Buzz – Ireland will soon have the fewest retail banks in the EU – here’s what that could mean for you

Thousands of Irish customers are scrambling to open new current accounts as KBC and Ulster Bank leave the country – with more than 400,000 people thought to be switching over. But those searching for an alternative bank will hardly be spoilt for choice.

Only three bricks-and-mortar banks based in Ireland will remain once the two banks close their Irish businesses, far fewer than even the smallest EU nations.

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Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind & Fire take to the saddle to smash fundraising target through QR code payment technology.

Annual Mizen to Malin Cycle takes place from 28 May – 3rd June

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind has today announced that it has teamed up with Fire to encourage donations for the annual Mizen to Malin Charity Cycle via the use of QR codes.

Fire, a digital account provider, will be helping Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind’s fundraising effort by enabling people to scan QR codes and donate directly from their mobiles in the upcoming cycle which takes place from Saturday May 28th to Friday June 3rd.

Fire’s solution will make the donation process seamless and convenient. The use of QR codes means donors can scan and approve the payment with their mobile. There’s no need to enter card details as the donors pay directly from their mobile banking apps. The ambition is to exceed the fundraising target of 120,000 euro.

Liam Linnane, Operations Team Lead & Product Analyst at Fire, is taking part in the fundraising event which was established by his father Eamonn 20 years ago in memory of his own father who was vision impaired. Liam said; “The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind were a massive help to my grandad and our family after he lost his sight. The dogs that the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind gave to my grandad over the years gave him the independence that would have been impossible without them.”

To help with the fundraising effort, and enabled by Fire’s payment solution, Liam’s jersey will have a QR code on the back allowing supporters to easily donate directly from their bank accounts, along the 657km route.

“I’m very proud of my father for all the work he’s done for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, over the last 20 years raising more than €1.2m and I’m also proud to be part of Fire whose QR code payment technology which can make a real difference to the amount of money raised.”

Tim O’Mahony, Chief Executive Officer with Irish Guide Dogs for Blind said “We’re extremely grateful to Eamon, Liam and the entire Linnane family for the support over the last 20 years. What they have achieved is phenomenal with the event growing every year. The use of the QR codes is an exciting fundraising avenue for us and hopefully it means donating can be made easier and ultimately, we can change more lives as a result.”

To donate Scan the QR code or visit

Photo from L to R: Mizen to Malin Cycle 2022 in aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. From L to R: Ambassador Dog Belle – Pat Harney, Chair of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind’s Malahide/Portmarnock Branch – Assistance Dog Owner Charlotte Gregg with Assistance Dog Ambrose – Liam Linnane, M2M cyclist and Operations Team Lead & Product Analyst at Fire – Eamonn Linnane M2M Founder – Jennifer Nora Hurley, Regional Development Officer, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind – Constanze O’Toole, Puppy Raiser with Puppy in Training Olan. authorised as e-money institution in UK has today announced that it has been authorised as an e-money institution in the UK to provide a range of payment services, changing the way businesses pay and get paid.

Following the decision of the UK to leave the EU, embarked on a journey to ensure its customers and its own ability to scale would be secured, no matter the outcome of Brexit. As a provider of payment services, primarily to businesses, has been regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland since 2010 as a Payments Institution. It was re-authorised in 2018, when new payments regulation took effect. Now as a regulated provider in the UK, all customers can be assured that they can continue to access their payment services – including sterling & euro accounts, integrated banks transfers and debit cards, irrespective of the final outcome from Brexit.

In the last few years, has focused on the business and corporate market, which has seen its number of customers grow to approx. 3,000. Colm Lyon, CEO & Founder of said “Since the firm has a significant customer base in the UK, along with our business development offices being in Shoreditch, London, we needed to ensure that we could not just continue to scale, but also continue to be a leading player in the open banking ecosystem in all the regions relevant to us.”

In addition, Lyon added that “Over the last two years we have seen real change in the way businesses wish to pay and get paid. Today it’s all about the integrated experience and allowing businesses to create accounts and issue cards via APIs, to enable businesses to process large volumes of incoming or outgoing payments in an automated and fully integrated fashion. So, our API has become almost more relevant than the payment itself, as it provides real time, instant and fully reconcilable data.” Case studies on the website, include profiles of Grid Finance – a business finance specialist, Accelerated Payments – an invoice financing business and Buymie – an on-demand grocery delivery platform.

Looking to the future, Lyon doesn’t see Brexit getting in the way, “on the contrary, we are now extremely well positioned to help any business or corporate client that needs to pay and get paid in an integrated way and in a post-Brexit world. And with open banking getting closer and closer we see huge benefits coming down the line and our role is to help businesses execute on these changes.” Founder & CEO Colm Lyon Founder & CEO Colm Lyon appointed to UK Finance Payments Product and Service Board.

Colm Lyon, the Founder & CEO of has been appointed to the Payments Product and Service Board (PSB) of UK Finance – the UK’s leading trade organisation for the finance and banking industry. Colm has worked in the financial services sector for over twenty-five years and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his new role representing Digital Payment Service Providers (PSPs).

About UK Finance

UK Finance is a trade association which was formed on 1 July 2017 to represent the finance and banking industry operating in the UK. It represents around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services. The new organisation brings together most of the activities previously carried out by the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association.

About Colm Lyon

Colm is the Founder & CEO of, a digital account provider to business and personal customers across the UK and Ireland. He has previously held positions as Founder & CEO of Realex Payments, who were acquired by Global Payments in 2014, while undertaking roles in trade associations such as Director and Chairman of the Fintech Association of Ireland and Head of the Irish Internet Association.

Colm Lyon said, “I am delighted to be joining the UK Finance Payments Product and Service Board, representing Digital Payment Service Providers, in what is a very exciting time for payments and the broader financial services sector, not only in the UK, but across the globe. UK Finance plays a vital role in fostering innovation within the industry and the emergence of new payments organisations will inevitably drive better outcomes for consumers – individuals and businesses – and I am excited to be a part of that.” authorised for new payment services has today announced that it has been authorised to provide new payment services that will change the way businesses and people pay and get paid.

Earlier this year, the second payment services directive (PSD2) was implemented across Europe. The concept was designed to bring more innovation and competition to the payments market while enhancing standardisation and security for consumers. Central to the legislation was the definition and introduction of new regulated parties called Payment Initiation and Account Information service providers. has become the first Irish based payments firm to be authorised as a Payment Initiation Service Provider (PISP).

Colm Lyon, founder and CEO at explained “For some time, the idea of being able to easily pay funds directly from an account to another person or business has been discussed, also some people don’t want to share their account or card details to make a payment. That is what being a PISP is all about. This enables numerous different scenarios – charities can display QR codes on social media, which can be scanned so potential donors are directed to their bank to authorise and approve the payment. Businesses can sell online; when someone checks out, they are directed to their bank to authorise the payment – straight from their account to the online retailer. Utility billers can add ‘pay from your account’ links to emails, enabling people to click and pay from their accounts without using a card or sharing any details. It opens up so many ways for payments to change.”

For the ecosystem to work, all account providers (typically banks) are working to open-up access to their accounts for authorised third parties (such as Lyon believes this will now accelerate. “The legalisation took effect earlier this year and we expect banks to open up access via agreed standards over the next few months – indeed many already have done so.” Once that occurs is in position to help its customers change the way they get paid.

About Fire provides business and personal customers with digital accounts and debit cards. The accounts are opened online and via their mobile apps. Customers can open multiple accounts in both sterling and euro, enabling bank transfers to and from any bank account in the UK or Eurozone. also provides Mastercard® debit cards to both its business and personal customers. For easy reconciliation and automation of payments, businesses can integrate their systems to via an application programming interface (API).

Debit Card and App

Launch of, new App and Debit Card

Fire Financial Services – now trading as “Fire” has today announced a number of key developments on its journey to develop a new digital account.

  • “paywithfire” rebrands and renames to “Fire” –
  • Launches a MasterCard® debit card & new mobile app
  • Almost 900 businesses now live with beta Fire business account

The business has rebranded itself to Fire and updated its web site to reflect its new name. Colm Lyon, founder and CEO at Fire explained – “we acquired the domain name some time ago and we were waiting for our product and brand to be at the stage where it was a match for such a great name – we believe that day has arrived.”

Fire provides businesses and personal customers with digital accounts. The accounts are opened online and via mobile apps. Customers can open multiple accounts in both sterling and euro enabling bank transfers to/from any bank account in the UK or Eurozone. Fire has now signed up with MasterCard as a principal member and is now offering both its business and personal customers a Fire debit card. Lyon added “this is a very significant step for us, to become a principal member of MasterCard and to issue our own card was a great achievement. This gives us great flexibility”. The new “Fire Personal” app is available in the Apple and Android stores and customers may order their cards via the app.

The Fire business account is in beta and to date almost 900 businesses have signed up and are using the Fire business account. Lyon confirmed that the adoption was increasing –“we have been on a soft launch with the business account and we are delighted that the number of businesses signing up each month continues to grow. We expect this further increase with the launch of the debit card.” Lyon added that “over 60% of our business clients are based in the UK – a market that is our primary focus.” Ends

About Fire

Fire Financial Services Limited – t/a Fire and provides digital accounts and debit cards to business and personal customers in the UK and Republic of Ireland. A Fire business account is suitable for all (UK and ROI registered) businesses and supports sterling and euro bank transfers, a MasterCard debit card and an API that enables integration from customer’s systems to the data in their Fire account. The personal app also supports sterling and euro bank transfers, a MasterCard debit card with real time notifications, social payments and requests to contacts and other apps. Fire was founded in 2009 and acquired by Colm Lyon in 2015 alongside a transaction to sell Realex Payments – a business founded by Colm Lyon in 2000.