1. Business Services
  2. Best Payroll Services

Best Payroll Services

Author picture
Author picture
Written by

Read our guide to discover the best payroll service company for you. We compared bookkeeping software, payment technology and cloud-based solutions for human resources available to small and large businesses.

Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
  • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
  • 4,314,567 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
  • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
  • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
  • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

Compare Top Payroll Services

Questions for payroll companies

How can I pay my employees with a payroll service?

Payroll service providers typically offer multiple ways for you to pay your employees. The most popular way is through direct deposit using each employee's personal bank account. Companies that pay their employees with a paper check can use payroll software that lets them print checks directly from their own printers. Finally, some payroll service providers offer additional payment options like paycards that act as direct deposit accounts within a card.

  • Direct deposit: Online payroll software lets your employees input their personal bank account information so their paycheck can be automatically sent to their account. This saves money by eliminating the need for printing paper checks while still giving employees access to a pay stub online.
  • Checks: If you pay your employees with paper checks, look for online payroll software that lets you print your own checks from an in-house printer. This keeps you from having to pay shipping costs.
  • Paycards: Paycards are a payment option that acts like direct deposit accounts in card form. The account is FDIC-insured and can be used at ATMs and point-of-sale terminals that accept PIN transactions to withdraw cash and make purchases.

Can I integrate the payroll process with other applications?

It is important to look for an online payroll service that integrates with accounting, HR and timekeeping programs you already use. This will minimize the amount of repetitive work and data entry you will do when running payroll, as well as minimize any human errors that come with manually inputting data in multiple locations.

  • Accounting integration: Being able to integrate payroll with accounting software saves a lot of time and reduces the chance for data-entry errors when it comes time to update your general ledger. You can automatically sync each pay run with software like QuickBooks or Xero.
  • HR integration: Many payroll services integrate with popular HR software like ThinkHR. Integrating with HR software makes it easy to keep your business in compliance and keep your employees' information current by updating content seamlessly across both platforms.
  • Timekeeping integration: If you already use a timekeeping software for employees to clock in and out, look for a payroll service that integrates with your current software. Timekeeping software integration prevents you from having to enter time, PTO and sick days twice when it comes time to run payroll.

How do payroll service providers manage my taxes?

Payroll services that handle most, if not all, tax services help businesses stay compliant with tax law and file and pay their taxes on time. Many payroll service providers have in-house experts in tax laws, filing and payment who are backed by accuracy guarantees.

  • Payroll taxes: Online payroll services can take care of things like withholding employee taxes, paying tax withholdings to the proper state and federal agencies and filing quarterly payroll tax reports. They will also issue employee W-2s and 1099s at the end of each year.
  • Tax compliance: A good payroll service provider will make sure your business is up to date on state and federal tax requirements. Self-service payroll software should also provide important information like IRS instructions and forms, payroll tax reporting tips, immigration information and state-specific tax forms.
  • Advisors: If you are using a self-service payroll service software, it’s a good idea to make sure the provider has tax experts you can contact by phone or email should any questions arise.

Are payroll services scalable?

Scalability is an important feature for a payroll service provider since small businesses have different needs than large businesses. Large businesses might need a full, comprehensive payroll service provider, whereas a small business might only need a few, tailored features until they start growing. Having the ability to tailor your payroll services to meet your specific needs is key.

  • Growth: It is important to think about your company’s growth when thinking about scalability for payroll services. If you plan on growing your company significantly, make sure you use a payroll service that can accommodate your growth.
  • Multinational payroll: If you have employees in multiple countries, or plan to expand globally, it is a good idea to look for a payroll service that handles multinational payroll to minimize the risks of non-compliance.
  • Streamlined onboarding: If you plan on growing your business, payroll service providers can help you streamline your onboarding process and bring in new employees quickly by using an online platform to keep track of employee payroll information.

Do payroll service providers offer mobile applications?

Having the ability to access your account remotely is a valuable asset in today’s corporate world and a popular feature payroll service providers can offer their clients. Mobile apps or mobile-friendly websites allow employers and employees to access their payroll information from anywhere using smartphones or tablets.

  • Run payroll: Many payroll services let you calculate paychecks, pay workers by direct deposit and file tax forms from your mobile app with a push of your finger.
  • Easy access for employees: Using a mobile app is an easy way for employees to manage their personal information, request PTO, view pay stubs or access health benefit and information.
  • Mobile reminders: You can set mobile alerts to remind you about payday and tax deadlines.

How much does a payroll service cost?

Most payroll service providers charge a monthly rate and set their prices based on the service being provided with prices ranging from $20 to $250 a month for most no-frills, basic benefits. Self-Service payroll software is cheaper than a full-service payroll package where the provider does your payroll for you. The number of employees and size of your company also plays a role in determining the final price. It is important to look for long-term contracts, hidden fees and penalties for canceling.

  • Self-service: If you want a self-service payroll software to help you manage your company’s payroll, you can typically expect to pay a base monthly fee for the software license. Some providers charge a per-employee fee on top of the base fee.
  • Full-service: Full-service payroll, where the payroll service provider does your business's payroll for you, is the most expensive option and will vary based on the number of employees you have.
  • Custom: Some providers let you customize a payroll service package if you only need certain services. This could be the cheapest option, especially for startups with a minimal number of employees.

Types of payroll services

Self-service software

Most payroll service providers offer software that can be downloaded or a cloud-based, SaaS (software as a service) subscription that lets businesses customize and manage their own payroll tasks. These software packages are designed to be user-friendly, scalable and integrated with common accounting and bookkeeping software. In most cases, companies will have access to a support team or personalized client success representative should any questions arise.

Full-service outsourcing

The majority of payroll service providers give businesses the option of totally outsourcing payroll administration tasks. It is a good idea for companies to weigh the cost of outsourcing all payroll tasks against doing them in-house. Using a full-service payroll provider can save time and labor costs for some companies.

Payroll services FAQ

Is there any free payroll software?

Yes, there are a variety of free payroll software options for small businesses. Most include essential features, like automated taxes and payroll, but a few offer advanced options, like tax filing and assistance complying with state laws. Remember, some are only available for a limited time or a limited number of employees.

How do I set up payroll for my small business?

Generally speaking, you need to gather payroll information and register for some mandatory accounts before you can run payroll.

  1. Get an “Employer Tax ID” or EIN (Employer Identification Number) as well as insurance and any state or local tax IDs.
  2. Have your employees complete a W-4.
  3. Choose how and when you’ll pay them.
  4. Calculate and withhold income taxes.
  5. Pay taxes.
  6. File tax forms and employee W-2s.
What is payroll processing?

Payroll processing refers to the steps needed to pay your employees at the end of each pay period and includes:

  • Collecting records of time worked
  • Calculating earnings and deductions
  • Issuing paychecks and pay stubs
  • Maintaining payroll records
How do payroll companies work?

Payroll companies typically work by charging a basic package fee that ensures employees are paid correctly and on time. Some offer more comprehensive help with taxes and laws. Others will also take on the responsibilities typically handled by human resources, like administering a company’s retirement accounts and benefits programs.

Can you do payroll yourself?

Yes, but there’s a high potential for inaccuracies, and incorrect calculations can become costly mistakes. In most cases, authorities force you to pay back wages, legal fees and tax penalties resulting from payroll errors.

Make sure to:

  • Withhold the right amount in taxes.
  • Follow state and federal laws.
  • Log the correct hours worked.
  • File and pay your taxes.
How long does payroll take to process?

The length of time it takes to process depends mainly on how you prepare payroll.

  • If you’re calculating hours worked, computing earnings and paying employees manually each week, it will take you longer than using payroll software.
  • If you opt instead for a payroll service, you’ll save hours of work each pay cycle.

Not sure how to choose?

Get buying tips about Payroll Services delivered to your inbox.

    By entering your email, you agree to sign up for consumer news, tips and giveaways from ConsumerAffairs. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Thanks for subscribing.

    You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter! Enjoy reading our tips and recommendations.

    Payroll service reviews


    Manage your accounting, including bookkeeping, payroll and taxes all in one place. You’ll get a dedicated financial team who will help you manage all the financial aspects of your business. Pricing starts at $99/month.

    • Bookkeeping and accounting: You’ll get weekly reporting and monthly financial statements so you’re always up-to-date on what’s going on financially with your company. You’ll get set up on applications to manage your projects, POS systems, inventory and accounts payable and receivable. You’ll always have quick access to your data.
    • Taxes: Finance Pal will analyze your accounts and help you develop action plans so you can limit and reduce your tax liabilities. They’ll make sure you’re getting all the tax benefits you’re entitled to.
    • Payroll solutions: Run payroll on your timeline, whether that’s weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly. Finance Pal will give you all the payroll reporting needed, so you will always know what your company’s employment costs and liabilities are.
    • Catch up and recover: If you’ve gotten behind on your bookkeeping. Finance Pal can get you caught up quickly, so you can get back to running your business.
    Read 8 Reviews
    Intuit - Payroll

    Intuit Payroll offers small business payroll solutions that help with employee management, including hiring tips and tools, worker’s compensation and methods to pay employees quickly and easily. Businesses can choose from two, do-it-yourself plans or a full-service plan where Intuit does payroll for them.

    Read more about Intuit - Payroll
    ADP Payroll Services

    ADP has served over 610,000 clients with cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) for over 60 years. Its services help businesses of all sizes take on human resources, payroll, talent, tax and benefits administration tasks using technology to simplify processes. ADP tailors its payroll services for small, midsized, large and multinational business solutions.

    • Small business solutions: ADP’s small business payroll solutions are made for companies with up to 50 employees and come in three packages: Essential, Enhance and Complete plus HR. Essential payroll lets you run the software online, by phone or using ADP’s mobile app. It features services like direct deposit, payroll delivery, electronic reports, general ledger interface, eTimecard, 1099 and W-2 and tax filing. Enhanced payroll features everything from the Essential package plus HR tips and resources to keep you informed, while the Complete package includes a full range of HR tools.
    • Midsized business solutions: ADP’s midsized business payroll solutions are for companies with 50-1,000 employees and comes in three packages with varying features that help you manage things like payroll, tax filing and payroll tax compliance. ADP’s midsized business payroll automation gives your employees mobile access to pay statements, W-2s and self-service tools.
    • Large business solutions: ADP’s large business payroll solutions are for businesses with over 1,000 employees. You can integrate payroll with HR, timekeeping and benefits administration tasks, simplify for PTO accrual and take advantage of online reports for better analysis. ADP’s large business payroll solutions minimize the challenges big companies face by simplifying its cloud-based software to make keeping track of every employees payroll and tax information.
    • Multinational business solutions: ADP offers two packages for businesses with global workforces to help them manage their payroll. ADP GlobalView is an integrated suite of global HCM services, including talent management and payroll expertise services. The ADP Streamline package is a multinational payroll software that gives businesses access to consistent, multi-country payroll data and minimizes the need for in-country payroll specialists.
    • Pricing: Interested companies can request a quote online for each of ADP’s payroll solutions. They offer your first two months for free when you sign up for an account.
    Read 2244 Reviews

    SurePayroll is known for offering the first online payroll and payroll tax-filing solution for small businesses. Aside from small businesses, SurePayroll provides payroll solutions for restaurants, churches, restaurants, and families with household employees and nannies helping them stay compliant with current tax laws and avoid fines. Its payroll services include features like time clock integration, SureAdvisor federal and state law compliance, accounting integration and mobile payroll apps.

    • Time clock integration: SurePayroll’s time clock integration feature saves you time by importing a file rather than manually entering payroll twice, which also reduces errors. Time clock integration lets you accommodate salaried and hourly employees and can be integrated with your current time clock software provider so you won’t have to change vendors.
    • Labor law compliance: SurePayroll helps you easily keep up with government regulations with SureAdvisor. SureAdvisor lets you download compliance posters, how-to guides and more for free, and it allows you to customize business and HR forms like I-9s, employment applications and interview checklists. You can use SureAdvisor to set up alerts and reminders to stay on top of compliance changes, payroll deadlines and more.
    • Accounting integration: SurePayroll works with the top small business accounting software providers to offer accounting integration features when you are posting your payroll entries to your general ledger. These feature saves you time and greatly reduces your chance of errors. You can also review payroll journal entries without searching through stacks of paperwork.
    • Mobile payroll apps: SurePayroll’s free Mobile Payroll app is available for iOS and Android devices and can be used to enter earnings, deductions, PTO and hours worked from any mobile device. Using the mobile app, you can run your payroll from anywhere and your taxes will be paid and filed automatically.
    • Pricing: SurePayroll customizes its pricing based on the number of employees, payroll frequency and payroll type. You can fill out that information along with your name, email and phone number online to calculate your price.

    Paycor got its start over 25 years ago providing HR and payroll services to small and medium-sized businesses. Today, it uses cloud-based software to provide customized payroll service to over 30,000 clients. Paycor’s payroll and tax-compliance software can accommodate businesses with up to 1,000 employees and includes features like direct deposit, official checks, general ledger integration, tax filing and calculations, tax credit services and more.

    • Payroll features: Paycor’s payroll platform comes with many features to help you manage payroll including direct deposit, general ledger integration and alerts that help you catch anything out of the ordinary like pay-related changes. Paycor’s software also lets you view your total payroll costs before you run it so you know the funds that will be deducted with each payrun. Additionally your business will have things like automatic products upgrade and their own client success team should any questions arise.
    • Tax compliance: Paycor helps you stay on top of tax compliance and regulations by assigning you to a client success team that helps you identify and take advantage of tax credits and stay on top of tax notices and payroll compliance. Additionally, your client success team will handle tax filing and processing for you, including check printing, W-2 and 1099 processing and reporting.
    • Employee support: Paycor’s employee self-service features saves your HR department time by allowing employees to access and update various things like access to their W-2s, paystubs and 1099s. Employees have access to Paycor via mobile application and will get notifications to update their personal, tax and direct deposit information.
    • Paycor Official Check: Paycor Official Checks are an additional employee payment option. They offer secure and convenient checking through Paycor’s bank account and routing numbers.
    • Demos/pricing: Interested businesses can schedule a demo for the payroll software that will best suit their company based on the number of employees they have. Sales representatives are available online to discuss pricing.
    Patriot Software

    For over 14 years, Patriot Software has been developing and supporting accounting and payroll software for small businesses. You can choose to run your own payroll using their software, or have Patriot handle all aspects of your federal, state and local payroll taxes. You can also choose to add features like time and attendance tracking and an HR software package for an additional fee.

    • Basic payroll: Patriot’s basic payroll software is designed with businesses of up to 100 people in mind and is do-it-yourself oriented. You can run payroll in three steps: enter payroll information, approve the information and print paychecks. The basic payroll software is easy to customize, allowing you to establish your own payroll settings and pay methods.
    • Full-service payroll: Patriot’s full-service payroll software is designed for businesses to let Patriot manage their payroll. Once you enter your employee's work hours, Patriot will handle all of the aspects of your local, state and federal payroll taxes. You can choose to pay your employees with printed checks, direct deposits or cash. The full-service option comes with a free 30-day trial, guaranteed encryption techniques for safety and guaranteed accuracy.
    • Add-ons: For an additional price, you can add a time and attendance feature and an HR software package to your payroll software. Time and attendance helps you manage your employees’ timesheets online by allowing them to clock in and out and track their PTO. The HR software allows you to provide your employees with paperless records and documents and keep information organized and secure. Both add-ons are fully integrated with Patriot’s payroll software packages.
    • Support: Patriot provides free ongoing support through its United States-based support team. The support team will walk you through setting up your payroll system including the payroll tax settings for your company and employees.
    • Pricing: The price for Patriot’s two payroll software plans, the basic and full-service, vary depending on how many employees are on your payroll. The price for the maximum number of employees (100) under the basic plan is $196.45 per month and $249.60 per month for the full-service plan. The time and attendance add-on is an additional $5 per month and the HR software add-on is an additional $4 per month.
    Heartland Payment Systems

    Headquartered in Atlanta, Heartland Payment Systems is a worldwide provider of payment technology services. It services over 10 industries including restaurant, petroleum, education and hospitality organizations, with its extensive list of payment products and payroll services. Heartland’s payroll services includes a dedicated, single point of contact for your business, flexible payroll processing, payroll and HR support, as well as additional payroll services.

    • Payroll+HR: Heartland’s Payroll+HR is designed as a turn-key payroll service to help you process payroll while managing the regulations and issues that come with HR. With Payroll+HR you can customize documents for hiring and managing employees and receive personalized alerts and advice to keep you current on laws. You have access to secure electronic filing for all employee documents and your business partners like financial advisors and CPAs will have private, secure access to your data.
    • General ledger connection: Heartland’s general ledger export tool automatically generates balanced entries compatible with your accounting software, saving you time and preventing errors. You can give your company’s accountant direct access to this feature so they can manage it on their own time.
    • Affordable Care Act solutions: Heartland’s ACA solutions help you minimize the work it takes to stay compliant with the ACA by helping you understand the complex compliance rules and minimize administrative work. Heartland lets you calculate the total number of full-time employees and equivalents (FTEs) you have over a designated measurement period so you can determine if you are required to provide employee health insurance coverage. Heartland will automatically recap the health coverage provided to your employees at the end of the year and create 1094-C and 1095-C tax forms on your behalf.
    • Timekeeping: With Heartland’s payroll services your employees can keep track of their time through an online time clock. All timekeeping data imports into Heartland’s online payroll management system so you don’t have to manually input each employee's data.
    • Pricing: If you are interested in Heartland’s payroll services, you can fill out a quick online that includes your basic personal information and which kind of service you are interested in. A sales representative will contact you with a quote.

    OnPay has over 25 years of experience in payroll technology and focuses on saving small business owners time and money. It boasts a fast, easy and affordable way to calculate, review and finalize payroll. OnPay payroll services include  payroll tax payments and filings, employee payment options, employee online access, multiple access levels, unlimited pay runs and more.

    • Payroll: With OnPay, you can run payroll, create and print checks or set up direct deposit in three steps. You can select which employees you want to pay for each pay run, enter hours for your employees or 1099 contractors and make one-time changes to pay rates and deduction amounts. OnPay calculates your pay run so you can review totals, gross pay items, employee and employer tax amounts, deductions and company benefits. Additionally, you can print your own checks and direct deposit vouchers from your own printer.
    • Taxes and deductions: OnPay calculates your payroll taxes automatically during each pay run, processes the payments and pays the responsible tax agencies for you. They also prepare and file your annual and quarterly tax returns, calculate deductions for each pay run and give you the ability to edit deductions for each employee at any time. All payroll tax payments and filings are processed by OnPay’s trained staff and are backed by an accuracy guarantee.
    • Time off accrual: OnPay lets you accrue and track used vacation, sick and PTO hours as well as create accrual policies with up to three policy periods. You can choose to accrue time per pay period, annually or hourly.
    • Integrations: OnPay payroll services can be integrated with popular accounting, time-tracking and human resources software like Intuit, Quickbooks, Xero, Think HR and SwipeClock. For more information about integration you can contact OnPay’s integration team online.
    • Pricing: OnPay charges a monthly fee of $39.95 for the first 10 employees and $1 per additional employee. Direct deposit is an additional $8 per month. You can have your year-end W-2s printed and mailed to you for $3.75 each, plus shipping or print them for free.
    Sam’s Club Payroll

    Sam’s Club Payroll provides members with payroll features designed to make managing employees and payroll fast and hassle-free. Payroll features include online payroll, direct deposit, tax services, online employee access, HR information access and ACA monitoring.

    • Online payroll: Sam’s Club online payroll lets you securely run payroll any time, from any device. You can set up direct deposit or print checks on-site for each employee and give them online access to paystubs and W-2s directly from their computer or smartphone.
    • Tax and HR service: Sam’s Club Payroll helps ease the hassle of dealing with payroll taxes by paying and filing taxes electronically for you. Additionally, you have access to HR information around the clock with the HR360 library. This features contains information on rules, laws, sample policies, handbooks and job descriptions.
    • Notifications: Sam’s Club Payroll makes it easy for employers and employees to stay on top of important tasks through email and text notifications. From email reminders to run payroll and process bank deposits to employees receiving text alerts regarding direct deposit and time-off balances, Sam’s Club makes it easy to remember to check on important tasks.
    • Employee HUB: Employees can use the employee HUB via their company’s Intranet to do things like clock in and out, request time off, receive pay stubs and share messages and documents. This feature saves time on data entry when it comes to processing payroll.
    • Pricing: Sam’s Club payroll pricing is based on the type of membership you have with Sam’s and comes in two packages: Essential payroll and Enhanced payroll. Pricing differs for each, depending on the number of employees you have. You can use the online slider feature to input your employee number and get an exact price; the base price is $34 per month for the Essential payroll plan and $39 per month for the Enhanced plan. Check online for maximum pricing for each membership type.

    Want your company to be on this guide?

    Yes, continue