Paycor Payroll Review 2022

We examined Paycor's plans, pricing, payroll and HR features, customer service reputation, interface, and ease of use to bring you this in-depth review.
Best for basic payroll needs
Paycor
Paycor
2.6 out of 5 stars
2.6
  • pro
    Starting at $99.00/mo. + $5.00/payee
  • pro
    HR add-ons
  • con
    Basic payroll features only
  • con
    Declining customer satisfaction

Data as of 1/3/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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The bottom line: If you simply want payroll basics with a few optional HR add-ons, Paycor is a (potentially) affordable option for your business, especially if you have around 10 employees. But its declining customer service reputation and limited integrations make Paycor’s payroll plans hard to truly recommend.

Paycor review: Table of contents

Paycor payroll plans and pricing

Plan name
Starting monthly price
Automatic payroll tax calculation
PTO requests and approvals
1:1 HR support
Get started
Basic$99.00 + $5.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Essential$149.00 + $6.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Complete$199.00 + $7.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
HCM$199.00 + $12.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Data as of 1/3/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Paycor's key features

Paycor’s payroll-only features for small businesses are pretty basic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—every business definitely needs the payroll basics. But Paycor is principally an HR solution, which means Paycor’s payroll plans make the most sense for small businesses that want to integrate basic HR with basic payroll. In other words, if you’re looking for automatic payroll tax deductions, direct deposit, and, say, optional employee onboarding help, Paycor’s small-business payroll plans should suit you nicely.

But if you want more payroll features, including automatic wage garnishment and built-in time tracking, you should look elsewhere. (We have a few recommendations if you’re not sure where to start.) And even if you only want basic payroll, Paycor isn’t the cheapest option. Depending on the number of employees you have, you’ll get more bang for your buck with a provider like OnPay, SurePayroll, or Patriot.

Paycor plan details

Like we said above, you won’t find anything too remarkable about Paycor’s payroll-only features. Beginning with the Basic plan (starting at $99 a month), all three of Paycor’s small-business payroll plans include automatic tax calculation and filing, direct deposit, employee self-service (including pay stub access), and a mobile app. You’ll also get limited reporting in an exportable PDF-only format, plus self-service wage garnishment and child support payments—automatic wage garnishment costs extra.

The Essentials plan (starting at $149 a month) includes a few HR-adjacent perks, namely PTO tracking and new hire onboarding, plus more thorough reporting. Honestly, though, most small-business payroll providers include all three of those features in their basic plans. And the same is true of the additional actions you get with the Complete plan (starting at $199 a month), which adds three more features:

  • 401(k) retirement plan integration
  • General ledger integration
  • One-on-one HR support

Honestly, Paycor payroll’s main perk is its seamless integration with its optional HR services, which include the following:

  • Benefits administration
  • Centralized learning management system
  • Recruiting, applicant tracking, and onboarding
  • Time tracking, including timesheet integration
  • Employee surveys and talent development

Each of these services cost extra, and you’ll have to contact Paycor directly to find out how much—pricing isn’t listed directly on the site.

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.

Paycor vs. top competitors

Brand name
Starting monthly price
Payroll tax administration
Health insurance add-ons
Get started
$99.00 + $5.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$19.99 + $4.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes (full-service plan only)
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$39.00 + $6.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$36.00 + $4.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
$20.00 + $6.00/payee
Icon Yes  DarkYes (full-service plan only)
Icon No  DarkNo

Data as of 1/3/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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Paycor's key drawbacks

We’ve pointed this out several times in our review, but Paycor doesn’t offer any noteworthy payroll features. It has all the basics, but not much else. With such a high base price and per-employee fee, we wouldn't say you're paying all that much for what you end up getting.

Additionally, Paycor charges fees for features such as time tracking (with timesheet integration) and general ledger (GL) integration. It’s particularly frustrating that general ledger integration is included with the priciest plan only and not offered as a standalone add-on (like it is with providers like SurePayroll, for instance).

Regardless of your business’s size, GL integration saves you quite a bit of time and hassle, not to mention cuts down on the possibility of introducing accounting errors.

Paycor's customer service reviews used to be another major drawback, though the reviews have gradually improved. Currently, users give Paycor an average rating of 6.5 out of 10 on the review site Trustradius—not the best, but quite a few points better than it stood for most of 2021.1 

Paycor vs. Gusto: Key feature comparison

BasicEssentialCompleteGusto Core
Starting price$99.00/mo. + $5.00/payee/mo.$149.00/mo. + $6.00/payee/mo.$199.00/mo. + $7.00/payee/mo.$39.00/mo. + $6.00/payee
Automatic payroll tax deductions
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Direct deposit
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Employee self-service
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Mobile app
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
ReportingBasic, PFD-based onlyCustomizableCustomizableCustomizable
PTO tracking
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
New hire onboarding
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
401(k) integration
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
GL integration
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
1:1 HR support
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Health benefits administrationAdditional feeAdditional feeAdditional feeInsurance premium only (no administration fee)
Get started

Data as of 1/3/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Paycor's additional features

Mobile app

Paycor’s small-business payroll software has a user-friendly interface, simple employee self-service, and a well-rounded mobile app. In fact, Paycor’s app is one of the most used (and highly reviewed) in an industry that isn’t exactly known for its show-stopping apps.

On Apple’s App store, Paycor scores a solid 4.7 out of 5 from over 20K reviewers.2 And on Google Play, the app has 4.6 out of 5 from 25K reviewers, though current reviews indicate that Android users have trouble getting the app to function.3

While Paycor doesn’t have an employer-facing app—only a few payroll companies do—its app does let managers and administrators approve time-off requests and employee time cards on the go.

Customizable plans

Paycor’s standalone payroll plans are extremely customizable. Once you’ve chosen a payroll plan, you can add on however many HR services your company needs.

On a user-level, the software itself is also fairly customizable: you can customize your dashboard and pay stub views so you aren’t overwhelmed with information you don’t need.

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

Paycor mid-market payroll (40 to 1,000 employees)

If you have 40 or more employees, you can’t choose a standalone Paycor payroll service. Instead, you’ll need to choose a human capital management (HCM) solution for total people management, payroll included. You’ll select from the following options to build a payroll and HR package:

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) management and assistance
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Employee onboarding, recruiting, applicant tracking, and scheduling
  • Employee career management and talent development
  • Automatic wage garnishment
  • Benefits administration

Paycor’s ACA Connect software is especially helpful for business owners who worry about open enrollment and IRS compliance. Its thorough people management helps you guide your employees through every step of their careers, from application to promotions.

However, Paycor doesn’t list the pricing for its mid-market solutions online. Instead, you’ll need to contact a Paycor representative directly for a quote. Unlike Paycor’s small-business payroll, its HCM solutions include a three-month free trial that we recommend you take advantage of.

The takeaway

Paycor’s payroll features are pretty basic, even the features that come with its priciest small-business plan. Between its base cost, per-payee fee, and additional fees for time tracking and HR administration, we can't say Paycor's price justifies its limited features.

Depending on your business’s size, we recommend looking at Paycor’s HCM and HRIS solutions instead. Midsize businesses should get a lot out of Paycor’s combined HR software and payroll.

Otherwise, if you’re a small-business owner with 10 or so employees and don’t want to search for separate payroll and HR providers, Paycor’s standalone payroll could work. Just know that you won’t get much beyond the basics at an above-average cost.

Looking for a different cloud-based payroll provider? Our list of the year’s best payroll software for small business reviews 10 Paycor alternatives.

Related reading

Paycor payroll FAQ

What is Paycor?

Paycor is an HRIS, HCM, and payroll-processing provider that serves small, midsize, and large businesses.

How much does Paycor cost?

Paycor’s small-business payroll solution starts at $99 a month for businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Businesses with 11+ employees should contact the company directly for a custom quote. Add-ons like time tracking, onboarding, and benefits administration may cost an additional monthly fee.

Is Paycor legit?

Yes, Paycor is a legitimate payroll system and HRIS provider. It’s based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was founded in 1990.

Is Paycor an HRIS system?

Yes, Paycor offers an integrated human resource information system (HRIS) solution. If your business isn’t big enough for a total HRIS solution, Paycor’s standalone payroll plans with optional HR add-ons target businesses with 39 or fewer employees. And Paycor’s HCM (human capital management) solution is geared towards businesses with 40 to 1,000 employees.

Methodology

To arrive at our star rating and compare Paycor to top payroll providers, we considered four crucial categories:

  • Pricing, including additional fees
  • Features, including payroll and HR features
  • Customer service, including hours and reputation
  • Ease of use, including mobile app reviews and interface user-friendliness

We also considered our payroll expert's opinion when calculating our star rating and writing our review.

Business.org's star ratings are subject to frequent review and may change without notice.

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.

Sources
1. Trustradius, “Paycor Reviews.” Accessed January 3, 2022.
2. The App Store, “Paycor Mobile.” Accessed January 3, 2022.
3. Google Play, “Paycor Mobile.” Accessed January 3, 2022.

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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