PrimePay Payroll Review 2021: Features, Pricing, Alternatives

This PrimePay Payroll review includes how it works, features, how much it costs and a few alternatives.
NerdWalletJul 30, 2020

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If you’re in the market for payroll software, one name you may have heard is PrimePay. PrimePay launched in 1986 with the goal of saving small-business owners time by managing their logistical tasks. Today, PrimePay provides a variety of services, from HR to insurance and compliance — but its bread and butter is still payroll.

Let’s take a closer look at PrimePay Payroll: How it works, its features and how much it costs. We’ll also offer up some alternatives to PrimePay so you can understand your full range of options when deciding on a payroll service provider.

What is PrimePay Payroll?

PrimePay Payroll is a cloud-hosted payroll service, meaning it can be accessed from anywhere on the web and does not require the business owner to install or manage any software. The platform was designed specifically for small-business owners looking to track, manage and process payroll, and deliver payment to their employees.

But to say that is all PrimePay can do would be reductive. Built into the payroll platform are HR, time clock and workers compensation capabilities, allowing you to manage all aspects regarding payroll in one place.

How it works

To get started with PrimePay Payroll, you need to sign up for an account. This requires submitting some basic business information via a form on the PrimePay website, including your company name, number of employees and contact information. Once submitted, a PrimePay sales representative will contact you and walk you through the details of setting up your account.


With your account set up, you can configure it in accordance with how you run payroll. This includes creating your payroll calendar (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, semi-monthly), entering tax, earnings, benefits deductions and workers compensation information, and linking your business bank account to the software.

Once you have completed these steps, you can start adding in employees. This is where PrimePay’s HR capabilities come into play. To add an employee to PrimePay Payroll you must first add them to PrimePay HR. To do so, navigate to the HR portal from your account dashboard and click the “Add Employee” option. You will be prompted to provide the employee’s classification (W-2, independent contractor), name, birthday, gender, address, date of hire and Social Security number.

You’ll also provide the employee’s pay schedule and pay method (direct deposit, prepaid check, paper check). Once all this information is entered, you must sync PrimePay HR with PrimePay Payroll by selecting the “Manage Employees” option in the HR portal. After HR and Payroll are synchronized, you can enter in all relevant federal, state and local tax withholdings information for the new employee in the Payroll portal, as well as earnings information.

Finally, if an employee opts for direct deposit, you must enter their bank name, account type (savings or checking), and account and routing number into the Payroll system.


With all of this information collected in the Payroll and HR systems, you can begin processing payroll for the employee. Processing payroll with PrimePay is a three-step process. When the next pay period comes, log into your payroll system and import your time and attendance data from PrimePay’s time clock platform. Once the data is imported, you will be provided with the option to create checks for your employees. Select the “Calculate Your Checks” icon, which provides a preview of the pay information for each individual employee. Review the data and, if all looks right, click “Submit” to process payroll.


When payroll is processed, PrimePay automatically calculates, files and pays local, state and federal taxes based on the information you have provided. Deductions for things like health benefits and savings contributions are also automatically calculated. For employees who opt to be paid by paper check, PrimePay Payroll offers free check signing, stuffing and sealing services.

At the end of the year, PrimePay will deliver tax forms for your employees for an additional fee. There is also an online portal that your employees can access to view pay stubs and tax forms. If there are ever any errors regarding taxation, PrimePay will fix the mistakes and pay any fines that may have been incurred.

Features of PrimePay Payroll

Most of what PrimePay Payroll can do is fairly typical amongst payroll platforms. Fortunately, PrimePay also offers a lot of extra functionality (like the HR and time clock platforms mentioned earlier) to really sweeten the pot for small-business owners. Let’s take a look at some of the additional items:

Payroll reporting

PrimePay’s payroll reports are designed to provide small-business owners with insights into their labor expenses. Reports range from departmental summaries, payroll journals and tax summaries, to customized 401(k) reports, direct deposit recaps, terminated employee history and more.

Payroll add-ons

For an extra cost, PrimePay will extend the functionality of your platform with a variety of add-ons. This includes adding a bank reconciliation file, electronic child support garnishment, general ledger imports, 401(k) imports and more. PrimePay does not list the cost of these add-ons on its website, so we recommend speaking to a sales representative if you are interested in adding any of these features.

Applicant tracking

Using PrimePay’s built-in HR software, you can post job listings to major job boards. When someone applies for that role, their information will be automatically imported into the HR system. Once you make a hire, their information will be sent directly to Employee Onboarding.

Employee onboarding

Onboard new hires digitally via the PrimePay HR system. All the information entered during onboarding can also be transferred directly to Payroll. PrimePay will also handle all new hire paperwork and submit it to the appropriate state and federal agencies.

Time clock

As previously mentioned, Payroll subscribers have access to a cloud-based time clock that integrates directly with its system. The time clock can handle punch-in/punch-out functions for employees, scheduling, PTO management and overtime settings.

HR advisory

Within the HR portal, Payroll customers have access to a variety of free step-by-step guides on topics relating to human resources. For an extra $29 per month, you can also get access to an employee handbook builder, 200 employee training courses and a direct line to a certified HR professional.

Additional services

Although all of the aforementioned services come included or as extensions of the Payroll platform, PrimePay offers a variety of additional subscription services that may be of use to small-business owners, including benefits and merchant services, and additional HR and insurance services. Pricing is quote-based. Contact a sales representative for more.

Customer service

To contact customer service, you must submit an online form via the PrimePay Support Portal. For a faster solution, look through the documentation provided in the Support Portal on all the different facets of the PrimePay platform. PrimePay also maintains a blog with useful information.

Pricing of PrimePay Payroll

PrimePay Payroll’s pricing is based on the number of employees you have and how frequently you run payroll. The PrimePay website features a tool where you can calculate your payroll costs based on your company’s information. The price breakdown is as follows:

Team size

Weekly payroll

Bi-weekly payroll

Semi-monthly payroll

Monthly payroll

1-9 employees

$42 per pay period plus $3.45 per check.

$60 per pay period plus $3.70 per check.

$60 per pay period plus $3.70 per check.

$95 per pay period plus $2.65 per check.

10-49 employees

$50 per pay period plus $2.75 per check.

$66 per pay period plus $2.90 per check.

$66 per pay period plus $2.90 per check.

$97 per pay period plus $2.65 per check.

50+ employees

$116 per pay period plus $1.85 per check.

$131 per pay period plus $1.85 per check.

$131 per pay period plus $1.85 per check.

$163 per pay period plus $1.85 per check.

*Semi-monthly payroll means payroll will be processed twice a month.

There are no contracts to sign with PrimePay. You can use the service month-to-month and cancel at any time. Note that PrimePay is currently offering a 60-day free trial.

Pros of PrimePay Payroll

HR services

Although PrimePay isn’t the first payroll software to integrate HR services into its platform, it certainly offers a lot of functionality at no cost. When you sign up for the payroll platform, you get applicant tracking, new hire reporting, and onboarding and advisory services baked into the product. That’s a lot of free features.

Ease of use

PrimePay Payroll is designed for small-business owners who have a lot on their plates. Therefore, it tries to make the payroll process as seamless as possible by integrating HR and time tracking functions into the payroll platform, and by making processing payroll a simple three-step process. For those who are new to payroll processing, you won’t face a steep learning curve with PrimePay.

User reviews

Here is how PrimePay ranks on the major review sites:

  • G2 Crowd: 5 stars out of 5.

  • Capterra: 4.5 stars out of 5.

  • Better Business Bureau: A+ (not accredited).

In reviews, customers say they find PrimePay’s UX extremely intuitive, and that they can process payroll very quickly using the platform. In addition, users find the PrimePay blog to be extremely informative, and that payroll consistently processes without any errors.

Cons of PrimePay Payroll


It's not that you can’t scale your business using PrimePay Payroll. But for businesses that have grown past the 100-employee mark, there are payroll service providers that can provide payroll solutions more tailored to your business needs. PrimePay’s services are built to serve small and midsize businesses.

User reviews

There aren’t many negative reviews of PrimePay Payroll on the major review sites. The most common complaints were that the reporting isn’t as in-depth as some would like, and that it is hard to get a customer service representative on the phone quickly.

Alternatives to PrimePay

Automatic Data Processing (ADP)

ADP is a professional employer organization, meaning it offers payroll services and a whole lot more. For small businesses, ADP offers four plans: Essential Payroll, Enhanced Payroll, Complete Payroll and HR Pro. Based on which plan you subscribe to, you’ll get access to some or all of those additional services. Among the additional services are an employee discount program, free background checks and legal assistance.

RUN Powered by ADP®

Shop Now

on ADP's website


An economical choice for businesses that don’t have many employees is Gusto. Gusto is an all-in-one payroll/HR/benefits system. Its low-cost plan charges a flat rate of $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month. Some of the features that come with Gusto include 401(k) and workers’ compensation management, and integrations with popular time tracking and accounting software. Gusto also has a new option for contractor-only employers, who simply pay the $6/employee rate and no base price.

Gusto Payroll

Shop Now

on Gusto's website

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