OnPay Review 2021: Features, Pricing, Alternatives

OnPay has a simpler pricing structure than most payroll software competitors.

Sally LaucknerNov 18, 2020
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OnPay is an excellent cloud-based option for small-business owners seeking a full-service payroll processing system at an affordable price point. It can run payroll according to a preset schedule, automatically disburse wages and calculate and withhold taxes and filing tax forms.

Beyond processing payroll, OnPay also offers human resources features to keep your employees organized and in the loop. For instance, employees can create their own employee profiles within the software, which they can then use to access all their tax documents, pay stubs and other reference documents. Plus, OnPay integrates with other HR software, time-tracking software and accounting software you might already be using to run your business.

Features

OnPay fully automates all aspects of the payroll process, including taking care of those complicated payroll taxes. But the service comes with additional capabilities like reporting, HR and integration with other, well-loved business management apps and accounting software to help streamline your processes as much as possible.

OnPay Payroll

OnPay
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on OnPay's website

Payroll software

First off, OnPay does what it says on the tin: run payroll. OnPay makes the setup and onboarding process easy (or as easy as possible for this relatively tricky task) for small-business owners. When you’re first setting up your OnPay account, you can choose to enter data and employee information yourself — including each employee’s salary or hourly pay; pay schedule; office location, department, position and manager; prior wage information and tax setup, withholding and deductions — or you can have OnPay do this for you.

If you choose to take on the data entry yourself, you can have your employees enter their own data to create their employee profiles. If you run into any trouble, you can call an OnPay tax specialist every weekday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET to help you out.

Importantly, OnPay takes care of the appropriate payroll taxes and procedures, and it'll handle any payroll-related snags with the IRS on your behalf. Its 100% accuracy guarantee means that it’ll cover any potential fines if the mistake falls on its shoulders.

OnPay will run payroll according to your predetermined pay schedule, but you can also run payroll whenever you want outside of that regular schedule (for instance, to disburse holiday or bonus pay). You can also choose how to pay your employees, whether that’s via automatic deposit into their bank accounts, paper checks or prepaid debit cards. OnPay also offers pay-as-you-go workers comp plans, and it’ll automatically update your policy when you bring on new employees.

Employee management

Employees can onboard themselves by setting up their own employee profiles and entering their own data (which saves you time, too). After they’re set up, they can access a dedicated employee portal that securely stores all their important documents — W-2 forms, pay stubs and even HR-related documents like your employee handbook and their performance reviews — and they can also track PTO. Plus, OnPay automatically sends out emails alerting employees of when they’re receiving their wages, so they always know exactly when they’ll get paid.

Integrations

Like most full-featured, cloud-based software on the market now, OnPay can sync up with several other software you’re likely already using (or might use in the future) to run and manage your business. OnPay’s integrations run the gamut from accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero; time tracking software; 401(k) and retirement software; HR and compliance software and even your small-business loan (OnPay is currently partnered up with online lender Kabbage).

Benefits

In addition to its full-service payroll processing capabilities, OnPay can also act as a broker for small-business owners seeking health insurance and/or 401(k) plans for their employees.

If you’re seeking a health insurance plan for your business, OnPay — which is a licensed healthcare insurance broker in all 50 states — will aggregate the best, lowest-cost plans for your business through various insurers, which you can then pick and choose among. OnPay will then assume all administrative tasks related to managing and updating your health plan. If you already have a health insurance plan that you’re happy with, you can make OnPay your broker of record so you can still outsource those time-consuming admin tasks.

OnPay offers similar brokerage services for small-business retirement plans, too. OnPay is partnered with 401(k) providers Guideline, America’s Best 401k and Vestwell to offer a retirement plan that works for you and your employees. And as 3(16) and 3(38) investment managers, OnPay’s partners are licensed to take on full fiduciary management of your retirement plan and to act in your business’s best interests.

Pricing

OnPay’s pricing model is simple and transparent: To use this payroll service, you’ll pay a base fee of $36 per month, plus an additional monthly fee of $4 per employee. There are no additional fees, and you’ll get your first month with OnPay for free.

OnPay Payroll

OnPay
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on OnPay's website

Alternatives

OnPay is one of the most robust, easy-to-use small-business payroll processing software on the market today. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore your alternatives, as there are hundreds of similarly comprehensive, automated payroll solutions designed for small businesses.

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks is one of the leading names in accounting software, so it’s no surprise that its payroll software is popular with small-business owners, too.

QuickBooks Payroll fully automates payroll processing. And unless you choose to do so yourself, QuickBooks Payroll will also handle calculating and filing your taxes, providing a 100% accuracy guarantee and shouldering the burden if it makes a mistake. Other highlights include a setup time of under one hour, same-day direct deposits for employees and contractors, time-tracking capabilities, 1099 forms for contractors and software integration with any other of QuickBooks’ myriad software.

QuickBooks Payroll offers three service tiers. Its Core plan does basic payroll processing, but you’ll receive limited customer support from QuickBooks. This plan comes with next-day direct deposit. This basic plan costs $13.50 per month plus $4 per month per employee for the first three months of your service. After those three months, your base fee will bump to $45 per month.

With its Premium plan, you’ll receive more help from QuickBooks, including assisted payroll setup. You’ll also enjoy same-day direct deposit for your team and time tracking features. For this plan, you’ll pay $22.50 per month plus $8 per employee per month for the first three months; after that, the base price increases to $75 per month.

Last is the Elite plan, which costs $37.50 per month to start with, plus $10 per employee per month. After the first three months, the base price increases to $125 per month. With this plan, you’ll get QuickBooks assistance with onboarding, special time tracking tools and a guarantee of no payroll tax penalties. You’ll even get a dedicated  HR advisor through QuickBooks’ partner Mammoth. Whichever service plan you choose, you can take advantage of a free, 30-day trial period (though you won’t get promotional pricing after the trial ends).

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks
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on QuickBooks's website

Gusto

Gusto is a full-service software that handles payroll, HR, benefits and time-tracking all within a single platform. Each of these services can scale as your team grows, and you can access your Gusto account via desktop dashboard or an intuitive app.

On the payroll front, Gusto offers everything you’ve come to expect from an automated, online payroll software: tax calculating and reporting, flexible payroll settings (like multiple pay rates and schedules, deductions and reimbursements) and direct deposits, among other features. Gusto integrates with an impressive collection of popular small-business apps and services, too, like Clover POS, Intuit QuickBooks and Expensify.

Gusto offers three service plans, ranging from basic to comprehensive:

  • Core: $39 per month, plus $6 per month per employee.

  • Complete: $39 per month, plus $12 per month per employee.

  • Concierge: $149 per month, plus $12 per month per employee.

Gusto also has a new option for contractor-only employers, who simply pay the $6/employee rate and no base price. Whichever Gusto plan you sign up for, you can also tack on benefits including 401(k) plans, health plans, 529 college savings plans and workers’ comp insurance.

Gusto Payroll

Gusto
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on Gusto's website

Square Payroll

Yet another trusted name in small-business products, Square — which is best known for its point-of-sale solutions — also offers a full-service, online payroll processing platform at an affordable price. With Square Payroll, you’ll benefit from automated payroll, customized schedules, outsourced tax filings and withholdings, time-tracking features, direct deposits, app integrations, benefits partners and more, all from Square’s reliably user-friendly interface.

Like its other products, Square Payroll’s pricing is simple and straightforward: Its single service plan costs $29 per month, plus $5 per employee per month. And if you’re just paying contractors, then you’ll only need to pay $5 per contractor per month, without any monthly base fee.

Square Payroll

Square
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on Square's website

A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.