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Updated Oct 02, 2023

OnPay Payroll Software Review

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Jamie Johnson, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

Table of Contents

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Editors Score:9.5/10
OnPay is our choice for the best payroll service for small businesses. It provides unlimited payroll runs, handles payroll tax responsibilities and integrates with many accounting programs. OnPay is also affordable and offers excellent customer support.
Plus Sign Pros
  • OnPay is intuitive and easy to use for businesses in any industry.
  • The service is affordable for companies on a tight budget.
  • OnPay provides outstanding customer support.
Minus Sign Cons
  • The vendor doesn’t have a dedicated mobile app.
  • There are no customizable plans for bigger companies.
Onpay company logo
Editor's Rating9.5/10
  • OnPay is a payroll service designed specifically for small businesses. It’s affordable, intuitive and features numerous self-service features. 
  • OnPay provides unlimited payroll processing, handles all payroll tax responsibilities and integrates with many popular accounting programs. 
  • OnPay includes HR services like onboarding tools, new-hire reporting, offer letter templates and access to an HR resource center.
  • This review is for small business owners considering using OnPay for their payroll processing needs.

Small businesses need a straightforward, intuitive payroll solution that can help them manage their finances and employees. OnPay fits the bill perfectly. OnPay evolved from a traditional payroll service, so it brings over 30 years of payroll processing experience to help small businesses handle payroll and HR responsibilities. The vendor allows unlimited payroll runs and combines its extensive payroll tools and HR services with the latest technology to deliver an all-inclusive experience. Its impressive feature set, affordable costs and high-level support make it our choice for the best payroll service for small businesses.

Editor’s note: Looking for information on payroll systems? Use the questionnaire below, and OnPay will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

OnPay Payroll Software Editor's Rating:

9.5 / 10

Pricing
9.8
Features
9.5
Usability
9
Employee self-service
9.2
Customer service
9.8


Why OnPay Is Best for Small Businesses

Affordability and simplicity are crucial factors for small businesses that need payroll assistance. OnPay has a straightforward cost structure and an easy-to-use interface. Most importantly, it can handle all payroll and payroll tax responsibilities for your small business. 

Despite its low costs and intuitive interface, OnPay’s feature set is impressive. We found that it provides unlimited payroll processing and integrates with many of the best accounting software solutions. It also includes paid time off (PTO) management and provides access to HR tools at no extra cost. We appreciate that OnPay guarantees all its tax work will be done on time and correctly.

Additionally, OnPay’s customer service impressed us; it was among the best we encountered during our extensive evaluations of online payroll services. Customer support is crucial for small business owners, who often handle payroll on their own and could use additional help. For all these reasons and more, we chose OnPay as the best payroll service for small businesses and organizations.

Did You Know?Did you know
The number of pay periods in a year depends on your payroll schedule, which can be weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly.
OnPay dashboard

OnPay’s dashboard is clean and intuitive, showing business owners all the payroll processing information they need. Source: OnPay

Usability

We were impressed by how easy OnPay is to use. Here are several elements that add to the system’s usability: 

  • OnPay’s interface is intuitive. The desktop interface has blue menu tabs down the side, offering easy access to dedicated sections for Payroll, HR, Reports and more. We especially like how the hover windows let you adjust individual employee data or remuneration, and radio buttons and drop-downs are self-explanatory. 
  • OnPay stays current on laws and regulations. We really like that OnPay’s software keeps up with state-specific taxation and regulatory changes, including multiple taxes for nonresidents and residents. 
  • Running payroll is straightforward with OnPay. It’s easy to run payroll with OnPay. Add each employee’s hours worked, and check that the proper payroll deductions are withheld. You can also add employee bonuses or commissions. OnPay allows one-time changes to pay rates and deduction amounts. The system instantly calculates the payments and displays the totals for review. If everything is correct, the payroll will run. You can print checks on your own or opt for a paperless payroll run by depositing money directly into your employees’ bank accounts. You can also distribute funds via pay cards.
  • Adding employees to OnPay is simple. We like how easy it is to add employees to the system. Enter basic details about the employee, including their name, address, birth date and start date. From there, you’ll add the following information:
  • Employees have self-service tools in OnPay. We really like that employees can onboard themselves by logging in to the system and entering their details, saving business owners time. They can also see pay stubs, amend personal bank account details, update other personal information and create signatures for e-signing documents within OnPay.
  • You can set payroll reminders with OnPay. To ensure you remember to run payroll on time, you can set email reminders for up to 10 days before payday, which we found to be extremely helpful. 
Did You Know?Did you know
OnPay emails employees once payroll has been completed so they know to look for their paychecks, check their bank accounts for a direct deposit or expect a direct deposit alternative like a prepaid debit card.

OnPay Features

Some payroll services we reviewed limit specific features to higher-tier plans. In contrast, we appreciate that all of OnPay’s valuable tools are included when you sign up. Below are the functions that stood out to us.

Full-service payroll

Quickly pay employees and contractors by check, debit card or direct deposit. 

Payroll tax services

OnPay manages your payroll taxes and filings.

Built-in HR team

The software comes with employee onboarding tools. 

Integrated benefits

Use the service to manage dental, vision, life and disability insurance. 

Accounting integrations

OnPay integrates with accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero.

Customizable reporting features

Create customizable reports and view and filter them in real time. 

Full-Service Payroll

We like that OnPay can handle all your company’s payroll and payroll accounting needs, even across more specialized sectors. For example, it can manage payroll for nonprofit organizations and churches, handle 943 filings for agricultural businesses, and deal with gratuities received in hospitality roles. The software supports customizable pay items for bonuses, split roles at different rates, cash and card tips, and more.

Through our testing, we found that the service allows unlimited payroll processing for W-2 employees and 1099 contract workers. You can run payroll anytime, creating multiple pay schedules for different employee types; contractors can be paid weekly and salaried employees every other week. Vacation calendars and PTO accruals are also standard. Employees can be paid by check, prepaid debit card or direct deposit. For direct deposit, employees are paid two days after each payroll run. You can also print checks for employees using any standard printer.

We love that OnPay updated its payment processing experience. It’s faster to view and manage pay items at the worker level. You can tab through team member listings to quickly review everyone on your payroll and add additional items, like cash tips or bonuses, with just a few clicks. You can also manage tax overrides, garnishments and other deductions.

TipTip
If you're wondering how frequently to run payroll, consider your state's legal requirements, your payroll budget and whether you employ hourly or salaried workers.

Entering employee hours and wages into OnPay

Enter employees’ hours and wages into OnPay, and the system will instantly calculate payments and display the totals. Source: OnPay

Payroll Tax Services

We were pleased to see that OnPay can handle all your payroll tax responsibilities. The service calculates your payroll taxes monthly, processes the required payments, and pays local, state and federal tax agencies across all 50 U.S. states. Additionally, the company prepares and files quarterly and annual payroll returns. 

At the end of the year, OnPay generates your payroll forms, including W-2 and 1099 forms; employees can access them via the self-service portal.

We love that OnPay guarantees its tax services. If the company makes a mistake, it will fix the problem and pay any fines or interest you accrue. This type of guarantee is fairly standard in the industry.

We really like that the company provides detailed alerts to help businesses catch mistakes before they occur. Proactive alerts are sent to admins and managers if the system encounters potential calculation errors, a missing state tax ID or negative net pay amounts. It can even determine irregularities in pay cycle remuneration and flag them for review. We appreciate that this backup system gives small business owners peace of mind.

Updating tax information with OnPay

OnPay makes it easy for business owners to update or edit payroll tax information anytime. Source: OnPay

Built-in HR Team

OnPay provides HR services like employee onboarding tools (including assignable employee onboarding tasks and e-signing), new-hire reporting, job offer letter templates and access to an HR resource center. While most competitors, including ADP and Gusto, have similar HR capabilities, they usually charge more for these services. We really appreciate that these functions are included with OnPay at no additional cost. For example, in our review of ADP, we explain that the vendor’s employee handbook wizard is available only on its more advanced (and more expensive) plans. 

In contrast, all OnPay clients can access its intuitive handbook builder. Using smart fields, you can add all the documents your employees must access, including the company mission statement, employee time-off policies, paid holidays and performance management procedures. Once you’ve created your handbook, you can send it to all new employees. We found that this feature is an excellent way for small businesses to create efficiencies and ensure all team members understand the organization’s processes.

Did You Know?Did you know
OnPay is considered a top Gusto payroll alternative because of its user-friendly payroll processing and tax services and robust customer service.

OnPay offer letter template

OnPay provides job offer letter templates that new hires can sign digitally. Source: OnPay

Integrated Benefits

OnPay facilitates benefits administration, including insurance benefits, workers’ compensation plans and 401(k) retirement plans. The vendor is licensed in all 50 states, and you’ll receive support from an in-house team of brokers. We like that the platform can generate quick quotes for various insurance offerings.

We also noticed that OnPay can help manage other perks, such as PTO, commuter benefits and remote work tools. It can also help with COVID-19 compliance, including tracking COVID-caused sick leave. Compliance checklists and audits are built into the software alongside customizable document templates. You can even view expired personnel documentation. Automated workflows assign and track activities, from employee anniversaries to exit interviews.

OnPay 401k administration

OnPay can help administer a 401(k) plan for your employees and automatically handle contributions via payroll deductions. Source: OnPay

Accounting Integrations

OnPay integrates with several accounting applications, including QuickBooks Online and Xero. While this basic capability is on par with rivals, OnPay’s accounting software integration is more robust than what most payroll providers offer. Every time you complete a pay run, the payroll data will update automatically in your accounting software. 

In fact, we’ve noticed that OnPay has significantly improved its pay run experience over the years. The company provides an intuitive and responsive experience, building on its already incredible features. We love that you can now pay your employees in fewer steps and view your payroll with expandable columns and itemized breakdowns. Additionally, through our own testing, we found the smart alerts to be extremely helpful in flagging mistakes or inconsistencies before running payroll. 

Did You Know?Did you know
QuickBooks has its own payroll software. See our review of QuickBooks Payroll to compare and contrast its features with OnPay's.

Customizable Reporting Features

OnPay allows businesses to create customizable payroll reports that can be filtered in real time. Custom views can be saved for easy access by finance teams, HR leaders or your accountant. We like that users can add or remove more than 50 data points and arrange columns in any order. You can download reports as PDF files or spreadsheets; they can also be exported via your accounting software integration. 

TipTip
If your business requires more detailed and robust reporting functionality, check out our review of Paychex. This platform provides over 160 report types.

OnPay reporting features

Run various payroll reports with OnPay, including payroll and earnings summaries. Source: OnPay

OnPay Pricing

Here’s a breakdown of OnPay’s pricing and terms: 

  • Straightforward pricing: OnPay offers straightforward pricing. It charges a monthly base fee of $40 plus $6 per employee per month. Unlike other payroll providers with tiered pricing structures, OnPay’s monthly fees include all services.
  • Year-end tax forms: Year-end tax forms may incur additional expenses. OnPay charges $5 plus shipping per employee to print and mail year-end tax forms to your business or $6 plus shipping per employee to mail forms directly to each employee. However, you can print W-2s on your own at no additional cost.
  • No long-term contacts or annual fees: There are no long-term contracts with OnPay. You pay month-to-month and can cancel anytime at no charge. There are no annual fees or extra fees for withholding, remitting or filing payroll taxes. 
  • One-month free trial: We were pleased to see that all new customers receive the first month of service for free. You don’t have to provide credit card information to begin using OnPay. However, you must connect your business bank account to progress in the free trial and use the software.

We love that OnPay is transparent about its pricing. The company’s website clearly outlines the costs and includes a price calculator that determines your precise monthly fee based on employee numbers. Some payroll services we evaluated require you to call for a price quote, while others give only a price estimate and won’t provide specific pricing until you commit to their service.

Setup

OnPay is a cloud-based payroll service accessible online from anywhere; your data and documents are hosted in the cloud. You don’t have to download or maintain software. 

We really like that new customers receive a New Accounts Coordinator to walk them through the onboarding process. This representative ensures your tax IDs are in the system and prior wages have been migrated to OnPay. If you’re transferring data from your old payroll service, OnPay can help. Give OnPay your current payroll information, and one of its staff members will set up your new account and have it ready to use within three business days.

Your rep can walk you through your first payroll run and help you get used to the software. Not every payroll system has such concierge service. We appreciate that this service ensures that new customers have the support they need to get set up in a compliant fashion and with no added expense.

Customer Service

OnPay supplies U.S.-based customer support by phone Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET; it also provides assistance by email and live chat. Emergency email support is available on weekends. In addition, the company has an extensive online help center with over 200 articles. 

We were very impressed with OnPay’s support. When we called the company to inquire about its services, we were greeted by a company executive instead of a typical customer service representative. They took the time to answer our questions thoroughly and comprehensively. While other companies we spoke with tried to convince us that their service was the best, OnPay focused on its offerings instead of bashing its competitors. 

During subsequent calls with support reps, we received the same high level of friendly and helpful customer service. 

Though OnPay is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, it has an A rating, which indicates its commitment to quality customer service.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Since OnPay allows unlimited payroll processing, you can offer employees payroll advances in unique situations to build goodwill. Note that payroll advances differ from on-demand payroll.
OnPay online help center

OnPay’s extensive online help center offers information on payroll, tax resources, compliance and more. Source: OnPay

Drawbacks

One drawback we found is that OnPay doesn’t have a mobile app – a potential downside for some businesses. Its website is mobile-friendly, but some organizations want to access their payroll system via a secure app while on the go.

Another downside is that OnPay charges a fee to mail year-end tax forms to your business or employees. However, you can always print and distribute these forms yourself for free.

Methodology

When evaluating the best payroll services, we examined multiple vendors’ payroll processes, integrations, customization options, pricing, usability, setup and other factors. Our goal is to help businesses choose the right payroll service. To determine the best payroll solution for small businesses specifically, we prioritized straightforward pricing, all-inclusive plans and exceptional customer service. During our in-depth review process, we attended a hands-on OnPay demo and consulted with company representatives to better understand the platform and have our questions answered. We also tested the company’s customer service quality and response times. 

OnPay FAQ

OnPay is used for payroll processing and payroll tax services; it also handles some HR functions. The software lets business owners run payroll, onboard employees and manage employee benefits.
OnPay costs $40 per month, plus an additional $6 per employee. This price gives you access to all OnPay’s features. There are no tiered pricing plans.
The company’s website is mobile-friendly, but there is no dedicated mobile app.
OnPay has received several commendations, including Best Payroll Service for Small Businesses 2023 by Forbes Advisor and a 2023 Editors’ Choice award from PCMag.
OnPay offers integrations with QuickBooks, When I Work, Vestwell, Mineral and many other third-party platforms.

Overall Value

We recommend OnPay for … 

  • Small businesses looking for a full-service payroll solution with competitive pricing.
  • Businesses that want detailed accounting integrations, such as time tracking or 401(k) apps.
  • Organizations that need flexible and customizable reporting features. 

We don’t recommend OnPay for …

  • Companies that want a payroll provider with a dedicated mobile app.
  • Business owners looking for customized pricing plans.

Neil Cumins contributed to this review.

author image
Jamie Johnson, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
For more than five years, Jamie Johnson has been guiding business owners on financial matters both big and small. This includes investment advice, insights on business loans and funding options, recommendations on insurance and more. Johnson excels at delivering easy-to-understand direction so entrepreneurs can make the best financial decisions for their businesses and, as a solopreneur herself, she regularly tests business strategies and services. Johnson's expertise can be found in a variety of finance publications, including InvestorPlace, Credit Karma, Insurify and Rocket Mortgage. She has also demonstrated a deep understanding of other B2B topics — including sales, payroll, marketing and social media — for the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, USA Today and Business Insider.
Onpay company logo
Editor's Rating9.5/10
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