"We save money on every transaction - around £1000 a month at the moment. As we grow, the amount we save will grow with us."

David LesterFounder & MD, Citrus HR

Key benefits

Cost savings of £1000 per month, time savings of two days a month, and fewer payment failures.

Company name

Citrus HR


HR software and consultancy

Number of employees

20 + 15 consultants

Previous payment provider

Credit cards

Time saved using GoCardless

2 days a month

Money saved using GoCardless

£1000 a month

citrusHR is a fast-growing cloud software and consultancy start-up, providing flexible HR support to UK small businesses.

The business offers variable monthly subscriptions at a per-employee rate.

“The HR industry hadn’t really changed in a decade – we felt it was time for a change,” says Founder and Managing Director, David Lester.  “We aim to offer a more flexible and friendly service that combines time-saving software with qualified HR consultants.”

Credit cards not fit for purpose

citrusHR started out offering card payments to customers - but found it to be “a real nightmare”. David explains:

“There were several major issues with credit cards. Dealing with the credit card companies was challenging, payments often failed, and the costs were high.”

citrusHR was asked to pay 2.5% fee on each transaction, as well as a monthly account fee. David explains: “Because we work online, we were deemed as ‘cardholder not present’, and viewed as a risk, which meant a higher monthly account fee.”

Moving to Direct Debit

David received a recommendation from another software business about GoCardless.

“Our developers looked at the GoCardless API and we integrated it with our billing software in one afternoon. We were up and running straight away.”

citrusHR started offering bank debit payments to customers through GoCardless in 2016, but David assumed that two-thirds of customers would still want to pay by card.

“That hasn’t happened at all,” he reports.

“Customers have voted with their feet - today more than 80% have chosen to pay with GoCardless.”

“We expect that number to grow all the time - we’ve just added a new product type and customers can only pay for that with GoCardless. We expect to turn off credit cards altogether at some point.”

Realizing results

After two years of using GoCardless, David says the results have been “overwhelming”.

“The set-up cost was close to zero,” he explains “Less than an afternoon’s work for our developers and only 15 minutes for me. We’ve gained two days a month in time from a much faster accounting process and from not having to deal with failed payments - and we avoid difficult conversations with customers when their credit cards expire.”

David and team can also more easily track and report on transactions using the GoCardless API. “The reporting on the back end is a lot better than what we received from credit card companies,” he says. “And our admin. team love the fact that the reconciliation process is much easier. Overall, for me, a lot of stress has been taken away - payments is one less thing I have to worry about.”

The business has also seen significant cost savings - around £1000 (approx $1,300) a month. David explains:

“We save money on every transaction - and as we grow, the amount we save will grow with us."

“Paying with GoCardless is absolutely the way forward – for any business and particularly a tech-driven business, it’s a no-brainer.”

citrusHR even prefers to pay its own business bills through GoCardless, says David.

“I have experienced the downsides of cards as a customer and I know that updating expired cards is a real hassle. We pay our suppliers by GoCardless where possible. Last year I had a conversation with three US-based SaaS suppliers and I told them I would only use them if they integrated with GoCardless!”

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