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The 5 Cheapest Payroll Services For Businesses

Looking for cheap payroll software? Each of these popular payroll services offers both reasonable prices and strong features for processing your small business's payroll.

    Davina Ward
  • UPDATED

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Feature-rich and cheap payroll software for small businesses make processing payroll easy, but it’s not as simple to quickly find the right option for your business. Thankfully, these days, business owners have a lot of options when it comes to inexpensive payroll software that still makes it easy to navigate taxes and benefits and pay employees on time.

Make your next payroll software purchase more informed with our list of the cheapest payroll software services that deliver benefits and features small business owners are after.

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CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Gusto

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  • Overall best payroll software with the most bang for your buck
  • $6/per contractor or $40/month + $6/per employee
  • Over 120+ integrations available
  • Overall best payroll software with the most bang for your buck
  • $6/per contractor or $40/month + $6/per employee
  • Over 120+ integrations available

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Square Payroll

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  • Most affordable for foodservice & retail & cheapest for contractors
  • $5/per contractor or $35/month + $5/per employee
  • Integrates seamlessly with Square payments, POS, & invoices
  • Most affordable for foodservice & retail & cheapest for contractors
  • $5/per contractor or $35/month + $5/per employee
  • Integrates seamlessly with Square payments, POS, & invoices

Visit Site

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OnPay

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  • Cheapest payroll service mobile app
  • $36/month + $4/per person
  • Supports multi-state payroll with good customer support
  • Cheapest payroll service mobile app
  • $36/month + $4/per person
  • Supports multi-state payroll with good customer support

Visit Site

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SurePayroll

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  • Cheapest payroll software with the best security
  • $29/month + $4/per person
  • Boasts positive customer reviews
  • Cheapest payroll software with the best security
  • $29/month + $4/per person
  • Boasts positive customer reviews

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Patriot Payroll

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  • Easiest cheap payroll software to use
  • Starts at $10/month + $4/per person
  • Offers scalable pricing plans for growing businesses
  • Easiest cheap payroll software to use
  • Starts at $10/month + $4/per person
  • Offers scalable pricing plans for growing businesses

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

5 Best & Cheapest Payroll Services

These five cheap payroll services also happen to be some of the best. From payment options and tax filing to direct deposits and more, these payroll services are great choices for small businesses. Each of these payroll software providers offers the necessary features, plus some extras, to satisfy nearly all payroll needs.

1. Gusto: Overall Best Cheap Small Business Payroll Software

Gusto


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Pros

  • Transparent pricing
  • 120+ integrations
  • Strong security measures

Cons

  • Limited reporting
  • Limited time tracking

When it comes to cheap and user-friendly online payroll services that still offer lots of features, Gusto reigns supreme. Gusto payroll software’s many features include a simple dashboard that displays upcoming payroll dates and deadlines, support for off-cycle payroll schedules and bonuses, and employee and contractor management to account for various deductions, earnings, and garnishments. Gusto’s four affordable plans are paid every month. Gusto’s Contractor Only plan starts at $6 per person, while plans with W-2 employees start at $40/month plus $6/per person.

Gusto’s integrations with other popular software, such as QuickBooks Time, Xero, and QuickBooks, allow for more advanced features, including time-tracking for contractors with multiple pay rates or job-costing calculations. With over 120 integrations and an API for software developers, Gusto can cover everything from accounting and expense tracking to POS and project management. These integrations and the core features that ship with Gusto’s software are easy to set up and use for a high level of user-friendliness, which we discuss in more detail in our post on Gusto’s pricing plans and features. To keep calculations and the information it stores secure, Gusto uses 256-bit SSL encryption, firewalls, and multifactor authentification as well as physical security (such as anti-fraud measures) to protect its data center.

Gusto receives high praise from users and maintains a rating of 4.7/5 stars on Capterra (based on 3,500+ ratings) and 6.8/10 stars on TrustRadius (based on 270+ ratings). Among the user reviews that do bring down Gusto’s average rating, complaints often center around a relative lack of reporting and time tracking capabilities compared to other online payroll services. Other complaints cited slow-paced error resolution and difficulties troubleshooting issues through customer service.

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2. Square Payroll: Affordable Payroll Software For Foodservice & Retail Businesses

Square Payroll


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Pros

  • Integrates with Square POS hardware
  • Automated tax support and filing
  • Excellent security standards
  • Square Team mobile app support

Cons

  • Limited features for larger businesses
  • Limited payroll functions

Foodservice and retail business owners who invest in their brick-and-mortar locations, as well as their online stores, should be eyeing Square’s payroll solution with interest. Square Payroll integrates with Square POS software and its credit card processing services to create an all-in-one online payroll service that costs only $35/month with a $5 per-employee fee and no flat subscription price on its ‘Employees and Contractors’ plan. The software’s ‘Contractors Only’ plan costs $5 per employee with no monthly base rate. Restaurants and retailers that already use Square can look forward to an easy setup and multiple benefits from Square’s integrations and equipment, such as tip calculations, timecard syncing, and even employee management from mobile devices.

When it comes to crunching numbers, Square Payroll makes things much quicker with automation. Automated tax management means that business owners with their hands full can sit back while Square automatically calculates withholdings and payment amounts. Square also automates its tax submissions to federal and state contacts so that businesses don’t forget about deadlines and incur fees. Square Payroll takes care of quarterly and year-end filings as long as you remember to keep your business and employee information up to date in your software. The payroll software protects the information it processes with industry-leading data security and privacy standards that include HIPAA and PCI compliance.

User reviews tend to praise Square Payroll and its ease of use, especially for restaurants and retailers that already use Square, as well as its transparent and straightforward pricing. Square’s positive reception is reflected in its 4.7/5 star review on Capterra (based on 500+ reviews). Square Payroll isn’t without fault, though, and limits owners who are looking for a more expansive set of payroll functions, such as benefits administration, reporting, and schedule management for larger businesses.

Get Started With Square Payroll

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3. OnPay: Payroll Software For On-The-Go Businesses

OnPay


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Pros

  • Strong online and mobile platform
  • Single service plan with many features
  • Good customer support

Cons

  • Poor scalability for larger businesses
  • The mobile version is limited compared to the desktop version

OnPay offers arguably the best mobile experience for businesses that need eCommerce and in-person features. OnPay’s features, such as unlimited payroll runs, employee self-service portals, and time management options, are all available through a sole service plan that costs $36/month with a $4 monthly per-person fee.

OnPay organizes payroll processing for small businesses with its core set of multistate payroll services that come at no extra cost to business owners. It also offers QuickBooks/OnPay integrations for further consolidation of accounting and payroll tasks on multiple devices. OnPay’s online platform complements its availability on different devices with a high level of usability and easily navigable custom fields and forms that are backed up by industry-standard SSL high-grade encryption connected to a 24/7 data facility.

The high praise that Onpay receives for its mobile experience, intuitive online platform, and strong customer support contribute to its average score of 4.8/5 on Capterra (based on 390+ reviews) and why it made it into our top picks for best payroll software for small businesses. OnPay’s rating is slightly brought down by complaints from businesses about the single service plan option and lack of scalability for larger businesses.

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4. SurePayroll: Cheap Payroll Software With The Best Security

SurePayroll


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Pros

  • Impressive data security protection
  • Easy to use dashboard
  • Strong tax support for small businesses

Cons

  • Non-transparent pricing
  • One software integration

As one of the most straightforward online payroll systems, SurePayroll is the go-to choice for small businesses that don’t need lots of bells and whistles. What SurePayroll lacks in advanced features, though, it more than makes up for with a user-friendly dashboard. Business owners can access core modules for payroll runs and reporting, pay stub management, and time tracking from the dashboard. SurePayroll also integrates easily with popular software such as Xero and QuickBooks, which augments its relatively sparse set of core features and consolidates payroll and accounting calculations for businesses.

SurePayroll makes itself a competitive option in its price range, currently $29/month and $4 per person, although this pricing can be difficult to find as SurePayroll doesn’t publish its prices online. SurePayroll gets the job done when it comes to straightforward processing with full tax support. Plus, at its current price, this online payroll software ranks among the least expensive options available.

Where SurePayroll truly shines is its dedication to security. This dedication contributes to its average Capterra review of 4.1 (based on 220+ reviews). Users repeatedly cite SurePayroll’s commitment to data security, which is evident in penetration testing, annual audits, and more standard security measures, such as double-encryption of data and virus and malware detection. Additional praise points to SurePayroll’s helpful customer service, making it doubly simple to run payroll and pay payroll taxes on time.

Get Started With SurePayroll

Read our in-depth review

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5. Patriot Payroll: Easy To Use Payroll Software For Small To Mid-Sized Businesses

Patriot Payroll


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Pros

  • Two affordable payroll plans
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Quick and simple onboarding

Cons

  • ‘Basic’ plan has limited features
  • Poor scalability for large businesses

Patriot Payroll’s solid range of features aims to streamline payroll for small and growing businesses. Business owners can calculate multiple employee pay rates, track employee hours worked (as well as sick and leave days), and offer their employees direct deposit payments that don’t come at an extra cost. QuickBooks/Patriot Payroll further enhances payroll processing with advanced scheduling, time, and attendance functionality. For quickly growing small businesses, Patriot Payroll’s fast onboarding and handling of payroll setup and employee data entry are perfect for busy business owners.

Patriot Payroll is an affordable option for small businesses looking for online payroll services. It starts at $10/month with a per-person fee of $4 through its ‘Basic’ plan. Patriot Payroll’s ‘Full Service’ plan starts at $30/month to include options for tax filing and depositing while maintaining the same per-employee rate. However, even at its highest plan, the software lacks some typically standard features, such as benefits administration, time-keeping, and extra filing options for 1099 employees (this is only the case at the ‘Basic’ level, though).

Overall, Patriot Payroll is highly praised on Capterra with an average rating of 4.8 (based on 2,900 reviews) by small businesses hungry to scale their operations with a price-conscious and cheap payroll service.

Get Started With Patriot Payroll

Read our in-depth review

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Choosing The Most Affordable Payroll Software For Your Business

Choosing affordable payroll services starts with assessing your business’s payroll needs — whether that’s comprehensive tax support, QuickBooks integration, or anything in between. Once you have a list going, you can narrow down the number of payroll software contenders to include only those that meet all your requirements, including a low price point. This strategy can help you avoid the pitfall of sacrificing function and service for a lower price point. If you’re paying for payroll software that doesn’t do what you need it to do, then you’re essentially tossing money away.

Save your hard-earned dollars by figuring out where your business’s needs stand on the following payroll software features:

  • Integrations
  • Security features
  • Ease of use
  • Mobile app offerings
  • Number of users per plan allowance
  • Customer support options
  • Tax support
  • Scalability

These features will separate the good cheap payroll software for from the cheap options that just aren’t worth your time. To save even more on your payroll, be sure to create a full payroll budget to keep your expenses in check. Take a look at our top payroll best practices for more tips and tricks for managing your small business’s payroll processing.

Cheap Payroll Services FAQs

How much do payroll companies cost?

Payroll software can cost anywhere from $10/month (Patriot Payroll’s ‘Basic’ Plan) to $149/month (Gusto’s ‘Concierge’ plan). Per-person monthly fees among some of the most popular online payroll services range from $4/month to $12/month.

What is the cheapest payroll company for under ten employees?

Gusto’s four flexible plans for salaried W-2 employees make it our pick for the cheapest payroll company with software designed for under 10 employees.

What services can payroll companies provide?

Payroll companies provide services to calculate the amount that business owners owe their employees and help submit taxes on time. Payroll services can also help businesses manage employee time off, hours worked, and benefits administration.

What payroll software is the easiest to use?

We think Gusto is the easiest payroll software to use based on the flexibility and range of features its multiple plans offer.

In Summary: 5 Best & Cheapest Payroll Services

  1. Gusto:
    • Overall best payroll software with the most bang for your buck
    • $6/per contractor or $40/month + $6/per employee
    • Over 120+ integrations available
  2. Square Payroll:
    • Most affordable for foodservice & retail & cheapest for contractors
    • $5/per contractor or $35/month + $5/per employee
    • Integrates seamlessly with Square payments, POS, & invoices
  3. OnPay:
    • Cheapest payroll service mobile app
    • $36/month + $4/per person
    • Supports multi-state payroll with good customer support
  4. SurePayroll:
    • Cheapest payroll software with the best security
    • $29/month + $4/per person
    • Boasts positive customer reviews
  5. Patriot Payroll:
    • Easiest cheap payroll software to use
    • Starts at $10/month + $4/per person
    • Offers scalable pricing plans for growing businesses
Davina Ward

Davina Ward

Expert Analyst & Reviewer
A New York native, Davina earned her BA in English from SUNY Geneseo in 2018. After graduating, she began her career as a freelance writing generalist before finding a niche writing about SaaS. Davina unironically enjoys testing and reviewing software on her free time but otherwise can be found oscillating between hobbies every few weeks or so — most recently, longboarding.
Davina Ward
View Davina Ward's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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