If you’re in the market for a new payroll solution for your organization, you’ve probably heard of Gusto and OnPay. Both companies’ provide tools and capabilities that streamline payroll tasks and automated features that improve the speed and efficiency of business operations. However, these competing providers take differing approaches to their payroll software.

Gusto and OnPay are excellent payroll software providers, and both were selected for TechRepublic’s list of best payroll processing services for small businesses. But to choose the ideal product for your business’s unique needs, you should consider each product’s features, advantages and drawbacks.

Read on to learn more about the offerings provided by each vendor so you can make an informed decision about your choice of payroll software.

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Gusto vs. OnPay: Comparison table

Starting price
$40 + $6/person/mo.
$40 + $6/person/mo.
Unlimited monthly payruns
Payroll automation
Hiring and onboarding tools
Employee benefit administration
Direct deposit payments
Employee self-service tools
Global payroll capabilities
(through the
International Contractor
Automatic tax filing for federal and state
Health insurance benefit coverage
Yes, in 37+ states
Yes, in all 50 states

Gusto vs. OnPay: Pricing

Gusto and OnPay both offer budget-friendly plans, with various payroll features included. But their pricing structures are rather different.

Gusto provides several differently priced options for customers to choose from. This makes its software excellent for growing companies that want a scalable solution. And with no long-term contracts and the ability to cancel at any time, buyers who don’t love the solution can easily switch without facing penalties. Gusto also has a contractor-only option if you primarily work with contractors.

On the other hand, OnPay approaches its software pricing a bit differently. The provider offers one standard price plan with a $40 base fee and an additional $6 per employee each month. This type of price structure is simplistic enough that customers can quickly determine how much they will be charged.


Gusto provides payroll software through three pricing plans, with the option of add-on services for an additional fee. These include:

  • Simple plan: $40 per month, plus $6 per month per employee.
  • Plus plan: $80 per month, plus $12 per month per employee.
  • Premium plan: Exclusive pricing info available upon request.
  • Contractor: $35 plus $6 per month per contractor.
  • Add-on priority support and HR services: $8 per month per employee.

Learn more in our Gusto review.


OnPay prices its software based on the number of employees that the buyer wishes to run payroll for. The straightforward pricing for full-service payroll starts at a $40 base fee per month, with the addition of $6 per month per employee. OnPay does provide the first month of software usage free as an incentive to new customers.

Learn more in our OnPay review.

Gusto vs. OnPay: Feature comparison


OnPay provides unlimited monthly pay runs, and businesses can pay employees appropriately as the software supports multiple schedules and pay rates. Organizations can even compensate their workers through direct deposits, checks or debit cards.

Organizations in unique business sectors will enjoy the special payroll services OnPay offers, like tipped wage calculations for restaurants or federal unemployment tax exclusions for religious organizations. Overall, OnPay’s system is a great choice for businesses that require simplicity in their payroll software.

Gusto also supports its users payroll processes through similar basic features like tax calculations and unlimited payruns. However, Gusto’s payroll system uses advanced automation to ensure accuracy and efficiency in customer’s payroll processes.

Its AutoPilot feature enables businesses to establish payroll runs before each payday. This can ensure the timely administration of payroll runs and save management time and effort on payroll processing. This AutoPilot feature makes Gusto a better solution for organizations requiring a highly streamlined and automated software tool.


Figure A

Gusto’s app directory allows users to connect to various third-party tools and services.
Gusto’s app directory allows users to connect to various third-party tools and services. Source: Gusto.

Finding a tool that can easily integrate with your existing software stack can make it easy to streamline your processes. OnPay and Gusto each provide several built-in integration options with popular third-party apps. For example, OnPay lets users integrate their software with solutions for time tracking, accounting, HR and compliance.

But Gusto takes integrations to the next level. Gusto’s software can integrate with over 100 apps across 14 software categories, including programs for tax preparation, business operations, financial benefits, expense management and more. Gusto’s users can enjoy the simplicity provided by these built-in connections, enabling them to transfer data and expand the functionality of their software products.

While OnPay may be able to support a business with its connections, Gusto is more likely to support users through its vast array of integration options. For this reason, organizations that value a payroll tool that can fit into their existing software stack should consider using Gusto.


OnPay and Gusto each include robust reporting features. Gusto’s reporting capabilities can help businesses stay on top of their important data and analyze trends to reach valuable insights. Its range of reports includes bank transaction reports, employee benefit elections, payroll journals, year-to-date reports and payroll journals, to name just a few.

And if a business has more specific reporting requirements, Gusto enables them to generate reports that meet their needs. With Gusto’s custom report builder features, teams can use specific filters to develop more valuable reports.

Figure B

OnPay’s report designer enables users to build their own custom reports.
OnPay’s report designer enables users to build their own custom reports. Source: OnPay.

OnPay’s payroll solution comes with a pre-built report template — that small businesses can especially benefit from — to generate reports on payroll, taxes and employee benefits. Users can use the customizable report-designing tool to gain insights from a wide array of payroll reports, such as a payroll listing report, payroll register report, payroll summary report, earnings summary, retirement export and more.

Similar to Gusto, OnPay’s reporting capabilities make it easy for users to filter report data and gather the most useful information.

International payroll

Organizations with global teams require payroll software that can compensate their international workers. While both vendors provide unlimited payroll runs in all 50 states, only Gusto offers the ability to pay international contractors.

With Gusto’s add-on service, businesses with global teams can provide contractor payments to their workers in other countries. OnPay does not offer international payroll support through its software, making Gusto the obvious choice for international teams.

Gusto pros and cons

Pros of Gusto

  • Employee self-service provided through the mobile app Gusto Wallet.
  • Various plan options for teams looking to save money on their payroll and tax filing solution.
  • Supports global payroll for businesses with international contractors through their international contractor option.
  • User-friendly interface.

Cons of Gusto

  • The per-employee price structure may make the solution expensive for larger teams.
  • Health benefit administration is only available in 37 states and D.C.
  • Lower-priced plans do not provide as many important payroll features, like HR services and unlimited live support.

OnPay pros and cons

Pros of OnPay

  • Integrations with popular third-party solutions.
  • No limit on pay runs per month.
  • Industry-specific features for businesses in unique sectors.
  • Inexpensive with fewer add-on service fees compared to its competitors.
  • Provides health benefit administration for employees in all 50 states.

Cons of OnPay

  • Offers only its payroll solution through one plan, which may make it a less scalable option for growing organizations.
  • Does not provide international payroll support.


To create a high-quality review, we researched brand websites and scoured user feedback for the most valuable information. We noted and weighed product features, strengths and weaknesses, and we looked at how these brands compared across the industry.

Should your organization use Gusto or OnPay?

Selecting either OnPay or Gusto can be daunting, and you have to take certain aspects of your organization and business needs into account. Consider the number of employers you need to pay, the payroll features and capabilities you require and the level of user-friendliness that’s best for your users. In addition, remember to carefully assess additional features, benefits, drawbacks and customer reviews to gain a well-rounded perspective on each software vendor.

Based on this analysis, Gusto’s software is best suited for organizations that value scalability and automation in their payroll solution. Its advanced capabilities and features make it ideal for meeting the payroll, compliance and tax filing requirements of dispersed teams. And businesses with international workers can especially benefit from its international contractor payroll option.

Still, OnPay is an advantageous tool and an excellent choice for smaller businesses requiring a less expensive product. The OnPay system can reduce time and effort for organizations with user-friendly payroll tools to support teams from a wide variety of business sectors.

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