Cork header to open a development hub in Cork

As part of our continuing growth, we are pleased to announce the opening of a new development hub for in Cork, Ireland. Our Cork team, comprising development and product specialists will be based in our new private office at the Republic of Work on the South Mall, joining a community of start-ups and scaling businesses.

Cork was selected as it has a number of top-quality universities and technical graduates in the area. This served as a good fit for us as we look to scale our development function. With good access routes to London and Dublin via air, road and rail, it’s well connected to our two other offices in Shoreditch, London and Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin.

We aim to build a great development team in Cork and are recruiting ambitious individuals who want to join at a really exciting time. If you live in Cork or are interested in relocating to the banks of the Lee, have experience with Java and are as passionate about payments as we are….drop us a note with a covering letter and CV to

Shane O’Brien

20190930 payment blogs

How to use automated payments to delight and retain customers as an alternative finance provider

The last few years has seen a significant rise in the number of institutions offering alternative finance options to businesses and consumers. From merchant cash advance, to crowdfunding and invoice discounting, there are many loan options available today that were not around five years ago. In order to grow, alternative lenders need to think about how they can differentiate, and one of the best ways to do this is by optimizing their payment processes.

Market maturation

The alternative finance space is booming. Latest findings from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) shows an increase in market share by over a third in one year alone (2017) – 68% of which was attributed to business funding. Year prior, 2016, saw an increase of 43% with total share of the lending market rising from £3.2bn to £4.6bn.  Leading the charge by market volume are Peer-To-Peer (P2P) business & consumer loans and property lending – followed by invoice financing, debt-based securities and equity-based crowdfunding. The bulk of alternative finance market volume – 72% – is being raised specifically for start-ups and SMEs.

With so much activity going on in the alternative finance space, players are pushing to increase their share by expanding their product portfolio and improving their services. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through payment automation. Payment flows are the building blocks of any loan-issuing company. Get it right and not only will you have a business model that can scale, but a differentiated customer experience that will drive customer retention.

How does payment automation work?

In order to achieve the seamless automation of payment processes you need to work with a payment provider that uses APIs. APIs – or Application Programming Interfaces – are sets of software used by developers that allow one system to talk to another. This enables deep integration between business and payment systems resulting in significant benefits.  

Delight and differentiate with automatic payments

Using APIs, payment services providers can enable lenders to delight their customers with a service that is as efficient as it is easy to use. An enhanced service is achieved in the following ways:

  1. Automation of large volumes of pay-outs and pay-ins – reducing manual error and time spent on reconciliation

    Without the need for CSV files and manual reconciliation, lenders can minimize human error whilst maximizing efficiencies. customer GRID Finance has reduced reconciliation processing times to minutes, by using the API to automatically update their systems when a payment is received. “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.

  2. Increased settlement times – same-day payments

    Integrating and automating bank transfers reduces settlement times, meaning customers can have money in their accounts sooner. And where multiple accounts are created with the same provider, transfers will take place instantly, further delighting customers and differentiating from slower services on the market.

  3. Enhanced data richness and access to up-to-the-minute data

    By using API functionality, lenders can pull unique fields and troubleshoot issues in real-time, providing a first-rate customer service. With more data points to work with, customer service reps can easily query client accounts and address issues quickly.’s digital account and API service is enabling alternative lenders to optimize their sterling and euro payment processes. These businesses are seeing improvements in customer satisfaction and operational efficiency ratings in return. Find out more here.

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Selling into the eurozone? Simplify your payments and cut costs with a dual sterling & euro account

If you are a UK business that regularly sells into the eurozone as part of your business model, or occasionally receive an invoice euro, having a pool of funds in the relevant currency to trade with will not only allow you to avoid foreign exchange fees, it should also speed up the time it takes you to settle transactions. Across the UK there has been a steady increase in business customers opening euro accounts, with June 2017 seeing HSBC experience a 23% uptick in one month alone. The increase has in part been attributed to Brexit, as UK companies prepare for a future where they may have to trade domestically and in the EU in very different ways.

How to get a euro account

There are a number of options for getting your business set up with its own euro account. The traditional route would be to enquire with your high street bank. Most of the major institutions offer international accounts for business customers. However there are now numerous competitive options offered by “fintechs” (financial technology companies). These smaller, digital-first organisations are regulated, and are more agile in the way they operate and have less overheads with no physical branches, meaning their euro accounts are often cheaper and come with special features not yet offered by the larger banks.

Questions to ask providers as you shop around for a euro account

  1. What is the fee structure?
    Fees for foreign currency accounts may include set monthly fees or fees for processing incoming/outgoing payments. Some providers may require you to carry out a certain level of transactions every year.
  2. Is there a minimum held threshold?
    Often providers will request that you hold a certain amount of funds in your account and will charge you if your total held dips below this amount.
  3. What rate do you offer for foreign exchange?
    Look for a euro account provider that offers the mid-market exchange rate and transparent, competitive pricing for foreign exchange services. Oftentimes fees aren’t communicated upfront and are added later as a markup. Ask for explicit information before opening the account and avoid unexpected charges later down the line.
  4. What compensation guarantees do you offer?
    Enquire about compensation and how your account will be protected should anything happen to the provider. You should determine whether your cash will be ring-fenced in a protected space and decide which level of risk is appropriate for your company.

The benefits of a euro account

A euro account will allow you to bill your customers and get paid in euro.  It also enables you to avoid some foreign exchange fees if you have both incoming and outgoing euro streams. If your customer pays you in euro, you can use these funds to pay for any outgoings in euro, or you can hold the funds in euro. Other benefits of a euro account include increased settlement times and greater insight over buying behavior in international markets.

No setup or monthly fees with a euro account

With the business account, you can set up multiple euro and sterling accounts to receive and make payments – providing another way to further separate funds. Each account comes with its own account number & sort code or IBAN, and can be controlled centrally from your account. You only pay as you transact – there are no monthly or annual fees – and the foreign exchange rate is set at the mid-market level, so you know you’re always getting the best deal. If you need to pay and get paid in euro, a account is a great fit.

Accelerated Payments pic supports alternative finance providers to streamline payments and enhance their customer experience is changing the way businesses pay and get paid.  Working closely with leaders in alternative finance that provide invoice finance, merchant cash advance or traditional business loans, we are improving operational efficiencies through the creation of seamless automated payments that remove friction for the end-user.

Other benefits of the solution for alternative finance providers, include the ability to instantly open new accounts for the collection and management of funds from clients. Seamless integration with third-party and proprietary systems for full, one-dashboard control using the API and the receival of real time web and native app notifications. Users know instantly when a loan payment has been made – reducing manual intervention, streamlining internal processes and dramatically reducing the time it takes for clients to receive funds. has been working with Accelerated Payments – an alternative finance provider that enables businesses to free up the cash trapped in their invoices, to offer an enhanced payment experience to their customers. By leveraging’s API, Accelerated Payments is able to open multiple euro and sterling accounts, resulting in a clear, fast and transparent flow of payments through real-time transfer and information. The outcome is a vastly reduced reconciliation process time with fewer manual errors and an improved customer experience.

Our platform’s integration with white label banking services enhances our capabilities, allowing for a more robust and versatile financial solution. This integration is particularly beneficial for businesses seeking a more tailored banking experience under their brand.

Dylan Martin, Co-Founder and Head of Operations for Accelerated Payments says:

“Fire has simplified our payment processing and collections function. As an invoice discounting platform, we process hundreds of transactions and open new collection accounts daily. We required a partner that could consistently meet our needs in a timely manner as well as offer the security and automation to support the scaling of our business. Fire was the solution for us and complements our Fintech platform by allowing for seamless integration. Thanks to the speed, professionalism and great product offering from the Fire team, it has assisted us in providing to the market a best-in-class invoice discounting solution”.

We are also currently working with platform partners enabling lenders to offer new funding solutions whereby they are notified via API when a customer’s account balance falls below a certain amount so they can provide them with further funding when it is required. This allows lenders to provide access to funds in real time and a better customer experience.

If you’re interested in learning more about the API or about how can help your business to manage payments, please contact our sales team at

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Authenticating and authorising payments under PSD2

With new standards part of EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) becoming effective as of 14 September 2019, comes tighter regulations surrounding the authentication of payment transactions online. A key element of PSD2 is the introduction of additional security authentications known as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) looks to enhance consumer rights and reduce online fraud by providing a high level of security that is standardised across industries.

What is Strong Customer Authentication?

It is likely you have come across Two Factor Authentication (2FA) as a consumer – a common method for digitally proving your identity using something you know (a password) and something you have (often your mobile phone). SCA leverages a similar process to authenticate at the point of payment by asking the user to claim their identity through two out of a possible three validation categories. These are:

  • Something you know (password, PIN)
  • Something you have (phone)
  • Something you are (biometrics – fingerprint, facial recognition etc.)

What does this mean for you?

For business account customers, our Firework mobile app will be used to login to Firework Online and to authenticate certain actions, such as adding a new payee, user or API token. This is designed to make accessing your account and making payments safer and more secure.

If you have not yet downloaded the Firework mobile app, you can do so via the App Store or Google Play Store. For more information regarding SCA, please visit and should you have any questions please get in touch with us on

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Creating digital accounts and debit cards with the API

With more than 3,000 businesses now using, we are continuously enhancing our platform and adding new payment services to help our customers pay and get paid. The API enables businesses to deeply integrate’s account features and payment services with their own systems. Whether automating reconciliation, splitting funds or initiating payments out, our powerful API can enhance and simplify a range of payment processes.

Based on customer feedback, we have recently included the ability to create new sterling and euro accounts and Mastercard® debit cards via the API. This enables businesses to open new accounts within their profile in real-time with specific account details (account number and sort code or IBAN) for settlement and reconciliation purposes. It also enables businesses to create all the debit cards they need when onboarding new staff members or contractors.

Using rapidly scalable technology that can seamlessly integrate with customer’s existing systems, the API is enabling businesses across a wide range of industries to build fully automated payment processes. For example, we currently support Ireland’s fastest growing business lending companies to automate payments using our standardised API, while revolutionising on-demand grocery delivery through deep integration with third party delivery platforms such as Buymie.

Here is what some of our customers have said about our service:

“Using allows us to boost productivity by reducing the hours involved in processing settlements from an estimated 1.5 hours per day to just 15 minutes”.  Gary Grimes – Senior Operations Manager, Grid Finance.

“ enables us to instantly open accounts and provide debit cards to each of our shoppers, so they can immediately access the funds they need”. Devan Hughes – CEO and Co-Founder, Buymie.

If you are interested in learning more about the API or about how can help your business to manage payments, please contact our sales team at’s API documentation is publicly available at

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What is Strong Customer Authentication?

You may or may not have heard about Strong Customer Authentication (SCA for short). Either way, what’s important to know is, it will change the way you access your bank accounts, make payments and how you purchase things online. SCA originates from the EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) which came into force in January 2018. One of the central themes of the directive was to make all things payment related safer and more secure. Though PSD2 has been around for a while now, SCA will only become effective from the 14th September 2019. The reason for this delay is that PSD2 didn’t actually specify how SCA should be implemented. The Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) define how the requirements of PSD2 should be met, thereby delivering enhanced consumer protection and improving the security of payment services across the European Union.

At, we have always focused on security and customers have been using two factor authentication for years. Accordingly the requirements of SCA are closely aligned with how our system operates today. We will issue more customer communications over the coming months explaining the changes and our dedicated SCA page will have all the info you need.

Nothing is changing for now but you should ensure you have the latest business or personal app, this will be the central all SCA requests. As always we’re here to help if you have any questions or queries (

SCA is coming and together, we’re ready for it!

Shane O’Brien, COO

things have changed

Things have changed – now you can too

When it comes to change, the payments landscape, like so many other aspects of business is undergoing deep transformation. This change is driven by many factors – technology, regulation and the ever-increasing pace at which we trade and communicate.’s mission is to help businesses with this change, by providing payment solutions and accounts that enable them to change the way they pay and get paid.

Central to the solution is our digital account. Available in sterling and euro, businesses can open multiple accounts under a single profile. We change the way businesses can open accounts, so subsequent accounts can be opened in real time, and businesses can order as many debit cards as required – linking these to different accounts. This changes the way businesses can manage their accounts, debit cards and payments.

Since every account has its own account number, businesses can pay and get paid by bank transfer to/from any bank in the UK or euro zone. Our mobile app helps keep businesses up to date with real time notifications for transactions and payments to approve.

To keep up with the pace of change, systems need to be integrated. Gone are the days of logging in to see if you have been paid. With businesses can integrate their systems to their accounts and cards. With the integration businesses can update their in-house systems as lodgements arrive, build in-house applications using the account and transaction data, and initiate payments automatically via in-house systems.

Enabling businesses to build deeply integrated payment processes delivers better reconciliation, reduces errors and saves time.

Moreover, the adaptability of’s digital accounts extends beyond traditional businesses, making them a perfect match for those in need of a bank account for freelance work. Freelancers, who often juggle multiple projects and clients, can benefit immensely from the real-time transaction notifications, easy account management, and the ability to integrate with various systems, ensuring their financial operations are as agile as their work.

We believe things have changed. We aim to help businesses change the way they pay and get paid. Over the last few weeks we have been working with some great guys to create a video that explains our message. Things have changed – now you can too.

For more information contact our sales team at or you can open a business account online in as little as 48 hours. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback.

Colm Lyon, CEO

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Managing business expenses with

There is little doubt that the effective control and management of business expenses is a key objective for organisations of all sizes – from start-ups to large corporates. Keeping business expenses under control can help in identifying where money is being spent, reduce manual reconciliation and errors, and make it easier for everyone involved. One of the best ways to help better manage business expenses is to ensure that all transactions are correctly recorded and assigned to the right people, accounts and projects.

More and more of our business customers are now using to help better manage their business expenses.

With a business account, it is possible to create multiple users, accounts and debit cards, so a business can link staff to specific accounts and cards. For example, a business could order debit cards for all members of a team and have all their expenses come out of the same business account. A business might also opt to open an account and order a new debit card for each member of staff – each account with its own sort code & account number or IBAN. Either way, a business can set up a account in a way that best suits their structure.

Businesses can instantly transfer funds (sterling and euro) to staff expense accounts directly from their main business account. For added control and security, the firework mobile app enables users to receive a notification for each transaction made and to block and unblock lost debit cards.

If you are the CEO of a start-up or the Finance Manager of a large business, a business account will allow you better track and control staff and project expenses. You can manage how much is being spent, and what is being spent – where and by who, all in real time.

Thousands of businesses in the UK and Ireland are now using a digital account as an alternative to a traditional business current account. With there are also no setup or ongoing monthly fees.

Additionally, the flexibility and control offered by a business account make it an excellent choice for those seeking a bank account for the self-employed. This type of account is ideal for independent professionals and solo entrepreneurs who require efficient expense management and financial oversight, mirroring the needs of larger businesses but on a scale suited for individual operation.

For more information contact our sales team at or you can open a business account online in as little as 48 hours. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback.

Colm Lyon, CEO

© 2015 – 2023 Fire Financial Services Limited trading as and Fire.
Fire Financial Services Limited (Fire-EU) is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, Reference No: C58301. Registered address: Dogpatch Labs, The CHQ Building, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1, D01 Y6H7, Ireland. Incorporated in Dublin, Ireland, Registration No: 464819.
Fire Financial Services Limited (Fire-UK) is authorised as an Electronic Money Institution by the Financial Conduct Authority, Reference No: 900983. Registered Address: The Rise, 41 Luke Street, London, United Kingdom, EC2A 4DP. Incorporated in England and Wales, Registration No: 11549793.