank details for every person, to manually dispersing paychecks weekly, it was clear that with our rapid growth that it could not be sustained. In implementing Dwolla, we’ve fully automated the signup and disbursement phases—we’ve freed ourselves to focus on what’s important, our business.

Zach Ivester, Relay Delivery Integrations Architect

How Dwolla Helped

From manual to automatic

Relay needed a flexible solution that would allow it to automate payment flows and reduce manual onboarding tasks for its team. Specifically, Relay needed to integrate with a payment provider offering a RESTful API that operated seamlessly with their mostly Node.js backend. If it could solve this problem, Relay could then allocate more resources to scaling the business and innovating on the platform.

Solution: Relay used Dwolla’s RESTful API so that accountants could initiate payments to couriers in a few clicks of a button. This allowed for payments to be audited and initiated more quickly.

Outcome: The flexibility and payment automation of the Dwolla API allowed the team at Relay to decrease time spent on manual accounts payable tasks by 100 percent, effectively automating and eliminating any in-house work for payroll enrollment. By decreasing time spent on processing payouts by eight hours each week, Relay netted an estimated savings of $1,200 per month.

Leading edge & cost-effective API

Relay needed a payment platform that provided nearly 100 percent uptime, while handling large bursts of requests at any given time. They also needed an infrastructure that didn’t chip at their profit margins. To accelerate and properly test the integration, quality technical documentation and a fully functional sandbox were hard requirements.

Solution: Relay entered into a flat monthly payment structure to access Dwolla’s API, and programmatically initiate transfers to its couriers’ bank accounts. This allowed Relay to automate payouts without paying exorbitant processing fees to the payment provider.

Outcome: Relay was able to integrate the Dwolla API receive-only functionality in two weeks with their single developer. With predictable month-over-month pricing, Relay can scale without worrying about unpredictable processing costs.

Improve customer onboarding

To reduce the friction of its current onboarding process, Relay needed a seamless experience that collected and linked its couriers’ bank account information without sensitive data hitting its servers. Relay also wanted to avoid requiring couriers to sign up directly with a third-party payment provider.

Solution: Relay integrated the Dwolla’s API receive-only functionality, a narrow RESTful API, that programmatically and securely connects new receivers (i.e. couriers) to their bank accounts within the platform’s payouts and registration processes. No additional steps were required by existing couriers on the Relay platform as a result of the switch to Dwolla.

Outcome: By configuring and customizing its courier onboarding experience to seamlessly collect financial information, Relay saw a 30 percent increase in courier registration completion, and reduced individual courier onboarding time by 50 percent.  


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Financial institutions play an important role in the Dwolla network.

Dwolla, Inc. is an agent of Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank and all funds associated with your account in the Dwolla network are held in pooled accounts at Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank. These funds are not eligible for individual insurance, including FDIC insurance and may not be eligible for share insurance by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. Dwolla, Inc. is the operator of a software platform that communicates user instructions for funds transfers to Veridian Credit Union and Compass Bank.