The 7 Best OnPay Competitors and Alternatives 2021

To find the best OnPay competitors of 2021, we looked at payroll brands with comparable HR and payroll features. We considered customer service reviews, number of plans, pricing, and ease of use to rank and recommend our favorite OnPay competitors.
Best overall
quick books online logo
Quickbooks Payroll
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting at
$45.00/mo. + $6.00/payee
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Payroll tax administration
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Health insurance add-ons
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Workers comp administration (unavailable w/ cheapest plan)
Best for midsize businesses
Gusto
Gusto
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting at
$39.00/mo. + $6.00/payee
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Payroll tax administration
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Health insurance add-ons (38 states only)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Workers comp administration
Best payroll + HR packages
Paychex
Paychex
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Starting at
$39.00/mo. + $5.00/payee
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Payroll tax administration (addt’l fee)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Health insurance add-ons (addt’l fee)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Workers comp administration (addt’l fee)
Most affordable payroll-only
Rippling logo
Rippling
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
Starting at
$8.00/payee
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Payroll tax administration
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Health insurance add-ons (addt’l fee)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Workers comp administration (addt’l fee)
Best for growth
ADP
Run Powered by ADP
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Contact for quote
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Payroll tax administration (addt’l fee)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Health insurance add-ons (addt’l fee)
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Workers comp administration (addt’l fee)

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The bottom line: If you’re looking for an alternative to OnPay, QuickBooks Payroll is our top recommendation. Like OnPay, QuickBooks’ basic payroll plan has an extremely affordable per-user fee. And while QuickBooks Payroll doesn’t have quite as many HR features as OnPay, it still offers enough employee benefits to suit many small-business owners.

Along with QuickBooks Payroll, we recommend Gusto, Paychex Flex, Rippling, and RUN Powered by ADP as the top OnPay competitors for small businesses. All five payroll companies offer human resources (HR) and payroll features comparable to OnPay’s, and most of them have more plans for growing businesses than OnPay.  

Best alternatives to OnPay 2021: Table of contents

Compare the top OnPay alternatives 2021

Brand
Starting price per month
Payroll tax administration
Employee benefit administration
Get started
quick books online logo

QuickBooks Payroll

$45.00 + $4.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt’l fee)
Gusto

Gusto

$39.00 + $6.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Paychex

Paychex Flex

$39.00 + $5.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt’l fee)
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt’l fee)
Rippling logo

Rippling

$8.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt’l fee)
ADP

ADP

Contact for quote
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt’l fee)
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt’l fee)

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

When should you choose an OnPay alternative over OnPay?

Before we dive right into choosing an OnPay alternative, let’s quickly talk about circumstances where you should consider OnPay over a competitor.

First, OnPay is more affordable than most other full-service payroll companies. (Rippling is one notable exception, depending on which platforms and features you choose.) It doesn’t have additional fees for automatic tax filing, multi-state payroll runs, additional users, or direct deposit. The OnPay payroll login, interface, and set up process are straightforward—they basically lack any learning curve, which makes them great for business owners who just hired an employee for the first time.

Additionally, OnPay uses in-house brokers, which means you pay just the insurance premium, not an extra monthly fee to OnPay itself. OnPay also has more HR benefits than some full-service providers, including workers comp and health benefits administration. Finally, OnPay tailors some of its payroll management services to unique businesses, including nonprofits and agricultural businesses.

On the other hand, consider an OnPay alternative if you want multiple payroll plan options, run payroll in one state only, or want an HR-first solution for your midsize or large business. We also recommend an OnPay alternative to big corporations that want customized solutions and comprehensive HR administration.

QuickBooks Payroll: Best overall

quick books online logo
QuickBooks Payroll
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • Starting at $45.00/mo. + $4.00/payee/mo.
  • Check
    Automatic full-service payroll
  • Check
    401(k) and health benefit add-ons
  • X
    Additional fee for multi-state payroll and health insurance integration

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Payroll is just as powerful as its popular accounting software, QuickBooks Online. Both of these cloud-based QuickBooks products were made for business owners, not accountants. QuickBooks Payroll’s user-friendly interface and low learning curve is ideal for business owners running payroll for the first time.

Plus, QuickBooks Online and Payroll mesh with each other perfectly. Whenever you process payroll, your accounting books automatically update to reflect your current finances. QuickBooks Payroll also offers automatic payroll runs, which means it takes nothing more than creating a payroll schedule to get your employees paid and your books in order.

Even if you aren’t using QuickBooks Online, there are still reasons to try QuickBooks Payroll. With three plans, it’s more scalable than OnPay for businesses that want to add more payroll and HR features as they hire more employees. QuickBooks Payroll’s basic plan, Core, has an incredibly low starting price—just $4 per payee—and its health care and 401(k) add-ons are great for small-business owners who want to offer basic but high-quality employee benefits.

Still, QuickBooks Payroll isn’t right for everyone. Workers compensation administration is only available with QuickBooks Payroll Premium and Elite, not the cheaper QuickBooks Core. Unlike OnPay, QuickBooks doesn’t use its own brokers, so you pay an extra monthly fee to keep your health insurance. Finally, QuickBooks Payroll’s pricier plans add an HR support center and . . . not much else, especially in terms of HR. If you’re willing to pay more for extensive HR help, we recommend Paychex or ADP over QuickBooks. 

Best Small Business Payroll Software
Gusto
Best overall
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
Paychex
Best for growth
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
OnPay
Best for new employers
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
ADP
Best Payroll + HR packages
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
SurePayroll
Best customer service
3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4
Learn more about our top brands.
QuickBooks’ pros vs. OnPay
Pro Bullet Multiple plans for scalability
Pro Bullet Low per-payee starting price
Pro Bullet Easy syncing with QuickBooks Online
QuickBooks’ cons vs. OnPay
Con Bullet Additional fees for insurance add-ons, multi-state payroll, and multiple users
Con Bullet No workers comp administration with cheapest plan

Gusto: Best for midsize businesses

Gusto
Gusto
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • X
    Starting at $39.00/mo. + $6.00/payee/mo.
  • Check
    Automatic full-service payroll
  • Check
    401(k), health insurance add-ons, and workers comp administration
  • X
    Pricy plans with limited HR administration

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Gusto is one of the most popular payroll providers in the US. It syncs with most accounting software, including QuickBooks (both Online and Desktop) and Xero. Speaking generally, its human resource and payroll features are comparable to OnPay’s. Both providers offer:

  • Automatic payroll runs and tax filing
  • Next-day direct deposit
  • Free multi-state payroll runs
  • Health insurance add-ons and workers compensation administration

Like OnPay, Gusto works with in-house insurance brokers. In most cases, you won’t pay an extra fee for bundling Gusto with a health insurance provider. Additionally, neither OnPay nor Gusto charge extra for automatic payroll tax filing with the IRS. (Notably, Paychex and ADP—which cost more than OnPay and Gusto—do charge extra for payroll tax filing.)

Gusto also offers some unique employee benefits that you don’t typically find with payroll processing software, such as commuter benefits, tuition payments, and health insurance options like HSAs and FSAs. As with QuickBooks Payroll, ADP, and Paychex, Gusto has more than one plan. If you want to add more HR tools as you grow, Gusto could work better than OnPay.

But Gusto is substantially pricier than OnPay. And just like QuickBooks Payroll, Gusto’s pricier plans don’t add enough HR value to justify the price increase (frankly, Gusto’s HR features leave a lot to be desired). Crucially, Gusto only offers health insurance in 38 states and DC. With OnPay, health insurance is available in all 50 states plus DC.

Gusto’s pros vs. OnPay
Pro Bullet Multiple plans for scalability
Pro Bullet Unique employee benefits
Pro Bullet Syncs with most accounting software
Gusto’s cons vs. OnPay
Con Bullet Health insurance limited to 38 states + DC
Con Bullet Limited customer service hours
Con Bullet Expensive plans with few HR features
Tired of payroll? Gusto handles payroll taxes and more

With unlimited payroll runs and automatic tax filing, Gusto helps small-business owners worry less about payroll and put more time into growing their business.

  • Get automatic payroll tax filing, including end-of-year tax forms
  • Manage workers compensation insurance
  • Track paid time off, sick leave, and holiday pay

Paychex Flex: Best HR + payroll packages

Paychex
Paychex Flex
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • Starting at $39.00/mo. + $5.00/payee/mo.
  • Check
    Automatic full-service tax filing (additional fee for payroll tax administration)
  • Check
    Workers comp and health insurance integration (additional fee)
  • X
    Expensive plans with limited pricing transparency

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Paychex Flex is Paychex’s cloud-based payroll software solution. Unlike some of Paychex’s other solutions, which include expansive corporate-level HR plans and professional employer organizations (PEOs), Paychex Flex is still a payroll-first solution. But its HR and payroll packages give you more for your buck than QuickBooks Payroll’s pricier plans:

  • Free tax credit services
  • Free financial wellness program for employees
  • Free EAP (employee assistance program)
  • Automatic wage garnishment deduction and remittance

And with one of Paychex Flex’s more expensive plans, you’ll also get:

  • A dedicated payroll specialist
  • Access to Paychex’s learning management system
  • State unemployment insurance assistance
  • Onboarding assistance
  • Custom employee handbook builder

Paychex is also one of the few payroll providers to offer an employer-facing mobile payroll app. With it, you can run payroll, check payroll analytics and reports, and pay employees—so if you frequently travel without your laptop, Paychex’s app is a must. (Both OnPay and Gusto have optimized their websites for mobile, but it’s hard to beat the Paychex app’s convenience and ease of use.)

However, Paychex’s HR features come at a price. Only its cheapest plan has any pricing listed online. At $39 a month with $5 per payee, it’s just a dollar less than Gusto—and that’s before you add on all of Paychex’s extra fees. Unlike OnPay and Gusto, Paychex charges extra for workers compensation administration, health insurance add-ons, W-2 and 1099 tax form filing, and payroll tax administration.

And sure, Paychex Flex’s HR help is better than many online payroll plans. But OnPay also includes wage garnishment remittance, customized employee handbooks and organization charts, state unemployment tax management, and employee onboarding—at a supremely affordable price.

Paychex’s pros vs. OnPay
Pro Bullet Multiple plans for scalability
Pro Bullet Highly rated mobile app for employers
Pro Bullet Round-the-clock customer service
Paychex’s cons vs. OnPay
Con Bullet Additional charge for multi-state payroll
Con Bullet Additional charge for payroll tax filing
Con Bullet Additional charge for workers comp and health insurance integration

Rippling: Most affordable payroll-only

Rippling logo
Rippling
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
  • Starting at $8/payee/mo.
  • Check
    Full-service payroll
  • Check
    Thorough employee benefits and workers comp administration
  • Check
    International payroll for global businesses

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Rippling is honestly one of the only payroll programs that comes close to beating OnPay’s otherwise unbeatable price. At $8 per payee per month, it’s easily the cheapest full-service payroll company on our list, and it does an impressive amount for the price:

  • International payroll
  • Customized PTO (paid time off) policy creation, tracking, and approval
  • Extensive payroll reporting
  • Built-in employee time tracking and job costing
  • Integration with more than 400 third-party apps, including QuickBooks Online

Here’s the catch, though: Rippling is more affordable than OnPay as long as you’re using it for payroll only. Additional features cost at least an extra $8 per user, including employee benefits administration, thorough time and attendance tracking, and comprehensive HR management (such as employee learning management systems and 1:1 HR support).

To get all of Rippling’s payroll and HR features, you’ll want to sign up for its comprehensive employee management program—which means you’ll need a customized quote. OnPay and Gusto bundle comparable HR features into their base payroll plans. And although both providers charge a base fee along with a per-payee fee, their costs are cheaper in the long run for most small businesses.

Rippling’s pros vs. OnPay
Pro Bullet No base price for payroll plan
Pro Bullet International payroll runs
Pro Bullet Exceptional payroll analytics and reports
Rippling’s cons vs. OnPay
Con Bullet Additional fees for employee benefits administration
Con Bullet Additional fees for comprehensive time and attendance

RUN Powered by ADP: Best for growth

ADP
Rippling
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
  • Contact for quote
  • Check
    Automatic full-service tax filing
  • Check
    Workers comp and health insurance integration (additional fee)
  • X
    Expensive plans with limited pricing transparency

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Like Paychex, ADP is a major provider of payroll and HR services on a huge scale. Along with its hefty PEO solutions and comprehensive HR solutions, ADP offers an online, cloud-based payroll service with some HR features: RUN Powered by ADP.

In contrast to OnPay’s single plan, RUN Powered by ADP has four plans (one more than Paychex Flex). As with Paychex, bigger businesses can customize ADP’s packages to suit their needs. Even the cheapest RUN plan includes new-hire reporting and onboarding, built-in employee discounts at national chains, and even basic Google marketing assistance.

ADP and Paychex also have some of the same drawbacks. RUN plans don’t include an additional fee for payroll tax filing, but distributing end-of-year W-2 and 1099 forms costs an extra fee. ADP also charges extra for benefits management, including health insurance, workers comp, and retirement plans—you’ll pay ADP a fee on top of the premium you pay to keep each benefit going.

ADP’s pros vs. OnPay
Pro Bullet Multiple plans for scalability
Pro Bullet Unique employee perks, like discounts at national chains
Pro Bullet Marketing assistance with every plan
ADP’s cons vs. OnPay
Con Bullet No transparent pricing
Con Bullet Additional fees for multi-state payroll and end-of-year tax forms

Best OnPay alternatives: Honorable mentions

Compare top OnPay competitor features: Honorable mentions

Brand name
Starting price per month (self-service plans)
Payroll tax administration
Employee benefit administration
Get started
SurePayroll

SurePayroll

$19.99 + $4.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes (full-service plan only)
Icon Yes  DarkYes (addt’l fee)
Patriot Software

Patriot Payroll

$10.00 + $4.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes (full-service plan only)
Icon No  DarkNo

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

SurePayroll: Honorable mention

SurePayroll
SurePayroll
3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4
  • Starting at $19.99/mo. + $4.00/payee/mo.
  • Check
    Full-service and self-service payroll plans
  • Check
    Workers comp and health insurance administration (addt’l fee)
  • X
    Additional fee for multi-state filing

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

SurePayroll is owned by Paychex, and you can think of it as Paychex Flex’s cheaper, more streamlined younger sibling. SurePayroll has just two plan options: a self-service plan, which means SurePayroll calculates paychecks and taxes but you file taxes yourself, and a full-service plan. It has fewer HR features than OnPay and most other OnPay alternatives, but it does include workers comp, 401(k), and health insurance options.

Plus, SurePayroll’s full-service plan comes with an HR advisor, live customer service, and new hire reporting. It’s definitely not as comprehensive as OnPay and its main competitors, but it’s a solid choice for business owners who want cheaper software with a handful of key employee perks.

Patriot Payroll: Honorable mention

Patriot Software
Patriot Payroll
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
  • Starting at $10.00/mo. + $4.00/payee/mo.
  • Check
    Self-service and full-service plan options
  • Check
    Workers comp administration
  • X
    Limited employee benefits and HR features

Data as of 10/25/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Patriot’s self-service payroll plan is about the cheapest you can get to free payroll software. Even at $10 a month and just $4 a person, Patriot’s basic payroll includes free unlimited payroll runs, PTO policy creation and accruals, and workers compensation administration at no additional fee. (For context, while you’ll get all those features with OnPay, you don’t get them with either QuickBooks Payroll’s or Gusto’s cheapest plans.)

Patriot’s full-service plan adds on free payroll taxes administration, and at $30 a month plus $4 per payee, it’s a touch cheaper than OnPay (albeit with fewer HR perks). Honestly, Patriot isn’t a good choice if you’re counting on extensive HR administration and employee benefits. Even with the full-service payroll plan, you can’t add health insurance or other benefits. You can manually set the software to deduct a certain amount, but it won’t be automatically remitted to the right agency or bank account.

The takeaway

OnPay’s payroll management software is fantastic—but it’s certainly not right for everyone. If you’ve tried OnPay and found it doesn’t suit your needs, Business.org recommends trying QuickBooks Payroll instead. Its comparable pricing, ease of use, and extensive payroll features distinguish it from other OnPay alternatives in the small-business payroll provider game.

Not sure about QuickBooks Payroll either? We also recommend:

  • Gusto for small to midsize businesses that want affordable pricing with minimal additional fees, plus a slew of unique employee benefits
  • Paychex Flex and RUN Powered by ADP for businesses that want expansive HR options as they grow
  • Rippling for businesses that want straightforward, affordable payroll with no HR perks, or bigger businesses looking for an entire workforce management solution

Looking for more ways to simplify your payroll processes? Learn more about virtual and outsourced accounting companies, most of which offer payroll services on top of basic bookkeeping.

Related reading

OnPay alternatives FAQ

What is the best payroll processing solution for small businesses?

It’s hard to determine the best payroll software for small businesses, mostly because the best payroll company for your business isn’t necessarily the best one for all businesses. In general, though, we tend to recommend Gusto’s payroll software. Gusto’s basic plan includes extensive employee benefit add-ons, and like OnPay, it includes payroll tax administration and multi-state payroll at no additional cost.

But if you want more HR management options, ADP, Paychex, or Rippling could be the best payroll software for you. If you want affordable software with fairly comprehensive HR perks and stellar customer service, OnPay is one of the best. And for supremely affordable self-service payroll, we’d refer you to SurePayroll or Patriot, both of which simplify payroll and leave the actual tax filing to you.

Is OnPay a good payroll company?

Yes, OnPay is a good payroll company. Honestly, in our opinion, it’s one of the best payroll companies, especially for first-time business owners who want simplified payroll with plenty of customer support. OnPay is also one of the more affordable payroll providers. It includes multi-state tax filing, payroll setup, and payroll tax administration at no additional cost.

OnPay only has one plan, which means it’s not the best pick for businesses planning on growth. But that single plan offers more payroll and HR features than some payroll companies’ pricier plans, such as those offered by QuickBooks Payroll and Paychex Flex.

Is QuickBooks the best for payroll?

QuickBooks Payroll is a good payroll choice for QuickBooks Online users who are already familiar with (and fond of) QuickBooks’ interface. QuickBooks Payroll also has excellent employer-facing and employee-facing apps, so it’s one of the best picks for on-the-go employers. Plus, its base plan is more affordable than Gusto, Paychex, and ADP.

But whether QuickBooks Payroll is the best software for you is a different story. Our QuickBooks Payroll review can tell you more.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie McQuarrie has been writing for and about small businesses since 2014. Prior to writing full-time, she worked with a variety of small-business owners (from freelance writers to real-estate solopreneurs), which gave her a front-row look at small-business owners' struggles, frustrations, and successes. Currently, she’s Business.org’s accounting and payroll staff writer. Her work has been featured on SCORE.org, G2, and Fairygodboss, among others.
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