In-Depth OysterHR Payroll Review 2024

Our Verdict

Helping small businesses build an international team — one hire at a time

High-fives to the people behind OysterHR for creating one of the most visually impressive and highly-functional international payroll platforms out there. Our reviewers found it to be a near-perfect mix of commercial value and small-biz-friendliness. It gets your people paid in over 180 countries — which is an impressively wide footprint. Meanwhile, the solution’s intuitive user interface and bank of educational resources make it a breeze to use.

There are a few sour notes. Given its small business target market, Oyster is more expensive than some of its competitors. Phone support is lacking, and some countries rely on third-party contractors to provide services, so quality could vary. Still, there’s lots more upside than down. Here’s the final verdict:

Pros:

  • Extensive knowledge base
  • Clean, well-designed user interface
  • Global employment support

Cons:

  • Expensive for small businesses and start-ups
  • Country coverage is uneven and pricing varies by location
  • Mediocre reporting options

OysterHR Plans & Pricing

We found Oyster’s pricing to be competitive and easy to understand — though there is some variability depending on the country an employee or contractor is based in. Oyster splits the market into three segments: firms that hire contractors, firms that mainly employee full-time employees or FTEs, and growing firms that want to scale up incrementally. That makes it easy for firms to self-select the best fit. Here’s how it breaks out price-wise:

Contractor Employee Scale
Monthly Cost $29 per contractor per month $599 per employee per month ($499 if paid in one annual lump sum) Custom pricing (billed annually)
Free Trial ✅ 30-day free trial
Users Unlimited. Price is per user. Unlimited. Price is per employee. Five or more.
PTO Management
Expense Management ✅ via integration with Expensify ✅ via integration with Expensify ✅ via integration with Expensify
Reporting Standard Standard Standard
Customer Support Country-specific HR and legal advice. Robust knowledge base with calculators and other self service tools Country-specific HR and legal advice. Robust knowledge base with calculators and other self-service tools Country-specific HR and legal advice. Robust knowledge base with calculators and other self-service tools

Contractor — starts at $29 per contractor per month

For companies that only need Oyster to manage international contactor hires, the Contractor package starts at $29 per contractor per month. It enables you to onboard contractors quickly, generate compliant contracts in line with each country’s labour regulations, and pay invoices in over 140 currencies. With 180 countries supported, Contractor is the plan with the widest global coverage.

Employee — starts at $499 per employee per month

Employee is Oyster’s mainstream EOR plan designed to suite the international payroll needs of most businesses. Over 140 countries are supported with final pricing dependent on the country where an employee lives or pays taxes. Fees start at $599 per employee per month, or $499 per employee if you pay in one annual lump sum. A list with country-specific pricing details is available on the OysterHR website.

Scale — custom pricing

Businesses with five employees or more can take advantage of the Scale tier. Pricing is quote-based so you’ll need to work with a sales agent to iron out the details. Businesses planning to staff-up and those with more sophisticated needs will appreciate the customization — arguably better than a one-size-fits-all tiered plan.

Unlike some competitors, every OysterHR plan includes all the platform’s essential tools, so you don’t need to trade price for functionality. Only the Contractor plan comes with a free trial, but one-on-one guided demos are available at every price tier.

OysterHR Payroll Overview

Starting price $29 per contractor per month
Best for Small businesses and start-ups looking to staff-up globally
Customer support Extensive knowledge base. Chat support.
App integrations Expensify, Quickbooks, Zapier, and Slack.
Security & Compliance 2FA and single sign-on, Drata security automation, regular pen testing.
Reporting & analytics
Mobile app ❌ (No dedicated app but the site is optimised for mobile web)
Auto-alerts and reminders
International Payroll 180 countries for contractors. 130 countries for employees
Digital Payslips

Standout Features

Employer of record service

Let Oyster hire staff on your behalf with it's employer-of-record feature

Oyster’s employer-of-record (EOR) proposition is especially powerful for small businesses looking to quickly extend their international footprint. The EOR model lets you sidestep the legal and administrative hassles that come with opening local offices worldwide. Oyster gives you boots on the ground, hiring staff on your behalf. While they work for you, legally they are employed by Oyster’s local entity. When there’s demand for your products and services abroad but you don’t yet have the resources or expertise to navigate every country’s employment law, EOR is an excellent option.

Global benefits management

Manage benefits for over 165 countries

There are loads of solutions and platforms that promise to make international payroll easier to manage, but many leave out valuable feature sets like benefits management. Not so with Oyster, which offers payroll and benefits management for over 165 countries. Benefits can include retirement savings, maternity leave, holidays, health insurance, sick leave and health insurance — all of which differ from country to country. Oyster partners with global insurance brand Allianz to create benefits packages are compliant, competitive and cost-effective. You won’t have to worry if your geographically-distributed team members are being compensated fairly and getting all the perks they deserve.

Global equity consulting

Offer your employees incentives like equity compensation

Giving employees a greater stake in the company through equity compensation has become a popular way to motivate staff and strengthen loyalty. Incentives matter when your workforce is distributed and face time is more on-screen than in-person. Oyster helps you optimize your equity strategy for different national jurisdictions, with detailed assessments of how attractive the types of equity you want to offer would be in each country.

Whether its stock options or restricted stock units, Oyster provides a country-by-country look at potential risks, costs, taxes, and regulatory requirements so you can allocate equity strategically. Maximizing value for your employees and your business is always the goal, but the rules in some countries might mean it’s better to offer cash-based incentives rather than direct equity. In other places, taxes on equity vesting may be so high that employees won’t gain much benefit. Oyster helps you see the potential issues and design a plan that fits.

Integrations

Most businesses large and small use multiple software and SaaS solutions in their daily operations, so anything new has to fit existing workflow. Our reviewers found that OysterHR has really thought through how the solution might need to blend with current processes.

It offers full, direct integration with A-list tools like;

  • Expensify,
  • Quickbooks,
  • Slack,
  • Google Workspace
  • and Microsoft Teams.

Adding Zapier to the mix opens the door for over 5,000 more. For proprietary solutions or anything that Zapier might not be able to deliver, Oyster’s API leaves room for additional integrations and customization that tailor the platform to your specific needs.

Oyster Payroll Customer Reviews

Users give OysterHR a cumulative score of 4.2 on Trustpilot, earning it a rating of ‘Great.’ Many reviewers commented on a painless onboarding process, and how easily they could find answers to questions in the knowledge base. When direct human intervention was needed to solve an issue, users were near-unanimous in their praise for Oyster’s support team.

A review of OysterHR Payroll

What is Oyster Payroll Good For?

For small businesses that want to expand globally, Oyster can de-stress and de-risk the process while alleviating the upfront costs that come with setting up local country entities. When you’re still growing as a business and only doing it to hire and manage staff, the time and expense can be hard to justify. Oyster’s distributed workforce platform streamlines global payroll processes with automation. It simplifies pay runs in local currencies, and also handles the administrative intricacies around hiring, onboarding, and providing benefits. Oyster’s core offer earned high ratings in our evaluation. Adding expense management, PTO management, and time tracking added to the overall score.

OysterHr Payroll vs Top Competitors

OysterHR Papaya Global Rippling Deel
Best for Smaller businesses looking to grow their international headcount Mid- to large-size businesses with operations in multiple countries Businesses that want global HRIS and software/IT onboarding Companies looking for multiple payment options
Starting Price $29 per contractor per month $25 per user per month $599 per employee $599 per employee
Free Trial
Standout Features Exceptional international coverage — 180 countries for the Contractor tier Premium support, multi-currency payments, global compliance tools Pay only for the feature syou use Free core platform for firms with less than 200 employees.
Reporting Basic Sophisticated analytics dashboards Extensive list of pre-built reports Advanced
Mobile App

OysterHR vs Papaya Global

On paper, OysterHR and Papaya Global looked very similar. Both cater to organizations with global ambitions and offer a range of payroll and payroll-adjacent features. Each one makes hiring, paying, and handling HR tasks in multiple languages, currencies and regulatory regimes easier.

Where OysterHR edges ahead of Papaya is on the contractor front. It’s 180-country footprint beats Papaya’s 160. Oyster has also established a number wholly-owned in-country entities to deliver its EOR service. Papaya is more of a virtual company, operating through a third-party network of international partners.

The real split is in the size of business each solution targets. For larger firms with bigger headcounts, our reviewers thought Papaya was the better choice. Its partnerships with Wall Street titans J.P. Morgan and Citibank allow it to process cross-border payments immediately and securely. For start-ups, small businesses, and businesses that use international contractors, Oyster has the better offer.

OysterHR vs Rippling

You have to hand it to Rippling for developing such a dedicated and enthusiastic audience of users. On software review sites it manages to win top ratings by the thousands. On fanbase metrics, Oyster just can’t compare. But it’s not a beauty contest, its about business value. Our reviewers found Oyster easier to setup and start using straightaway, while Rippling took a bit longer to get used to. For onboarding new employees, Rippling is lightning fast — promising paperwork that takes just 90 seconds to complete. That speed probably means they’ve had to sacrifice geographic spread. Rippling supports 20 countries to Oyster’s 130.

OysterHR vs Deel

Comparing payroll services on a like-for-like basis, Deel and OysterHR are pretty similar. Oyster differentiates itself with wider country coverage. On the payroll and EOR fronts, Deel offers its services in over 100 countries. Oyster leaps ahead with 130 countries covered —rising to 180 countries supported for contractor hires. When it comes to managing contractors and making payments, both Deel and Oyster have comprehensive solutions. Deel sweetens its deal by adding flexible payment options and the ability to issue virtual debit cards for expenses. Oyster, on the other hand, offers a robust self-serve platform with lower costs. Our reviewers say global footprint and cost effectiveness give Oyster the upper hand.

Read our full Deel Payroll review here.

Verdict – is OysterHR Worth it for Payroll?

For our reviewers it’s a resounding ‘yes’. Employers of Record (EORs) have been around for a long time, but their popularity is surging as more startups and SMBs rush to take advantage of remote working and quickly establish a multi-national presence. Oyster’s unique features help ambitious businesses build globally-distributed remote teams and manage them through a dashboard. It simplifies a host of legal and payroll complexities that would otherwise limit growth and expansion. The company pitches itself to investors as ‘a distributed talent enablement platform,’ we’d say that’s accurate summary of what it brings to the table.

How We Test Payroll Solutions

Techopedia is a leading authority on payroll and HR solutions. Our independent reviews of apps, platforms, and services are conducted with the needs of payroll pros in mind. Our goal is to give them practical market intel and support better buying decisions.

When we review a payroll solution, we assess its quality in six areas:

  • Pricing – What are the different price tiers and what’s included/excluded
  • Features – Core features and those available at different price levels
  • Integrations – We look at how easily the solution could be integrated with the tools you already have in place
  • Automation – We ask how many repetitive, time-consuming tasks the product can take on
  • Ease of Use – We look at the interface, the range of menu options, the effort needed to roll it out, and how much training would be required for new users
  • Third-Party Reviews – We consider what hands-on users saying about the product on respected platforms like Trustpilot, Capterra and G2

How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

Choosing the right payroll solution can impact business outcomes — for better or for worse. If you’re thinking of trialling a new software or investing in one for the first time, here are some key considerations:

  • Ease of use – Is the interface and functionality intuitive, or will training be required?
  • Essential Features – Does the solution combine payroll with HR, time tracking, benefits management, and expense management?
  • 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?
  • Customer Support – What levels of support are offered and do they differ by pricing tier?

FAQs

How does Oyster HR work?

Who owns Oyster HR?

Does OysterHR have global payroll?

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…