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10 Best Online Payroll Software In 2021

This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best complete payroll solutions and other online payroll services.

Human resource managers will often have a host of different HR software and HRIS software at their disposal. Some sort of digital tool for payroll calculation and distribution will undoubtedly be a vital component of your day-to-day toolkit. 

In this post, I’ll highlight a few of the best payroll systems and explain how they can be used to help HR managers and other team leads. 

Whether you need a paycheck software for large enterprise payroll or small business payroll, we have found a collection of payroll apps to meet your needs.

The Best Online Payroll Software List

Here’s a shortlist of the best online payroll software:

  1. Remote - Best global payroll & benefits for international workforces
  2. Uzio - Best payroll with integrated HR and benefits
  3. ADP - Best for restaurant and hospitality
  4. Quickbooks - Best for small businesses
  5. Namely - Best all-in-one solution for SMBs
  6. BambooHR - Best for employee self-service
  7. Knit People - Best payroll software for startups
  8. Humi - Best for Canadian companies
  9. Wagepoint - Best for time-tracking integration
  10. Papaya Global - Best for companies with a global workforce

Not looking for a list of payroll software? Check out our other lists of top payroll software:

  1. Looking to establish some high level goals for your company? Objectives and Key Results software (OKR software) can help you do that.
  2. Enterprise resource planning can be a chore. Try these 10 Best ERP Software suggestions to see what’s available to you. 
  3. Can’t do payroll without hiring a staff first. Try these Staffing and Recruiting Tools to ensure you are attracting the best candidates. 

Payroll Provider Comparison Criteria

What do I look for when I select the best payroll software solutions? Here’s a summary of the evaluation criteria that should inspire your decision-making process: 

User Interface (UI): Payroll is just one of many HR and accounting duties so we are looking for payroll software that respects the time of its users with a simple and intuitive interface that outs business critical information front-and-center. 

Usability: I’m looking for payroll tools that can be adopted by anyone, from large businesses to nonprofits; the payroll software should come with robust onboarding, free training materials like webinars or a blog, and easy-to-access customer support team.

Integrations: Payroll software will need to work with add-ons for HR-critical solutions for local taxes, benefits administration and health insurance, timesheets, business intelligence, sales and CRM platforms, and payroll data reporting tools. 

Value for $: Payroll software will range in what is covered in each pricing plan but scoring high in value for price might mean going above and beyond in offering things like garnishments, industry pay rates analysis, tax compliance, and timesheets.

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Overviews Of The Best Payroll Software

Here’s a brief description of each of the payroll solutions that are featured within this payroll software comparison.

  • From $299/employee/month

Remote - Best global payroll & benefits for international workforces

Remote’s dashboard is modern and relaxing to look at and use.

Remote empowers companies of all sizes to pay and manage full-time and contract workers around the world. Remote makes it possible for users to take care of international payroll, benefits, taxes, stock options, and compliance in dozens of countries.

Remote makes it easy to onboard and pay your contractors and employees in one modern, secure, cloud-based platform, freeing you and your team up to focus on more strategic work. Through Remote’s platform, you’ll have access to your most important employment documents, data, and HR processes, while Remote takes care of your localized payroll, benefits, compliance, IP protection, and taxes wherever your team works. Remote’s network of HR and legal experts stay on top of the nuances, changes, and complexities of local regulations to ensure full compliance with all relevant legislation at all times.

Remote also partners with powerful HR systems to connect people, payroll and HR data. Through Remote’s global employee API and native partner integrations, Remote empowers partners to leverage its global infrastructure in their offerings and help more customers scale their global teams faster.

Remote costs from $299/employee/month, based on country selection up to $599. Special pricing is also available for startups and social purpose organizations.
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $4.50/employee/month + a licensing fee of $30/month

Uzio - Best payroll with integrated HR and benefits

Easy-to-use & reliable payroll solution with employee self-service feature. Free trial and support.

Uzio is a payroll, HR, benefits, and time tracking solution used by over 1700 employers and counting. On top of expected payroll functionality, Uzio can also help HR managers build benefits plans and quotes, plus track employee enrollment. Uzio’s cloud-based payroll system can even track affordable care act (ACA) compliance and can adapt to changing tax laws.

Uzio prides itself on usability and user experience—and it shows. They turn complex HR systems like payroll and benefits into clean, well-organized menus with intuitive design that lends itself well to employee self-service needs. Onboarding processes and open benefits enrollment are particularly useful with the potential to be big crowd pleasers in the now-not-later info economy.

Additional integrations, say with Microsoft and other popular platforms, would be a welcomed addition in the future. This could be a good wish list or roadmap item as the software evolved. Uzio used to integrate with third-party HR and benefits software…until they built their own solutions for each! And you can’t really be too miffed about that.

Uzio doesn’t list any third-party integrations on their site.

Uzio costs from $4.50/employee/month + a licensing fee of $30/month and offers a 30-day free trial.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $160/month for 10-15 employees

ADP - Best for restaurant and hospitality

ADP dashboard on PC and mobile.

ADP is a payroll software appropriate for small to midsize businesses with built-in features specific to the restaurant and hospitality industry like documenting tipped wages for tax purposes, running tip allocation reports, creating employee work schedules and track attendance, and leveraging analytics and industry benchmarks to stay competitive.

Payroll is quickly and easily accessible from the homepage. Additionally, you can customize your homepage to include company information, brading, and even business notifications that your staff can view through a self-service portal. Device agnostic payroll and robust reporting capabilities unlock even at the entry level plan.

ADP offers four pricing tiers (essential, enhanced, complete, and pro); however, given the expansive requirements for onboarding and training, only the high level plans offer the amount of personalized support most teams will need. Priority HR helpdesk support only comes with the pro plan, otherwise you can expect long hold times and ticket turnaround.

ADP integrates with QuickBooks, Wave, Xero, FinancialForce, Infor, Oracle, SAP SuccessFactors, Workday, Sage Intacct, Clockshark, Deputy, Dolce, 7shifts Restaurant Scheduling, QuickBooks Time, Replicon, When I Work, Avionte, ClearCompany, JazzHR, TempWorks, ZipRecruiter, Absorb LMS, PlanSource, PayActiv, and many more.

ADP costs from $160/month for 10-15 employees and offers a 30-day free trial. Additional specialty features (like turnover reports) may cost extra. You can currently get 3-months free when you sign up for payroll processing.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $15/month and plans are 50% off if you purchase 3 months

Quickbooks - Best for small businesses

A sample payroll review sheet.

QuickBooks Payroll promises big business benefits on a small business budget where users get up to $25,000 tax penalty protection, the ability to make same-day direct deposits, automate payroll runs, as well as automate tax filing. On top of all that, setting up is easy with the help of their customer support services.

Because it is easy to use and navigate, errors and hours spent on payroll are significantly reduced. Filing of taxes and making sure you’re meeting all of your state and federal obligations are all easily done through the software.

QuickBooks is one of the most popular and trusted payroll software for small businesses and although that seems like a good thing, it makes getting access to a support expert harder than one would appreciate. Limitations on customization when working with employees in places with different tax computations might also make you think twice. QuickBooks really is best for small business owners with simple use cases.

QuickBooks Payroll integrates with 650 popular business apps including PayPal, Veem, Google Sheets, SaasAnt, Expensify, PaperEntry, BillBjorn, TimeSaver, ClockShark Time Tracking, Gusto, Run Powered by ADP, Guideline 401(k), Fundbox, and Bill.com.

QuickBooks Payroll costs from $15/month and plans are 50% off if you purchase 3 months. Try it out for free for 30 days.

  • Free demo
  • From $12/user/month

Namely - Best all-in-one solution for SMBs

Payroll center with editable paygroups.

Namely offers medium-sized companies with big company problems a one-stop-shop platform for human resources needs. Features include an employee database, a payroll system, employee benefits, time off requests, clocking-in, payroll reports, talent management, and even a social news feed. It also has a resources section for handbooks and policies, as well as for professional development, and performance reviews.

Employees can easily request time off, plot sick leaves, and view their pay stubs in the self-service portal. The interface is user-friendly, easy to navigate, modern, and customizable. Onboarding new hires is easy and leaves a good first impression. HR departments and employees can also tap into Namely’s knowledge database filled with blogs, ebooks, and webinars.

If you require integrations with other business software, Namely will take some time to set-up. Baseline deployment and onboarding for Namely can take anywhere from 8-10 weeks (not unusual for powerful software solutions) but you’ll want to account for additional time for integrations, as it requires bouncing between multiple customer service lines.

One thing to be excited about is Namely’s 3000+ integrations through a paid plan with Zapier. You can connect Namely to applications such as Jira Software Cloud, Google Calendar, AirTable, Slack, LinkedIn, Microsoft Outlook, Salesforce, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Twitter, Discord, and Dropbox among others.

Namely costs from $12/user/month and offers a free demo.

  • 7 days free trial
  • From $6.19/user/month

BambooHR - Best for employee self-service

Preview the current payroll run.

BambooHR now offers a payroll software with features such as benefit tracking, document storage, time-off management, employee directory and organizational chart, applicant tracking, employee onboarding, electronic signature capability, and training tracking. Bamboo is exclusively designed for U.S.-based employees and it incorporates both federal and state tax filing.

BambooHR is very intuitive to use with a clean, modern interface that feels more social than technical at times. Because ease-of-use is a priority, employees can feel empowered to use the self-service portal for everything from profile/record maintenance, PTO tracking, and electronic document signing.

BambooHR payroll is rather simple compared to the other software on the list and does not come with time tracking, HR reporting, or paid time off features. You will have to get each of them as separate software integrations.

BambooHR integrates with ATS, ShiftBoard, EaseCentral, RAMCO, NATPAY, Options4Growth, EffortlessHR, SharedHR, Flock, ShiftHound, NimbleSchedule, BambooHR, Ximble, and Genesis. Since becoming part of the BambooHR suite, TraxPayroll now integrates with more popular platforms.

Bamboo HR costs from $6.19/user/month and comes with a 7-day free trial.

  • 30 days free trial
  • From $6/user/month + $39/month base price

Knit People - Best payroll software for startups

Track upcoming and overdue payroll.

Knit People helps your startup, mid-sized business, and even accounting firm’s HR teams save hours of work and admin costs with their unified HR and full-service payroll software. Features include employee self-onboarding, direct deposits, online pay stubs, important statutory records, tax assistance, health-related remittances, automation, reports, performance reviews, and time tracking.

Not only do you get full-service payroll and employee benefits features, but also employee information storage, an employee self-service portal where they can make updates to their personal records. Knit People also offers easy-to-understand payroll reports. Their uber-affordable rate, particularly if you’re on the basic plan, makes them a good option for startups or small teams.

Little but significant details in the payroll processes like unchangeable dates, time zones and weekend shifts, and limited customization functionality on certain features are some things that make Knit People a bit of a challenge to work with. As of writing, they do not have a mobile app just yet.

Knit People integrates with Quickbooks Online, Xero, and TSheets.

Knit People costs $6/user/month + $39/month base price. Knit People is available on a 30-day free trial.

  • Free demo
  • From $5/user/month for their core HR module

Humi - Best for Canadian companies

The Humi people directory tells you positions, departments, and hire dates at a glance.

Humi is not only Canada’s leading software for Human Resources, payroll processing, employee benefits, and insurance, it is also proudly made by Canadians for Canadian businesses. It offers employee management, time off and vacation tracking, employee onboarding, performance management, payroll information, recruiting, a training tracker, an asset tracker, and a Canadian tax engine.

Humi’s tax engine ensures your taxes are all compliant with Canadian regulations. It also automates the generation of T4 and the remittance of CRA. This feature makes running payroll for all your employees across Canada’s provinces and territories hassle-free. One thing other software options don’t offer that Humi does is multiple concurrent compensations.

While Humi is both powerful and quite easy to use, there are some features that seem to be hidden and can be found in odd, less intuitive places. And there are some important features that simply don’t exist within the Humi platform like a time tracking feature.

Humi integrates with Slack, Indeed, LinkedIn for Business, Greenhouse, Voila, and even Facebook.

Humi costs from $5/user/month for their core HR module and offers a free demo.

  • From $2/user/month on top of a base price of $20/month

Wagepoint - Best for time-tracking integration

View your scheduled payroll details and check recent payroll history.

Wagepoint offers its small business owners and bookkeepers simple solutions that promise to free them from payroll pain. Users will be able to pay employees and contractors, get online access to pay details, import approved hours, automate payroll, get access to support, make direct deposits, and get help with built-in tips and guides, as well as reminders.

One of the best things about Wagepoint is that despite being easy to use, there is always someone on the customer service team that’s ready to help you quickly resolve any issue. The payroll process is pretty straightforward and saves the HR department a significant amount of time.

Unfortunately for companies that have clients across different time zones, some cutoffs imposed by Wagepoint are hard to meet. There are also quite a few limitations on the payroll reports and certain reports may cost you up to $100.

Wagepoint integrates with QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Wagepoint’s own time and attendance tracker called Track, and paid time off software, Luna. You can also easily upload approved hourly work from 7Shifts, TSheets, Deputy, or any other popular time-tracking applications.

Wagepoint costs from $2/user/month on top of a base price of $20/month. They don’t bill you until you run your first payroll so you can experiment with the software for free until then.

  • Free demo
  • From 20$/user/month

Papaya Global - Best for companies with a global workforce

Payroll insights with detailed visualizations.

Papaya Global, is a cloud-based payroll that makes hiring, onboarding, managing, and paying employees and contractors in more than 140 countries possible in just one platform. Features include solutions for automating payroll and payments, learning about your total payroll costs, saving time on self-managed time off requests, workforce planning, auditing, keeping track of benefits, and immigration solutions.

There isn’t a payroll software as encompassing as Papaya Global. Multinational companies that make cross-border transactions will find it easy to run their payroll no matter where in the 140 countries their employees are.

One con to note is that if you have a legal change of entity the software will store files separately between pre-change and post-change names, as if they are two different and unrelated entities. This makes some historical information hard to organize properly.

Papaya Global integrates with BambooHR, SAP Concur, Expensify, NetSuite, Namely, SAP Business One, SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite, Priority Software, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. More applications and software offer integrations upon request.

Papaya Global costs from 20$/user/month. Sign up for a free demo through their website.

Best Payroll Software Summary

Software Overview Free Option Price Site
Remote Remote logo Read Remote features & functionality Not Available From $299/employee/month Check out Remote
Uzio Uzio logo Read Uzio features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $4.50/employee/month + a licensing fee of $30/month Check out Uzio
ADP ADP logo Read ADP features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $160/month for 10-15 employees Check out ADP
Quickbooks Quickbooks logo Read Quickbooks features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $15/month and plans are 50% off if you purchase 3 months Check out Quickbooks
Namely Namely logo Read Namely features & functionality

Free demo

From $12/user/month Check out Namely
BambooHR BambooHR logo Read BambooHR features & functionality

7 days free trial

From $6.19/user/month Check out BambooHR
Knit People Knit People logo Read Knit People features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $6/user/month + $39/month base price Check out Knit People
Humi Humi logo Read Humi features & functionality

Free demo

From $5/user/month for their core HR module Check out Humi
Wagepoint Wagepoint logo Read Wagepoint features & functionality Not Available From $2/user/month on top of a base price of $20/month Check out Wagepoint
Papaya Global Papaya Global logo Read Papaya Global features & functionality

Free demo

From 20$/user/month Check out Papaya Global

Other Online Payroll Options

Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions for handy payroll software for accountants, check these out.

  1. Safeguard Global – Streamlined payroll processing across currencies, languages, time zones, and customs with comprehensive data/insights.
  2. Kronos – A global payroll tool with in-depth reporting options and end-to-end solutions for tax filing, garnishment processing, and checks.
  3. Payment Evolution – Online payroll with all source deductions (CPP, EI, taxes and more) and custom pay rules for benefits and earnings.
  4. Deluxe Payweb – Canadian payroll for Canadian or American companies with CRA compliance measures built-in. 
  5. Humanic Payroll – Feature-rich applications that address the needs of your payroll department both domestically and internationally.
  6. EBS – A tool for keeping track of pay rates, managing pay codes, tracking employee benefits, and calculating tax withholdings. 
  7. Epayroll – An Australian web payroll and employee management software provider with features for employee self-service included. 
  8. Payroll City – Scalable cloud-based payroll software with advanced reporting, POS integrations, and an HR library.
  9. BrightPay – Easy-to-use payroll software that is desktop-based and is available for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X.
  10. AscentPayroll – Intuitive payroll software with features like income tax calculator, Flexi reimbursements and Expat grossing up tax.
  11. PayDay! SaaS – A cloud payroll and leave system targeted towards small businesses and startup companies. 
  12. Paybooks – HR and payroll software for Indian companies with direct salary payment, inbuilt compliance, and biometric attendance. 
  13. WebHR – An affordable global payroll provider with (additional cost) add-on modules for recruitment/applicant tracking and performance reviews. 
  14. StarGarden HCM – a cloud-based HR automation with automated workflows, reporting, and dashboards as well as full-function HRM/HCM. 
  15. Umana – Payroll tools structured around the navigation of personalized rules and exceptions for human resources and time management.
  16. Vista Payroll – Complete payroll administration, time collection, calendars, auto-pay generation, and more.
  17. ScalePEO – Efficient and secure payroll software with automated deposits, one-off payments, W-2s and 1099s, and multiple employee types.
  18. Checkmark Canada Payroll – A cloud-based Canadian payroll system with room for up to 99 departments and unlimited job titles.
  19. Paychex Flex – Best for time and attendance tracking 
  20. OnPay – Best payroll for W-2 employees and 1099 contractors

Payroll App FAQ

Have some general payroll software questions? Start with this FAQ to get yourself oriented. 

What is the most popular payroll software?

It’s hard to gauge the most popular payroll software but a few have a large user base and strong brand recognition, like QuickBooks, Netsuite, or Xero. 

How much does payroll software cost? 

Payroll software varies in price and may land anywhere from $10/month to $80/month, depending on the number of users or list of features required. Additionally, there may be a one-time set-up fee of, for example, a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars. There may also be an additional monthly fee to add users to your plan, ranging from $2/user to $12/user. 

Which payroll software is best for small businesses?

Payroll software for small business should be inexpensive, appropriate for small scale staffing, and easy to implement (who has time for extensive training when you’re a team of 20 or less?). Payroll software you might want to check out includes WebHR ($1-2/employee/month) or PayDay! SaaS (starting at $25/month for up to 5 employees). 

What is the best free payroll software?

Free payroll software you can choose from includes: Payroll4Free.com, HR.my, TimeTrex, eSmart Paycheck, Paycheck Manager, Wave, and ExcelPayroll.org.

What Do You Think About These Payroll Programs?

Have you tried out any paystub software listed above? What’s your go-to for your business online payroll? Is there any payroll software that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

Not what you know more about payroll programs, why not learn about even more helpful solutions? Here’s our list of the 10 Best Employee Scheduling Software For Small Business (2021).

Not looking for payroll software but still need help? Read this article: Keep Your Payroll On Time, All The Time for some extra help!

Need expert help finding the right Payroll Management Software?

We’ve partnered with the software comparison portal Crozdesk.com to help you find the right solution. Crozdesk’s Payroll Management Software advisors can give you independent advice and shortlist software products that best fit your specific needs. Our partnership gives you free access to their tailored software selection advice and community negotiated discounts, taking the hassle out of the research process.

It takes just a minute to submit your requirements and they will give you a call at no cost or commitment. You’ll get custom product shortlists covering the top solutions that best fit your specific needs from their team of software experts (via phone or email) and they can even connect you to your choice of the selected vendors. To get started, please submit the form below: