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OnPay vs. Gusto : Which Is Better for Your Business?

When selecting a payroll system for your business, you should consider the payroll platform’s options before committing to one. You should trust the platform you select, and it should have a well-rounded set of features to fit your business’s needs. That is why here I’ll make a side-by-side...

OnPay vs. Gusto
Daniel Lewis
Written by:Daniel Lewis
MBA accredited investment professional

These payroll processing systems have well-rounded features, enabling the seamless running of payroll for small to medium businesses. Read on to see the main features, highlighting the similarities and differences between Gusto and OnPay.

Short Comparison: Gusto vs. OnPay




Customer Service

Average customer support, notes on slow service on occasion

Excellent customer support, some notes on occasionally slow service

Range of Services

Full-service payroll processor

Full-service payroll services

Payment options

Direct deposit, debit cards, printed checks

Direct deposit, debit cards, printed checks, custom options

Payroll Tax

Automatic tax calculation and filing

Automatic tax calculation and filing

Deposit Processing Time

Two-day deposit

Next-day deposit

Pricing plans

Core Plan: $39/month + $6 per employee per month

Single plan: $36/month + $4 per employee per month

Onboarding process

Employee self-onboarding

Employee self-onboarding

Ease of Use

Simple, easy to navigate

Intuitive navigation

Employee benefits

Medical, dental, vision, health reimbursements, ACA, HIPAA, ERISA compliance, COBRA administration, life, and disability

Health insurance, retirement plans, workers comp, life insurance, disability coverage, commuter benefits, FAS, and HAS compliance

Payroll Automation



Software integration

Yes, QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks

Yes, QuickBooks, Xero, TSheets

Health insurance coverage

Yes, 38 US states + DC

Yes, all 50 US states

Expert help

Yes, email, phone, live chat

Yes, email, phone, live chat


Visit Gusto

Visit OnPay


Full Gusto review

Full OnPay review

Gusto Pros And Cons


Well-rounded offer
Health and employee benefits
Employee self-onboarding and employee portal
Automation of processes
Time tracking


Notes on issues with benefits administration
Not very flexible for dynamic businesses

OnPay Pros And Cons


Single price model
Great customer service
Automated and flexible options
Well-rounded features
Health and employee benefits


Time tracking is a separate integration
Additional integrations for extra features

Differences Between Gusto and OnPay

When put against each other, there are many similarities and some notable differences:

  • Gusto has an extensive list of features that provide an excellent option for small businesses. Among the many features, this platform allows management of health benefits, employee benefits, automated payroll runs for salaried and hourly employees and can be integrated with many third-party systems.
  • OnPay provides a great payroll platform with features that fit different small businesses. The features are well-rounded, and the main highlight is the single-price plan that includes all the OnPay features in one place. This includes automatic tax calculation and filing, paying salaried and contractor employees, managing health and employee benefits, and supporting integration with 13 additional third-party platforms.

Still, when you genuinely compare Gusto and OnPay, the main difference comes down to the payment plan(s): Gusto has three price plans with different features and has add-ons at an extra cost. OnPay has a single-price plan and has no add-ons at extra costs.

I need to mention that OnPay does not have integrated time tracking and relies on a third-party integration. Both platforms support employee self-onboarding within an employee portal, which makes setup and new hires very straightforward.

Comparing Gusto and OnPay



Gusto was formerly known as ZenPayroll. Since then, this payroll processing software grew into the powerhouse it is now. The platform offers features that make payroll runs simple, and the automated processes streamline the process further. The Gusto features now include employee and health benefits management, HR, and more like 401(k) account management, FSA, and other services. Gusto supports third-party integrations to make things easier for its clients.

OnPay has payroll processing features as a core offer, on which it also provides employment and health benefits management, HR, and more. The great thing about OnPay is its single-price plan that includes all the features in one place. OnPay provides payroll runs, automated tax calculation and filing, direct deposits, health and employee benefits, and more. To make things easier for its users, OnPay also supports third-party integrations.

Gusto Features

The Gusto payroll processing platform has features that help small businesses run payroll. The features are rounded and balanced, so business owners can freely run payroll without fearing that they’ll forget something important. Here is a list of Gusto’s main features:

  • Seamless payroll and unlimited payroll runs
  • Automated payroll tax calculation and filing
  • Employee benefits
  • Employee self-onboarding and employee portal
  • HR services
  • Several payment options
  • Intuitive navigation
  • Payday email notifications

Gusto is straightforward payroll software. The onboarding process is very easy, as is the new hire setup. Gusto’s employee portal lets employees and contractors review pay stubs, hours, benefits, and more to prevent mistakes and issues.

Gusto supports an unlimited number of monthly payrolls, a convenient feature for businesses that pay different employees. It also allows saving the payroll for a later review. All the other Gusto features are helpful for any small business: the health benefits management is simple, as is HR, payroll automation, and more. What I find particularly interesting with Gusto’s features Is the two-day deposit option, the direct deposit payment option, and the time off management.

OnPay Features

OnPay also has a well-rounded list of features that help small businesses run payroll and manage employee benefits. The real advantage is the single-price plan that has all the features in one place. The list of OnPay features includes:

  • Pay calculation and unlimited payroll runs
  • Benefit Plan Management
  • Direct deposit, debit card, printed check payment
  • Easy payment of salaried and contractor employees
  • Automated tax calculation and filing
  • Employee Self-service and employee self-onboarding
  • Paid time off tracking
  • Multiple pay rates and payment schedules
  • Third-party integrations

OnPay is a full-service payroll that provides employee self onboarding, automatic tax calculation, and filing. Among the notable OnPay features are employee self-onboarding and employee self-service via the employee portal. However, OnPay has added some commendable features like the custom fields in the employee records.

OnPay has a single pricing plan which makes it really attractive and competitive. All the features are available within the single plan, and for any extra features, the platform relies on third-party integrations that work nicely. One appealing feature is the multiple pay rate and schedule option, so you can pay salaried, hourly, and contractor employees separately at your convenience without changing the OnPay plan.

Comparing the Price Plans

Gusto has a three-tier price plan, as do most of the online payroll services:

  • Core – $39/month + $6/month per person. The Core plan offers full-service payroll, health benefits management, employee self-service, employee benefits and supports accounting and time tracking integrations with third-party platforms.
  • Complete – $39/month + $12/month per person. The Complete plan offers all the features from the Core plan; plus, it has next-day direct deposit, time tracking and paid time off management, project tracking and workforce costing, hiring and onboarding, and team management tools.
  • Concierge – $149/month + $12/month per person. The Concierge plan includes everything the Core and Complete plans have, plus certified HR help, compliance alerts, dedicated best-in-class support, and an HR resource center

On top of these price plans, any user can add the add-ons like 401(k) plans, worker’s comp, Gusto wallet, health reimbursement, and 529 college savings, but some of these come with an additional fee.

The OnPay payment plan is $36/month + $4/month per person. OnPay does not have any add-ons and upsells, but all the offered features are included in the single plan. The base fee is unchanged, and the final price you pay depends on the number of employees on your payroll. The plan supports unlimited payroll runs, account setup and data migration (from another platform), automated payroll tax calculation, withholding, payment and filing, automatic filing of W-2s and 1099s, direct deposit, debit cards, or printed checks, and more.

Here is a comparison table where you can see the features of the core plans of both Gusto and OnPay side by side. Note that both payroll platforms have very similar features.




Price for core plan

$39/month + $6month per person

$36/month + $4/month/per employee

Full-service payroll



Automatic payroll



Tax reports and filing

Automatic tax reporting and filing

Automatic tax reporting and filing

Direct deposit

4-day direct deposit

4-day direct deposit

Employee benefits

Worker’s comp, 401(k) plans, commuter benefits

Integrated 401(k) plans, worker’s comp, pay-as-you-go, commuter benefits

Health Benefits

Yes, medical, dental, vision

Yes, medical, dental, vision

Accounting integrations

Yes, QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks

Yes, QuickBooks, Xero

Onboarding process

Employee self-onboarding

Employee self-onboarding

Winner: OnPay for its simple single-price plan with all-inclusive features

Comparing the Onboarding Process



The onboarding process Gusto has in place is self-service onboarding. The employee portal allows the employees to enter all their essential information into the platform, making the entire process efficient and straightforward. The employee portal allows the employees to gain insight into pay stubs, tax forms, and more for a quick and efficient payroll run.

The OnPay onboarding process is equally streamlined and efficient. OnPay has an employee portal where employees onboard themselves and enter all essential information without risking any mistakes. The employees can see pay stubs, tax info, messages, wage info, time off, benefits, and more via the OnPay employee portal.

Winner: Tie, both services have impressive and simple employee onboarding process

Comparing the User Experience



The user experience is an area where Gusto excels. The organization of the features is so well designed that even people with no previous experience can very quickly get the hang of it and start using the platform. The main dashboard is user-friendly, and all the functionalities come in a neat menu on the left side of the screen. The payroll runs are further simplified with employee self-onboarding as they have access to the employee portal. After the employee enters their info, you only need to approve the profile, and you are all set to run payroll.

The OnPay user experience is very streamlined, with a friendly interface that is easy to navigate. The main menu is on the left side of the screen from where you navigate the entire platform. The design of the OnPay platform is intuitive, and you don’t need to have any particular knowledge to manage the running of payroll. An area where OnPay shines is the employee communication element that is found throughout the platform. Employees can ask for time off or post another question, and you can personally talk to them and answer questions. The main screen holds the most recent payroll runs, the next scheduled payroll run, critical dates, and employee offers, but the main OnPay screen is customizable to suit your needs.

Winner: Gusto, for its impressive user experience and UI/UX design

What Type Of Customer Service Do Gusto and OnPay Provide?



Gusto’s customer service is an area where this platform could use improvement. According to many online reviews, the overall customer satisfaction is reasonable, but customer service could answer questions sooner. The official Gusto website has a resource page and a knowledge base where users can get answers to the most pressing issues. The customer support department is available via phone, email, and online chat. The online chat promises that their usual reply time is under 5 minutes, which is correct, as they answered my question in that time.

OnPay has stellar customer support in place. Their response time is very fast, which is unheard of for many software platforms, and the support agents are knowledgeable and very friendly. I think that they can deliver such a high level of customer satisfaction because they have a single-price plan. It lets the customer support agents quickly learn all the ins and outs without dealing with different plans and options. The OnPay customer support is available via email, phone, and online chat, and you can always rely on a quick response.

Winner: OnPay, for its stellar customer service

When To Select Gusto?

From my research into Gusto, here is when you can select Gusto as a payroll provider:

  • If you run a small business with less than 100 employees
  • If you offer a wide array of employee benefits
  • If you need payroll and HR features
  • If you pay different types of workers

After the initial Gusto setup, you can automate plenty of the payroll options like automatic tax calculation and filing. The employee self-onboarding makes it a great option, as you save time and headaches when the employees take care of their personal data and link their bank accounts to the Gusto payroll platform.

When To Select OnPay?

From my research into the platform, here is when you can select OnPay:

  • If you have a small business with less than 100 employees
  • If you need to pay different types of employees
  • If you offer a wide array of employee and health benefits
  • When you need an affordable, all-inclusive payroll, benefits, and HR management platform

The OnPay setup is straightforward, and the employee portal with its employee self-onboarding is easy to set up. Once the employees fill out their profiles, you need to review and approve them, and you are ready to run payroll as many times a month as you’d like. The single payment plan makes it convenient to have all features handy, and the flexible payment lets you pay only for the employees you run payroll that month.

The Bottom Line: The Payroll Provider Should Fit Your Needs

Gusto and OnPay are the leaders in online payroll software, and both are good options for any small business in need of a payroll processing platform. The services of both are well-rounded, with benefits management, time-off management, and HR features. The only limitation I could note is that their health benefits management is not available in all 50 US states when it comes to Gusto. On the other hand, OnPay’s features are available all across the USA, but it only integrates with QuickBooks and Xero’s accounting platforms.

In terms of monthly fees, the OnPay all-inclusive single-price plan is the most affordable complete payroll, and benefits plan on the market today. Gusto’s price plans are a bit pricier than OnPay’s, and there are different tiers with different prices. But Gusto’s payroll automation process is one of its most impressive and appealing features.

Ultimately, the decision on payroll processing software will fall on you, and I advise you to select the plan that best suits the needs of your business and be in step with the benefits you provide for your employees.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Does Gusto Have a Free Trial?
Yes, Gusto has a free trial for a month where you get to test all the platform’s features. They even allow free trial users to do a payroll run to see if they like the service.
Does OnPay Have a Free Trial?
Yes, OnPay has a free trial. All interested users can test the OnPay features for free for one month, but even customers who have already committed to OnPay get the first month for free.
How Long Does Gusto Take to Run Payroll? How Long Does OnPay Take?

Once the initial employee information has been uploaded into theGusto platform, it only takes five minutes to run payroll. The platform allows you to save your payroll and check it later; there is also the option to automate payroll. With the direct deposit option, the employees get their payments within two business days.

After everything is arranged in theOnPay payroll platform, the payroll run takes about five minutes. You can arrange multiple payment schedules for different employees, and it is all covered in the single-price plan. The direct deposit OnPay option takes four days: your employees will get their money 4 days later. To make it convenient for everybody, you can make the schedules in advance.

How Complex Is Gusto’s Employee Onboarding Process? How Is OnPay’s Onboarding Process?
Surprisingly, both Gusto and OnPay have such elementary employee onboarding processes. It is because both platforms have employee portals and employee self-onboarding in place. Via the employee portal, the employees themselves enter all the vital information and link their bank info. You need to check and approve the employee profiles with both platforms, and you are set to run payroll.
What Forms of Payment Does Gusto Support? What Does OnPay Support?
Both Gusto and OnPay support direct deposit, debit card payment, and printed checks.