- Best overall OnPay alternative: Gusto
- Best small-business alternative: Paychex
- Best for business growth: Rippling
- Best HR features: ADP RUN
- Best for international payroll: Papaya Global
- Best for QuickBooks Online users: QuickBooks Payroll
- Cheapest OnPay alternative: SurePayroll
OnPay’s industry-specific payroll plans, straightforward flat rate, comprehensive features and limited extra fees make it a top payroll software choice for domestic employers in the U.S. However, if OnPay’s features, prices or plans aren’t ideal for your business, plenty of OnPay alternatives could meet your needs instead.
Gusto is the best OnPay alternative for small businesses that love OnPay’s pricing and features but need more scalable plans. But if you aren’t happy with either OnPay or Gusto, one of the OnPay competitors we review below could be a solid fit.
Top OnPay competitors and alternatives: Comparison table
|Starting base price
|Starting per-user price
|Try Paychex Flex
|Try ADP RUN
*Starting price for businesses with 101+ global employees. Price decreases to $20/employee with 501+ employees and $15/employee with 1,001+ employees.
Gusto: Best overall OnPay alternative
Our star rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Gusto and OnPay are two of the best, most popular payroll solutions for businesses in any industry and of any size. They’re also incredibly similar, which can make it hard to choose one payroll program over the other.
For instance, OnPay and Gusto have the same starting price, comprehensive suite of payroll features, onboarding tools and fee-free benefits integration. The two payroll systems also share some of the same limitations: For instance, neither one offers an employer-facing payroll app, though both sites are optimized for mobile.
However, Gusto has some standout features that OnPay lacks:
- Global contractor payments (available for an additional fee).
- Three plans (compared to OnPay’s single plan) for maximum scalability.
- Gusto Wallet app for employees, which includes debit card access and budgeting tools.
- Built-in time tracking (with the two more expensive plans only).
Read our Gusto review for a more in-depth exploration of Gusto’s features, pros and cons.
Gusto’s plans and pricing
Gusto starts at $40 per month plus $6 per employee or contractor paid per month.
From there, Gusto has two other plans built for midsize and big businesses with a larger workforce:
- Gusto Plus: $80 per month + $12 per person paid. Includes PTO policy creation and management, multi-state tax filing, performance reviews and employee surveys.
- Gusto Premium: Custom quotes only. Includes expanded HR features, such as compliance alerts and HR library access.
Gusto’s pros and cons
|Full suite of comprehensive payroll features.
|Health benefits in 37 states only.
|Native integration with popular accounting tools.
|Limited HR features with all but the most expensive plan.
|Three plans for increased scalability.
|Four-day direct deposit with cheapest plan.
|Free account setup.
|Extra fees for time tracking and HR support.
Choose Gusto over OnPay if . . .
- You’re happy with OnPay’s pricing, but you want the option to scale up to bigger plans as your company grows.
- You pay international contractors, not just domestic employees.
- You want more built-in integration options than what OnPay offers.
On the other hand, stick with OnPay over Gusto if you want healthcare options in all 50 states, free multi-state payroll, free wage garnishment and free HR library access.
Paychex: Best small-business alternative
Our star rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
Paychex is one of the country’s oldest, most established payroll brands. Its online payroll solution, Paychex Flex, enables small, midsize and large businesses to process payroll in house. Its PEO solution, Paychex PEO, is an outsourced alternative for small businesses that would prefer to let another company tackle time-consuming HR and payroll tasks.
Like OnPay, Paychex Flex’s base plan includes access to an HR resource library with templates and guidelines for creating legally compliant HR policies. Paychex’s higher-tier plans add personnel management features you can’t get with OnPay, including a learning management system, an applicant tracking system, job costing tools and an employee handbook builder.
Read our Paychex review to learn more.
Paychex’s plans and pricing
Paychex’s lowest-tier plan, Paychex Essentials, starts at $39 a month plus $5 per person paid per month.
Paychex also has two other plans, both with custom pricing only:
- Paychex Select: Adds a learning management system to Paychex Essentials’ payroll tools.
- Paychex Pro: Adds a variety of HR and HCM features, including an employee handbook builder, workers’ compensation insurance integration and general ledger integration.
Paychex also charges extra fees for key payroll services that many other providers, including OnPay, bundle into their base monthly price:
- General ledger integration (included free with Paychex Pro only).
- State unemployment insurance tax administration.
- Time and attendance tracking.
Paychex’s pros and cons
|Multiple scalable plans.
|Additional fee for benefits integration.
|Excellent employer-facing mobile app.
|Additional fee for general ledger reports.
|Fantastic HR resource library.
|Additional fee for time tracking.
|Thorough HCM add-ons.
|Limited transparent pricing.
Choose Paychex over OnPay if . . .
- You want HCM-level features scalable for small and midsize businesses.
- You often run payroll on the go using your mobile device.
- You want the option to add a global payroll service to your existing payroll plan.
Stick with OnPay if you’re looking for affordable, comprehensive payroll and HR software, not a larger-scale human capital management program.
Rippling: Best for business growth
Our star rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
Although Rippling and OnPay offer the same general payroll features, each company takes a very different approach to in-house business payroll software.
OnPay is a more traditional, streamlined payroll software service that bundles payroll with HR, benefits and some time-tracking tools. In contrast, Rippling is a full workforce management solution that lets you handle payroll, IT, HR, HCM and financial tasks on one unified platform (Rippling Unity).
Whether you choose to use Rippling Payroll as a standalone payroll product or as part of a more comprehensive business software solution, you’ll get features like automatic payroll runs, full-service tax administration and pre-built, exportable payroll reports. For the most part, you’ll get these same features with OnPay — but at a more affordable per-user fee of $6 per user per month (compared to Rippling’s $8 fee).
But in contrast to OnPay, Rippling offers modules that go far beyond payroll, including:
- Expense tracking.
- Remote device management.
- Applicant tracking.
- Learning management.
- Comprehensive analytics.
- Compensation management.
And if there’s a business software solution you don’t see on the list above, there’s a good chance Rippling offers it too. With Rippling, businesses can automate nearly every essential business management task on the same operating system.
Read our Rippling review to learn more.
Rippling’s plans and pricing
Rippling Payroll starts $8 per user per month plus a custom monthly base fee.
Since Rippling’s clients create custom plans that include only the modules they want, Rippling offers custom pricing tailored to each business’s needs. As a result, apart from its per-payee payroll fee, Rippling doesn’t list its pricing online.
Most Rippling modules cost a per-user fee, though some cost a flat monthly or annual rate. Contact Rippling directly to learn more.
Rippling’s pros and cons
|Extremely customizable business software.
|Potentially high learning curve for new users.
|Comprehensive workforce management system.
|Frequent updates with little advance warning.
|Over 500 third-party integrations.
|Additional fee for benefits administration.
|Role-based payroll permissions and workflows.
|Above-average entry-level user fee.
|Ideal for small businesses and enterprises alike.
Choose Rippling over OnPay if . . .
- You want a completely customizable business software system, not a single-plan payroll software solution.
- You want global payroll, HR, IT, finance, time tracking and performance management tools on the same platform instead of shopping for each service separately.
- You want software that works just as well for processing small-business payroll as enterprise-level payroll.
However, OnPay is a better payroll solution than Rippling for small businesses that want uncomplicated all-in-one payroll, HR and time-tracking at a straightforward rate.
Rippling is currently offering a one-month free subscription to TechRepublic readers only. Follow the link below to subscribe.
ADP RUN: Best HR features
Our star rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
ADP’s small-business payroll service, ADP RUN, offers most of the same payroll tools as OnPay, from automated payroll runs to automatic direct deposit. ADP also offers employee health benefits in all 50 states, optional retirement plans and workers’ compensation insurance, though integrating each benefit costs an additional fee.
But RUN Powered by ADP truly stands out with its comprehensive human resource tools, which are included with its two highest-tier plans.
ADP RUN’s basic payroll plans include some HR features, such as background checks (which OnPay doesn’t offer) and employee onboarding (which OnPay does), and its payroll and HR plans include tools like the following:
- Salary benchmarking.
- HR data tracking and advanced reporting.
- Dedicated HR support via phone and email.
ADP’s top-tier plan also adds a learning management system, applicant tracking system, employee handbook setup wizard and sexual harassment prevention training — none of which you can get with OnPay (or any other providers on our list apart from Paychex).
Read our RUN by ADP review to learn more.
ADP RUN’s plans and pricing
RUN Powered by ADP has custom pricing only.
ADP RUN does have four plans compared to OnPay’s single, flat-rate plan. While ADP doesn’t list pricing, it does offer detailed descriptions of each plan’s features:
- Essential Payroll: Includes full-service payroll features, direct deposit and basic onboarding.
- Enhanced Payroll: Adds state unemployment insurance management, labor law posters and ZipRecruiter access.
- Complete Payroll: Adds access to HR forms, documents, templates and trainings.
- HR Pro: Adds ATS, LMS, employee handbook and high-level customer support.
ADP RUN’s plans come with a three-month free trial. Contact ADP directly to schedule a customized demo and get a quote.
ADP RUN’s pros and cons
|ADP RUN pros
|ADP RUN cons
|Thorough automation for most payroll features.
|Pricier solution than many competitors.
|Well-reviewed mobile payroll app.
|Additional fee for time-tracking integration.
|Up to three months free.
|Additional fee for year-end W-2 and 1099 form filing.
|Comprehensive HR features with higher-tier plans.
|Poor customer service reviews.
Choose RUN Powered by ADP over OnPay if . . .
- You want to add comprehensive, HCM-style HR tools as your company grows.
- You want your employees to have access to a mobile payroll app.
- You want payroll software that integrates with hundreds of third-party products.
However, OnPay is a better payroll solution than Rippling for small businesses that want uncomplicated all-in-one payroll, HR and time-tracking at a straightforward rate.
Papaya Global: Best for international payroll
Our star rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Papaya Global’s international PEO solution tackles HR and payroll for multinational businesses. Unlike OnPay, which offers domestic payroll solutions for U.S.-based businesses only, Papaya Global supports payroll and health benefits in more than 160 countries.
Along with enabling global payroll, Papaya Global helps international businesses hire and onboard employees. Its on-the-ground compliance experts can assist with complex legal issues like employee relocation, immigration and equity benefits in dozens of countries.
It’s worth noting that Papaya Global doesn’t have many HR tools (which is fairly typical of international payroll services). While Papaya integrates with BambooHR, it doesn’t have other built-in integrations, though it does allow for custom API builds.
Read our Papaya Global review to learn more.
Papaya Global’s plans and pricing
Papaya offers multiple global payroll solutions starting at the following price points:
- Global Payroll: Starts at $25/employee/month for businesses with 101+ employees, $20/employee/month with 501+ employees, or $15/employee/month with 1,001+ employees.
- EOR: Starts at $650/employee/month.
- Contractor Payments & Management: Starts at $30/contractor/month.
Papaya Global’s pros and cons
|Papaya Global pros
|Papaya Global cons
|International payroll processing in 160+ countries.
|No employer-facing payroll app.
|Competitive employee benefits.
|Pricier EOR solution than some competitors.
|Fast payment processing in local currencies.
|Limited HR tools.
Choose Papaya Global over OnPay if . . .
- You need international payroll support for both contractors and employees.
- You want the option to add competitive employee benefits internationally.
- You like your current payroll system but want to expand it to more countries.
OnPay might work better for you than Papaya Global if you need domestic payroll only. However, since OnPay doesn’t support global payroll processing, it won’t work for multinational enterprises.
QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks Online users
Our star rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
QuickBooks Online is one of the world’s foremost accounting software tools. It’s used by millions of businesses around the world, and if yours is one of them, QuickBooks Payroll is a logical add-on.
Most importantly, if you’re already familiar with the QuickBooks Online user interface, QuickBooks Online Payroll will have a relatively low learning curve. As a result, it’s a good option for new employers who already use QuickBooks Online and don’t want to deal with learning a new software program while getting used to complicated payroll processes.
But if you don’t use QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Payroll doesn’t have quite as many benefits, which could make OnPay payroll a better fit. While QuickBooks Payroll’s cheapest plan is only $5 more per month compared to OnPay and Gusto, it has far fewer HR tools, third-party integrations and add-on fees.
Read our QuickBooks Online Payroll review to learn more.
QuickBooks Payroll’s plans and pricing
QuickBooks Payroll’s cheapest plan, Core, starts at $45 per month plus $6 per person paid per month.
QuickBooks has two additional plans with varying levels of customer support and types of HR services:
- QuickBooks Payroll Premium: $80 per month + $8 per person paid per month. Includes automatic payroll processing, time tracking and 24/7 customer service.
- QuickBooks Payroll Elite: $125 per month + $10 per person paid per month. Adds dedicated HR support.
With every QuickBooks Online Payroll plan, new customers can choose between three free months and 50% off for 30 days.
QuickBooks Payroll’s pros and cons
|QuickBooks Payroll pros
|QuickBooks Payroll cons
|Automatic payroll processing.
|Limited third-party integrations.
|Simple QuickBooks Online integration.
|Additional fee for time-tracking with cheapest plan.
|Optional employee health benefits add-on.
|Far fewer HR tools than most competitors.
|Workers' compensation insurance.
Choose QuickBooks Payroll over OnPay if . . .
- You currently use Intuit QuickBooks Online and like its interface, user experience and customer service.
- You want high-quality employee health benefit options.
- You want a payroll provider with multiple scalable plans.
Consider OnPay over QuickBooks Payroll if you want a comparatively comprehensive, fully integrated HR and payroll software solution.
SurePayroll: Cheapest OnPay alternative
Our star rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
Apart from Paychex (which owns SurePayroll), SurePayroll is the only OnPay competitor on our list with cheaper payroll plans than OnPay.
While SurePayroll doesn’t have the multiplan flexibility of Gusto or QuickBooks Payroll, it does give customers two payroll options to choose from: A cheaper self-service plan, which leaves tax tasks up to business owners, and a full-service payroll plan with tax administration. And even though SurePayroll has fewer HR tools than OnPay (and a few more fees, such as multi-state tax filing), it has the same essential payroll features you’d get from any payroll software provider — but at a much lower cost.
SurePayroll also has well-reviewed apps for both employers and employees, a slew of PEO-quality benefits (through Paychex) and multiple time-tracking integrations.
In short, if you’re a budget-conscious small-business owner who only recently started running payroll, SurePayroll is the most cost-effective OnPay alternative.
Read our SurePayroll review to learn more.
SurePayroll’s plans and pricing
SurePayroll Self-Service Payroll costs $19.99 per month plus $4 per employee.
Self-service payroll includes paycheck calculation and two-day direct deposit, but it leaves the actual payroll tax filing up to you.
SurePayroll’s full-service plan costs $29.99 per month plus $5 per employee. It adds automatic payroll tax filing, including end-of-year tax form preparation.
SurePayroll’s pros and cons
|Affordable payroll plans.
|High-quality employee benefits.
|No 24/7 customer service option.
|Easy time-tracking integration.
|Time tracking available through integrations only.
|HR library access.
Choose SurePayroll over OnPay if . . .
- You want an even more affordable payroll solution.
- You don’t need more than HR basics with your payroll software.
- You value ease of use, accessibility and high-quality customer service.
Opt for OnPay over SurePayroll if you want payroll software that offers free multi-state payroll and more comprehensive small-business HR tools.
Is OnPay worth it?
Our star rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
OnPay consistently ranks as one of the best payroll providers for small and midsize businesses. Along with providing fully automated, full-service payroll, OnPay includes more HR features with fewer additional fees than nearly any other provider.
For instance, OnPay’s single plan includes the following:
- PTO management, including custom policy creation and accrual tracking.
- HR resource library access.
- Compliance audits.
- Automated self-service onboarding for new employees.
- Free payroll account migration and setup.
- Wage garnishment.
- State and federal unemployment insurance management.
In contrast, Gusto restricts compliance audits to its highest-tier plan. Paychex Flex includes state unemployment insurance withholding as an add-on fee for all but its most expensive plan. And QuickBooks Payroll doesn’t offer time-tracking with PTO management with its cheapest plan.
Plus, OnPay has industry-specific payroll plans for farming, manufacturing and restaurant businesses as well as nonprofits and churches.
Learn more about OnPay by reading our more comprehensive OnPay review.
OnPay’s plans and pricing
OnPay’s single, all-inclusive plan costs $40 a month plus $6 per employee or contractor paid per month.
Since OnPay charges a single flat rate, its monthly cost is determined solely by the number of employees or contractors you pay. While this makes OnPay less scalable than payroll providers with multiple plans like QuickBooks Payroll, it does mean you don’t have to pay extra for essential HR services that many payroll providers restrict to their pricier mid-tier plans.
OnPay’s pros and cons
|One flat rate with no hidden fees.
|No mobile payroll app.
|Free multi-state payroll.
|No integration fee for employee benefits.
|Fewer HR features than some competitors.
|PTO tracking and policy creation.
|No built-in time tracking.
|Free white-glove setup.
|Industry-specific payroll plans.
Choose OnPay over an OnPay competitor if . . .
- You’re a new employer looking for user-friendly software with a low learning curve.
- You want to file payroll taxes in multiple states as affordably as possible.
- You want payroll-first software with excellent employee benefits and a handful of useful HR tools and resources.
Do you need an OnPay alternative?
It’s hard to go wrong with a payroll software product as user-friendly and comprehensive as OnPay, but it isn’t the right payroll solution for every business. If you’re in the process of choosing payroll software other than OnPay, we recommend considering these top payroll alternatives:
- Gusto’s three plans make it a more scalable solution than OnPay, as do its unique add-on features like international contractor payroll.
- Paychex Flex has a fantastic HR library and a supremely user-friendly payroll app for on-the-go employers.
- Rippling’s scalable business software solution that supports everything from payroll to tech management on the same platform.
- ADP RUN’s fully automated payroll service includes an impressive suite of HCM-level HR tools.
- Papaya Global’s affordable international payroll plans facilitate hiring, paying and onboarding employees and contractors around the world.
- QuickBooks Payroll syncs perfectly with QuickBooks Online for easier bookkeeping.
- SurePayroll’s cheap payroll plans don’t sacrifice features or quality in the name of affordability.
Most of our top OnPay competitors (plus OnPay itself) offer free trials. We recommend taking any payroll software that interests you out for a spin so you can find out if it really is the best payroll service for you before you commit to a plan.
We rely on an internal algorithm to calculate star ratings, which are based on factors like pricing information, scalability, customer service options, ease of use, ease of research and overall features. Learn more about how we review payroll software and derive star ratings on our payroll software review methodology page.
To decide which top OnPay alternatives to review for this piece, we considered payroll software with payroll features, HR tools, use cases and pricing information similar to OnPay’s. We do our best to secure hands-on testing for every software product we review.
We also view demos, read product specs, speak with sales representatives (when possible) and consult verified third-party reviews as part of our research process.
Also See: The Top Gusto Competitors and Alternatives (TechRepublic)
Subscribe to the Daily Tech Insider Newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays