Paying your employees on time is a must for every company. However, this proves to be a daunting task for most business owners, especially those who own a small enterprise. Unless you want to draw the ire of disgruntled employees – and expensive labor fines – you need to keep your payroll running smoothly.
One of the best ways to do so is to make use of online payroll services. These programs can help you manage your business payroll according to your preferred schedule. As an added bonus, it also allows you to perform other finance-related activities such as payments and tax filings.
With the many online payroll services out there, you might find it hard (if not confusing) to choose the most suitable program for your small enterprise.
Table of Contents
Worry not, for our goal in this article is to help you choose from any of these top 14 online payroll services for your small business:
ADP is an online payroll service that offers different packages according to your needs. The most basic is the Essential Payroll program, which provides vital payroll services for small companies. The fee for this package is $10 per employee.
ADP allows you to pay your workers through direct deposit or the usual paycheck. It also helps prepare payroll taxes, as well as quarterly tax filings. The program can also assist you in accomplishing W-2 and 1099 forms.
This payroll service boasts of an easy-to-use dashboard where you can view trends easily. It offers a comprehensive payment breakdown, so you can check the accuracy of wages, taxes, and whatnot.
The Pros of Using ADP
Free 3 months. If you want to get the best bang for your buck, then you need to take advantage of ADP’s offer. New clients are entitled to 3 months of free service upon signing up.
Employee discounts. ADP does more than just simplifying the payroll process. Whether you get the basic Essential package, you and your employees are entitled to discounts from brand name products, as well as local goods.
Background checks. If you get the Enhanced package (and the more expensive ones), you get to enjoy the employee background check feature every year. This service includes SSN validation and a criminal history search.
The Cons of Using ADP
Delays in the declaration of withholding tax. Some users report ADP being late in filing tax declarations. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some fees and penalties in the employer’s part.
Many spam ads. For some users, ADP’s spam ads can be much of a headache. It can be an added problem for employers or workers who are not very ‘techy.’
APS Payroll solutions promise to help you save time and money in terms of payroll processing. Its award-winning technology allows you to access payroll, attendance, and HR features with relative ease.
APS can help make the payroll shebang easier with its more accurate payroll system. It comes with validation rules to make sure there are little (if no) payroll errors. The system also helps enforce tax compliance, which can reduce penalties on your part.
APS payroll services levy a flat fee of $60 per month, with an additional $5 per employee. The time and attendance program costs $3 per worker, per month. The scheduling service, on the other hand, will set you back $5 per employee, per month.
The Pros of Using APS
One-on-one training. If it’s your first time using APS, there’s no need to panic. The company offers a training program, so you don’t have any problems installing and using the software.
System security. APS users have different levels of permission. This allows you, the owner, to restrict program access accordingly. This helps secure the payroll system, especially at this time when fraud is very prevalent.
The Cons of Using APS
No app available. While you can access APS through your mobile web browser, it does not offer an app that provides easier smartphone access.
BenefitMall is a one-stop-shop for payroll processing and tax obligations. It offers HR support, insurance support, as well as recruitment services. It offers three packages, with prices customized according to the service and the number of employees.
One such offer is the PayFocus Pro program. The company’s quote for this service is $70 per payroll, plus $2.25 employee. This price is for a small business of about 25 employees.
With an interface that you can access from any web browser, BenefitMall comes with minimum wage warnings. This helps maintain your compliance with state regulations, so you don’t end up paying expensive fines and whatnot.
The Pros of Using BenefitMall
Easy to use. You need not be a Wizard to operate BenefitMall. You can make adjustments as needed, which makes this program a favorite of many small business owners.
Reliable support team. Even if BenefitMall is easy to use, you still might have some concerns operating it. This is not a problem though, as customer support reps are helpful and very easy to contact.
The Cons of Using BenefitMall
Per payroll basis. If you need to complete multiple payrolls in a month, then this system is not for you. With its per payroll charge, you’ll end up shelling a lot for multiple payments.
Fuse Workforce Management brags of supplying everything a business owner needs with its all in one system. It offers more than just payroll services, as it provides assistance with attendance tracking and HR management.
Its cloud-based system allows you to view and manage real-time data. With its customizable system, Fuse Workforce can help you modify the interface according to your needs.
Fuse Workforce levies a flat fee for all its services. For example, a business owner with 100 employees needs to pay $18 per employee.
The Pros of Using Fuse Workforce Management
All-inclusive services. Fuse Workforce services are not limited to payroll dispensing. This program allows you to track time and attendance, and use HR features as needed.
Multiple options for payment. With Fuse Workforce Management, you can choose from three payment options: direct deposit, check, or prepaid debit card.
Employee self-service. Your workers can log into the system to check their paystubs and what not. This program also allows them to check their schedules and time-offs.
The Cons of Using Fuse Workforce Management
Only one service option. Compared to other payroll services, Fuse Workforce offers just one program. You can’t save money by cutting services that you don’t actually need.
For ‘bigger’ small businesses. Unless you have 50 or more employees, you can’t use Fuse Workforce for your payroll needs.
Gusto does not only offer payroll services, but it also has features that cover HR management and administration. Despite its many features, the company is flexible enough to offer three pricing schemes.
The cheapest is Core, where the fee is $39 per month, plus an additional $6 per worker. The mid-level package is named Complete, where you need to pay $39 monthly and $12 per employee. Its top-tier service is named Concierge, which comes with a monthly fee of $149 and an additional $12 per employee.
This easy-to-use program goes above and beyond as it can help you file your taxes as well. It also offers a benefits administration, where the payroll is integrated with medical and life insurance, as well as disability coverage.
The Pros of Using Gusto Payroll Services
Free trial. If you want to have a feel of the program without having to pay a fee, then you should consider Gusto. It provides a free trial, so you can test the waters and see if the interface works for you.
Easy to use. Even older, less techy employers or workers can use Gusto with relative ease. With this program, completing the payroll can be done in just a few clicks.
Can run on autopilot. If you’re guilty of forgetting your payroll because of a lot of things, then Gusto is what you need. You can set it on autopilot, which means it can continue paying your employees without needing much intervention from you.
The Cons of Using Gusto Payroll Services
Does not accept prepaid debit cards. If you use prepaid debit cards to finance payrolls, then Gusto is not for you. Unfortunately, this system does not accept this card for funding.
No customer support services during the weekend. This is one of the major drawbacks of the service, as program problems are not limited to weekdays alone. Should you encounter a glitch during the weekend, you need to wait until Monday to have it sorted out.
Intuit Quickbooks provides services that any small business owner would ever want from a software. Apart from helping you pay workers (automatically if you wish), it helps you file payroll taxes as well.
Quickbooks allows you to track time with its easy-to-use payroll set-up. It also provides HR support, as well as 24/7 customer service for any concern. Quickbooks offers three packages, all of which are on sale for the time being.
The most basic offer is Core, which costs $13.50 per month (originally $45) with an add-on of $4 per employee. The recommended package is Premium, which costs $22.50 (from $75) plus $8 per employee per month. The Elite package costs $37.50 (from $125), with a per employee rate of $10.
The Pros of Using Intuit Quickbooks
Easy-to-use platform. The Intuit Quickbooks platform is very easy to use. You can quickly find the access tabs at the top of the page. The payday feature allows you to make paychecks easily, while the to-do page reminds you of the important tasks that you need to accomplish.
Same-day direct deposit. The Premium and Elite packages allow you to deposit the money on the day of the payout. You can do so up until 7am Pacific time. More importantly, this feature comes for free – no hidden charges to worry about!
Can be integrated with the Quickbooks accounting software. If your company has the aforementioned software, know that you can integrate it easily with the payroll software. They work together seamlessly, which makes handling the financial parts of your business even easier.
The Cons of Using Intuit Quickbooks
Poor customer service. Many clients have experienced making several calls to resolve certain problems. Worse, many did not receive the follow-up calls that they were expecting. This kept the users hanging, unable to run the program as needed.
Limited add-on offers. Compared to other online payroll services, Intuit Quickbooks does not offer HR guidance, retirement plans, and healthcare benefits. The additional services are only limited to an attendance system, the 1099 e-file service, as well as the worker compensation plan.
7. MMC HR
MMC HR is a Human Resource Outsourcing Company that offers payroll processing services. It features an online self-service for both business owners and employees. This makes for easy viewing of wages, vacation hours, even the W-2 form.
MMC HR offers customized programs that include HR consulting as well. As a business owner, you can take advantage of the system’s time and attendance technology. You can make use of its wage and hours compliance feature as well.
The website does not provide pricing for its services. As such, you need to ask for a free quote from its official website.
The Pros of Using MMC HR
Dedicated specialist. If you have concerns, you can rely on your account specialist to help you out. He/she can help you with common system questions, as well as other services such as employee training.
HR Features. The MMC HR program offers good HR services. You can consult about labor law, even seek assistance about hiring and disciplining employees.
The Cons of Using MMC HR
No Better Business Bureau rating. If you often consult with the BBB before hiring any company, then MMC’s lack of accreditation or ratings may make you nervous. This is a concern amongst many since MMC HR has been in business for several years.
Onpay is a program that provides more than just payroll services. It allows you to create customizable reports, as well as file for appropriate taxes.
Like some programs, Onpay offers a free 30-day trial, after which you need to pay a flat fee of $36 per month. An additional levy of $4 is required per employee.
Onpay allows you to pay your employees at different schedules, be it weekly, bimonthly, or monthly. It also enables you to track your workers’ leaves. More importantly, Onpay can help your workers in planning their 401(k).
The Pros of Using Onpay
Free initial data entry. Onpay requires you to enter a lot of details. Getting one wrong can affect your employees, as well as your company. Fortunately, an OnPay expert can do this for you – so you are sure that complete and accurate tax details are encoded.
Easy onboarding. Getting new employees into the system can be problematic for most services. You don’t have to worry about this, as it has various options such as “Add Employee” or “Add Contractor.”
Multiple reports. As a small business owner, reading various reports can help boost your business. Good thing Onpay offers several documents, including that of payroll summaries, earning summaries, and 401(k) summaries.
The Cons of Using Onpay
Slower load speeds. Compared to other payroll services, Onpay somehow performs slower. You may need to refresh the page sometimes, which can be troublesome for most.
No mobile app. Unfortunately, Onpay does not have a mobile app. This can be a drawback if you prefer managing the employee payrolls conveniently. You can still, however, access the platform through your mobile web browser.
Paychex offers numerous services for small business owners. It allows you to choose from different payment methods, be it paper checks, direct deposits, or pay cards. With its automatic payroll administrator, it offers 3 payroll views – so you can decide what works best for you.
Paychex allows you to pay for different kinds of workers. It doesn’t matter if your employees are under contract, salaried, or by the hour. You can pay them easily with the help of Paychex.
More than just handling your payroll with ease, Paychex offers other beneficial services as well. It offers new-hire reporting to government agencies, apart from a labor compliance kit and an HR events calendar. With its many add-on services, it bills an initial charge of $60 plus $6.25 per employee.
The Pros of Using Paychex
Easy to use. You can access the platform from any kind of web browser.
Free mobile app. This allows you and your employees to access the payroll (and other important features) rather conveniently.
Employee self-service. No need to do it all. Your employees can fill up the pertinent information and view their payroll details. Most importantly, this feature enables them to fill up their tax forms – so you don’t need to hire others to do this for them.
The Cons of Using Paychex
Poor customer support. Many users say that it’s customer service, specifically with regards to inquiring about services, is not good. It’s impossible to get good info from the representatives by phone or by e-mail. This is in comparison to other companies who are more than willing to spread the good news about their services.
PayUSA prides itself on being a one-stop-shop for Human Capital Management. Apart from providing a full-service payroll, it can provide HR assistance as well.
PayUSA offers cloud-based services and other useful tools, both of which are designed to help any small business.
Pricing depends on the number of employees, as well as the frequency of the payout. A quote for 20 employees paid bi-weekly is $75 per month. However, this scheme comes with additional fees, including $5 per month for direct deposits, and $34++ for year-end tax services.
The Pros of Using PayUSA
Money-back guarantee for tax fines. PayUSA is confident with its tax computations. As such, it offers a guarantee that it will pay any fines you incur from tax errors.
Additional services. If your business needs attendance systems, Affordable Care Act compliance, and other HR needs, PayUSA can provide them.
A+ Business rating. Although it’s not a member of the Better Business Bureau, it has an A+ rating. As of writing, there are no complaints filed against PayUSA.
The Cons of Using PayUSA
Limited services. PayUSA can only be used in 17 states.
Additional fees. If you need to pay via direct deposit, or if you need assistance with annual tax filings, know that you will need to pay the company for these services.
PrimePay offers an all-inclusive bundle that can help enhance business efficiency. Apart from managing the payroll, this system provides tax filings and time tracking, to name a few.
With its upgrade option, PrimePay clients can unlock the HR advisory feature. It can provide guidance on pressing HR issues, including compensation, recruitment, hiring, terminations, and unlawful harassment, to name a few.
PrimePay pricing depends on the number of employees and the frequency of payouts. A business with 25 employees can be charged with $66 per pay period, with an additional $2.90 per paycheck. Businesses with less than 10 workers are charged a $60 base fee, with a charge of $3.70 per paycheck.
The Pros of Using PrimePay
Features a mobile app. If you are a techy business owner, then you will appreciate the PrimePay mobile app. This allows you to complete payroll and tax concerns in just a few taps.
Good customer support. PrimePay loyalists do not only receive fantastic support, but they have also noted talking to the same reps most of the time. This consistency has made the company very trustworthy amongst many PrimePay users.
The Cons of Using PrimePay
Mobile app issues. Some users find it hard to customize the program. If you are using the mobile app, you won’t be able to view your employee’s workweek tally.
IOI was purchased by PrimePay and is now part of the PrimePay family.
IOIPay is a worthy solution for payroll, tax, and other small business concerns. This cloud service does not stop there, as it offers HR features and attendance systems as well. Pricing depends on the number of employees, the frequency of payrolls, the method for payment, and the need for ledgers. For example, if you wish to pay 20 to 25 employees via direct deposit, you need to drum up $1.95 per worker, per payroll. A general ledger file will incur $7.95, while a garnishment would cost $1.25. IOIPay also charges for the year-end completion of W2 and 1099 tax forms. The quoted price is $55 plus $4 per employee. The Pros of Using IOIPay Extensive Reports. IOIPay provides documents that can help you check your workers’ wages, deductions, and taxes. No contract. You pay from payroll to payroll – that’s it. In the unlikely event that you don’t need its services, you don’t have to pay for the IOIPay program. The Cons of Using IOIPay Extra fees. As mentioned, asking for garnishments and a general ledger file will cost you some money. Difficult to use app. If you rely on your mobile phone to complete the payrolls, then you should avoid the IOIPay app. According to many users, it’s a complicated program to use.
13. Sage Payroll
Sage Payroll is a system that can help you set up a simple yet reliable payroll program. It has an Automatic Clearing Bureau feature that can be integrated with your bank, so you can pay your workers straight from the source.
Small business owners can choose from two options. One is the Essentials service, which works best for businesses with less than 10 employees. This costs $49.95 per month.
Those with more workers are advised to get the Full Payroll service. The cost is billed per payroll. Accordingly, a quote for a 10-employee company is $57 per month. The cost increases by $2 per additional employee.
The Pros of Using Sage Payroll
Easy to use. You may not have prior knowledge about running payrolls, but you don’t have to worry about that. Sage Payroll is very easy to use, especially for new business owners.
Easily customizable. You can customize the program to suit your needs, whether it’s completing the payroll or filing tax forms.
Commendable customer support. Most users report that it’s easy to contact Sage customer reps. This is especially useful if you need much assistance with online payroll systems.
The Cons of Using Sage Payroll
Per payroll basis. If you run multiple payrolls per month, then the Sage program may be a bit costly for you. With its per payroll charge, it’s ideal for businesses that have one or two payouts per month.
Additional charges. Compared to other systems, Sage Payroll offers year-end tax services for a fee. It costs $50, with an additional $5.50 per employee.
SurePayroll is an online payroll company under Paychex (which is another system that will be reviewed here.) It offers many features, which work well with other business programs. Depending on your business status, you can count on SurePayroll to drum up a package for you.
More than just completing your payroll, this program offers other valuable services as well. SurePayroll can assist you with your taxes, including your obligations with the federal government, state, Social Security, and Medicare. It can help you complete the numerous tax forms as well.
SurePayroll charges $19.99 per month, with an additional $4 fee per employee. If you want to test the waters, you can do so with the program’s free 3-month trial.
The Pros of Using SurePayroll
Cheaper than most services. If the price tag is your ultimate concern, then know that SurePayroll offers one of the more affordable services in the market.
Best for paying household employees. Those who are looking for an easy, effective way to pay household employees can benefit from SurePayroll. Compared to other programs, it charges per month, and not per payroll.
Easily cancellable services. You might not need the services of a nanny or a gardener due to the Covid-19 lockdown. You need not worry about the unnecessary fees as you can cancel SurePayroll services as necessary. As such, you don’t have to pay for services that you don’t use.
The Cons of Using SurePayroll
Many additional charges. You need to pay a hefty fee for year-end tax services, which are usually included in some payroll programs. Canceling a completed payroll is also very expensive, which can be cumbersome if your business has limited financial resources.
Poor customer service. Many users find it hard to contact support whenever a problem arises, even if support runs during evenings and weekends.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should I consider when choosing an online payroll service?
A: There are many things you need to consider before you sign up for an online payroll service. More than working with your budget, your program should make the employee roster very easy to manage. Another thing you should consider is the frequency with which you can run the payroll system.
Do you need a program that can manage your taxes, or offer a tax guarantee? Do you need additional services, such as PTO management and compensation insurance? Factoring these, you should consider ease of use when it comes to choosing a payroll service for your business.
Q: Are online payroll services safe and secure?
A: Yes, especially if the program you choose makes use of secure encryption, such as the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard. For better protection, make sure to choose a service with firewalls, two-factor authentication, and other safety standards.
To make you feel more secure, you can ask about the program’s data center as well. Needless to say, your info is more secure in a tightly-guarded center with controlled access equipment, such as retina scans or PIN-requiring entryways.
Q: When is the best time to switch to a new online payroll service provider?
You can opt for a new provider whenever you want. However, you should do so at the end of the quarter. This will help cut some of the paperwork that you or your HR person needs to accomplish.
An online payroll service can help make running a small business easier. With just a few taps and clicks, you can complete your payroll – whenever you may be.
Before you choose a program, remember to consider the things you need. Are you looking for an easy-to-use program interface, with features such as tax filing, HR support? Remember, your decision should not rely solely on the pros and cons of each program.
With that being said, allot some time to read the customer reviews of these programs as well. Seeing what other small business owners have to say can help you make a good, informed decision.