10 Best Free Payroll Software for Small Business in 2019

Michael Gigante
Michael Gigante  |  January 8, 2019

Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, keeping your employees happy with a streamlined payroll process should be a top priority.

One way HR departments and accounting teams can do this is through the use of timesaving payroll software, which helps automate payroll processes and ensure accurate bookkeeping.

If you’re a business on a tight budget that has opted out of the payroll services route, finding the best payroll software for your company can be a challenging task.

We’ve outlined the 10 best free payroll software below to narrow the field down.

The list we’ve outlined here includes product details from the vendors’ websites. The free options are detailed so you will know if these products are available as free licenses or temporary free trials. The paid options are also highlighted so there are no surprises. If you test a free payroll software, like it and want to upgrade, we outline the cost for you here. While some of these products offer free solutions for small businesses it is important to know that as your company scales, it will be vital to have access to a product's full payroll services.

See the Easiest-to-Use Payroll Software →

These products alone have well over 1,300 user reviews on G2 Crowd as of December 19, 2018, and only represent a small portion of the 190-plus payroll software offerings listed on our platform. For products with G2 Crowd verified user reviews, we have included what users like about the products.

Using reviews from real users, our list of free payroll software is ordered by highest user satisfaction as of December 19, 2018.

Best Free Payroll Software for 2019

Here is an in-depth review of the best free payroll software for 2019:

1.Patriot Payroll

payroll-app-free                                                                 Image courtesy of Patriot Software

Patriot is a payroll software that is aimed toward small businesses. Its basic payroll offers a self-service process where you file your own payroll taxes using data from payroll tax liability reports. The full-service payroll option allows you to enter hours and print paychecks or use free direct deposit, and then Patriot software will take care of the rest. Patriot software includes payroll deposits and filings for all federal, state and local taxes.

Free option:

  • Free 30-day trial

Paid option:

  • Basic payroll option: $10/month plus $4/month per employee
  • Full-service payroll option: $30/month plus $4/month per employee

Features:

  • Payroll entry
  • Time off accrual
  • Direct deposit
  • Expense reimbursement
  • Benefits manager

Read Patriot Payroll user reviews →


2. OnPay

payroll-free

Image courtesy of OnPay

Onpay is an affordable solution for small businesses. Besides offering a full payroll software, it also offers fully integrated 401(k) plans, wherever you do business and pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance.

Free option:

  • First month completely free to new users

Paid option:

  • $36/month plus $4/month per employee

Features:

  • Payroll entry
  • Unlimited pay runs
  • Expense reimbursement
  • Direct deposit,
  • Time-saving HR

Is OnPay right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →


3. FingerCheck

 free-payroll-software

Image courtesy of FingerCheck

Fingercheck HR Software is ideal for small- to medium-sized businesses in need of a streamlined time-tracking and payroll solution. It offers an autopay feature so you never miss a payday, as well as preview payroll features where you can break down (per employee) and edit details before processing.

Free option:

  • Free one-month trial

Paid option:

  • Employee time clock package: $2/month per person plus $20/month base
  • All-in-one HR platform: $6/month per person plus $20/month base

Features:

  • Automatic deductions
  • Net-to-gross payments
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Custom general ledger exports

Browse Fingercheck user reviews →


4. Wave Payroll

 

paycheck-software

Image courtesy of  wave

Wave Payroll offers a free 30-day free trial for new users. Wave Payroll is also an integration of Wave’s suite of accounting, invoicing and receipt scanning software. If you choose to go with the software after the free trial you would get all of those suite features for free.

Free Option:

  • Free one-month trial

Paid Option:

  • Tax service states option: $35/month per person plus $4 per active employee plus $4 per independent contractor
  • Self-service states option: $20/month per person plus $4 per active employee plus $4 per independent contractor

Features:

  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic payroll journal entries
  • Self-service pay stubs
  • Automatic fillings and payments

Browse Wave Payroll user reviews →


5. SurePayroll

 free-paycheck-software

Image courtesy of SurePayroll

SurePayroll is an experienced online payroll company that pays and files your federal, state and local payroll taxes. The platform offers a great online payroll in its mobile app as well as provides unlimited free direct deposits for users. SurePayroll also supports more specific payroll functions — particularly accountants managing payroll for clients, and parents managing household employees such as a nannies.

Free option:

  • Free one-month trial

Paid option:

  • $30/month plus $4/month per employee

Features:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Expense reimbursement
  • Direct deposit
  • Time off accrual
  • Payroll entry

Read SurePayroll user reviews →


6. Xero Payroll

free-online-payroll 

Image courtesy of Xero

Xero has paired up with Gusto to offer a full-service payroll software. Xero offers full-service payroll in all 50 states with automated payroll filings, W-2s, 1099s, unlimited payrolls and direct deposits. Xero Payroll offers two months for free if you choose to go with just its payroll software which is plenty of time to test drive the product before delving into its paid service.

Free option:

  • Two-month free trial

Paid option:

  • $39/month base plus $6/month per person

Features:

  • Full-service payroll in all 50 states
  • Federal and local taxes
  • Automated payroll filings and tax payments
  • Unlimited payrolls
  • Payroll on Autopilot® – payroll runs itself

Read Xero user reviews →


7. CheckMark

small business payroll software free 

Image courtesy of CheckMark

CheckMark Payroll is a desktop software that offers a one-time payment for its installation. If your company is not looking for an online payroll software then this is a good alternative. It offers unlimited payroll processing, direct deposit and cloud backup to secure your payroll data.

Free option:

  • Free 60-day trial

Paid option:

  • CheckMark Payroll Pro: $429
  • CheckMark Payroll Pro+: $499

Features:

  • Run unlimited employees and unlimited companies for no additional cost
  • Creates ACH-formatted files for direct deposit via a bank or web-based deposit service for all employer and employee payments
  • Emails PDF pay stubs for paperless paychecks; signed emails require a certificate
  • Comes loaded with federal and state withholding tables

Is CheckMark Payroll right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →


8. Gusto

best-free-payroll-tool

Image courtesy of Gusto

Gusto Payroll automatically calculates, pays and files your federal, state and local payroll taxes, as well as W-2s, 1099s, and new-hire forms. It also offers a full suite of HR products and you can manage your payroll, benefits, 401(k), workers’ comp and HR all within the platform.

Free option:

  • Free one-month trial

Paid option:

  • Core package: $6/month per person plus $39/month base    
  • Complete package: $12/month per person plus $39/month base
  • Concierge package: $12/month per person plus $149/month base

Features:

  • Payroll entry
  • Expense reimbursement
  • Pre tax deductions
  • Wage garnishment
  • Approvals

Browse Gusto Payroll user reviews →


9.  BrightPay Payroll

cheap-pay-management-app                                                            Image courtesy of BrightPay

Brightpay Payroll’s offers a simple user interface in order to make payroll as easy as possible. They offer a full slew of features such as unlimited employees, multiple payment schedules, unlimited payments and printed pay-slips.

Free option:

  • Free trial for 60 days

Features:

  • Direct deposit
  • Automatic fillings and payments
  • Automatic payroll journal entries
  • Self-service pay stubs and tax forms

Is BrightPay right for you?  Read Reviews Now, FREE →


10.  Intuit Quickbooks Payroll

free small business payroll

Intuit Quickbooks payroll is part of the Quickbooks accounting suite. This is a great service for users who would like to have all their accounting and payroll in one place. The service is geared to fit any size business with integrated time tracking and free same-day direct deposit. Intuit Quickbooks offers a free 30-day trial for both its self-service and full-service accounting software.

Free option:

  • Free 30-day trial for both its self-service and full-service accounting software

Paid option:

  • Self service payroll: $19.50/month plus $2/month per employee
  • Full-service payroll $49.50/month plus $2/month per employee

Features:

  • Instant paycheck for W-2 employees and 1099 contractors
  • Automatic tax calculations
  • Free direct deposit
  • Electronically pay and file taxes, including W-2s at year end

Read QuickBooks Desktop Pro user reviews →


Next steps for selecting the best payroll software

With plenty of free trials and free services, there is a variety of payroll software to choose from that can immediately help your business streamline the payroll process.

Some software will offer more affordable packages for fewer features, while some of the pricier options will offer a full-service payroll software with advanced capabilities. With all of the options available you can choose the right software for your business.

Looking for more inexpensive finance solutions for your business? Learn about the best free accounting software in 2019 from real-user reviews.

* Please note: Reviews may have been edited for spelling and grammar.

Michael Gigante
Author

Michael Gigante

Mike is a Research Associate who started at G2 Crowd in October 2018 after a year of teaching English in Thailand. He is a Chicago native, and In his spare time he enjoys going to comedy shows, watching sports, and reading wikipedia pages on virtually any subject.