OnPay has a suite of easy-to-use HR, payroll, and benefits solutions optimal for small and midsize businesses (SMBs). It is affordable ($40 plus $6 per employee monthly), files payroll taxes, and caters to religious and nonprofit organizations and several industries, like restaurants, agriculture, dental, and healthcare.
OnPay earned a 4.48 out of 5 rating in our evaluation of best payroll software. It has strong HR and payroll features to help manage your workforce. It didn’t get a higher score because it lacks multiple plan options and has limited third-party software integrations, personalization options, and user reviews on popular review websites.
- Assesses risk before determining eligibility for either two- or four-day direct deposits
- Doesn’t offer multiple plan tiers that cater to varying needs
- Doesn’t have live phone support on weekends
- Lacks time tracking tools
What We Recommend OnPay For
OnPay has a cloud-based system that enables you to quickly calculate and finalize payroll for both employees and contractors. It provides all the essential tools for managing new hire onboarding, benefits, paid time off (PTO), and employee information. It also offers full-service payroll, which includes unlimited pay runs, year-end W-2/1099 tax reports, and payroll tax payment and filing services. It can even handle the payroll and tax requirements of agriculture companies, churches, and nonprofit organizations.
In short, OnPay is best for:
- Small companies needing to switch from complex software: Many businesses that use OnPay have fewer than 50 employees and swear by it because it’s easy to use and handles important payroll-related tasks (paying workers and tax agencies). If you have a low-maintenance business, you’ll find it less cluttered (meaning fewer extraneous payroll and HR services) and more affordable than some of the big-name and popular payroll providers. It is even one of our leading Gusto competitors, providing access to all its tools for its $40 plus $6 per employee monthly fee (Gusto and others require upgrades for full tool access).
- Small agricultural companies: OnPay processes separate tax filing reports for farm and non-farm workers. Plus, if you have employees on an H-2A visa, it can also process payroll and taxes for them. Not all providers have this functionality, which is why OnPay is an excellent option for farms and agricultural companies that need Form 943 filings.
- Small businesses requiring HR support: Rated as one of our best human resources payroll software, OnPay offers small business owners access to various HR tools—such as employee offer letters, self-onboarding, PTO management, in-app messaging, and compliance auditing. It also provides benefits administration and will connect you with several top-notch benefits providers so that your employees can sign up for retirement, health insurance, life, disability, FSA, HSA, and commuter benefits.
When to Use Something Else
- International payroll operations: OnPay does not support large businesses needing payroll for foreign employees or even those assigned in US territories. Check out our guide to the top international payroll services to find providers better suited for this need.
- Businesses that need 24/7 live customer support: If you need on-demand phone support to get quick answers to payroll, benefits, and HR-related questions, especially during weekends and holidays, OnPay may not be the right provider for you. Its customer support team is available only on weekdays. Some providers, like Justworks, offer 24/7 support. Check out its features in our Justworks review article or look through our roundup of the top payroll services picks for more options.
If you are already using a payroll solution and are considering changing to another, read our guide on how to switch payroll providers to ensure you make all the right moves beforehand.
OnPay Deciding Factors
Supported Business Types
Startups, nonprofits, and small to midsize businesses in various vertical industries, such as accounting, healthcare, farming, agriculture, and restaurant industries.
One month for new clients
$40 plus $6 per worker monthly
Ease of Use
OnPay is generally easy to learn and use, but having basic knowledge of how to run payroll will help you navigate pay processes more easily
Need help with more HR functionalities to help manage employees better? Read our guide to the best HR software for small businesses to find a service or software that’s right for your business.
How OnPay Compares With Top Alternatives
Starter Monthly Fees
Low-maintenance and niche businesses (agricultural, nonprofit, etc.)
$40 base fee plus $6 per employee
Businesses needing full-service payroll and solid HR support
$40 base fee plus $6 per employee
Small companies that use QuickBooks accounting
$45 base fee plus $6 per employee
Small retail and restaurants businesses
$35 base fee plus $6 per employee
*Gusto’s 30-day free trial is a special offer provided to Fit Small Business readers. Note that this promotion can change at any time.
Since Our Last Update: OnPay increased the add-on fee for its optional W-2/1099 form printing and mail delivery services—from $5 to $10 per form.
OnPay’s transparent and straightforward pricing scheme helped it earn an almost perfect mark for this criterion. It offers one plan that costs $40 plus $6 per employee monthly, and OnPay will charge you only for the actual number of workers paid in a month. System setup and data migration of prior wages and employee information come at no extra cost for new users. Plus, your first month with OnPay is free.
However, you need to pay for the following services:
- Non-sufficient funds (NSF) returns: $50 per returned item, in case you don’t have sufficient funds to cover a pay run; same amount as the returned item if it is less than $50
- Direct mail delivery of W-2 and 1099 forms: $10 per W-2/1099 if you want OnPay to print and mail the forms to employees (free, if you print and distribute the forms yourself)
- Employee benefits plan premiums: Premium payments vary depending on the benefits plans selected
Since Our Last Update: We go into more detail on OnPay’s payment options, which include debit cards and paychecks.
What prevented OnPay from getting a perfect mark in this area is its lack of a pay-on-demand option and only covering the penalty for mistakes that it makes. Other than that, you can use OnPay to run payroll on computers and mobile devices. It can also pay both employees and contractors; handle state, federal, and local taxes; and prepare year-end tax reports and online delivery.
You can run payroll, including off-cycle and bonus payouts, as many times as you need and want at no extra cost. OnPay can handle multistate payroll, multiple payout schedules, tip calculations, and different pay rates for individual employees. It withholds all your employees’ state and federal unemployment insurance payments and deducts garnishments.
Processing payroll with OnPay takes just a few clicks. It can spot payroll errors and even provides a summarized view of your payroll but with expandable data columns if you want to see breakdowns of salaries, taxes, and deductions.
With OnPay, you don’t need a mobile app to access its system while on the go. It has a mobile-responsive platform, allowing you to process payroll from tablets and smartphones—provided there’s an available internet connection.
OnPay allows you to pay employees and contractors via debit cards and direct deposits. If you prefer paycheck payments, OnPay lets you print checks yourself.
Direct deposits: Turnaround times for direct deposits are two and four days, depending on OnPay’s risk assessment. It will also determine whether you are approved for wire-only or reverse wire-only transactions.
- Wire Only: OnPay may require companies with very large payroll amounts to wire the direct deposit and tax funds so that it can process payroll.
- Reverse Wire Only: It may require some companies to authorize it to make a reverse-wire or drawdown request from your bank account so that it can process payroll.
If your approved direct deposit transaction doesn’t fit your payroll needs, you can contact OnPay to discuss other options. You can also request the company to reevaluate your approval status, but you have to wait six months.
Debit cards: For debit card payments, payroll funds are added directly to your workers’ pay cards. This is great for employees who don’t have bank accounts. Plus, OnPay won’t charge extra fees for payroll deposits into debit cards.
Paychecks: OnPay has check printing capabilities that allow you to generate the employee paychecks you need. You can even reprint checks from previous pay runs.
However, you have to purchase check stocks. OnPay recommends using the standard blank check stock that is available from most office supply retailers. For new clients, you have to send OnPay an email at email@example.com with a photocopy of a voided check so that it can help set up this feature. Don’t forget to check your printer settings and do trial prints to ensure that everything is in order.
OnPay automatically calculates, withholds, pays, and files payroll taxes. It also has a penalty-free guarantee that covers tax filing mistakes by its representatives. Aside from quarterly and annual tax reports, it provides the following special payroll services:
- Restaurants: Helps with minimum wage tip makeup and prepares Form 8846
- Farms and agriculture: Processes tax filings for agricultural workers (Form 943) and non-farm employees, including payment and processing of taxes for workers on H-2A visas
- Nonprofit organizations: Handles and files federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) and tax exemptions for 501(c)(3) organizations
- Clergy and churches: Excludes any parsonage allowances from calculations and FUTA, Social Security, and Medicare taxes (FICA)
If you’re in the market for a service to help process employee payments efficiently, check out our guide on finding the right payroll service for your business.
OnPay offers essential tools for managing employees, including a self-service portal and online onboarding. It also helps file state new hire reporting and offers health insurance, as well as benefits. The only thing we found lacking was access to expert advisers on compliance issues.
However, we still found its HR functionalities helpful, as it can automate new hire onboarding processes while keeping you compliant with the latest labor regulations. It has customizable offer letters, built-in document templates, and a library of HR guides. Incoming employees can also onboard themselves via a self-service portal to complete their profile and e-sign HR documents.
It even allows you to create, delegate, and track onboarding tasks to specific individuals—such as setting up the employee’s computer, planning the orientation training, and assigning an onboarding buddy to your new hire. You also don’t have to worry about state new hire reporting because OnPay will do this for you.
If you need I-9 and W-4 forms for your new hires, OnPay has electronic versions of the two forms in its system. Both are automatically included in the mandatory onboarding documents in OnPay.
Aside from online PTO requests and approvals, OnPay has three accrual tiers, allowing employees to earn PTO credits depending on several factors, like location and seniority. Creating custom time off policies in the system is also very easy—and once you’ve assigned these to employees, the system will automatically calculate the accruals and add them to each staff’s PTO balances.
OnPay partners with several benefits providers from which your employees can sign up for a wide range of benefits—from medical and dental to retirement and workers’ compensation plans in all 50 states. It has established partnerships with the following:
- America’s Best 401(k)
- BlueCross BlueShield
- United Healthcare
It even has in-house licensed brokers who can help you identify the best options when you need other benefits, like vision, disability, and life insurance. All premiums are also automatically deducted each time you run payroll.
With OnPay’s fully integrated solutions, information from its benefits module flows seamlessly into its pay processing tool. As such, you won’t have to worry about manually inputting deductions for payroll. Its system even automatically updates your employment data and sends this to the applicable insurance carriers (including staff data for workers’ comp).
Allow employees to access their pay stubs and documents through OnPay’s self-service portal—even after they resign. Employees can also download tax forms, update their personal information, and adjust their voluntary payroll deductions, such as 401(k) plans.
OnPay’s reporting tools not only give you basic payroll reports templates—you can also customize these reports to give you better insights into employee and payroll concerns. As such, OnPay obtained a perfect score in this criterion.
With OnPay, payroll reports can be viewed in real time, downloaded as a PDF or spreadsheet, and exported to your existing accounting software. It has a report designer for creating custom reports, although you can also use one of its pre-built reports.
OnPay received a high score for the ease of use criterion. It offers live phone support and help articles for troubleshooting. OnPay is easy to set up and navigate, even for those with no payroll background. Its interface is not overwhelming for beginners, and the learning curve isn’t steep.
While it’s generally easy to use, it has limited personalization options (although you can customize some parts of the main dashboard), and setting up OnPay for the first time can take more than a day.
Here are some things that support OnPay’s ease of use:
- System setup and data migration support
- User-friendly with an intuitive dashboard
- Mobile responsive platform to run payroll anywhere
- FAQ with how-to articles
- Online library of HR guides and document templates
- Self-service portal
Apart from free system setup and data migration services for new clients, OnPay has a support team that can help set up your third-party software integrations. You can also get weekday assistance from payroll experts through phone and chat from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time and via email (starts at 7 a.m. ET). However, only emergency email support is available during weekends.
If you need HR support, OnPay’s partnership with Mineral provides access to HR professionals who can give expert advice on how to handle compliance and employee issues. Talking to a live rep costs extra ($20), but if you only need to browse through Mineral’s library of HR guides and document templates, the service is free.
OnPay integrates with several accounting, time tracking, and HR solutions. Here are its partner systems:
- Accounting: QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop, and Xero
- Time tracking: Deputy, Humanity, When I Work, and QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets)
- Farm financial management: Magnify
- HR and compliance: PosterElite and Mineral (formerly ThinkHR)
The one thing that kept OnPay from getting a perfect score for popularity is its low number of user reviews on popular websites like G2 and Capterra.
|Easy to use
|Limited PTO customization options
|Intuitive and feature-rich
|Third-party software integrations aren’t robust
|Responsive customer service; reps are generally helpful and knowledgeable
|Some reports are difficult to find
Many reviewers who left positive OnPay reviews online like that it is easy to use and navigate, even for new users. Others highlighted its affordability, good customer support, and efficient onboarding tools. Some, however, wish for additional third-party integration options, more robust PTO tracking features, better reporting filtering capabilities, and an option to run payroll automatically.
At the time of publication, OnPay earned the following scores on popular reviews sites:
For this criterion, OnPay benefited from its affordability and user-friendliness. Its strong suite of payroll tools will help small businesses conveniently and quickly pay employees. Because it doesn’t have limits to payroll runs, you can set up different pay schedules for different types of employees or process payroll on a different day due to a holiday. However, its HR tools aren’t as robust as other providers like Gusto, Paycor, or Rippling, which hurt its score.
OnPay is a cloud-based payroll software accessible to small businesses and organizations in several industries. It lets you process employee and contractor payroll, automate tax payments and filings, streamline new hire onboarding, and more. Overall, it is a comprehensive and flexible payroll system that’s affordable and easy to use. Sign up with OnPay for a 30-day free trial—no credit card required.