OnPay vs. Gusto: Which Is Right for Your Business?

Gusto offers superior mobile access for employees and more integrations, but OnPay may be a better value for some.
Lisa Anthony
Randa Kriss
By Randa Kriss and  Lisa Anthony 
Edited by Sally Lauckner

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OnPay and Gusto are both cloud-based solutions that offer full-service payroll processing, benefits administration and lifetime account access for all employees. Despite similar feature sets, Gusto is better suited for businesses that want expanded payroll features, dedicated HR support and a large variety of integrations. However, if you’re looking for a low-cost combination of payroll, benefits and HR features, OnPay’s simple, single plan may make it a better value for your business.

Deciding factors



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on OnPay's website

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$40 per month, plus $6 per person.

Simple: $40 per month, plus $6 per person. Plus: $80 per month, plus $12 per person. Premium: Quote-based pricing.

Tax filing and payments

Yes. Each payroll run, OnPay withholds federal, state and local taxes and also makes your tax payment. W-2s and 1099s are generated for you at the end of the year.

Yes. Every time you run payroll, Gusto calculates, files and pays your federal, state and local taxes to the appropriate government agencies.

Ability to manage employee benefits

Good. For health and dental plans, OnPay can act as an insurance broker in all 50 states. Life, vision and disability insurance can also be added. 401(k) plans are available through partner providers.

Good. You can build a customized benefit package for your employees, offering 401(k) plans, health insurance, health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts, commuter benefits and more. Health benefits aren’t available in all states.

Employee access to portal

Excellent. Employees have lifetime access to the OnPay self-service portal to see pay stubs and tax documents. They can also update personal information, request time off and complete assigned HR tasks.

Excellent. Employees receive lifetime access to their Gusto account even if they change jobs. They can view pay stubs and W-2s, track hours, submit vacation requests and donate to nonprofit organizations.

Live support

Good. Support is available Monday through Friday. Phone and chat support are available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, while email support begins at 7 a.m. Emergency email support is offered on weekends.

Good. With all plans, unlimited support is available by phone, email and live chat, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.


Good. Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero. Also syncs with a few apps for time tracking, business tools, 401(k)s, HR and compliance.

Excellent. Integrates with apps for accounting, time tracking, hiring, onboarding and more. This includes the QuickBooks, Xero and FreshBooks apps.

OnPay plans and features

OnPay costs $40 a month plus $6 per person. You can try the first month for free. The plan includes the following services:

OnPay payroll features

  • Unlimited payroll runs in all 50 states.

  • Tax filings and payments, including year-end W-2s and 1099s.

  • Pay employees by direct deposit, debit card or with physical checks.

  • Deduct garnishments and withhold unemployment insurance payments.

OnPay benefits

  • Licensed brokers can help you find medical, vision and dental insurance in all 50 states.

  • 401(k) plans are available through providers such as Guideline, Vestwell and America’s Best 401(k).

  • Pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation plans.

OnPay HR tools

  • In-app offer letters, automated onboarding flows and e-signing capabilities.

  • I-9 and W-4 forms available online, along with state new-hire reporting.

  • Document storage, templates, checklists and an HR resource library.

OnPay also offers a few special payroll services for certain industries at no extra cost. For example, it offers tip calculations for restaurants and separate tax filings for agricultural workers.

Gusto plans and features

Gusto offers payroll services, employee benefits and additional HR tools. Full-service payroll is offered at all plan levels, and additional features are available as you move up each of the tiered plans. Here are some important features of each plan:

Gusto Simple

Simple has a base cost of $40 per month plus $6 per person. It offers the standard payroll features you’d expect, plus some employee benefits, hiring and onboarding tools such as:

  • Unlimited payroll runs in all 50 states.

  • Tax filings and payments and automatic W-2 and 1099 forms.

  • State new-hire reporting, unemployment insurance and workers’ comp administration.

  • Employee health benefits administration with the assistance of licensed brokers.

  • Standard hiring and onboarding tools.

Gusto Plus

The Plus plan has a base price of $80 a month, and the monthly per-employee fee increases to $12. In addition to what’s in the Simple plan, you’ll get HR features including:

  • Time tracking, PTO management and team management tools.

  • Hiring, onboarding and performance review tools.

  • Employee project tracking and cost reports.

Gusto Premium

The Premium plan offers everything in the Simple and Plus plans, in addition to personalized HR assistance that includes:

  • Unlimited access to certified HR experts and a dedicated support team.

  • Alerts for state and federal law changes.

  • HR resource center along with an employee handbook tool.

The sales team can give you a price quote for Gusto Premium.

Add-on features for the plans, some at a cost and others for free, include state tax registration, research and development tax credits, 529 college savings accounts, and tax-advantaged spending accounts.

What makes Gusto a better option

Advanced payroll and HR features

Gusto and OnPay offer unlimited payroll runs across all 50 states. However, Gusto offers some advanced features that OnPay doesn’t. For example, Gusto provides faster direct deposit than OnPay. OnPay takes between two to four days for direct deposit. With Gusto, you can get two-day direct deposit with any of the three plans — plus, next-day direct deposit with the Plus and Premium plans. Gusto's Payroll on AutoPilot feature lets you run payroll automatically one day before your payroll deadline. Plus, advanced HR features such as employee surveys and performance reviews are included in the Plus and Premium plans.

Employee self-service

Although employees are ensured lifetime access to their accounts with both companies, Gusto stands out with its offering of the Gusto Wallet mobile app and Gusto Cashout feature. With any Gusto plan, your employees have access to the Gusto Wallet mobile app, available for both iOS and Android devices. The app is free and allows employees to view their paychecks and W-2s and track their time. Plus, the app lets them set savings goals and automatically transfer money to their Wallet spending accounts. Gusto Cashout is a free program that allows employees to access money between paydays and automatically repay it later from their paycheck.


Both Gusto and OnPay allow you to integrate your payroll software with third-party solutions, including time tracking and accounting software. Gusto, however, offers a larger number of integrations over more categories: point-of-sale, business operations, tax preparation, hiring, performance management, legal and compliance, and more.

Where OnPay may be a better alternative

Low-cost payroll, benefits and HR features

Although OnPay offers only one plan compared with the three available with Gusto, it’s a winning combination of valuable payroll, benefits and HR features. At a base price of $40 a month plus $6 per person, OnPay’s plan costs the same as Gusto’s Simple plan. In addition to payroll and benefits administration, with OnPay you get additional HR features not offered at that level by Gusto. This includes org charts, e-signing options, and PTO requests, approvals and reminders. Most of these HR features, when offered by Gusto, are only available at the higher and more expensive tiers.

Special payroll services

At no additional cost, OnPay offers services designed for specific industries. For restaurants, it automates all the calculations for overtime hours and minimum wages for tipped employees. It can pay and process taxes for agricultural workers on H-2A visas, accommodate nonprofit organizations with unique tax filing requirements and help religious organizations with payroll calculations.

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