The Best Payroll Apps for 2024: Features and Pricing Compared

The best payroll app is ADP, thanks to its reliability and pricing. The payroll app on your smartphone has to be great — intuitive, and fast, with most of the capabilities you’re accustomed to on desktop. That’s why we’ve reviewed hundreds of payroll apps to put together a list of our top 7 choices so you can choose one that suits your business needs.

The Best Payroll Apps Ranked

  1. ADP — Best payroll app overall
  2. Gusto — Best payroll app for mobile web browsers
  3. Paychex — Best app for freelancers
  4. Papaya Global — Best for managing international teams
  5. Rippling — Best time tracking for international employees
  6. Remote — Best EOR payroll app
  7. Roll by ADP — Best for innovation

The Best Payroll Apps Reviewed

To come up with our ranking, we analyzed a list of payroll apps and narrowed them down to a best of seven. The shortlist criteria were the range of features, ease of use, customer support, pricing, user reviews, plus what our own experts had to say.

We assigned weightings to each one; with pricing, features, and ease of use accounting for 60% of the total. When the maths were done, these seven payroll apps prevailed. Here’s how we ranked them.

1. ADP – Best Payroll App Overall

A screenshot displaying ADP's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Expense Management Reporting
Custom pricing – Multi-state (USA) payroll
– Direct debit card
– Retirement planning
✅ Via TripLog integration

For businesses that want an established partner to manage their pay runs, ADP has long been a safe choice. Today it’s one of the best SaaS payroll platforms on the market.

The smartphone app functions like a portal to ADP’s family of branded payroll services. Whether you’re a larger firm that outsources payroll to ADP or a smaller business managing payroll in-house, the app enables you to see team calendars, approve time off requests and receive summary reports. Plus adjacent features like tax filing, W-2s and 1099s, secure e-signatures and multi-jurisdiction (e.g. multiple US states) payroll delivery are available.

Employees and contractors can use the app to clock in and out, submit PTO requests, contact co-workers, and access pay stubs.

ADP caters to businesses from small to large to very large, so smaller firms should be able to sign up for a lower-priced plan and upgrade as revenues and headcounts expand. ADP’s custom pricing, however, makes that possibility harder to assess. Other solutions like Gusto or Papaya make pricing transparent from the get-go. What you do get with ADP is trust, reputation, accountability, and a host of practical features — some of them unique.

ADP’s Wisely Direct Debit card is one innovation that a competitor like Papaya or Rippling doesn’t offer. Included in every plan it enables companies to offer ‘paperless pay’ to employees, with paycheques deposited directly onto the card.

Read our full ADP review.

ADP Price Plans

ADP’s pricing is customized to each business, so you’ll have to request a quote to see which plan offers the best value. To get things started we’ve included a quick summary of each plan to make comparison with other solutions easier.

  • Essential Payroll — For small to mid-sized companies with basic payroll needs
  • Enhanced Payroll — Everything in Essential plus recruitment services, State Unemployment Insurance, and new hire background checks
  • Complete — Everything in Enhanced plus basic HR services
  • HR Pro — Everything included in Complete plus enhanced HR support

prosPros

  • Suitable for businesses small and large
  • Robust functionality on the user-friendly mobile app
  • Multi-jurisdiction payroll for US market
  • Multiple international versions of the solution
  • Top user ratings in the iOS and Google Play stores

consCons 

  • Lack of transparent pricing
  • Learning curve for new customers
  • Some complaints about long waiting times for customer service
  • Pre-built reports can be confusing and hard to decipher

2. Gusto – Top Mobile Responsive Web Version

A screenshot displaying Gusto's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Expense Management Reporting
$40 per month plus $6 per paid employee – Full-featured web app for mobile browsers
– Autopilot feature lets you schedule pay runs in advance

Gusto is an award-winning SaaS solution that helps managers get to grips with payroll by automating the manual processes around tax filings, (US) retirement benefits, and pay runs.

While it doesn’t offer a locally installed mobile app for employers, there is one for employees. Gusto’s mobile web presence is so perfectly optimized for mobile web that it looks, feels, and operates like a native app. So long as you have a fast connection, you can manage payroll on the move.

Payroll apps like Gusto offer an autopilot feature helps set it apart from solutions like ADP or Rippling by enabling managers to schedule payroll runs in advance. Employees can use the Gusto Wallet app available in the iOS Store and Google Play to self-manage payroll tasks through their personal Gusto portal. Along with accessing pay stubs and tax documents it doubles as a time-tracking app, and allows staff to request early payment up to two days in advance.

Read our full Gusto review.

Gusto Price Plans

Gusto is one of the payroll apps that offers a simple three-tier plan with transparent pricing and clear lists of included features.

  • Simple — $40 per month plus $6/month/employee
  • Plus — $80 per month plus $12/month/employee
  • Premium — Custom pricing by quote

prosPros

  • Time-saving autopilot feature for payroll automation
  • Scalable pricing
  • Software integrations available for no additional fee

consCons 

  • 100% price jump from starter to mid-tier plan
  • Mainly for the US market
  • No free trial

3. Paychex – Best for Freelancers

A screenshot displaying Paychex's dashboard

Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Expense Management Reporting
Custom pricing – Integrated app for employers & employees
– Feature rich self-employed plan

Paychex mixes user-friendliness with convenient payroll automation to make life easier for small businesses, freelancers, and solopreneurs.

Even better, while payroll providers like Gusto have one mobile app for managers and another one for staff — or an app for employees only — Paychex gives you both in one. Its highly rated iOS and Android ‘Paychex Flex’ apps deliver the goods for both.

Employees can use Paychex Flex to track time, clock in and out, access pay stubs, and manage their personal details. Managers can use it to view, approve, and execute payroll runs. That’s even more beneficial for self-employed individuals who are both owner and employee.

Lack of transparent pricing does put Paychex on the back foot against its peer competitors. Even at the self-employed tier you have to go through the firm’s qualifying process and request a quote.

Read the full Paychex review.

Paychex Price Plans

While Paychex has four distinct payroll plans for businesses of different sizes, to see the price you have to request a quote. To get things started we’ve included a quick summary of each plan to make comparison with other solutions easier.

  • Self-Employed — Solutions for self-employed solopreneurs who want to pay themselves a salary. Also includes retirement savings options.
  • 1-19 Employees — Simplifies payroll management for small businesses and includes basic compliance tools (US)
  • 20-49 Employees — Payroll for growing small businesses and includes more advanced regulatory tracking (US)
  • 50-1,000 Employees — A blend of payroll automation and personal consulting for large organizations

prosPros

  • An all-in-one app for employers and employees
  • Benefits management tools
  • Advice from payroll experts available

consCons 

  • Lack of transparent pricing
  • Inconsistent customer support
  • Range of feature options can be hard to navigate

    4. Papaya Global – Best for Managing International Teams

    A screenshot displaying Papaya Global's dashboard

    Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Expense Management Reporting
    Starting from $25 per employee per month – Payroll services for over 160 countries
    – Support from in-country payroll experts
    ✅ via integration with Expensify

    Papaya Global’s professional employer organization (PEO) solution is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses that need to pay international workers and contractors.

    Employees get a native iOS or Android app for time tracking and payslip access, while managers can access Papaya’s mobile web app on their smartphone browser. The native app for employees doubles as a communication tool. Staff working abroad can receive company alerts in-app, upload and view tax documents, and get chat support from Papaya customer service.

    Overall the app is similar to Gusto and Paychex in the sense that employees have access to their payslips and time tracking, but during our testing, we found both the competitors’ apps easier to navigate which is why they were rated higher than Papaya. However, for companies with a majority of international employees, Papaya should definitely still be a contender thanks to its lower price point.

    Read our full Papaya Global review.

    Papaya Global Price Plans

    • Grow Global — Starting from $25/month/employee
    • Scale Global — Starting from $20/month/employee
    • Enterprise Global — Starting from $15/month/employee
    • Contractor — Starting from $30/month/contractor

    prosPros

    • Payroll management support for workers in over 160 countries
    • Sliding scale price structure
    • Global contractor payment

    consCons 

    • Final pricing is quote based
    • Fees for setup and onboarding
    • Contract required

    5. Rippling – Best Time Tracking for International Employees

    A screenshot displaying Rippling's dashboard

    Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Expense Management Reporting
    Custom pricing – Straightforward time tracking
    – Single sign-on for other apps

    Rippling is another solution that aims to take the complexity out of paying international workers. Employees in far-flung jurisdictions can use the Rippling app to see schedules, access pay stubs, request time off, and connect with colleagues. Managers back at HQ can use it to view reports, execute payroll runs, manage expense reimbursement, and approve PTO requests.

    A dedicated time-tracking app makes it easy for employees abroad to clock in and out, or use a built-in timer for more granular task measurements. One unique feature of the Rippling app is its ability to blend into existing workflow by acting as a single sign-on for solutions like Salesforce or Slack. This is a great feature that not all payroll apps offer.

    We rate Rippling higher than Remote thanks to its app being suitable for both employees and employers, as well as being easier to use. However, it’s beaten by Papaya and ADP on price and overall offering.

    Read our full Rippling review.

    Rippling Price Plans

    Rippling bills itself as a full workforce management platform with different service packages under its ‘HR Cloud’ solution suite. Global Full-Service Payroll is a standalone module with rich a set of features, however, all Rippling pricing is quote-based.

    prosPros

    • Robust set of payroll and complementary features
    • Easy time tracking with advanced reporting
    • All-in-one payroll and HR solution

    consCons 

    • Lack of pricing transparency
    • Frequent app updates

    6. Remote – Best EOR Payroll App

    A screenshot displaying Remote's dashboard

    Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Expense Management Reporting
    $29 per contractor per month – End-to-end payroll services across 17 countries
    – Option to add indemnity coverage for contractors

    Remote is an employer of record (EOR) solution that simplifies the legal and practical headaches around hiring, employing, and paying international employees. That makes Papaya Global, which has an EOR solution of its own, the nearest competitor on our payroll top 7 list.

    What sets Remote’s payroll offer and app apart is its end-to-end service package, which wraps together payroll processing and reporting, direct deposit, employee onboarding, local regulatory compliance, and time tracking for more than 17 countries and currencies, with plans to expand that number to 30 by mid-2024.

    However, only employees and contractors get a native app. Managers can access Remote’s mobile web-optimized solution using their smartphone browser.

    Read our full Remote review.

    Remote Price Plans

    • HRIS — Free (time tracking but not payment)
    • Contractor Management — $29 per contractor per month
    • Employer of Record (EOR) — Starting at $599 per month
    • Global Payroll — Starting $50 per employee per month

    prosPros

    • Seamless onboarding
    • Compliance support
    • Benefits management for multiple countries

    consCons 

    • Lack of full pricing transparency
    • Limited payroll features in the free plan

    7. Roll by ADP – Best for Innovation

    A screenshot displaying Roll by ADP's dashboard

    Starting Price Free Plan Top Features Expense Management Reporting
    $29 per month plus $5 per paid employee – Chatbot only interface
    – Automated real time error checks
    ✅ (basic)

    ADP’s Roll solution gets the nod for innovation. It’s the only chat-based payroll app and uses GenAI (the tech that powers ChatGPT) to handle payroll tasks with simple text commands.

    While the idea of chat-based software may be a bit jarring at first, Roll by ADP operates like any chatbot and mimics the live human interactions you’d get on any mainstream messaging app. Roll by ADP’s smart assistant executes commands, answers questions, anticipates issues, and guides you through features and functions. It also sends notifications and alerts proactive alerts.

    While you can expect almost every payroll provider to add AI to its solution this year, with Roll, ADP is first out of the chute.

    Roll by ADP Price Plans

    Roll by ADP is keen to have people try its novel new tech, so it currently starts everyone on a free three-month trial. After that, there’s just one price tier: an affordable $29 per month plus $5 per paid employee.

    prosPros

    • A breeze to use
    • Same-day direct deposits are available
    • Conducts real-time error checks

    consCons 

    • Chat-based software takes time to get used to
    • Reporting is limited
    • Limited third-party integrations

    The Best Payroll Apps Compared

    Solution Best For Standout Features Free Plan Offer Suitable for Employers Suitable for Employees Compatibility
    ADP Best overall payroll app – Multi-state (USA) payroll
    – Direct debit card
    – Retirement planning
    No free plan iOS and Android
    Gusto Best for mobile web browsers – Full-featured mobile web app
    – Schedule pay runs in advance
    No free plan Any leading mobile web browser
    Paychex Best for freelancers Loads of capabilities for self-employed workers No free plan iOS and Android
    Papaya Global Best for paying international teams – Service in 160 countries
    – Support from in-country payroll experts
    No free plan iOS and Android
    Rippling Best time tracking for international employees Acts as a single sign-on tool for other apps No free plan iOS and Android
    Remote Best EOR payroll app Optional indemnity coverage for contractors Basic HRIS with time tracking and expense management iOS and Android
    Roll by ADP Best for innovation Chat-based interface No free plan iOS and Android

    Conclusion – What is the Best Payroll App?

    There is no one-size-fits-all for the best payroll apps but ADP’s payroll app stands out as the best choice thanks to its features. This includes streamlined payroll processing, robust compliance tools, mobile accessibility, and seamless integration capabilities. With ADP, businesses can efficiently manage payroll while ensuring adherence to complex tax regulations and labor laws.

    The app’s user-friendly interface and employee self-service options are what truly give it an edge over competitors. Additionally, ADP’s reputation for reliable customer support and continuous innovation solidifies its position as the top payroll solution for businesses of all sizes, making it the best option.

    How We Test Payroll Apps

    Techopedia is a leading authority on payroll solutions and the experience they offer on mobile. Our independent reviews are conducted with the needs of small business owners in mind. Our goal is to give you enough intel to choose the one that’s right for you.

    When we review payroll apps, we assess it in six areas:

    • Pricing – What are the different price tiers and what’s included/excluded for all payroll apps.
    • Features – Starting with the main desktop solution and then considering how it executes on smartphones and tablets. Payroll apps should have a variety of features for different types of users.
    • Integrations – We look at how easily payroll apps could be integrated with the accounting tools you already have in place
    • Automation – We ask how many repetitive, time-consuming tasks the software can take on
    • Ease of Use – We look at the mobile user interface, the range of menu options, and how much training would be required for new users. Payroll apps should be easy to use.
    • Third-Party Reviews – We consider what hands-on users saying about the app on respected platforms like Trustpilot, Capterra, and G2

    How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

    The choice of payroll app can make the difference between time-saving convenience and cumbersome nuisance. If you’re thinking of trialing a new app or investing in a new payroll solution for the first time, here are some key considerations:

    • Ease of use – Is the interface and functionality intuitive, or will training be required? A small business owner should be able to run payroll taxes with ease. From tax forms and manual data entry to benefits administration and health insurance, a good payroll software will help small businesses run better.
    • Essential Features – Does the solution combine payroll with complementary features like time tracking, PTO management, income tax calculation, and expense management? Paying employees should be easy with a wide variety of features. Look for payroll software that offers off-cycle payments, unlimited pay runs, multiple pay rates, payroll reports, retirement plans, HR tools, employee benefits, automatic payroll, and more.
    • Pricing – Is there a plan for my budget that offers all the capabilities I need? How easy is it to scale up or down if business needs change?
    • Integrations – Can the solution blend easily into my existing payroll workflow? There should be options to do payroll taxes, direct deposit, payroll processing, do same-day direct deposit, benefits administration, and more.
    • Customer Support – What levels of support are offered and do they change depending on how much I pay?

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    Mark De Wolf
    Tech Writer

    Mark is a freelance tech journalist covering software, cybersecurity, and SaaS. His work has appeared in Dow Jones, The Telegraph, SC Magazine, Strategy, InfoWorld, Redshift, and The Startup. He graduated from the Ryerson University School of Journalism with honors where he studied under senior reporters from The New York Times, BBC, and Toronto Star, and paid his way through uni as a jobbing advertising copywriter. In addition, Mark has been an external communications advisor for tech startups and scale-ups, supporting them from launch to successful exit. Success stories include SignRequest (acquired by Box), Zeigo (acquired by Schneider Electric), Prevero (acquired…