Irish fintech receives open banking authorisation

Company keen to provide new services under second EU services payment directive

Fintech company Fire. com, which was established by Realex founder Colm Lyon, has become the first Irish-based payments firm to be authorised to provide new services under recently-introduced European Union rules aimed at opening up banking.

The company has been authorised as a payment initiation service provider (PISP) for the second payment services directive. This is a new regulation that came into effect in mid-January and which forces banks to open up their technology platforms to third parties.

Fire, which provides business and personal customers with digital accounts and debit cards, said becoming a service provider would enable it and other companies to help businesses receive payment in new ways.

“[It] 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, he said.

While relatively unknown here or in the UK, payment initiation service providers are considerably more popular elsewhere in the EU. In the Netherlands, as many as 55 per cent of payments made are initiated through such providers.

A recent survey carried out by Accenture in partnership with University College Dublin, showed that more than 50 per cent of consumers will use a PISP product that is secure and offers extensive retail options.

According to the study, one in three debit-card payments and one in 10 credit-card payments are expected to move to PISP by 2020.

Mr Lyon founded Realex in 200 and exited the business in 2015 after the company was sold to US payments giant Global Payments in a €115 million deal – netting him a reputed €90 million in the process. The entrepreneur agreed to acquire the Fire platform as part of that transaction.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist