Level up your payment processes by automating pay-outs

The administrative effort tied up in processing pay-outs can be a burden for many businesses. Whether accounts payable or the issuing of refunds, paying out in a traditional sense is typically time-intensive and error prone.

In a typical workflow, a user will log in to a business bank account and manually enter a range of different details for each payment. These will be authenticated by another team member before the transactions are authorised.

However, when disbursing payments across multiple recipients, the manual process to facilitate the transactions can get out of control as your business grows. Mistakes, delays and unaccounted figures begin to take up more time as your company scales, reducing overall efficiency

Timely and accurate payments are a crucial driver for customer success, so it is important businesses pay attention to their payment processes and identify areas for improvement. Two in five UK invoices were paid late in 2018, implying there is scope to update payment processes across sectors.

A sophisticated payment workflow will look to automate manual tasks and minimise opportunities for human error. For larger organisations that already use third-party systems to organise supplier payments, a best-in-class solution would see them combining all their disparate databases into one unified payment solution. By integrating with an API for payment automation – such as fire.com’s – the need to route payments through multiple systems for complex payments is greatly reduced.

Examples of automated pay-outs
Whether it’s an inter-account transfer to a segregated customer or staff account, or automating large volume batch payments to suppliers, there are a number of ways APIs can be used to streamline the pay-out process.

Alternative lender – automated, real-time disbursements
GRID Finance is an alternative finance provider that specialises in loans for the hospitality, e-commerce and personal service industries. Being able to release funds to customers quickly is a key differentiator in the alternative lending space, so they looked to fire.com to help them automate payments-out and open segregated customer accounts in real-time, to support effective reconciliation.

As a result, GRID Finance has significantly increased speed of settlement and reduced reconciliation processing times to minutes:

“Every minute we save allows us to focus on delivering the best possible experience for our customers” says Senior Operations Manager of GRID Finance, Gary Grimes.

Bulk pay-outs to suppliers
By opening a fire.com business account and integrating with the API, businesses can initiate vary large volume batch payments to suppliers, contractors or staff. Once the workflow is set-up, users authorise each payment via the firework mobile app.

Bespoke payments providers such as fire.com can also support businesses with less development resource to automate batch pay-outs, with the only requirement being the provision of data in Excel format and the opening of a fire.com business account from which to send the funds. If you think you could benefit from this service, get in touch with our team to find out more.

Shopper debit cards
Buymie is an online retail platform that allows customers to purchase goods from local retail stores and have them delivered same day. Buymie wanted a solution that would enable them to open accounts for each personal shopper and quickly transfer the funds needed to purchase goods for customers. They also wanted the ability to freeze cards themselves, switching each one off once purchases are made.

By opening up an account with fire.com, Buymie can open additional accounts with no further KYC checks. Each account comes with its own IBAN and all inter-account transfers are made in real-time, at no charge. For enhanced security, all account users receive a notification when payments are made, while cards can be frozen or unfrozen instantly via the parent account.

Are you thinking about introducing an automated element to your pay-out process? We can help. Get in touch with our team to discuss the benefits of opening a digital account.

What are Open Payments?

Learn how Fire Open Payments give you a new, easier way to get paid

The arrival of Open Banking represents a seismic shift in the way consumers and businesses use financial services. By giving regulated third-parties secure access to financial information, it is shaking up an industry that has been difficult to access – inviting more competition and stimulating innovation.

For consumers, Open Banking is better suited to meeting the needs of our increasingly digital society – offering greater choice and access to highly personalised services. For businesses, it presents the opportunity to create exciting new financial products that are more secure and cost-effective than ever before.

A one click society

Thanks to the rise of mobile apps, voice assistants and streaming media, consumers now expect quick and seamless experiences with every digital interaction. And payments are no exception – indeed, contactless payments accounted for 19% of all payments made in the UK in 2018.

In addition, consumers are increasingly customers of more than one bank or hold multiple accounts and access to accounts via mobile app has become the norm. The result is that everyone now carries a payment device in their pocket.

Account transfers traditionally presented considerable friction for the payer, with account details requiring manual entry. These have been left behind in the one-click revolution. Until now.

One of the new developments arising from Open Banking allows approved payment processors to set up (initiate) an account transfer payment for the payer to authorise in their online banking or mobile app. Termed “Open Payments”, this form of digital payment doesn’t require data entry from the payer, reduces settlement time for the payee and, in some cases, instant reconciliation.

Not only is the experience faster for all parties, it’s also more secure than other payment methods. And, with fewer parties involved in the payment process, Open Payments are also significantly more cost-effective for businesses than traditional debit or credit card payments.

How Open Payments work

Leveraging Open Banking technology, Open Payments allow people and businesses to pay directly from their account, in real-time. It’s safer, faster and more cost-effective than other payment methods available today. Here’s how it works.

The process starts when a payer is prompted to pay using Open Banking. An Open Payment request can take the form of simple web links, so lend themselves well to many payment scenarios. Here are a few examples of how the links can be displayed.

Website button


Bus stop shelter


Open Banking Payment Terminal


The payer’s view

When a customer opts to pay using Open Banking, they are first asked to select their account provider from a list. They authenticate and sign into their account as normal via online banking or mobile app. When logged in, they are presented with the payment details and asked to authorise the payment. The payer is then shown a confirmation of payment before being redirected back to the business they are buying from.

Check out the payer’s view of Open Payments in our explainer video:


Find out more about Open Banking payment technology in our white paper: From Open Banking to Open Payments – a better way to pay, and get paid.

Online retail and Open Payments: a perfect match

How e-commerce businesses can benefit from frictionless bank account payments that provide fast settlement, reduce fraud and cost less than card payments.

For years, consumer buying behaviour has been shifting increasingly towards online retail, driven by a range of factors including convenience, ability to compare deals and attractive pricing. Many high street brands are increasing their proportion of selling online, with bricks and mortar retailers experiencing a 10% reduction in footfall over the past seven years.

This shift has been dramatically accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, with shops closed and many people unable to leave their homes. Online sales across multiple sectors have increased significantly and it appears this reflects more than just a temporary change in behaviour. A study by Morning Consult found that 24% of customers don’t intend to start shopping outside again in the next six months, while financial news website PYMNTS found that 23% of consumers who have shifted their routines online due to the pandemic don’t intend to change them.

Stay ahead of the competition

While this is good news for e-commerce, the sector is now set to become even more competitive, so online retailers need to ensure they convert occasional visitors into loyal customers to maintain and grow their market presence. It is vital e-commerce businesses focus on providing a best-in-class online customer experience to ensure they stay ahead of the competition and capitalise on increased consumer demand.

Online shoppers are quick to abandon websites that provide a poor experience and the majority of those will never return as customers. A recent study by PwC found that, after product price, speed and usability are the most important aspects to customers when shopping online. One key element of this is payment: customers want more choice and convenience when it comes to their payment options.

Introducing Open Payments

Mobile banking is already expected to overtake high street bank branch visits by 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to drive even greater adoption of online banking. With more people than ever having access to their bank account via their smartphone, this presents an opportunity for a new kind of payment method: Open Payments.

Open Payments is a completely new way for businesses to accept real-time bank transfers from customers. With no data entry required, Open Payments provide a fast, frictionless payment experience for the customer and it benefits businesses too, with faster settlement, less fraud and lower fees than other payment methods.

Open Payments is enabled by the recent Open Banking initiative, which has been rolled out in the UK and Europe to provide more regulation, governance and consumer protection for online payments, while increasing opportunities for businesses to accept payments.

Using Open Payments, digital retailers can now accept payments by adding a simple ‘Pay by Open Banking’ button to their payment options. By clicking the button, customers are instantly redirected to their online bank account or mobile app to authorise the payment, the details of which are automatically populated and simply need to be confirmed.

Business benefits

In addition to faster settlement and lower fees for online businesses, Open Payments is the most secure digital payment option – every party in the payment process is digitally authenticated, minimising opportunities for fraud. Some e-commerce merchants may also benefit from the automated reconciliation feature of Open Payments, which dramatically reduces the time spent on manual reconciliation.

Open Payments also allow rich data to be pulled through with a payment, meaning information such as customer ID, time of payment, campaign number and product code can all be collected from a payment – aiding learning and product development.

Don’t get held up on payments

While many parts of the retail sector are facing a long, slow recovery from the pandemic, e-commerce is well positioned to grow its market share considerably. But online retailers need to remain focused on the customer experience to ensure they take full advantage of the increase in demand.

By making small customer experience improvements, such as adding frictionless, cost-effective payment methods, online merchants can differentiate themselves from their competitors, reduce costs and streamline backend efficiencies – giving them the time and space they need to focus on business growth.

Contactless debit card payment limit increase for fire.com customers

From 1st April 2020, fire.com Mastercard® debit card holders can now make contactless card payments of up to €50.00 / £45.00. This change is part of an industry-wide movement to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 by reducing the need to enter PIN codes on card terminals or handle cash.

The increase from €/£ 30.00 is being implemented across the payments sector with the hope that minimising the handling of cash and reducing physical contact with payment terminals and cash registers, as well as cutting queue times when purchasing goods, will have a positive impact on our collective wellbeing.

In order to use the feature, the software on card payment machines must also be updated to accept the new limits. This is occurring gradually across the retail sector. Grocery stores that have successfully rolled out the update include Asda and Iceland.

The contactless limit was increased for all fire.com debit card holders on Wednesday 1st April with no disruption to services. fire.com will ensure it responds appropriately to Covid-19 and take any actions that help protect our customers. For further updates please visit our dedicated COVID-19 page.

Fire Open Payments – a new way to get paid

Use Fire Open Payments to receive cost-effective, fast and secure payments

The arrival of Open Banking represents a major change in the way consumers and businesses will use financial services. By opening up access to the account to regulated third-parties, it enables innovative new ways to pay and be paid – exactly the mission fire.com set out on nearly a decade ago.

Fire Open Payments is a new feature from fire.com combining our Euro and Sterling accounts, Open Banking and our payment request to enable businesses to accept account-based payments from customers. Whether you’re selling online, face to face or remotely, Fire Open Payments enables you to distribute payment requests to your customers, who can then pay you in a simple, frictionless and safe way directly from their bank or payment account – with the funds settled and reconciled automatically into your fire.com business account.

Integrating the acceptance of account-based payment flows is straight forward. You may create payment requests in the fire.com business account portal or use our API to integrate Fire Open Payments with existing systems for a fully automated collection and reconciliation service. The service is suitable for fire.com business customers of every size, from small start-ups to large corporates accepting tens of thousands of payments a day.

Cost-effective – Accepting payment via open banking is cheaper than other ways to get paid. There’s one, simple, low fee. Reduced chargebacks. Instant reconciliation.

Fast – Funds settle into your fire.com account quickly – typically within six business hours. Payments are executed via Faster Payments (Sterling) or SEPA Credit Transfers (Euro).

Secure – Fire Open Payments is one of the safest ways to collect payments. All parties are securely authenticated, minimising opportunities for fraud.

Currently available as a beta for UK & Ireland business customers, try it now by signing into firework and creating a Payment Request, or check fire.com/fireopenpayments to find out more about the service.

Fire Open Payments is also available as a white-label for banks, gateways and acquirers who are looking to quickly deploy compelling account-based payment solutions to their customers. Check fire.com/pisp-as-a-white-label or contact sales@fire.com for further information.

Owen O Byrne
Chief Product Officer, fire.com

Meet Business Analyst, Cailín

Business Analyst Cailín is part of our Dublin team. We sat down with her to find out what it’s like working at fire.com’s HQ and what brought her to the payments industry.

Hi Cailín! So, how long have you been with the company?
Almost 1.5 years.

What does your job involve?
As a Business Analyst with fire.com, I’m involved in the full project lifecycle – from researching new product concepts, generating project scope and design documents, overseeing the development of changes to planning and phasing product releases.

What do you find most rewarding about your role as Business Analyst?
It’s rewarding to be regularly releasing new and tangible changes to the fire.com platform. Whether it’s external customers impacting product changes or enhancements to our internal operational systems – the platform is constantly changing and evolving.

What is the most exciting challenge you’ve worked on yet?
The most challenging programme I’ve been involved in to date was our Brexit preparation programme. Given the uncertainty around Brexit, fire.com sought to split all activity on our platform between UK-based and EU-based activity in order to fully protect our customers whatever the outcome. The project involved updates to every area of the system from customer onboarding to Treasury functions. This was a project I worked on at the beginning of my time with fire.com, and it was a great way to get an in depth understanding of the entire platform and the many services fire.com offers.

What’s your background? Why did you want to join a company like fire.com?
I studied Information Systems in Trinity College Dublin and worked as a Technology Consultant for several years, before spending time working in the Charity sector – so quite a varied background! I’d worked with several financial institutions as a consultant and was very interested in the way technology was revolutionising the financial sector. When the opportunity came up to work in a growing fintech company like fire.com, I was very excited to have the chance to play a part in transforming the industry.

Summarise the culture in three words?
Friendly, supportive, driven.

What do you like most about working in the payments industry?
There is so much potential and change in the payments industry right now. Constantly evolving technology and exciting new legislation like PSD2 means that there are always new opportunities to take advantage of. Payments are a daily part of life, and to be involved in something that has such a wide reach is fascinating.

And how about outside of work? What do you get up to in your spare time?
Running, reading, tag rugby and walking my dog Rocco.

Do you have any unusual or quirky skills or fears?
I’m not sure if this is a skill or a weakness but I can sleep through anything. I used to sleep through deafening fire drills in my college halls of residence, much to the unease of my flatmates!

Meet Software Developer, Darren

At the core of fire.com are our software developers. We recently sat down with Darren, from our Dublin team, to find out what it’s like working for one of Ireland’s most fun and fast-paced fintechs. Here’s what he had to say:

Hi Darren! Can you tell us a little bit about what your job involves as a software developer?
I’m part of fire.com’s Development team in Dublin. I’m responsible for estimating stories, creating technical designs, programming, code reviews and release management.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?
It’s great seeing projects I have worked on out in the real world. Also, the fact that I enjoy my job – I like coming into work!

What is the most exciting challenge you’ve worked on yet?
The most exciting project I have worked on was fire.com’s implementation of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). SCA is a new requirement that makes banking and payments services more secure, by asking customers to authenticate via a range of different methods. It was my first solo project where I took it from technical design to release, making it all that more rewarding to see it rolled out and being used effectively.

So what’s your background? Why did you want to join a company like fire.com?
I went to college in Dundalk Institute of Technology and started working in fire.com straight after graduating. At the time, one of my friends was working at fire.com and told me how great the culture was. He also said he was learning loads because the team is lean; everyone does a bit of everything. I’ve definitely found that to be true. It would be hard to get the experience I have gained here anywhere else.

Can you summarise the culture in three words?
Fun, fast, educational.

What do you like about working in the payments industry? 
We deal with people’s money meaning we have to pay great attention to detail. I like this because I think it makes me a better developer.

Outside of work, what do you like to get up to?
Playing guitar, singing and a bit of kickboxing, too!

Do you have any unusual or quirky interests or fears?
I have two very specific fears – zombies and cows. I guess my worst fear would be a zombie-cow.


Meet Operations Analyst, Robert

We recently sat down with Robert, Operations Analyst at fire.com, to find out what it’s like working in the Operations team and what led him to fire.com. Check out the full interview:

Hi Robert! So tell us, how long have you been with the company?
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve just passed my two-year anniversary working with fire.com.

What does your job involve?
Operations Analyst is quite a wide-ranging role in a fintech company like fire.com. When I describe it to my friends, I tell them that the role encompasses four main areas: Customer Support, Customer Onboarding, Treasury & Fraud Analysis and Prevention.

I enjoy how varied the role is. Every day brings new challenges and learnings which is great as fire.com was my first full time job after graduating from college. Being able to learn so much early on in my career is fantastic and puts me in good stead for the future.

So what do you find most rewarding about your role?
It’s certainly satisfying when you’ve successfully prevented and pre-empted fraudulent activity. I take great pride in protecting our customers and ensuring they don’t become victims.

And the most exciting challenge you’ve worked on yet?
One of the most exciting and interesting parts of my job is corporate account management. As more and more businesses are discovering the advantages of fire.com, managing and helping these companies has become a larger part of my role. Discovering how different business models work is really interesting, then problem solving as to how we can best help them is challenging but rewarding.

What’s your background? Why did you want to join a company like fire.com?
My background is actually in education and music. After studying music for a year in BIMM Dublin, I took up a BSc in Education Studies with Marino Institute of Education. Going into college I had the thought that I might one day become a music teacher, however after six years of secondary school and five years of college, I decided that a break from the education sector would be beneficial.

I heard about fire.com through a friend and loved the idea of working for tech startup, though I was conscious that my experience up until that point was unrelated. Fortunately, I had a few transferable skills and backed myself to learn fast. fire.com put their faith in me and I’m still here two years later – so I guess I’m doing something right!

How would you summarise the culture in three words?
Honest, Hardworking, Teamwork.

What do you like about working in the payments industry?
Banking and payments are something everybody has in common. Being at the forefront of the fintech sector is an exciting and a competitive space to be in. I like being able to tell my friends about the new ways in which fintech is going to benefit their everyday lives in the future.

Any hobbies and interests outside of work you’d like to share?
I love music. Guitar is my instrument of choice. If I ever won the lotto, there’s a good chance I’d spend most of the money filling my house with guitars.

Sport is another big one. I’d be happy to talk about sport all day (anybody who has sat in the canteen with me at lunch can attest!) Football would be my main obsession: watching it, playing it, listening to sport radio or podcasts and reading football writers – I’m completely addicted.

Meet Product Analyst, Eoin

Eoin is part of the fire.com Product team. We recently sat down with him to find out what his job entails as Product Analyst and what brought him to fire.com. Here’s what he had to say:

Hi Eoin! Tell us a bit about your role as Product Analyst, what does it involve? 
It’s difficult to know where to start, and that’s one of the great things about the role! From working on scoping potential concepts, engaging with customers and third part integrations and transitioning these concepts to fully-fledged features, the role is so diverse.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The most rewarding aspect is the people aspect for me. Having a direct impact on delivering solutions which are requested by internal employees and external customers and seeing how this can improve their own day-to-day life is very satisfying.

How about the most exciting challenge you’ve worked on yet?
The most exciting challenge yet has been working with Fire Open Payments – it’s a new and innovative way to transfer funds without the need for debit/credit cards, and while that brings its own chances, it’s excellent to be one of the pioneer companies for such a service.

So what’s your background? Why did you want to join a company like fire.com?
I studied Business, Economics and Social Studies (BESS) in Trinity College Dublin, choosing to specialise in Business Studies. I’ve always had an interest in fintech and working at fire.com has giving me exposure to every function of an agile payments company – be it Operations, Development, Product or Sales, there are so many moving parts that all work together to deliver the fire.com products and services used today.

How would you summarise the culture in three words?
Fast-paced, demanding and interactive!

What do you like about working in the payments industry?
Payments is an exciting industry – everyone is always looking for the easiest way to move funds. I really enjoy working on projects that have the propensity to be a future norm.

What do you do for fun outside of work?
I like to use my spare time to be active – I play gaelic football or go to the gym most evenings.

Do you have any unusual or quirky skills, interests or fears?
I’m known for being able to put on different accents, so much so that one of the Operations team was convinced I was from Dublin and not Sligo – although perhaps that’s due to me living here for the last five years! No fears come to mind, however, I am subject to “the fear” the day after a few pints with Darren.

How to get set up on the Amazon Marketplace and enhance your selling with a digital current account

If you’re thinking of setting up your own e-commerce business, online marketplaces can be a good way of reaching a wide audience at a comparatively low cost, leveraging market trust and gaining access to tried and tested commercial models.

One of the more popular online marketplaces is Amazon. Through its Amazon Marketplace network, vendors can access over 2.5 billion monthly customers and 24 years of lessons learned.

There are three main ways you can use Amazon Marketplace to set up and run your business:

  1. Selling on Amazon
  2. Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)
  3. Merchant Fulfilled Prime

Selling on Amazon is a no-commitment plan that gives you access to all of Amazon’s clientele, your own hosted page and the ability to sell directly into most of Europe.

With FBA, you leverage Amazon’s operations to store, ship, stock and fulfil orders. As the seller, your responsibility is to send stock to Amazon’s warehouse, and, from there, Amazon will take care of the rest of the supply chain – including processing returns and customer support. FBA comes with added benefits such as the opportunity to feature at the top of a search page and having your product pages stamped with the trusted ‘Fulfilled By Amazon’ badge.

The final model is Merchant Fulfilled Prime, which is where the seller uses Amazon’s Prime features and benefits only, taking care of stock and fulfilment in-house.

There are many resources that can support you to get started selling on Amazon. A good source is Marketplace Superheroes. Their programme walks you through how to start and grow a global business on Amazon from scratch. The course not only teaches you how to sell, but what to sell – as well as providing support from experienced Amazon sellers.

Once your business is set up on Amazon, you may want to think about opening a business current account to make it easier to keep track of spending.

Many online Amazon merchants find the fire.com business account a good fit, as compared to traditional current accounts it’s quicker, and simpler, to open. Once the team has approved your online application your new digital account should be live and ready for use within 48 hours.

Other suitable features include:

Dual currency euro and sterling account – When opening a fire.com business account you are automatically given a euro and a sterling account. The sterling account has its own sort code and account number, while the euro account has an Irish IBAN. This means that payments received from EU Marketplaces can be routed to your fire.com euro account, while products sold on Amazon’s UK website can be paid into your fire.com sterling account, avoiding extra FX charges.

24/7 access and control – With the firework mobile app and web portal, users can access their account anytime, anywhere. All of the fire.com business account features are self-service. You can easily make changes, such as opening another account, in euro or sterling, at the touch of a button. It’s ideal for e-commerce sellers who need a fully digital, on-demand payment solution to complement their web-based business.

Full visibility – Event-driven notifications alert fire.com account users to activity within their accounts in real-time. With a fire.com account you can gain peace of mind knowing when you’ve been paid and that actions have been completed successfully. For many Amazon Marketplace sellers, their online business is an additional revenue stream and not their full-time job. Knowing that payments are being made without having to sign-in is an ideal feature for time-strapped merchants trying to balance their marketplace business with other priorities.

Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship and setting up your own marketplace business can feel daunting, but there are many resources you can tap to ensure you get off to the best start possible. It’s always useful to start by finding an existing group or network that has been on the same journey as you and leveraging shared knowledge. Once you are armed with lessons learned, think about priming your business for growth by ensuring all of your processes are built to scale. This can be achieved on the payments side by opting for an account provider that has invested in features that look to simplify incoming and outgoing payments and make it easier to get paid across borders.