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OnPay Review

The Best Payroll Service for Very Small Businesses

A Business News Daily Review

Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend OnPay as our 2018 pick for the best online payroll service for very small businesses. To understand how we selected our top picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of online payroll services on our best picks page.

Unlimited pay runs. The service allows an unlimited number of payroll runs each month for W-2 employees and 1099 contract workers. The option to run payroll at any time allows you to create multiple pay schedules for different types of employees. For example, contract workers can be paid every week and salaried employees every other week.

Pay options. With OnPay, employees can be paid by check, pre-paid debit card or direct deposit. For direct deposit, employees are paid two days after each pay run. You can also print checks for employees using any standard printer. The checks are created automatically and do not require any special software.

Payroll tax. OnPay handles all payroll tax responsibilities. The service calculates the payroll taxes each month; processes the required payments; and pays local, state, and federal tax agencies for you. In addition, the company prepares and files all quarterly and annual payroll returns. At the end of the year, OnPay generates W-2 and 1099 forms. All of the tax services are guaranteed. If a mistake is made, OnPay pays any fines or interest incurred.

Payroll deductions. The service also manages all payroll deductions. Deductions are calculated every pay run and listed on each employee's pay stub. The system allows as many types of payroll deductions as you want, including:

  • Standard dollar amount or percentage deductions
  • Goal or loan deductions that stop automatically
  • 401(k), IRA and other retirement contributions
  • Section 125 or (pretax) health insurance deductions

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Monthly fee. OnPay charges a monthly base fee of $36 per month, plus $4 per employee. The monthly fees include all of the features OnPay offers.

Year-end fees. The only other fee you may incur is for year-end tax forms. 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.

Cloud-based. OnPay is a cloud-based payroll service that doesn't require any software to be installed or maintained and is accessible online from anywhere.

Running payroll. To run payroll, you add the hours each employee worked and make sure the proper deductions are withheld for benefits. You also have the option to add in any employee bonuses or commissions. The system instantly calculates the pay run and displays the totals for review. If everything is correct, the payroll will run. You can then print out checks on your own or have the money deposited directly into employees' bank accounts.

Employee access. Employees can log into the system to access pay stubs, year-end tax forms and other information for their own accounts.

Integrations. OnPay integrates with several types of accounting software: QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online and Xero. The system also integrates with a number of other programs, including Kabbage, When I Work, ThinkHR, PosterElite, Guideline and Humanity.

Paid time off.  Another benefit of OnPay is that it manages paid time off by tracking vacation and sick-time accruals. Time can be accrued per pay period, annually or hourly. Accrued and remaining hours are visible to employees on their pay stubs and online.

Additional services.  OnPay offers several additional services, including employee insurance benefits, workers' compensation plans and 401(k) retirement plans.

Customer service. We were impressed by the support we received from OnPay. To test the level of service it provides, we called the company numerous times, posing as a business owner interested in payroll services. Each time we reached out, our calls were immediately answered by helpful and friendly representatives who were able to answer all of our questions thoroughly. One time, a company executive answered our call and instead of passing us off to a customer service rep, took the time to walk us through how the system worked. OnPay offers customer service between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.

No mobile app. One potential downside of OnPay is that it doesn't have its own mobile app. While it does have a mobile-friendly website, some organizations prefer to access their payroll system through an app.

No Better Business Bureau record. We were disappointed that we couldn't find any record of OnPay or its parent company, Payroll Center Inc., with the Better Business Bureau. We would have liked to see how it rates in terms of providing service to consumers and what, if any, complaints have been levied against the company.

Year-end fees. Having to pay to have the year-end forms mailed to you or your employees could be a turn off for some employers. However, you always have the option of printing them out and distributing them yourself for free.

Ready to choose a payroll service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.