Last updated: July 13th, 2021*

A quick and easy comparison guide

Gusto vs Square Payroll

The right payroll software ensures that you can pay your team with ease. But which provider should you go with if you’re a small business owner?

This guide explains the differences between Gusto and Square payroll so you can see exactly how these two tools overlap and differ when it comes to running payroll, managing benefits, and other back-office tasks.

Square payroll vs Gusto

Compare pricing and features: Gusto vs Square Payroll

Gusto Square Payroll
Monthly fee Starting at $39/mo. + $6/mo. per user Starting at $29/mo. + $5/mo. per user
Setup fee Free Free
Unlimited payrolls checkmark icon checkmark icon
Automated federal and state tax filing checkmark icon checkmark icon
Direct deposit checkmark icon checkmark icon
File W-2s checkmark icon checkmark icon
File 1099s checkmark icon checkmark icon
Multiple pay rates and schedules checkmark icon checkmark icon
Multiple states checkmark icon checkmark icon
Contractor payments checkmark icon checkmark icon
E-sign I-9 and W-4 checkmark icon x icon
Lifetime access for employees checkmark icon x icon
Household employer payroll x icon x icon
International payroll x icon x icon
Health benefits Pay premiums only Pay premiums only
Workers’ comp Pay premiums only Pay premiums only
Available add-ons
  • 401(k) retirement
  • 529 college savings
  • Commuter benefits
  • Life and disability
  • HSA and FSA
  • 401(k) retirement
  • Pre-tax benefit
HR tools
Time tracking checkmark icon (Complete and Concierge) checkmark icon
Team directory and org chart checkmark icon (Complete and Concierge) x icon
Time-off requests checkmark icon (Complete and Concierge) checkmark icon
Online offer letters checkmark icon (Complete and Concierge) x icon
Secure document vault and e-signing checkmark icon (Complete and Concierge) x icon
Custom employee handbook checkmark icon (Concierge) x icon
Job description and policy templates checkmark icon (Concierge) x icon
Proactive compliance updates checkmark icon (Concierge) checkmark icon
Certified HR pros checkmark icon (Concierge) x icon
Direct phone line for dedicated support checkmark icon (Concierge) checkmark icon
Custom Onboarding Checklist checkmark icon (Complete and Concierge) x icon
Software Provisioning checkmark icon (Complete and Concierge) x icon
QuickBooks checkmark icon checkmark icon
Xero checkmark icon checkmark icon
Google (G-suite) SSO checkmark icon x icon
three people standing in line

What to consider when choosing a payroll provider

Comparison details: Gusto vs Square Payroll


Setup and monthly fees

Gusto is completely free to get started. The base fee is a straightforward $39 per month, plus an additional $6 per month for each employee on your team. Read more about our four plans and current promotions.

Square Payroll costs $29 per month as its base fee, plus a monthly fee of $5 per employee.

Gusto Square Payroll
Monthly fee Starting at $39/mo. + $6/mo. per user Starting at $29/mo. + $5/mo. per user
Setup fee Free Free


Running payroll

With Gusto, you can run payroll in just a few clicks. You can manage payroll for all types of workers, including W-2 employees and 1099 contractors. Set up AutoPilot to run payroll automatically, which makes a simple task even easier to manage. We don’t have a limit to the number of payrolls you can run each month—whether you’re the only employee or have a team of 100, we’ve got you covered.

Square also allows you to set up and run payroll for employees and contractors. Direct deposit and paper check options are available as well.

running payroll on Gusto dashboard

Tax filings

Gusto automatically calculates, files, and pays your payroll taxes every time you pay your team. With coverage in all 50 states, you can run payroll compliantly no matter where your employees report to work. Federal, state, and local taxes are all covered.

Square works similarly to Gusto, calculating filings automatically for federal and state taxes. However, they do not cover local taxes like Gusto.

Gusto Square Payroll
Unlimited payrolls checkmark icon checkmark icon
File 1099s checkmark icon checkmark icon


Employee benefits

We have more than 3,500 health insurance plans for your employees to choose from. Each plan comes from highly regarded insurance companies like BlueCross BlueShield, Humana, and United Healthcare. Our online dashboard allows you to easily administer all your employees’ plans from one place. We don’t charge any administration fees to enroll in health benefits–you’ll only pay the premiums.

Health insurance isn’t the only benefit we offer. Gusto also provides financial perks like 401(k) retirement plans, college savings plans, and commuter benefits. Learn more about pricing for benefits.

Square offers similar benefits beyond payroll, including health insurance, workers’ compensation, 401(k) plans, and pre-tax benefits through Alice.


Health benefits, financial tools, and so much more

That's why we provide options and guidance to help your team find the right coverage. .

Financial benefits

Gusto Cashout™ lets your employees borrow money in between paydays, interest-free. This free benefit from Gusto helps your team cover unexpected financial hardships without worry, and without impacting your books. Square Payroll does not offer this type of financial benefit.

Gusto Square Payroll
Health benefits Pay premiums only Pay premiums only
Workers’ comp Pay premiums only Pay premiums only

The Cashout Program is issued by Sunrise Banks, N.A., Member FDIC. The Sunrise Banks, N.A. Privacy Policy can be found here.

HR tools

Team management

Gusto’s Complete and Concierge plans include access to simple time tracking tools to help you track your employees’ hours and time off requests. Those plans also include team management features like anonymous employee surveys, which allow you to collect feedback from your team and use the results to take action.

Square Payroll offers a time tracking tool called Timecards, which enables employees to track their hours worked. Tracked time can be viewed, edited, and deleted as needed by a manager.

viewing team insights on Gusto dashboard

Customer service

Support team

At Gusto, we offer best-in-class customer support. Our support teams are available by phone, email, and live chat Monday through Friday. We also have an online FAQ and help center available, whenever you need it.


Interested in Gusto?

Our sales team can be reached directly by emailing [email protected], calling (855) 590-3993, or via live chat.

Square Payroll offers a payroll-specific FAQ page which answers the most common questions about the platform, plus live chat and phone support.


Integration capabilities

Our payroll software easily integrates with other platforms. Gusto supports almost all accounting, point of sale (POS), business operations, expense management, and time tracking platforms, including Accelo, Homebase, Expensify, Intuit QuickBooks, and FreshBooks. View our complete list of compatible platforms.

Square offers product integrations with several platforms like Homebase and QuickBooks.

*Competitive data on this page was collected as of July 13th, 2021 and is subject to change or update. Gusto does not make any representations as to the completeness or accuracy of the information on this page. All Gusto services listed in the payroll features comparison chart are provided by Gusto or by one of Gusto's trusted partners.

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