The Pros, Cons & Features of Free Payroll Software! 2020 Updates List!


Do you still focus on spreadsheets while you manage Payroll? This outdated method is known to be prone to error, especially when it comes to data entry. And because manual data entry will always lead to errors, the practice often leads to complaints from employees and, worse, discontent. You may not know, but payroll errors have a significant financial impact on your business, not to mention tax deduction errors that could put you in trouble with the government. They should not be a regular occurrence. Good thing you’ve got payroll software vendors on your hand. Such systems offer full automation, effectively eliminating the inaccuracies that come with human interaction.

What is Payroll Management? 

Payroll management is one of the processes at the heart of every business. More often than not, however, start-ups and small businesses do not have the budget for a fully-featured payroll solution. Given the significance of payroll systems to small businesses, this situation puts SMBs at a disadvantage. During this crucial time, they need to rely on cheaper options so that they can focus on earning a profit to help their efforts grow. This is where free payroll software providers are coming in. We will talk about the best free payroll software currently on the market for small businesses in this article. 

 It should be a top priority to keep your employees happy with an automated payroll procedure irrespective of whether you are a large or small company. One way to do that is through time-saving payroll software, which helps automate payroll processes and ensures accurate compliance by HR departments and accounting teams.

Pros & Cons of Using the Free Payroll Software

Freeware helps you to utilize the functionality of a specific software application at no expense. Similar to pay-as-you-go software solutions, this is a cost-effective alternative for smaller companies with limited budgets. Free software often has the same capabilities as its licensed competitors and even includes open-source and third-party collaboration solutions.

According to a report by Alan Boulanger published in the IBM Systems Review, free software and proprietary systems are approximately equivalent in terms of stability and functionality. In other words, preferring an open platform over a paying one does not necessarily mean sacrificing the efficiency of operating costs. In another survey, researchers found that users feel that there are many benefits to using free and open-source services. Amongst the factors mentioned are low licensing fees, independence from major software vendors, and increased stability.

Nonetheless, these systems are not without their shortcomings; certain services do not provide regular updates or customer support and may sometimes be vulnerable to hacking or ransomware due to lack of security features. Overall, while freeware is a cost-cutting choice that can help entrepreneurs optimize their income, these are still small in the long run relative to their paying equivalents, as shown in the chart given.

You will find the best payroll tools for your organization if you are on a strict budget that has stayed out of the payroll services road. To help boost the salary and incentive plan, we listed the ten best free payroll tools below.

 This list contains product details from the websites of the vendors. You will know if these products have free licenses or temporary free trials. The free options are detailed. There are also paying opportunities underlined, so there are no surprises. If you like and want to update your free payroll app, we explain the cost here. While some of these products offer free solutions to small companies, it is essential to know that the full payroll services of a product are vital as your company scales. Make sure that you have an HR business case to get the budget for investing in payroll software.

These products alone account for well over 1,300 user reviews of G2 Crowd as of 19 December 2018 and represent only a small portion of the 190-plus payroll software offerings on our platform. We included what consumers like about the goods with items with G2 Crowd checked user reviews.

Through a way of real-time user reviews, the maximum consumer rating is selected from our list of free payroll applications on 19 December 2018.

1. Patriot free payroll software

Patriot is a payroll software designed for small businesses. Its basic Payroll offers a self-service process in which you file your payroll taxes using the payroll tax report data. The full-service payroll option allows you to register hours and print paychecks or use a free direct deposit, and the Patriot program can take care of the rest. The Patriot program includes paying fees and returns for all federal, state, and local taxes.

The Patriot Powerful Payroll Solution is designed for SMBs with up to 100 employees. Although not free software per se, it does offer several free apps that are bound to make the Payroll working even simpler. This online tool lets you reduce time and financial expenses as everything is relatively streamlined, managing procedures such as free direct deposits, tax filings, and paycheck printing.


  • Payroll 
  • Entrance Days off 
  • accrual Cash Payment 
  • Reimbursement Expense 
  • Compensation Director

2. Onpay

Onpay is a low-cost solution for small businesses. In addition to offering full payroll software, it also provides fully integrated 401(k) plans, wherever you do business and pay-as-you-go workers ‘ compensation insurance.

This highly scalable product is targeted at SMBs, providing them with streamlined free payroll software processing while automating the filing as well as the payment of taxes. The software also eliminates errors associated with manual data entry by seamlessly entering payroll information such as bonuses, hours, refunds, and tips.

Compensation insurance for pay-as-you-go workers, health insurance, and 401 K may also be processed, among other benefits. You can make unlimited payroll transactions with the system, which also allows for check or direct deposit payments. The vendor is offering a full free trial to get you up to speed with the features.


  • Salary Access
  • Free salary 
  • Reimbursement of expenses
  • Direct deposit, Time-saving HR

 3. Fingercheck, Free Payroll Software

Fingercheck HR Technology is suitable for small and medium-sized businesses in search of a seamless time-tracking and payroll solution. This provides an autopay option such that you never skip a payday, as well as demo payroll apps where you can break down (per employee) and modify information before processing.

Key features

  • Automatic deductions 
  • Net-to-gross payments
  • Unlimited payrolls 
  • Custom General 
  • Ledger exports

4. Wave payroll

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


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

5. Sure Payroll

SurePayroll is an accomplished electronic payroll company that pays and transfers federal, state, and local payroll taxes. The site offers a great computerized payroll in its mobile app as well as unlimited free cash deposits for customers. SurePayroll also supports more specific payroll functions— particularly accountants who manage Payroll for clients, and parents who manage household employees, such as nannies.

SurePayroll’s popular payroll software is renowned for quick, complicated payroll processes. It can process Payroll with a mouse click, saving you valuable time. It is a small business-friendly tool that comes with features that will undoubtedly make the processing of payrolls much easier. These include support for a variety of types of Payroll, a powerful interface, as well as tax management. It also has integrations with known third-party applications to further enhance its functionality.

Key features of this free payroll software

  • Wage Payment Reimbursement
  • Expense Automatic Transaction 
  • Period Off 
  • Accumulated Payroll Admission

 6. Xero payroll

Xero paired up with Gusto to offer a full-service payroll program. Xero offers full-service payrolls in all 50 states, including electronic payroll reporting, W-2s, 1099s, flexible payrolls, and direct deposits. Xero Payroll provides two months free of charge if you choose to go with just its payroll software, which has plenty of time to test the product before entering its payroll service.

Key features of this free payroll software

  • 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

7. Checkmark

CheckMark Payroll is a mobile app that makes a one-time payment for its download. If your business is not searching for an electronic payroll program, this is a good alternative. Offers unlimited payroll collection, direct deposit, and cloud storage to protect the payroll records.


  • Run all workers and all businesses free of charge 
  • Creates ACH-formatted files for direct deposit by bank or web-based deposit program for all employer and employee payments 
  • Documents Xml pay stubs for paperless paychecks; signed e-mails include a certificate Comes bundled with federal and state retention tables

Also, Check – Best Payroll Software for Your Business.

8. Gusto 

Gusto Payroll will conveniently measure, pay, and register the federal, state, and local payroll taxes, as well as W-2s, 1099s, and new-hire documents. It also offers a full range of HR tools, and you can handle the Payroll, insurance, 401(k), workers ‘ compensation, and HR on the website.

Gusto is a free payroll software designed to cater to SMBs, providing them with top-notch features such as Payroll and tax computing and submission. You also have the option of paying both employees and the government by check or direct deposit so that you will never have to leave your office during the payroll period. Other notable features also include unlimited payroll runs, new hiring reports, and year-end W-2s and 1099s. You can use the Gusto free trial to know more about the features of the app.


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

 9. Bright pay payroll

Brightpay Payroll provides a simple user experience to render Payroll as easy as possible. These offer a wide range of services, such as limitless staff, various payroll plans, monthly bonuses, and scanned payslips.


  • Personal Transaction 
  • Electronic filing and billing 
  • Online salary report reports 
  • Self-service pay stubs and tax forms

 10. Intuit Quickbooks

Intuit Quickbooks is part of the Quickbooks Accounting Set. This is a great service for users who would like to have all their accounts and payrolls in one place. The company is designed to fit the size of the business with seamless time tracking and free same-day direct deposit. Intuit Quickbooks offers a 30-day free trial for both its self-service and full-service accounting software.


  • Secure compensation for W-2 workers and 1099 employers
  • Instant payroll assessments
  • Unlimited direct deposit 
  • Electronically compensate and file taxes, like W-2s at year-end.

 With a lot of free trials and free services, there’s a variety of payroll software to choose from that can help your business streamline the payroll process right away.

Many solutions can provide more inexpensive products with fewer features, while some of the most expensive choices will include a full-service payroll platform with advanced capabilities. With all the options which are available, you can choose the right software for your business.

Free payroll software: a guide to help you

Payroll approaches have indeed become the mainstay of most organizations. We also significantly changed the way businesses handle payrolls, ensuring that all employers ‘ wages and bonuses and taxes are collected correctly and on schedule. Does it take us to the issue of what’s in store for payroll software? The following are trends that have been shown to have an impact on this niche software category.

Use of the Artificial Intelligence Program. While the idea of Artificial Intelligence taking over the entire payroll cycle is only too far-fetched, AI is seeking applications for these goods. This helps companies conserve money by ensuring that correct payroll information is inserted into such programs. Employees often benefit from the use of AI as it notifies them of a missing clock in / out.

Real-Time Fees, yes. With the steady increase in the number of freelancers, the demand for instant payments has also increased. Most of these workers are paid monthly and claim regular salaries, many of which are charged by payment gateways.

Final verdict

Your company budget should not prevent you from implementing various software solutions that optimize your payroll processes. With a large selection of free programs out there, you’re sure to find one which best suits your company’s needs. At this time, Gusto is your obvious choice, with all the benefits it offers apart from the processing of payrolls. 

You can quickly sign up for the Gusto free trial and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without any commitment.