How fire.com is helping businesses with the uncertainty of Brexit.

Time is moving on. With the deadline for the UK to leave the European Union now just 12 months away businesses need to start preparing for the possibility of a deal that falls short of preserving the status quo in trading relationships. Earlier this week, it was announced that the UK and the EU have reached a draft agreement on the terms of a transition deal, which should serve to ease business fears over a post-Brexit cliff edge.

Businesses will want to continue trading – paying and being paid for goods and services between the EU and the UK. While a transitional arrangement would give everyone time to negotiate a new trade deal, financial services may not be part of that new arrangement. So financial and payment services firms that have relied on pass-porting their licences (i.e. getting a licence in one EU country and using this to trade in other EU countries) will need to have UK and EU licences should they wish to continue trading in both regions. Will this result in businesses trading across the UK and Eurozone finding it harder to access accounts and payment services in both EUR and GBP?

Another obvious challenge for businesses is the potential fluctuations in currencies at this time of uncertainty. This can have a significant impact on businesses and many will consider holding currency in both EUR and GBP based on their upcoming cash requirements.

At fire.com, we aim to help businesses better manage their payments. When a business opens a fire.com account, it immediately gets access to a sterling and euro account with the option to add subsequent accounts in real time, enabling businesses to get paid, hold funds and pay out in both currencies. Funds can be transferred between the accounts in real time, 24×7.

In addition businesses can order any number of debit cards and link these to their different accounts, use the firework mobile app for real time notification and alerts, export data to various accounting packages and integrate their systems to their fire.com accounts.

We have thousands of businesses across the UK and Ireland who are now using fire.com to better manage their payments, while trading in sterling and euro.

You can open a fire.com business account online in as little as 48 hours. As always, we’d love to hear your .

Colm Lyon, CEO fire.com

Making trade easier for fire.com business customers

For many UK and European based businesses, trading in both sterling and euro is an essential part of doing business. Given the size and proximity of the markets it is a natural development for UK firms to sell into the euro region and for euro based firms to sell into the UK. However, sometimes cross currency trade can be hindered by the payment process, the costs and the time it takes to get paid.

For example, if you are a UK based business selling to clients in the euro zone, you will want to bill your customer in euro and make it easy for your customer to pay you in euro. You also may need to pay expenses in euro. This can mean you need to convert from euro to sterling on the way in and then again on the way out, doubling the cost of the FX.

With fire.com, businesses automatically get both sterling and euro accounts, each with their own unique account details. This enables our business customers to better manage their cash, get paid and pay out in sterling and euro. By leaving the funds received in your euro account you can pay euro expenses without incurring any FX charges, and then only convert the amount remaining as required.

So, if you are a UK based Amazon seller, you can use fire.com to sell in both sterling and euro, while also paying out in both currencies. If you are an Irish consultant working in the UK you can bill your client in sterling, get paid in sterling and use the fire.com MasterCard to access funds in your sterling account when in the UK. When you’re back in Dublin the funds will be taken from your euro account – all automatically.

Business customers may also use the firework mobile app to get real time notifications when payments arrive in your accounts, so you know when you’ve been paid – instantly.

We have thousands of businesses across the UK and Ireland who are now using fire.com to better manage their payments so they can trade more in sterling and euro.

You can open a fire.com business account online in as little as 48 hours. As always please let us know of any other developments you would like to see.

Colm Lyon, CEO fire.com

Making reconciliation easier for fire.com business customers

For many businesses the reconciliation of their bank account balance and transactions is a key control point. This will be easier now for fire.com customers who use Xero or FreeAgent accounting packages.

Earlier this week we released a new version of firework online which enables businesses to download statements in the latest OFX format in addition CSV and PDF formats. For information on how to import your fire.com statement see Xero and/or FreeAgent.

With fire.com, businesses can open multiple accounts in sterling and euro, make and receive bank transfers, including real time FX transfers, access funds using a MasterCard® debit card and use the firework mobile app to get real time notifications for transactions and account activity.

If you haven’t already, you can open a fire.com business account online in as little as 24 hours. As always please let us know of any other developments you would like to see.

Colm Lyon, CEO fire.com

What will Open Banking and PSD2 really mean for me?

On Saturday 13th January European wide changes in the rules about payments came into effect. These changes have been years in the making and they are designed to open things up in such a way that it will make payments more innovative, secure and bring more competition to the market. These changes are referred to as the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2) upon which the industry is moving to “open banking”. Since the weekend there has been much commentary about the development, some of which has been ill-informed comments about how retailers will see all your banking data and how access to your account could be “opened up” in an insecure way. This is simply not true – on the contrary, Open Banking and PSD2 are about giving you complete control over what data you share with third parties.

If you’ve ever connected an app to your Facebook or Twitter account, you’ll be familiar with how Open Banking will work. You are redirected to Facebook, so that you can authenticate directly – no credentials are given to the app. You review the permissions the app wants – for example, to see your email address and your list of friends. You authorise the access, and are redirected back to the app. Facebook provide the app with a short-lived token that can be used to access only the data you permitted. This authentication and authorisation is what PSD2 and Open Banking bring to the financial area – with your bank rather than Facebook.

For most of us, however, nothing is really going to immediately change. Most banks are not ready and there are numerous technical standards yet to be agreed which will dictate how this new ecosystem will work. So the passing of the European directive into national legislation is a building block, in a build that has a very long way to go.

Despite this tedious and slow progress, we ought to remain positive for the long term. The industry has now irrevocably changed and the concept of using a third party app to access and make payments from a bank account is firmly established. The door is by no means fully open but it is no longer closed. Both personal and business customers may now look forward to having new ways to open accounts, access data and transactions and initiate payments.

For example, businesses could sell online and accept payment by asking the buyer to push funds from their bank account rather than entering their card number. This will help reduce fraud, lower the cost, reduce repudiation of transactions and speed up the transfer of funds. The buyer is directed to their bank account from where the payment is made to the retailer. Businesses will also be able to link their accounting systems to their accounts which will enable them to both access their transactional data with ease and to automatically initiate payments – without having to use the bank supplied application.

Simple things like adding a link to a Facebook profile, tweet or message will allow personal customers to collect money from friends for sponsorship, dinners or gifts – getting paid in real time from any bank account. Charities could advertise QR codes on the tube or at bus stops, which people can scan, then be directed to their bank and make a donation.

Such examples are the tip of the iceberg – there are hundreds of businesses that will now be able to innovate and bring to life a new era in payments.

When the mobile app stores went live, it took time for the apps that we all use today to appear. So too, with open banking it will take time for the solutions to appear, but at least the store is now open. At fire.com we are planning to take full advantage of these changes and we aim to help our customers both business and personal, manage their payments more easily, safely and cheaper than today. We now have thousands of customers using our digital accounts to make bank transfers, save on foreign exchange fees, pay with the fire.com MasterCard® debit card and get instant alerts to their phones as transactions occur on their accounts. There’s no going back now, as another building block has been laid.

Colm Lyon, CEO fire.com

Making business payments more secure – with the firework mobile app

The need to make payments more secure whilst improving customer experience is becoming increasingly important for businesses.

Our fire.com business account is used by a diverse range of business customers. From online retailers to consultants, start-ups, sole traders, corporates and independent lenders, we have customers of all shapes and sizes using fire.com for their business payments.

As we engage with our customers we are fortunate to hear feedback about their previous banking experiences, such as “How come I get a notification to my phone when a friend is nearby or when someone likes my LinkedIn post, but my bank can’t notify me when a lodgement has arrived in my account?” We have also heard that the security processes associated with a typical business bank account are so awkward that the overall experience is sometimes counter intuitive and frustrating.

At fire.com we have set about creating an experience that gives businesses more peace of mind around what is happening on their accounts and with their funds. We strive to give our business customers more control, more visibility, more awareness and real-time alerts, so that safety is at the core of the overall experience of a fire.com business account.

With the firework app our business customers can:

  • get real time alerts and notifications when any payment comes in or out of their account – it may be a customer paying an invoice, the accounts department paying a supplier or a member of their team using their fire.com debit card;
  • use the firework app as their card reader (or fob) – e.g. when setting up a payee; No more wondering where you left the fob – it’s all covered in the firework app;
  • verify themselves when speaking to us – as we can send a verification ping to the app in real time. You know you’re talking to us and we know it’s you;
  • instantly block and unblock their fire.com debit card(s) via the app.

We hope that these features make our business customers feel more secure and in control of their business payments. We are committed to helping our customers with better business payments and we are always delighted to receive feedback on what we can do to make fire.com work best for you.

Colm Lyon, CEO fire.com